Category Archives: Holland

Things to do in Holland; attractions in Holland and the best places to visit in Holland.

Delft Blue Pottery

Delft Blue Pottery – The perfect Dutch Souvenir

Planning a trip to the Netherlands? Confused about what to get back as a souvenir from the land of tulips, windmills, cheese and clogs? But what if you could get all of them and much more, dripping in the very own unique flavour of the low lands? Read on.

Delft blue pottery (or the Delftware as it is also known) is the tin glazed, hand painted blue and white earthenware produced in and around the Dutch town of Delft. The pottery is famous for its quality and craftsmanship.

Delft Blue Pottery

The original, entirely hand painted pottery is now made only in some of the factories in Delft. These are quite expensive and come along with a certificate of authenticity – the most popular and the best variant being the ‘Royal Delft’ (the title reflects its honorary status).

A thorough knowledge of the Delftware is required on part of the buyer when considering the expensive, hand painted version. Look for the trademark as well as for the quality certificate issued by the Delft Chamber of Commerce to verify the authenticity of the Delftware.

Delft Blue Pottery

To avoid burning a hole in your pocket, you might as well go for the less expensive version (that does not follow the centuries old tradition of hand painting), but reflects the culture of the Netherlands nevertheless. These pieces are readily available in local antique shops, open markets and tourist stores.

Delft Blue Pottery

Delft pottery is most commonly available in the form of tulip vases, floral plates, tiles, windmills, key chains, cutlery, and clogs as seen in the pictures here. Make sure you wrap them properly before putting them in the suitcase, as these are fragile items.

Delft Blue Pottery

Display them with pride in your home when you are back – they will bring forth fond memories from your travels.

Find the Best Deals on Delft Hotels

Click here to find the lowest prices on hotels in Delft using the HotelsCombined price comparison site.

[Photo Credit – Orangesplaash]

Netherlands Film Festival

Experience Dutch Cinema through the Netherlands Film Festival

Would you like to know more about Dutch films? Visit the Netherlands Film Festival in Utrecht this month (from 22nd Sept to 1st Oct) and experience the magic of the Dutch Cinema. This film festival is held every year, in the last week of September, in the beautiful Dutch city of Utrecht.

Netherlands Film Festival

The festival showcases feature films, documentaries and TV films released in the previous year. The films then compete with one another for the coveted Golden Calf award (the grand prize of the film festival, awarded in 16 categories). Foreign films featuring the local Dutch talent form a part of the festival too. In 2009, the festival attracted more than 100 000 visitors and screened more than 430 films.

The work of a Dutch film celebrity is highlighted in the Spotlight section of the festival, along with glimpses of the country’s cinematographic past. Kids’ Cinema is organised to educate and entertain the children while live bands and talk shows add to the celebrations.

Those not attending the film festival this year can follow the proceedings at home. Dutch Television channels like Nederland2 and Film1 will broadcast reports and highlights from the festival.

Here is a handy check list of all the major film festivals held in the Netherlands throughout the year.

Rotterdam Zoo - Rotterdam Attractions

Meet the sharks at Diergaarde Blijdorp – Rotterdam Zoo

Diergaarde Blijdorp, Rotterdam Zoo, is one of the most popular Rotterdam attractions with more than 1 million visitors a year. The zoo provides an excellent opportunity to discover the wildlife of the many different countries while wandering through its various regional sections.

Rotterdam Zoo - Rotterdam Attractions

Look forward to catching up with the giraffes from Africa or the elephants from Asia in their special “natural landscape”. From the zebras to the snakes, from a group of crocodiles to cockroaches, the zoo makes sure you and your family have a fun filled, learning experience.

Rotterdam Zoo - Rotterdam Attractions

With the addition of the Oceanium, the Rotterdam zoo has almost doubled its visitor count. Meet the wonderful marine inhabitants such as fishes, snakes and penguins enclosed in a large glass dome over your head. You can also watch the sharks gliding through the waters – live, face to face – a major draw and a star attraction of the Oceanium.

The zoo is open from 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. in the Summer; and from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. in the Winter. The entry ticket is priced at € 18.50 for adults and at € 15.50 for children from 3 to 9 years of age.

You may also enjoy visiting Kralingen Park, the Cube Houses and touring the harbour.

If you’re planning a trip to this Dutch city, you can find the best deals on Rotterdam hotels, using the HotelsCombined price comparison site.

[Photo Credits – Rotterdam Zoo/Rob Dolaard]

Child Friendly Amsterdam Attractions: The Van Gogh Museum

Like many parents, we’re constantly dragging our children along to art museums. And like many parents, we are accustomed to groans of  “Oh no, not another museum!”

Museums are starting to realize the importance of courting their future visitors and, as parents, it’s nice to see how many art museums have started to put together age-appropriate information and activity guides for children.

The Van Gogh Museum (on the left), with the Rijksmuseum in the background

One small museum that gets it right is the Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Chances are, Van Gogh admirers would take their kids along on a visit  to this excellent museum anyway, but it’s even nicer to know that parents can request the activity guide to make their visit more enjoyable for young children.

Wheatfield with crows, 1890

The activity guide was filled with interesting information and asked children to record their observations about certain artworks and about Van Gogh’s shifting techniques, his use of thick brush strokes and his preference for vibrant colours during his years in southern France.

The bookshop sells an excellent publication for children, Vincent & Theo: Brothers in Art. It is geared towards elementary school and middle-grade readers and chronicles Van Gogh’s struggle as an artist and the special relationship with his brother, Theo.

So on your family visit to Amsterdam, my European travel tip would be to take your kids along to the Van Gogh Museum as it’s a very child friendly Amsterdam attraction.  They will be certain to enjoy it as much as you do.

The Vincent Van Gogh Museum is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00. Fridays it has extended hours, 10:00-22:00. Adults are 14 euro, children and teenagers under 18 are free.

More on European Museums

Find out about more museums in Europe on Europe a la Carte.

Kralingen lake, Rotterdam

Experience Green Rotterdam at Kralingen Park

Kralingen lake, Rotterdam

Exhausted after a full day’s sightseeing in Rotterdam? Looking for a place to relax while observing the cultural characteristics of the city? Then head to Het Kralingsche bos (the Kralingen park) – the largest green area in Rotterdam.

Kralingen lake, Rotterdam

Located in the township of Kralingen, to the east of the city center, the park surrounds an artificial lake. In Summer the place is usually bustling with kids cycling along the lake on a dedicated track. The park is a good place to picnic; the smell from the occasional BBQ is enticing.

Kralingen lake, Rotterdam

There are also running and skating tracks, and it is fun timing a lap across the lake. Several cafes line the lake, and are usually a good place to experience the Dutch menu. The two windmills on the side offer a unique peek into the Dutch culture. When the wind is good, sailing is one of the most popular activities here.

Kralingen lake, Rotterdam

If you are in Rotterdam, visit Kralingen Lake to get a feel of the summer in this beautiful city.

If you’re planning a trip to this Dutch city, you can find the best deals on Rotterdam hotels, using the HotelsCombined price comparison site.

[Photo Credit : Orangesplaash]

Rotterdam Harbor

Rotterdam harbour tour: An insight into Europe’s largest port

The largest port in Europe, Rotterdam is situated on the banks of the river Nieuwe Maas. Due to its location, Rotterdam has become a commercial hub for petrochemical and shipping industries. So if you have seen the Rotterdam architecture and the windmills, its time to take the Spido Cruise trip to explore the harbour.

Rotterdam Harbor

The Rotterdam harbour tour involves a 75 minute cruise through the port of Rotterdam and starts from the base of the Erasmus Bridge. The tour sheds light on the major activities taking place in the Rotterdam port including cargo handling and trans-shipment.

Rotterdam Harbor

It involves a tour through the docks, giving a good view of the loading/unloading of containers. Therefore, it makes for a great learning activity for the kids too.

Rotterdam Harbor

A normal Rotterdam harbour tour costs € 9,50 p.p for adults and €  5,80 p.p for children between 4-11 years of age. It is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with departures every 45 minutes or so (frequency decreases in the winters).

Rotterdam Harbor

In case you want more, go for the extended tours or full day trips – these provide a complete rendezvous with the Rotterdam harbour mixed with some great food and entertainment.

Rotterdam Harbor

If you’re planning a trip to this Dutch city, you can find the best deals on Rotterdam hotels, using the HotelsCombined price comparison site.

Photo Credits – All photos by Orangesplaash

Deventer Boekenmarkt

Deventer Boekenmarkt – The largest book market in Europe

The Deventer boekenmarkt, the largest book market in Europe, is held every year in the small but gorgeous Dutch town Deventer. If you’re a book lover If you’re a book lover, mark your calendars for the next year’s event on 7 August 2011.

Deventer Boekenmarkt

So, if you have seen the windmills at Kinderdijk and the miniature models at Madurodam, check out this boekenmarkt to get a different perspective of The Netherlands.

Deventer Boekenmarkt

With more than 800 book stalls to savor, along the beautiful Ijssel river, into the Old Town and across the lovely city squares, this book market aptly attracts thousands of book lovers and visitors.

Deventer Boekenmarkt

The Deventer boekenmarkt is organised by the Tourist Office of Deventer. It is held every year, usually on the first Sunday of August starting from 09:30 until 17:30

Deventer Boekenmarkt

The market boasts of a variety of books, of all shapes and sizes – paperbacks and hard copies, new ones and second hand books. There are books on all subjects including literature, sports, gardening, cooking, comics, music, arts, history, architecture, religion, philosophy etc – you name the genre and you will get it there!

Deventer Boekenmarkt

And if you get tired surfing books, take a break at any of the food cafes lining the streets on both the sides or take a walk along the beautiful river Ijssel.

Deventer Boekenmarkt

The boekenmarkt can be reached easily via public transport. NS train connections are available from almost all the cities of The Netherlands and the market is just a 3 minutes walk from the train station.

Deventer Boekenmarkt

The book lover and writer in me was ecstatic visiting the boekenmarkt this year. The only glitch I felt was the scarcity of books written in the English language.

Photo Credits – All photos by Orangesplaash

If you’re thinking of attending the Deventer Book Market, you can check out the best prices for hotels in Deventer in the price comparison search box below.

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Madurodam – The Netherlands in Miniature

 

You can drive north to south through The Netherlands, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, in 3 hours. Its a small but extremely beautiful country, filled with architectural marvels such as the Cube Houses in Rotterdam. So here is my Europe travel tip for seeing all of this beauty in under 3 hours – all at one place – without having to drive.

miniature keukenhof

Madurodam comes into the picture here. A miniature city, located in Scheveningen, The Hague includes almost all the wonderful Dutch landmarks worth visiting – albeit on a miniature scale of 1:25. Officially inaugurated on 2 July, 1952 Madurodam was initially built as a war monument.

Miniature Euromast

The entrance ticket is priced at €14.50 and comes with a booklet that enumerates the 200 plus models in the park, describing them in detail. It is sheer fun seeing the miniature cheese markets, the NS trains – public transport system in NL, the Rotterdam zoo and even the mini tulips in Keukenhof!!

Why not plan to visit this attraction when you’re in The Hague?

Top 4 things to do in Rotterdam

Rotterdam, one of the best places to visit in Europe, well known for its busy port and architectural brilliance. The city however has a lot of other exciting things on its platter – choose as you like! Here is my countdown of top 4 things to do in Rotterdam :

  • Visit the VVV Rotterdam Info Cafe – This is a one stop Tourist Information Center near Rotterdam Central Station providing exhaustive and up to date travel information and insider tips. You can also collect a lot of free goodies like maps, free passes and other stuff. This is the perfect place to arm yourself with all the needed information before starting out to explore the city.
  • Check out Coolsingel – The center point of the city, with a lot to see and experience. The place will completely charm you with its offerings including the koopgoot (literally shopping gutter, one of the largest collection of shops in Europe), World Trade Center, varied theatres and cinema halls. This is one long pathway along with the Lijnbaan and should be traversed on foot.

  • Whats on in the Witte de Withstraat : To witness the art scene of Rotterdam and to satiate your taste buds with one of the finest collection of restaurants ranging from the Middle East to Africa to Asia, you know where to come. This street is very close to the Coolsingel, a walk in the evening with a sumptuous dinner to match is the perfect way to end the day!
  • Don’t forget the Alexander area : Yes, this is not on the top Rotterdam attractions list of many tourists but it offers unique insights into the lives and ways of the people of Rotterdam. A district in the Rotterdam municipality, Alexander boasts of the largest shopping center in Rotterdam, parks, gardens, typical Dutch houses on the outskirts and excellent connectivity with the city center. Come here and get immersed in the experience!

Some other Rotterdam travel tips are to visit the Rotterdan Cube Houses or take a trip to the nearby Dutch windmills at Kinderdijk.

If you’re planning a trip to this Dutch city, you can find the best deals on Rotterdam hotels, using the HotelsCombined price comparison site.

Discover the Netherlands with the Museumkaart

In this guest post Tiffany Jansen, an American ex-pat living in the Netherlands, author of Clogs and Tulips, passes on her Europe travel tip about the Dutch Museumkaart.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam by jan.tito

Whether you’re living in the Netherlands, or just dropping by for a visit, consider a Museumkaart as your key to unlocking the Netherlands. For just €35 (€17.50 for students) and a €4.95 one-time administration fee, this card is your ticket to discovering the rich history, culture, and sites that the Netherlands has to offer. Good for one full year, this card allows heavily discounted and often free access into some 400 of the castles and museums located throughout the country. As the website is completely in Dutch, here’s what you need to know to get your hands on one of these treasures.

  • You can purchase a Museumkaart online at the official website or at any one of the 135 locations listed on the site. These locations can be browsed by city, postcode, province, or the whole of the Netherlands.
  • Cards must be purchased individually. Each card is personalized, meaning that only the cardholder can use the Museumkaart for entry into the chosen museum or castle. As of now, there are no partner or family deals.
  • The card can be used immediately after purchase and is good for one year.
  • Prices are €35 for adults and €17.50 for youth up to age 24. You will also be charged a €4.95 one-time administration fee.

A Breakdown of the website:

On the Museumkaart website you can find a wealth of information. The only set-back is that the website is all in Dutch. Browse the website to find special offers for cardholders listed by museum and answers to frequently asked questions. There is also an option for checking the expiration date on your card – just enter your card number and postcode. Another great offer is the E-Magazine which is free to all cardholders and includes articles, special offers and discounts in participating museum stores, exclusive evening events, and tour information.

Each participating museum and castle also has its own page on the website. These pages include such information as opening and closing times, entry prices, ratings, location, facilities and provisions, current expositions, and a list of other museums in the vicinity. Separate pages for each city containing participating museums are another feature of the website, and display a map of the city and museums in that city by topic (Natural History, Art, Archaeology, History, Photography, etc).