Spring is packed full of bank holidays in the Netherlands, and this year was a six holiday bumper edition as Liberation Day — May 5th — occurs only once every five years. So, in a bid to see more of the Netherlands (my ‘been there’ list is shamefully short), and satiate our wanderlust, we opted for a road trip… Continue reading Maastricht: a must for wine lovers
For us Brits, Christmas is still a way away. Ok, so the tree might be up, the mad shopping is usually underway and for the organised few, the cards are in the post. (Mine aren’t, sorry.) But in the Netherlands, today is one of the key dates in the Christmas calendar – Sinterklaas. There is… Continue reading Sinterklaas – a very Dutch Christmas
Today is a national day of mourning in the Netherlands, in respect of the 298 victims, 193 Dutch, of flight MH17. At 16.00 we observed a minute silence to reflect on the country’s loss; and it did make me think. The incident is so incredibly sad and shocking, but also close to home. I flew… Continue reading Flags at half mast
With temperatures now sitting comfortably (or sometimes uncomfortably) in the mid-to-high 20s, summer in Amsterdam has definitely landed. Being the Netherlands you can’t really escape the odd rainy day or two, but when the sun is out Amsterdam comes to life. We do seem to be having a pretty nice summer so far, don’t we?… Continue reading Summer in the city
Kings Day, or Koningsdag, is a peculiar Dutch phenomenon that really has to be seen to be believed. Formerly Queens Day, after the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander in 2013 the celebrations moved to the King’s birthday on 27th April. Thus Kings Day was born. The Dutch national day could be summarised as simply an excuse for dressing… Continue reading Going Orange – Kings Day in Amsterdam
Amsterdam to Monnickendam Amsterdam is hardly the ‘big smoke’ after living in central London, Toronto or Auckland, but the city’s charm can sometimes be diluted by the red-light-seeking tourists and weedy coffee shops. Yes… a whole different kind of ‘big smoke’. So exploring some of the smaller towns and villages in The Netherlands can offer… Continue reading Escaping the big smoke
Easter weekend, or Pasen in Dutch, is fast approaching. It’s the ultimate spring holiday – the sun has usually graced us with its presence and the flowers are beginning to bloom. This year Easter falls on Sunday 20th and Monday 21st April, and I’ve noticed the celebrations seem to differ slightly in The Netherlands to… Continue reading Easter: A little of what you love
This weekend two notable things of interest happened; I bought myself a traditional Dutch-style bike with no brakes. Sorry, correction; no brakes on the handlebars, which judging by my abysmal reactions might as well be no brakes whatsoever. Secondly we finally took our little boat out on the canals to soak up the long awaited sun,… Continue reading Dutch bikes and Slippery Otters
In Amsterdam there is no shortage of drinking establishments, from the small, gezellig brown cafes to über swanky bars, and everything else in between. You certainly don’t need to be a local to work that out. What I have noticed though, since moving to the land of clogs and cheese, is the rise of the… Continue reading Bottoms up!
Seeing the early sun over Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht as I pedal past local cafes welcoming in their morning supplies and watching suited and booted businessy people collecting their coffees and making their way through the cobbled streets, first thing in the morning is the time to be a local. These precious moments before the tourist masses wake up and begin their loud, bobble-hatted pilgrimage to the red lights, Amsterdam is truly ours.