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The City of Summer Festivals in Utrecht Region

Rain. Companion for life. It was not invited at the party of this small city of summer festivals in Utrecht region, but still it came. It didn’t matter, people were enchanted by the street theatre and the international festival was a huge success.

Drums Brought Me To Woerden

Music attracts people like honey to bees. From afar I could hear the beats of the drum and it was as if my OV-fiets was put under a spell. I’ve never been faster in locating a moving music band. I was immediately engulfed in the group of spectators that were dancing on the upbeat rhythm of the samba band. Big raindrops came down, but we weren’t bothered by it, summer music brought a tropical atmosphere in the city centre of Woerden

Hendrik Jan de Stuntman in Woerden Street Theatre-veritasvisit

City of summer festivals 2016

In summer the small city of  Woerden turns into a city of summer festivals. Hardly a weekend goes by without some food event, concert, or artistic performance. Yesterday, 25 June 2016, street artists from all around the world took over the city. Together they showed how diverse street theatre can be. Hendrik Jan de Stuntman was slightly confronting, Funny Hats was creative, Fjarno the Parno taught us something about commercial spirit, Le Ballerine brought a magical dance on stilts, while Parasolo used the stilts to tell us about friendship. Then there was Medusa’s World full of fairytale like creatures and many many more amazing artists using movements, gestures and facial expressions to tell their story.

Colorful dancers street theatre festival-veritasvisit

Final scene: the artist uses words to introduce himself.

“I chose this job because I like it. The real job is my life. I thank you for coming, in rain, in non-rain.”

Luca Belleza, Italian street artist and master in threads and balloons.

Luca Bellezze Street Theatre Festival Woerden-veritasvisit
For more pictures of the Street Theatre Festival Woerden 2016 go to https://nl.pinterest.com/veritasvisit/

City of Summer festival agenda

A wonderful day full of wonders in Woerden. Take a look at the city agenda to see which events and festivals are coming up in this summer festival city. Just a sneak peek:

Saturday 2 July: Food festival Straatvoer Woerden

Saturday 9 July: Music Festival Dedicated Outdoor 

Friday 12 August till Saturday 20 August: Friends & Family Festival Woerdense Vakantie Week

 

Supertip

Never visited the city of Woerden and its surroundings or are all your friends on holiday? On Saturday 2 July Verita’s Visit organises the Culture & Cheese Tour Woerden,  an all senses experience full of food, culture, history and nature. With this activity and the small challenge you can do, you easily connect with locals and other travellers, so you can visit the food festival together afterwards. You can easily request more information or book by following the link above or sending an email to travel(@)veritasvisit.nl

 

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The Village Feeling of a Dutch City

Village feeling in Dutch city Woerden, Utrecht region. Copyright: Woerden Marketing
Village feeling in Dutch city Woerden, Utrecht region. Copyright: Woerden Marketing

If you are still looking for a great summer destination I have a tip for you. Make a city trip in the Netherlands! Now, I know that many of you will be surprised that I give this suggestion given the fact that I absolutely adore the Dutch countryside, nature and . Well, I have to tell you a secret.

A non-touristy Dutch city in Utrecht Region

Many cities in the Netherlands are actually quite small. Take Woerden, a Dutch city in Utrecht region I recently discovered myself. It has around 52.000 inhabitants and it still has this village feeling. Visit this place on a Saturday, when the local farmers & cheese market takes place and you’ll still be able to walk around without being crushed by groups of tourists. It really is a perfect example of village feeling  of a Dutch city.

polders surrounding woerden Dutch nature

Starting point of Dutch countryside adventures

Woerden is also the capital of what we call the Green Heart, a nature area in the middle of the main cities of Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. That means Woerden is surrounded by nature. The typical Dutch landscapes of polders with the black-and-white cows are just around the corner. Go on a bike ride or a walk and you’ll be amazed by the setting of the peaceful villages located near the river Rhine with their small cottages and homey feel. Best thing is that Woerden is also a short trainride away from Amsterdam, Utrecht, Leiden and Gouda.  Should you miss the big city life.

 

 

 

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Here They Take Dutch Cheese Tasting To Another Level

There are doors on each floor and in the gable roof there’s a little kink.  Architectural experts would call this a mansard roof. The house is similar to many other houses in Woerden and in the region. To be honest, if you wouldn’t know what is in there you wouldn’t even enter the street it is in. Fortunately I did know what the building was and still is used for, although I could not have imagined what I was about to see.

Reypenaer historical Dutch cheese warehouse Woerden, the Netherlands
Reypenaer historical Dutch cheese warehouse Woerden, the Netherlands

Golden Suns on Shelves

When you enter the building and the door is closed behind you, you’re surrounded by darkness and the only thing you see are hundreds of golden suns shining on shelves as far as the eye can see. It’s like you just walked into a bank’s huge safe where all the gold is kept. A spectacular sight and a tingling feeling. The kind of feeling you get when you experience something special. You realise you just found a place few people know about. A hidden treasure in Woerden.

Security bars in the cheese warehouse

In this cheese warehouse, where for over a century Reypenaer matures its cheeses there is a track on the ground floor in between the rows.In this magical place you can easily imagine carriages riding on this track to carry the cheeses to the ships or horse-drawn wagons. In the windows are security bars. Why? Would be happy to tell you in the Culture & Cheese Tour Woerden. The many doors and windows are used for ventilation, but there’s something else that is part of an ingenious system of climate control. Small hatches in the second floor help circulate the air. Moreover, they provide a fantastic glimpse to the other rows full of golden cheeses upstairs.

Hatches in the floor for ventilation cheese warehouse
Hatches in the floor for ventilation cheese warehouse

How much dutch cheese can you taste?

Before you go upstairs, better weigh yourself on the large weighing scale. On the second floor, hidden from view is a beautiful room where the not so small cheese tastings are done. Each piece of cheese is presented on a cutting board with a very special instrument amusingly called: guillotine. You slice off a piece of cheese, let it melt on your tongue and then sip a bit of the red or white wine or the port. Depending on which cheese you’re tasting of course.

After having tasted the different cheeses with the wine and port, you have to find your way back to the entrance of the Reypenaer cheese warehouse. Be aware of the hatches in the floor, if you fall through the hole and land on top of a cheese, this has severe consequences to the maturing process and taste of the Dutch golden treat.

The Guillotine at an old Dutch cheese tasting
The Guillotine at an old Dutch cheese tasting

There is much more to see, hear, feel, taste in the Reypenaer cheese warehouse and in Woerden. I would therefore like to invite you to join the Culture & Cheese Tour Woerden, a full all senses experience.

Daytrip Amsterdam Woerden

Woerden, known as the capital of the green heart, is in the midst of the Dutch countryside and is perfect for a daytrip from Amsterdam, the train from the capital takes about 30 min. The city is also easily reachable with train from Utrecht, Leiden and other cities in the Randstad such as The Hague and Rotterdam.

 

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Amsterdam Keukenhof Alternative Day Program

You planned a spring holiday in the Netherlands. Everything packed: sunglasses, travel guide, tank tops. You made a little plan: visit Keukenhof, see a bit of Amsterdam, maybe an authentic Dutch village, something like Volendam or no, make it Zaanse Schans.  Great! You’re good to go. Then your plane touches ground in Amsterdam Airport, you get out and….uff, it’s terribly cold!  And…it’s raining!  Well, here’s an alternative day program that will still get you to Keukenhof.

Step 1: Check the Weather, Drop your Luggage

Our Amsterdam Keukenhof alternative day program starts in the early morning. That’s when you check the weather. The Dutch use weeronline. Let’s say it’s a grey day. That’s fantastic! If you start your day in Amsterdam and don’t know where to leave your luggage, check Drop&Go. This is like a luggage storage place ánd tourist information by locals in one. The friendly owners will give you tips & tricks how to best enjoy your visit in Amsterdam.

I Amsterdam by bike-veritasvisit
You’ll definitely pass by the famous Amsterdam museum square. Have a look at the fountains. There will be some awesome tulip arrangements there.

Step 2: Follow the Amsterdam Tulip Trail

I haven’t checked with them, but I hope their tips for this spring include a visit to the tulip museum in Amsterdam. A great – and warm- place to get a bit of background information on the Dutch tulipmania. To get there from Drop&Go I would suggest you go by foot. This way you can fully enjoy the Amsterdam Tulip Festival. Once upon a time, just a year ago, there was a garden desiger named Saskia Albrechts who had but one goal: to plant one tulip for each Amsterdam citizen, that means 80.000 tulips! You can find tulip arrangements on 60 locations in Amsterdam. Want to see all of them? There’s a special guide with walking routes with names and descriptions of every single tulip you can see in this special spring festival in Amsterdam.

If you want a break and you’re in for a Dutch snack go to the Eetsalon Van Dobben.

Hyacinth field the Netherlands Keukenhof area-veritasvisit
Insiders tip: the best hyacinth & tulip fields are between Haarlem and Lisse.

Step 3: Visit Haarlem

After a good two hours wandering through Amsterdam it’s time to take the train to Haarlem. I see you’re getting anxious. It’s one ‘o clock now, will you be able to get to Keukenhof in time? Don’t worry!

The Netherlands’ most beautiful spring garden only closes at 19:30.

We still have enough time.

What you can do once in Haarlem is visit the Frans Hals Museum with its exquisite exhibition Flowers from afar.  After that, have a bitterbal (What! Again?) & a Tulpomania beer at the Jopenkerk.  Don’t drink too much, because I would recommend you to rent a bike at the station of Haarlem and get into the blooming daffodil, hyacinth and tulip fields. The cycle route from Haarlem to Keukenhof is definitely one of my favourites.

 

Step 4: Become a Daffodil, Hyacinht & Tulip Maniac

And then. Then you get into thé Flower Garden of Europe, the Keukenhof. Some say you have to visit the park one time in your life. I say, visit it a couple of times. Each year the Keukenhof has a special theme. Last year they celebrated Van Gogh, this year it’s Golden Age. With the theme come different gardens, all with their own unique themes and designs. Moreover, the’re different events taking place each weekend and because of the innovative way of planting the bulb flowers, there are different flowers blooming every day.

In 2015 Keukenhof made a tribute to a Dutch painter
A beautiful combo of roses and the work of Vincent van Gogh
Red roses adding up to Van Gogh’s work
The exhibition in Keukenhof recreated van Gogh’s working spaces
Vinvent van Gogh whom we will treasure in our heart of roses.

 

The Keukenhof is spectacular. But, if you want to see where all these daffodils, hyacinths and tulips come from I would definitely recommend you to visit a bulb flower or tulip farm. And, while you’re finding treasures in the Keukenhof area, don’t forget to stop at the local museum or at one of the many castles which offer great viewpoints and have their own fantastic flower gardens.

Step 5: Tell Me About Your Trip  😀

I wish you a wonderful stay in Holland and hope you enjoy your spring holiday. If you like to read more tips on spring events in the Netherlands follow this link.  Feel free to share your stories & pictures here or on Facebook and  let me know if you need any help organising your trip. You can always contact me.