Holland and Belgium ideas
Collected by Stephanie Dosch
Antwerp, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Antwerp's St. Anna tunnel takes pedestrians and bicyclists under the Scheldt River. While the view from the other side of the river can be nice at sunset, even more interesting are the 1930s wooden escalators that take pedestrians down to the...
Van Baerlestraat 27, 1071 AN Amsterdam, Netherlands
Conservatorium has a fascinating past. It started as a bank, then became a music academy, and was finally transformed by renowned Italian designer Piero Lissoni into a hotel in 2012. The building itself harmoniously blends old and new, with modern...
Papentorenvest 1A, 2011 AV Haarlem, Netherlands
Just a 15 minute train ride from Amsterdam is the picturesque town of Haarlem, complete with canals and De Adriaan windmill. You can go in (for a fee) but the best viewpoint is across the canal (and free!). As a bonus, Haarlem is a fairly compact...
1071 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Beloved by locals and popular with tourists, the Vondelpark is a 120-acre oasis of green in buzzing Amsterdam, southeast of the Leidseplein. Opened in 1865 as the Nieuwe Park, it was later renamed after 17th-century Dutch playwright Joost van den...
Nieuwe Leliestraat 4, 1015 SP Amsterdam, Netherlands
When I think of Amsterdam, I immediately think of the national liquor of the Netherlands, Genever. Genever or Jenever (for Juniper) is a grain product invented in the 1600's in the Netherlands, and it is from this product that gin evolved. You can...
Legmeerdijk 313, 1431 GB Aalsmeer, Netherlands
Just outside of Amsterdam near the airport quietly sits the largest flower market in the world. Aalsmeer Flower Auction (otherwise known as FloraHolland) is the Wall Street of Flowers where everyday 20 million flowers and plants follow a carefully...
Twijnstraat 67, 3511 ZJ Utrecht, Netherlands
There's more to Dutch cheese than edam and gouda. Besides endless variations on these two, including raw milk versions, there are also lesser known Dutch cheeses to try, as well as imports from all over Europe. You can also buy tools for cooking...
Canals of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
When it gets cold enough in a Dutch winter, residents of Amsterdam and Utrecht don ice skates and take to the frozen canals. The cold weather is met with anticipation and joy, residents raid their closets and canal-side shops to find their gear....
Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse, Netherlands
Although the Keukenhof Gardens are well known, they never cease to amaze and delight tourists year after year. This is one of many tulips fields near Keukenhof Gardens. Each one of the 7 million tulips will be dug up and replaced with new bulbs...
Wolvenstraat 9, 1016 EM Amsterdam, Netherlands
"9 Streets" (De 9 Straatjes) is a charming, picturesque shopping area in the heart of Amsterdam's canal district. Located between Leidsestraat and Raadhuisstraat, this area is named after the nine side streets connecting the main 17th-century...
Linnaeusstraat 2, 1092 CK Amsterdam, Netherlands
The interiors of this museum and its library are really beautiful—a mosaic of polished wood and marble surfaces. And its contents are very timely, about the history of immigration and former Dutch colonies and slavery. The library is a bit...
Prinsengracht 587, 1016 HT Amsterdam, Netherlands
Once Amsterdam’s main public library, the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht looks like a 1970s block on the outside. But inside, renowned Dutch designer Marcel Wanders has transformed the space into a whimsical and grown-up homage to Alice in...
2961 Kinderdijk, Netherlands
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...
Vrijdagmarkt 22-23, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
Sneaking through a door at Antwerp’s Museum Plantin-Moretus I came upon a school group learning about 16th century printing presses. They happily accommodated me and let me watch the demonstration. I couldn’t understand the Dutch, but the...
Rue Gheude 56, 1070 Anderlecht, Belgium
No beercation is complete when visiting Belgium if you haven't stopped in Cantillon. My taste buds changed after my visit. I am kicking myself for not shipping back a case back with me. It is nearly impossible to find in the U.S. The brewery is a...
Vrijdagmarkt, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
The Vrijdagmarkt has been held in this location every Friday since a developer started the second-hand market in 1547. Today you can still get a used anything – furniture, knick knacks, and many, many bicycles. The café on the square is a great...
1000 Brussels, Belgium
The Grand Place in Brussels is the magnificent main square in Brussels. The square is the main tourist attraction in Brussels and is surrounded by numerous cafes and shops. Most of the buildings were constructed in the late 17th century, although...
Donkerstraat 13, 8640 Vleteren, Belgium
The Sint-Sixtus Abbey is the most remote of the six remaining Trappist breweries, making it rare to find its beers anywhere other than Café in de Vrede, the restaurant across the street from the abbey. So rare if fact that the café’s take-away...
Groenplaats 21, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
Our Lady's Cathedral of Antwerp is the largest church in the Low Countries and outside is a fitting monument to the architects that created it, Jan and Pieter Appelmans. Make sure to take a closer look at the bronze characters hard at work, you...
Sint-Baafsplein, 9000 Gent, Belgium
This view overlooking Ghent is a common one in Belgium. Many Belgium cities feature bell towers centrally located, some of which visitors can still climb to the top, like this one. For a nominal fee, visitors can wind their way up the stairs, or...
Hoogpoort 63, 9000 Gent, Belgium
This area along Graslei is one of the most popular areas of the city, just a few blocks from Gravensteen Castle and Vrijdagmarkt. This area of the canal is lined with beer cafes and restaurants overlooking the river, with boats gingerly cruising...
Kongostraat, 9000 Gent, Belgium
While many may think of the likes of Brugge and Amsterdam when it comes to cities teeming with canals, Ghent has much of the same charm, but without the swarms of tourists. The buildings reflecting off the water and boats docked in the canal are a...
Markt 7, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
I was told that I HAD to go to Bruges, it was a non-negotiable, must-see. I watched the movie In Bruges on my way there and decided that I had to go up to the top of the famous bell tower. It was way more than I bargained for as I was pretty sure...
Korte Nieuwstraat 24, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
Located in a pair of centuries-old Flemish townhouses in the center of town, Hotel Julien epitomizes Antwerp today: traditional on the outside, cutting-edge modern on the inside. Antwerp has the chic feeling of a mini Paris. Korte Nieuwstraat 24,...
Oude Houtlei 110, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Centrally located, the sumptuous Hôtel Verhaegen is a mine of local history. Formerlya private mansion inhabited by barons and counts, the five room hotel has been carefully restored by its current owners, a pair of interior designers. Original...
Hertogstraat 42, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Waterzooi (VAT-ter-zo-ey) is a traditional Flemishstew made with chicken, vegetables, cream, and eggyolks. (In years past, chicken was omitted in favor offish plucked from the city’s waterways.) In the trendyPatershol quarter, order a much-lauded...
Place du Jeu de Balle, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Jeu de Balles is a quintessential flea market set in the heart of the Marolles District of Brussels that runs daily through the morning. My favorite time to go is on Sunday when the square is filled with the most vendors who sell anything from...
Rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
My sister and I ducked into Brussels' Bozar museum to seek refuge from the rain and noticed that the lobby was littered with scattered pieces of hanging blue film. We were intrigued as to the meaning of the unlikely art installation and were...
Katelijnestraat 5, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
When in Belgium, make sure to try not only the famous chocolates, but also the hot chocolate! During a tour of Bruges, we became so enchanted with the medieval city that we decided to sneak away from our tour group and explore on our own—and I'm...
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