Category Archives: Netherlands

When I see my brother and his wife I generally just see him at my parents’ or visit his house. This time though, we decided to do something else. Since many things are open again, we ventured into a museum. The Kröller Müller museum of modern art stands right in the Veluwe national park and many people combine it with a bike ride through nature. We opted just to visit the museum this time. The day couldn’t decide what kind of weather it wanted. It was really hot and humid, with the occasional crazy downpour. We bought tickets to enter the national park and could drive all the way to the museum. At the museum we were surprised by the sign with the corona rules. You could only visit with one household. I guess I was now part of my brother’s household. The rules are a bit strange. I can…

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Since I heard about “wadlopen” as a kid, I’ve wanted to give it a try. I think it’s a pretty Dutch activity and I struggle to explain it. In the north of the Netherlands you can cross the seabed of the Wadden sea on low tide. We call it “wadlopen”, literally “walking on the Wadden”, which translates best to mudflat walking. The water retreats so far that you can walk from the mainland to the islands and sand banks in the Wadden sea. I was visiting family in the Netherlands and decided to add this to my itinerary. Mudflat walking to the Engelsmanplaat I opted for the walk to the Engelsmanplaat. It’s a sandbank named after the English. At high tide it’s mostly under water, but at low tide you can walk to a small house on stilts, where the rangers who look after the birds stay during the summer…

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I’ve always wanted to do a longer walk through my own country. I don’t know why, but I guess after traveling so much through other countries, I wanted to find beauty in my own backyard. The idea of being outside and seeing the country at a slow pace just really appealed to me. When I saw a guide of a long distance walking path in the book shop, I decided to go for it. The path goes through my home province, Noord-Brabant, and the neighbouring province of Limburg. Although I lived here for a long time, I’ve barely spent any time exploring. Two weeks later I took a train to Den Bosch and started my walk. I would start with 5 days, which would bring me back home. The trail goes very close to my home town. Since I didn’t have more time, the rest will have to wait till…

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It was the first beautiful day of the year. Sun was promised to us and this time the weatherman was right. It was high time to pick up the good intentions again and explore my own, often overlooked, country. This time my destination was one of the oldest and Southernmost cities: Maastricht. It was once settled because it was an easy point to cross the Meuse river, hence the name. ‘Maas’ is the Dutch name for the river and ‘tricht’ is a place where the water level is low enough to cross. Together with my mum I drove out to the edge of this, pretty small, city and from there we walked towards the Onze-Lieve-Vrouweplein. Maastricht has a very strategic location, being very close to Germany as wel as Belgium. Over the years the city therefore had many armies come to its gates with the intention to take over. The…

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I’m back in The Netherlands and last time I was here I promised myself I would see and do more in my little country. South East Asia was very exotic and coming back home I feel a bit of reversed culture shock. It’s a week later now and at times I still feel bad when I throw the toilet paper inside the toilet. A slight panic comes up before I realise this is normal. I am allowed. I am also surprised when I’m on a train and everybody speaks Dutch. I am shocked by how easy travelling is and how nice it is to finally eat real bread, muesli and potatoes. Still being in the tourist mode, I took my parents out to what must be one of the most famous attractions in the Netherlands and the most famous garden in the world. Thousands of people come every year to…

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Today is election day in The Netherlands. For the first time in a long time I am actually voting. It’s not like I wasn’t interested before, but being abroad always makes it more awkward. Even now I had to arrange my vote 4 months ago, when the parties hadn’t even started campaigning yet. When I was preparing for my travels 4 months ago, Trump had just been voted president in the USA. Already before that, Brexit had happened. I didn’t know a whole lot about what was happening in my own country, but I knew my country craved change, just like much of the rest of the world. With people saying the most racist things, the EU debate fuelled by Brexit and The Netherlands being the slow one in the back when it comes to the environment, I knew this time voting was going to be important. So before I…

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Along with winter come all the markets. Winter may not have arrived yet, but we all need to prepare and it seems like the best way to prepare is to go shopping. Together with my mum I stroll past a bunch of different stalls. You can find thick, fluffy blankets, ornaments for your Christmas tree, decoration for in the garden, plants, jumpers and candles, but also some hot pies and hot chocolate to keep the tummy happy. The Spirit of Winter fair is on the grounds of Palace het Loo, a former palace of the Dutch royals. Included in the ticket to the market is a visit to the palace, which is now a museum. The palace is still used by our royals from time to time, mostly for occasions like weddings or baptisms. A big part of the building is now open to the pubic. In 1684 it was bought…

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Kinderdijk, Zaanse schans, Keukenhof, Volendam. These are just a few of the places in The Netherlands that get bus loads of tourists each day, but which I haven’t seen. While I was having dinner with my friends I mentioned I really wanted to see some classic Dutch hot spots, starting with the Zaanse Schans. One of my friends asked me later when I was planning to go and soon a plan was made. So I met up with her in Haarlem and from there we started driving through the province of Noord-Holland. Where I am from we don’t get many tourists. The tourists we do get are other Dutch or maybe some Germans. We do have the typical Dutch windmills, but many are only open to the public once or twice a year or aren’t operational at all. Now, there are over 1100 windmills spread out over The Netherlands, but…

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I established a long time ago that the country I grew up in is not the country I want to grow old in. I just don’t fit in and there are many places I’d rather live. But if you insult my country, you still insult me. I grew up there and the Dutch culture is very much part of me. We’ve got some amazing and unique traditions and even though our little country is way too crowded, it has so much beauty. And yet, ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been more tempted to venture outside of The Netherlands. I’ve got 3,5 weeks here and I am going to make the most of it. I’m going to be a tourist in my own country. So far I’ve been so busy catching up, organizing stuff and going to appointments, I haven’t really done many tourist things. It’s hard to…

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It’s nearly time to go home, or at least move on. In less than a month I’ll be leaving this incredible place. For a few more weeks I am surrounded by mountains. Snow is starting to fall on the peaks. The leaves are changing colors in the valley. I’ve got a little bit more time to walk around the lakes and watch the bears. There couldn’t be a bigger contrast with the place I’m going to. My home country has no mountains. When it snows it is just wet mush that will freeze overnight and turns the roads into ice. There is much less of an outdoor culture than here in Whistler. One thing people do though, is going for a walk or bike ride on the weekend. Last year when I was home for a few weeks I made it out to the Groote Peel national park. It is well known for…

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