Traveling to The Hague - tips to get to the highlights

The best thing about traveling to The Hague is the sights you see enroute. Starting your journey from Amsterdam you see the typical Dutch landscape passing by. You can take the car or even cycle. The best way to go to The Hague though is by train. Here's why.

The Hague ICC bike tour Peace & Justice fietstocht vrede & recht Den Haag
Criminal Court The Hague bike parked

The Hague is one of the top destinations in the Netherlands. Dive into the culture, history and nature on a daytrip to the city by the sea. Or stay over for a day or two. Celebrate the Dutch traditions and get social with a local. From spotting the royal family during King's Day or Prince's Day to visiting the Peace Palace or International Criminal Court on the International Day of Peace, all year through there are festivals and events for you to enjoy.

Amsterdam public transportDriving to The Hague

Traveling to The Hague by car from Amsterdam or Amsterdam airport Schiphol is doable. Let's say you are staying near Amsterdam Museumplein and want to get to The Hague city centre, Houses of Parliament.  In my opinion driving in the city centre of Amsterdam is a real hassle and I wouldn't recommend it, public transport in Amsterdam is easy and comfortable. The bike is a good alternative for the car as you have less parking problems. It's easy to get around by bike, but quite stressful. Look out for pedestrians, other cyclists and public transport.  Pay extra attention near tramway tracks!

Finding a relaxed route cycling in AmsterdamOk, so you've found your way to Amsterdam Zuid by car. There you take the highway A4. If you follow this road, you will be in The Hague within 1 hour. The highway is often crammed though, traffic jams outside peak hours are not unusual. Check ANWB, the Royal Dutch Touring Club for updated traffic info or use Google Maps.

3 windmill tour Leiden 3 molentjes route fiets Verita's VisitTip for when you are coming to the Netherlands in spring: take a slight detour to the A44 for some fantastic tulip fields. 

Staying on the A4? Look on your left side when you pass Leiden. You see a 3 mill cascade - 3 molengang in Dutch- . This area near Leiden is one of my favorite. It's one of the best examples of Dutch countryside: full of windmills and cheese farms. 

Duinenfietstocht Amsterdam Den Haag North Sea coastal bike tour Verita's VisitNorth Sea Cycling Route to The Hague

Traveling to The Hague by bike sounds wonderful, especially when your an avid cyclist like me. I would definitely take multiple days to enjoy the bike ride to the fullest. The shortest cycling route from Amsterdam city centre to The Hague is about 60 km (37 miles) so technically you could reach the Houses of Parliament in one day. Then again, you are probably on vacation, so I would recommend taking a longer cycling route. Getting out of the Dutch capital is never easy and the first part of the route is not very exciting. Just keep pedalling. Head to Haarlem, a beautiful city with lovely historical centre and stay there for the night. The following day cycle through the dunes towards Zandvoort and just follow the coastline. The cycling route is part of the long distance cycling network, the LF1 North Sea route . You'll reach The Hague's beach resort Scheveningen. This is where you could find me guiding a bike tour!

tulip fields in between Amsterdam & Leiden tour groepsreis Verita's Visit
tulip fields in between Amsterdam & Leiden

Traveling to The Hague by train

Now I know many of you are on a Europe trip and have very short time to visit the Netherlands. You definitely want to visit Amsterdam and you might still have a few hours to see another city in Holland. Well, I could give you many tips on cities to visit, but let's focus on traveling to The Hague for now. From Amsterdam or Amsterdam airport Schiphol there is a direct connection by train to The Hague Hollands Spoor (HS station).  It's easy, stressfree and comfortable. You don't need to book ahead and can get out of the train whenever you want. When you take the train from Amsterdam it will stop at great places such as Haarlem and Leiden. Do visit these cities if you have time! Take the intercity Amsterdam Centraal in spring and you'll be able to see the gorgeous flower fields between these two cities.

Bike route royal the Hague koninklijk den haag route fiets Verita's VisitWithin 1 hour you reach The Hague Hollands Spoor station. From here take a tram or rent a bicycle to get to The Hague beach 'Scheveningen'. The tram will stop at city centre Hague . You can also go for a 10 minutes walk to the highlights of the historical city centre: Houses of Parliament, museum Mauritshuis, royal palace Noordeinde, Lange Voorhout.

 

Enjoy your journey!


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team-outing-by-bike-Leiden-windmill-Veritas-Visit-Holland

Tip for pre-meeting activity Leiden

Her whole person beams with confidence. She's to-the-point, has a great sense of responsibility and a hands-on mentality. She aims for the stars and...is new to the team. So she organises a team outing. Thé tip for a pre-meeting activity Leiden.

team-outing-by-bike-Leiden-windmill-Veritas-Visit-HollandMeeting your colleagues in real life

"Have you met each other before?" It's my favorite question when I greet a group for a teambuilding event or company outing. For me, the question is to open up conversation, get everyone talking to each other. From the group interaction I already know the answer. One of my participants was spot on when she said: "We know each other's voice".

Idea for pre-meeting activity Leiden

The power woman of this company  planned a 1-day meeting to get to know her team.  With the European headquarter in Leiden, she invited everyone to come over to the city of Rembrandt.  And she booked a bike tour as pre-meeting activity Leiden. That, I think, is a perfect idea.

Typical Dutch activity Leiden

Whether it is before a 1-day meeting or weeklong conference, an active outing is a good starting point to get to know your team. Most of the time Dutch colleagues love to do something typical Dutch like a workshop cheese making or Delft blue painting. Cycling is one on the most popular corporate outings for international companies. And a bike tour has  certain advantages.

Natural communication during team event

By doing something active the focus is on the activity itself. Communication happens more naturally. Sometimes networking feels forced. During the team activity it's mostly just small talk. The more intense conversations are kept for later.

teambuilding pre activity meeting business Verita's VisitDuring a typical Dutch cycling tour there's lot's to talk about. At least, when you're in the countryside. Although infrastructure in the Dutch cities is nice, passing busses, cyclists and pedestrians crisscrossing, might cause stress. The focus is not on the activity anymore. The only thing which is on your mind is how you'll get through this alive. Survival mode, that is. So, tip for pre-meeting activity in Leiden: go for a bike tour in the Leiden surroundings. Visit a windmill, pass by the lakes, have a drink at a castle. Talk to your colleagues from all around the world about everything you see and how that is different or the same from home.

Kasteel Castle tour Leiden groep reis Verita's Visit

What a bike ride tells about team spirit

The very very best of a bike tour as pre-meeting activity in Leiden is that you're in it together. Not everyone is born on a bicycle. The way you respond to the cycling skills of your colleague, says a lot about you as a team. Do you motivate her/ him? Do you leave him/ her behind, cycling all by him/herself or do you adjust your speed? Go for a bike ride and find out about your team's spirit!

Just curious: Do you have an idea who takes the lead in supporting the non-daily cyclists if you were to go on a cycling outing with your international team?

 


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Birthday tour Leiden - stroopwafel and windmill

If you want to celebrate, go to Leiden. The Dutch city in between The Hague and Amsterdam is easily reachable by public transport and o so gezellig. Search the city for a warm syrup waffle and then hop on your bike and head to the lake area for a view of the windmills. That's what we did in the birthday tour Leiden.

 

birthday custom made tour Leiden gepersonaliseerd reis Verita's VisitRembrandt City on a Saturday

If you have just a few days to spend in the Netherlands, go to Leiden. It's a student town with lots of history, nice terraces near the water and great nature areas in the near surroundings. Visit the city of Rembrandt on a Saturday and you'll experience how the locals celebrate the Dutch way of life. The market, although busy, is thé place to dive into the happy & friendly atmosphere.

Stroopwafel Baking Birthday Tour Leiden

This is where I took my participants. It is my goal to make your visit to the Netherlands a great experience and when there is something to celebrate I try to arrange a surprise activity. The birthday tour Leiden customised for this Irish family of 4 sisters and their mother would take 3 hours. Before we started the bike ride through the Dutch countryside I took the birthday girl plus family to the stroopwafel stand. Here Ton runs his stall every Saturday for the last 15 years. He explained how the stroopwafel is baked and then it was our turn. Bake the waffle, cut it in half while it's still warm ( very warm!!). Now you put the caramel in between and put the two halves together. Yummie stroopwafel is ready to eat!

stroopwafel bak workshop Leiden omgeving area teambuilding Verita's VisitWindmill: Cherry on the Dutch Birthday Cake

On an adventurous, crowded route we found our way to the city's borders. In most of the Dutch cities, the singel or canal surrounding the city has always functioned as a border. So at the singel the birthday tour Leiden really started.

We cycled under sea level, along canals to the last remaining polder. The view was exceptional. Green grassed meadows mostly surrounded by lakes, rivers and ditches and as a cherry on the birthday cake: a windmill. We admired the water management system and then picked a spot for this picture.

private family birthday Leiden Verita's Visit verjaardag op maat gemaakt


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Leiden cheese and dairy cycling route

Millions of visitors head to Gouda to taste the Holland cheese. That’s a shame, because in Leiden area you can find some real tasty farmer cheeses. Today we cycle the Leiden cheese and dairy route. It takes us to a family farm where they make cheese from cow ánd goat. In the Netherlands this is quite unique.

Where to rent a kids bike in Leiden?

The bike ride starts at Leiden Centraal train station where you can rent an OV- fiets, a regular bike or electric bike. Do you have small children? Unfortunately they do not rent out kids bikes or child seats at the train station. The nearest bike rental shop which rents out children’s bicycles is 3.5km away. I usually ask them to deliver them to the train station or ask my participants to come to the cycle rental shop.

These Swedes taught me a saying: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing"

Leiden water & the Roman canal

Leiden has 28km of water ways. For me, one of the most impressive canals is the Rijn-Schiekanaal, which starts in Rotterdam and leads all the way to Leiden. Some say Roman general Corbulo dug a canal at exactly the same place in the 1st century AC.

Polder & café

Cycle towards this canal and cross it. You should now be in front of the Park Cronesteyn. This is a beautiful polder park, meaning it’s a piece of reclaimed land. The Leiden municipality has created different zones in which you can see the different essential elements of the park: water, marsh land and forest. Many walking- and cycling paths run through the park and you’ll see that they’ll all lead to my favorite bio local café in Leiden area: De Tuin van de Smid, a polderoasis.

After you’ve eaten the delicious home made apple pie, it’s hard to get back on the bicycle. Do try, because there’s so much more too see (and taste).

From dairy farm to church

familie fietstocht gids leiden kaas & lekkernijen
Polder path in Leiden countryside

Cross the big bridge over the A4 and head towards Zoeterwoude Dorp. From here you'll spot the Leiden cheese and dairy farms.  You could now follow the Noordbuurtse & Zuidbuurtseweg. It’s more fun though to take one of the cycle paths that run through the polders. You’ll cycle past small canals, between meadows full of grazing cows, horses and sheep. In the past, these paths were created for farmers to quickly get to church. They are also referred to as ‘kerkpaden’ (church paths).

One of these very small and challenging paths leads to a windmill. You’ll have a view on the Heineken brewery as well. You’re now in Weipoort. Weipoort is Leiden cheese heaven.

Butter and Leiden cheese

When Gouda made name as Cheese City, Leiden was known for the production of butter. Of the skimmed milk that was left after making butter, they made cheese. This is why the original Leiden cheese does not contain as much fat as Gouda cheese, but is a much lighter cheese ( 20+ fatt)

The taste of Leiden cheese is also much more subtle, which is why Leiden cheese farmers add herbs to create a richer taste.

melk fietstocht dairy & cheese tasting tour Leiden area omgeving
A glass of fresh milk
Farmers cheese in one hand, glass of milk in the other

Local Leiden cheese and dairy farm shops

On the Weipoortseweg you’ll find several Leiden cheese farmers. Most of them have started making full fat Gouda cheeses and in their local cheese shops sell both Leiden as well as Gouda cheese. At most of the farms you can also buy other dairy products and local products such as eggs or juices.

familie rondleiding kaasboerderij fietstocht Verita's Visit bike cheese farm guided tour family
Tour with the Leiden cheese maker

The Leiden family- run farm

Our last stop of today is located near the Zoetermeer lake Noord Aa. This is a complete family friendly farm where you can pet and feed goats, pigs, cows and other farm animal. They do guided tours and cheese making workshops as well. A great stop to have lunch or swap the bicycle for a canoe.

Leiden cheese tour Verita's Visit kaasboerderij uitje

Bye bye cow! A kiss to you!

 

 

To get back to Leiden, either take the Zuidbuurtseweg or go a bit more west and find the Rijn Schiekanaal.


Want to have this route

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Cycling Route The Hague Beach and Parks

For a nice bike ride in nature you don’t have to go far from The Hague city centre. This cycling route The Hague beach and parks is about 12 km. Enroute you see a windmill, glass houses, lots of water and an amazing mix of meadows, forest and dunes.

 

Church and Mill The Hague family bike Verita's Visit Den Haag familie uitje
Church and Mill The Hague

The place The Hague city was born

When you visit The Hague you most probably see the highlights of  the city centre: Peace Palace, Mauritshuis, Palace Noordeinde and the Parliament with its 13th century Hall of Knights – Binnenhof and Ridderzaal –.  Now Hall of Knights is an old building, but it is not the oldest in The Hague. If you want to see where the actual history of  the city begins and enjoy some good nature head about Southwest. Located about 7 km from the city centre is Loosduinen, a former village and since 1923 a district of The Hague.

Abdijkerk Den Haag Abbey church bike tour Holland Verita's Visit fietstocht op maat
Abbey church The Hague- same style as Hall of Knights

The woman who gave birth to 364 children

This cycling route The Hague beach and parks starts at the oldest building of The Hague. When you visit the Dutch parliament the name Floris VI might pop up. This count of Holland was the one who started the construction of the Binnenhof. Many years before that he was in Loosduinen. There he gave orders to construct an abbey. Apart from the church, there's nothing left of the abbey.

The Miracle of Loosduinen attracted many pilgrims to the church. For centuries childless women visited the grave of Margareta of Henneberg. Legend says she gave birth to 364 children in the year 1276. She died the very same year.

Windmill guided Hague bike tour Verita's Visit fietstocht rondleiding molen Den Haag
Windmill Hague bike tour Verita's Visit

Windmill The Hague

Just around the corner is The Hague windmill De Korenaer. It still produces flour. The grain was once kept in the building on the foot of the hill. It used to be the grain shed and now is a museum. The museum tells you how Loosduinen became known as the gardeners’ village, entrance of the vegetable and fruit growing area.

Apple picking in The Hague Park De Uithof

The cycling route The Hague beach and parks goes through multiple green areas with many polder and forest landscapes. From the windmill you  cross the bridge over the highway and are surrounded by nature. The Hague park De Uithof  is a beautiful green area with meadows, hills, lots of water. It also has one of the oldest orchards of pears, plums and apples. End of August you can pick fruit there. Cycle through the other side of the park to find a wide canal. There is a small road on the other side with a view on the glass houses of Westland. You now pass by the entrance of the largest greenhouse area in the Netherlands.

family bike tour Verita's Visit Hague Haag familie fietstocht met gids
Bloom in cycling route The Hague beach and parks

The Westland entrance: vegetable and fruit growing

The Uithof is connected with another park. Madestein is a great mix of shrubs, different trees that offer shade on warmer days, ponds and canals. From this park you cycle straight into estate Ockenburgh. Now part of the National Park Holland Dunes – Hollandse Duinen- the estate was created in the 17th century by Jacob Westerbaen. This poet was passionate about flowers and plants. Gardener for life, he is seen as the founder of horticulture and fruit growing. Some even call him the very first Westlander.

 The-Hague-beach-parks-cycle-tour.
From a series of The Hague parks straight to the beach

 

Cycling route The Hague beach and parks: distance

Follow the cycle path in The Hague park Ockenburgh and you’ll get to the dunes and beach. The cycling route The Hague beach and parks described here is a round of approx. 12 km. When you reach the beach  you can either cycle all the way to Hoek van Holland or head towards Scheveningen, the popular The Hague beach. This way you can easily keep cycling for as long as you want. At the end, the distance of this cycle route The Hague beach and parks is all up to you.

 

 

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Tips for countryside cycling in Holland

Going for a bike ride in the Netherlands is a piece of cake.  Is it really? Countryside cycling in Holland can be quite an adventure. Fortunately there are ways to make your cycling experience in Dutch rural areas more pleasant. Just keep these tips for cycling off the beaten path in the back of your head when you explore rural Holland by bike.

 

Yes, our flat country has great cycling routes and infrastructure.  Then again, once you get adventurous and go countryside cycling in Holland, you could be in a for a surprise. As a traveler countryside cycling in Holland is an adventure. Many visitors to Holland use their stay in Amsterdam to make a daytrip and explore rural Holland by bike. Cycling through beautiful and diverse landscapes is a true unique experience as long as you plan your bike tour to the Dutch countryside well.

Stop cycling

The first tip for a pleasant bike ride in the Dutch countryside has to do with planning your bike trip. With the app Fietsknoop you can create any bicycle route in the Netherlands. It also shows nice places to stop for coffee or a bite. I would definitely advise to make a cycling schedule and include these stops. This will come in handy at the time weather suddenly changes. I always include stops in my countryside bike tours in the Netherlands and know some great places to shelter in case it starts raining.

Dutch elements

Secondly, make different routes. If you have not cycled in the countryside in the Netherlands before, it is good to plan some small cycling routes first. Keep longer routes at hand so that nothing can stop you if you want to keep going. In the famous Dutch polders with their green meadows and long canals there is less protection from wind or rain. The wind can be strong and the weather unpredictable. Even in spring and summer, which are the best months to cycle in the Netherlands, rain & sun can play all day. When it comes to countryside cycling in Holland it mainly is the wind that’s tricky. Although there are no mountains in the Netherlands, the wind can make you feel as if you’re climbing a hill. Distances can seem longer.

Cycling countryside Holland tips Verita's Visit
Cycling through Dutch polder landscape near Gouda

Countryside cycling wear

The third tip is mentioned in a previous article about cycling in Dutch winter. Regardless of the season, wear different layers or make sure you carry different layers. Sunglasses as well as rain wear and gloves are useful as well.

Always take the weather with you

As said, weather and wind are important factors to make your bike ride through rural Netherlands pleasant. The fourth tip is to check the weather. Weeronline is my favorite website, the Buienalarm app keeps me updated enroute.

Your bike to go countryside cycling in Holland

Of course you need a bicycle to explore Holland by bike. You can rent bikes of different heights, different number of gears, pedal or hand brakes in the Netherlands. Rental prices are between €4.00 for a very simple, pedal brakes bike and €35.00 for an electric bike. The last tip is to get the appropriate rental bike that serves your goal. I definitely recommend an e-bike as it takes you much further and you don’t have to think about the wind anymore. Check the bike seat, the type of brakes and make sure you’re comfortable on the rental bike by adjusting the height.  Are you cycling in the Netherlands in autumn, winter, spring? Days are short, make sure the light on your bike is working!


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September activity The Hague Verita's Visit

Early autumn on The Hague road to Scheveningen

The other day, it was still August, I was on my way to my favourite summer bike path: the Scheveningseweg. When I got there I was  amazed that the trees already showed some signs of autumn. The colours made me smile, but I wondered if it was an early autumn on The Hague road to Scheveningen. Today, the 1st of September, on the official day of metereological fall, I found some answers.

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Magical castles in South Holland

Tall, direct and often - extremely- extravert. The Dutch are not known for being refined, courteous or even humble. Dutch style is sober. In every day life you'll hardly ever find the ground covered with a red carpet in front of you . Fortunately we have a great Dutch tradition on Pentecost. On this bank holiday you can live your fairytale. See what it's like to live like a king. Several estates and a few magical castles in South Holland and in other Dutch regions open their doors to the public. A day to dive in a world of glamour and exciting history.

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On a Bike to a Greenhouse in South Holland

 

The Day I cycled to a Greenhouse in the Westland with a Finnish Family

An orchid grown in Holland-veritasvisitOn an early Spring day when the air had still a fresh touch and the sun was just warming up for her a grand entrance a Finnish family, two OV-bikes and an amazing road bike were waiting for me in front of the City Hall in Delft. Yvonne, the daughter had contacted me a few days before. She was looking for a cycle tour through the Dutch countryside and asked me if it was possible to combine it with a visit to a greenhouse. Her parents were now about to retire, she added, but had a farm in countryside in South Finland. After many pleasant conversations by phone we agreed to make a bike ride to an orchid grower in the Westland.

How a Polder taught me about Swedish-speaking fins

As our cycle tour mainly goes through Dutch polders I’m just about to explain what they are when Yvonne’s mother says it’s the same word in Swedish. Now, I’m not really surprised about the word polder existing in other languages, what I am surprised of is that she talks about the Swedish word and not the Finnish word, as you would presume. Later on, Yvonne explain that her mother tongue is Swedish. Apparently there are around 25.000 people in the Asland islands and 265.000 people in the rest of ( West & South) Finland who are actually Swedish-Fins and have Swedish as they’re mother tongue. Wikipedia says they are descendants from the migrants who moved to Finland during its occupation by Sweden between the 13th and 19th century. It’s an interesting fact that I would never have known about if I wouldn’t have met this family.

Where greenhouses were born

We enter the Westland through the old gate of the  long gone summer residence Sion. There's this idea that the residence's  flower and vegetables gardens were the reason for the region's inhabitants to start the horticulture in this area.  At this very moment a new district is being built on the spot where the summer residence used to be. The project is called Rijswijk Buiten and is meant to recreate the atmosphere of an estate with one main house in the centre, huge farmers houses, courtyard dwellings and a courtyard with lush gardens.

A Mill, a Polder and A story about a Dike

Through the Dutch polder on a bike to a greenhouse
Through the Dutch polder on a bike to a greenhouse

We follow the canal and cycle below the water (this you do have to experience yourself) to the place where the typical Dutch polders, its dikes and mill are a delight for the eyes. This is where you can see how water was managed with mills in the old days and how it is done now with modern electrical pumping engines. While cycling on the dike you get a good view on the different water levels.

Water is everywhere in the town called Wateringen. Although the town was built on a dike to protect it against the water and the many floodings in the Middle Ages, the name for the town is taken from an important family who had built a castle here in the 13th century.

 

How to reach a Dutch greenhouse by bike

Once we cross a viaduct a large greenhouse comes to sight. Van Laak Orchids actually has two huge greenhouses in the same block covering in total 125,000 m2. You can imagine it’s almost a full cycle tour just to get to the entrance.

What DUtch Herring and Finnish Potatoes have in common

Yvonne tells me a bit about her parent’s greenhouse. It was for domestic use and much smaller than this one. They grew potatoes. The new potatoe, sold from the end of April, is nice and sweet and have a very soft skin. It’s very small, you could compare it with a Dutch krieltje They’re very expensive, but Fins look forward to them the whole year and are willing to pay large sums of money. These new potatoes taste best with just a knob of butter, a pinch of salt or some dille. When I hear this story I immediately thought about the new herring in Holland.

When a florist met a orchid grower

Listening to the personal story of Mariëlle van Laak on an exclusive tour through a orchid greenhouse in Holland
Listening to the personal story of Mariëlle ter Laak on an exclusive tour through a orchid greenhouse in Holland

Mariëlle, an enthusiastic florist, married one of the Ter Laak brothers and shortly after opened a  shop inside the orchid greenhouse. The shop is for private sales and a huge success. Mariëlle can't wait to tell us  the story behind the growing of orchids. She takes us to an elevated platform where we have a great view of the orchids in its last stages.  Yvonne and her parents are very much interested and their questions show their experience in the field of nursery and farming. Mariëlle is happy to answer all questions and while making a short tour explains the intensive 2 year long  process of how a small cutting in Taiwan or Bleiswijk becomes a beautiful grown orchid beaming in your living room.

Want to Bike to a Greenhouse?

It’s a fascinating story and one that you could hear, see, feel as well. Just read all the options,  check the calendar for the next Westland greenhouse cycle tour,  or contact me directly to find out about customized tours.

A view into a orchid greenhouse
Come have a look inside a orchid greenhouse

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Age does Matter: The 7 types of Cheese Gouda

Christian, a German friend of mine absolutely adores the Gouda Cheese. When I visit him in the morning, he offers me these little sandwiches with cheese. In the afternoon, there are cheese straws and mini kaassouflés with a glass of wine or beer. Dinners start and end with a big cheese platter with some mustard on the side and if he’s in a real good mood he’ll prepare a Gouda Cheese fondue.

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