You've been selected to participate in a beta for a new release of our website. If you do not want to participate in this beta,please click here >
When waterways in the Netherlands freeze into glittering paths, overjoyed residents take to the ice. Visitors can buy or rent a pair of noren (traditional long-blade skates) to glide across town or take part in one of the country’s dozens of tochten, organized tours or races held throughout the nation’s 2,200 miles of canals. Check the local newspaper or the website Schaatsen.nl for route announcements. Ice skating along the frozen lanes also provides a chance to marvel at how the canals have shaped the landscape. Because a quarter of the Netherlands lies below sea level, the Dutch have relied on drainage systems to keep their heads above water. Skate the molentocht, or mill tour, in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kinderdijk (pictured) to see 19 windmills that once pumped water from the lowlands into the surrounding reservoirs. The historic village about 15 miles from Rotterdam is a peaceful setting for one of the country’s favorite winter pastimes. If you travel to Kinderdijk to skate the molentocht, reserve a room at the Pincoffs Suite Hotel in Rotterdam. Stieltjesstraat 34, 31/(0) 10-297-4500. Photo by Glow Images/Rene Van Der Meer. This appeared in the November/December 2012 issue.
Kinderdijk is one of the Netherlands' most popular tourist sites, as you would have guessed, since it is a series of windmills. Of course when you think of the Netherlands (or Holland, as most refer to the country as), you think of windmills... or maybe wooden shoes... or even tulips.
"God made the world but the Dutch created the Netherlands" goes an old saying, popular in Holland. For proof, visit Kinderdijk—19 spinning windmills in a stunning natural landscape that would be underwater were it not for Dutch ingenuity. Built in the mid-18th century, the impressive collection pumped excess water from the low-lying Alblasserwaard polder and discharged it to the Lek River until the 1950s. Modern pumping stations do the job today, but the iconic windmills are a tangible reminder of the Netherlands' 1,000-year battle against water, as well as an emergency backup system for unexpected flooding. The UNESCO World Heritage sight draws thousands of visitors annually, who come to experience what's involved in building and maintaining an authentic windmill. With grazing cows, flying birds, creeping weasels and crawling amphibians, the pastoral setting is part traditional Dutch, part prehistoric. An 18th-century footbridge takes you back in time to a working windmill preserved in its original state, possibly in operation if the wind is right. After touring the authentic structure and meeting the miller, venture farther afield by foot or bike. Numerous walking and cycling tours stretch from Alblasserdam to tiny villages and farms along the Lek and Alblas Rivers. Throughout the polder, you'll find a landscape laced with dikes and canals—an intricate water management system that's tangible evidence of Dutchies' ongoing battle against the encroaching sea.
Hop on a bus in Rotterdam and you'll be transported to the past. Around 1740 about 19 sturdy windmills were built in Kinderdijk outside of Rotterdam. They have been well preserved to the present day and are even listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. I suggest you go and visit on the weekday as there will be less of a crowd, or on a rainy day like I did! Regardless of the weather, you can't help but be in awe of these old windmills and their power. A nice walking and biking path winds around each of the 19 windmills so you'll get your exercise at the same time. Cost: FREE More Information: http://www.kinderdijk.com/index.html Directions: http://www.kinderdijk.com/direction-parking.html
We went 2 times to Kinderdijk and loved it both times but it was freezing cold as we went in autumn so I recommend going in summer. There is allot of wind there and in fall/winter it can give you frostbite, I know :) .You can walk around and see them and you can also enter inside one. Great visit for kids and adults alike. I am guessing is summer you can even picnic there, food selection on site is very small.
This is the last place in the Netherlands where you can see windmills in their original locations. We were there in February, which meant they didn't have any up and running, but that also meant it wasn't crowded. Just joggers and walkers out on the paths. Before we visited, I thought that windmills were kind of touristy. But they play a fascinating role in the history of the country, and seeing them out there, and imagining a country covered with them, makes you realize what an integral part they played. We visited from Delft. Took a short train ride to Rotterdam and then a bus.
The Netherlands may be small, but if you think you have seen it all after visiting Amsterdam you couldn't be more wrong. The 'Amsterdammers' are proud of their creativity, their zest for life, their talent for business. 'Rotterdammers' pride themselves in being no-nonsense, hard-working and solid. Word has it that in Rotterdam people buy their shirts with the sleeves pre-rolled. Rotterdam's inner city was virtually wiped off the map in the 1940 German air strike. It lacks the quaintness of the old inner city of Amsterdam. Instead, it's a modern city with innovative and practical architecture. The historical highlights of the city are more recent. There's Hotel New York, the former head office of the Holland America Line at the pier where the big boats would start their journey. For 100 years, until 1971, family and friends would gather here to wave goodbye to those sailing off to a new life in America. The building is preserved with in it's late 19th century beauty and now serves as a funky hotel and restaurant at the heart of the action. Especially in the summer time, the location fully comes to life. Impromptu performances, pop-up restaurants and other events take place in and around Hotel New York. Small and fast water-taxis keep the big dock buzzing with activity. A ride across is relatively inexpensive and great fun. Nope, Rotterdam isn't anything like Amsterdam.
Not a fan of Amsterdam's chaotic flow of bikes, trams and cars? Nor a fan of its incessant bustle? Well, dear travelers, I'm happy to report that there is a solution. It's called Delft, and it will rock your socks. This small village is pretty much everything you imagine Holland to be - crooked houses, cobblestone streets, charming canals, smelly cheeses and large public squares. Minus the massive crowds and the hustle of the capital. I completely, utterly fell in love with Delft. It was just what I needed after an exhausting and busy week in Amsterdam - I was more than happy to stroll in the quaint alleys and hang out in the candle and dark wood clad coffeeshops. The locals were always more than happy to chat over a hot chocolate about all things travel, and their gorgeous little town. If you only had one stop to make in all of the Netherlands, I would immediately suggest Delft over any other city - it will definitely be worth your while.
Walking around Rotterdam can be a hilarious experience, especially after perusing the old brick lanes of Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague, Delft, and just about anywhere else. Rotterdam was heavily bombed, so most of the buildings are very new, and modern, and occasionally crazy. The famed cube houses are a particular trip to walk around. Inside is a museum, but even just the outside is mesmerizing.
I have a strong Dutch heritage and spending a week in the Netherlands with friends was the perfect time to explore some of my roots. It was in the small town of Delft that I ran into a statue of my 14th great-grandfather, Hugo Grotius (Hugh DeGroot), the "Father of International Law." It is also where I found this neat little collection of second-hand wooden shoes, or "Klompens." Growing up there was a parade in my little Dutch town and many little Dutch-descendant boys and girls would perform klompen dances down Front Street; but I never knew there were so many colors to these shoes! I wish my round-the-world travels would have afforded me the luggage space to take one of these pairs home, but in the end, my mom provided a pair for me last year at Christmas time (also a second hand pair, but from a shop in Ontario, Canada).
There's more to Rotterdam than just being one of the world's busiest ports. This photo was taken from the SS Rotterdam "The Grande Dame", a luxury cruise ship, now permanently docked in the harbour. The Euromast is the tower in the background - go up to its observation deck for excellent 360 degree views of the city. Open to the public, relax with a drink on the deck of the SS Rotterdam and watch sea vessels cruise the harbour. My Dutch friend, Mike jovially remarks (in response to the rainy weather during my stay in Amsterdam): "Rainy in Amsterdam, sunny in Rotterdam." The mutual rivalry between these 2 cities is alive and well.
If you're British and miss your home you shouldn't miss this place. Great food, extra friendly service and a toilet you'll go back to get your camera out of your handbag!
A great way to spend a few hours while you're in The Netherlands is to visit the Porceleyne Fles in Delft. The factory dating back to the 17th Century is a great place to visit. We got to see up close and personal the makers of the beautiful pieces. Lovely displays throughout the tour and of course a great selection of pieces to buy. For an additional fee, you can even paint your own! A great afternoon was spent here...
Den Haag grew up around the Binnenhof, but has evolved into a cultured and sophisticated city with attractions that extend far beyond its governmental functions. Still, the courtyard created by its government buildings is one of the top 100 among Dutch UNESCO monuments. If you'd like to see Dutch politics in action, you're in luck if you're visiting Den Haag on a Tuesday, when one-hour guided tours are offered at 13:00. In addition to touring buildings that surround the Binnenhof, you can sit in the public gallery and participate in lively discussion about proposed legislation.
I could never understand how the Dutch (and Belgians) stay so slim when they insist on putting frietkots everywhere. Frietkots are little fast food joints that basically deep fry anything in sight. Fries are the common choice — twice-fried and piled into a cone with heaping globs of mayo — but tubes of mystery meat are also quite popular. Frikandels, brochettes, croquettes, bitterballen, call them what you like. Fried horse tastes great after a few beers.
Tweede Kamer (literally, Second Room), serves as the Dutch House of Representatives or lower house of Holland's Parliament. It has 150 seats, filled through democratic election. Meetings take place in this building in The Binnenhof courtyard, geographic center of Dutch politics. After legislation is approved by a majority in the Tweede Kamer, it moves on to the Senate. In addition to functioning as a place for debate about Dutch legislation, The Tweede Kamer also is responsible for selecting the first round of judges when vacancies occur in the Netherlands' Supreme Court.
According to a popular saying in Holland, "Money is earned in Rotterdam, divided in Den Haag and spent in Amsterdam." To see where financial division happens in the Netherlands, head for the country's seat of government: The Hague or Den Haag, as the Dutch call it. Den Haag is a cultured city with just under 500,000 people―less edgy than Amsterdam but more sophisticated than Rotterdam. Amsterdam may be the capital of Holland, but you'll find the Dutch Parliament, Supreme Court and Council of State in Den Haag. In addition to being the seat of government, the Netherlands' third largest city (after Amsterdam and Rotterdam) also is the locale for 150 international courts, foreign embassies and international organizations. As home to the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court, it's among six major cities that hosts the United Nations, along with New York, Vienna, Geneva, Tokyo and Nairobi.
Three Tuesdays particular eating at Resto VanHarte in restaurant UIT JE EIGEN STAD (UJES). Tuesday 5, 12 and 19 February Resto VanHarte and UIT JE EIGEN STAD start a particular project. Resto VanHarte is scattered through the country, with thirty Resto`s, the unique neighborhood restaurant for young and old. The ideal place to meet and great your neighborhood and district organisations. UIT JE EIGEN STAD is a Rotterdam city farming project. For the opportunity to work both of them together for a number of special dinners. Joint meal with homegrown products, guest speakers and opportunities for networking. Resto VanHarte ensures the guest speakers and the progress of the evening. Guest speakers are: 5th of February, Martijn Root, Ministry of agriculture, 12th of February, Fred Beekers, founder Resto VanHarte. 19th February is to be filled in soon. Resto VanHarte and chef cook UIT JE EIGEN STAD will be cooking you a dinner, composed with homegrown products. Join one of our tables! Everyone is welcome for this special dinners at restaurant UIT JE EIGEN STAD, Marconistraat 39, 3029 AG Rotterdam. On Tuesday, 5, 12 and 19 February 2013 the joint dinner starts at 6.30 pm. Walk-in from 18.00. Like to advance via Ercan Ates, email@example.com or Tel. 06 2171 6420 reservation in advance 12.25 hours Monday. The three-course dinner costs € 12.50 per person.
The Hague (Den Haag) is a quaint city about an hour from Amsterdam. We stopped here on our way to Belgium and is one of my favorite cities. The streets are filled with great restaurants, people biking and a lot of life. While there we stayed at the Hotel Des Indes, which is a Luxury Collection Hotel and it was absolutely beautiful. It is located in the heart of the city, walking distance to every place you want to go. The rooms were grand with beautiful views and the service was top notch. If you plan to go to Amsterdam or Belgium I recommend stopping for a night in The Hague--you won't be disappointed.
It was a long day and my work group (I was in The Netherlands working) decided to go to the North Sea... all of the sudden I was at the beach looking to the beautiful scenery until I found a big sign: BUNGY JUMP! My heart was decided. I told my coworkers I am going to jump, can you wait for me? They started making bets if I was brave enough of not. It was the most liberating thing on earth, I had to flew thousands of miles from the Caribbean to the First World to let it all out. After that great experience, we sat down in a stylish restaurant to share a great bear!
© 2014 AFAR Media