Impression of Delft Vermeer Challenge

The bullet holes in the wall were not the reason why I visited the Museum Prinsenhof last July. In my heart, I keep a special place for Delft, the city where I was born. One of my wishes was to create a challenge, a treasure hunt in Delft. But, Delft has no festival based on a historical event or full of traditions. What could I do? Then came the request.

Rowena had organised a group bike tour through the Delft nature with Verita’s Visit and enjoyed herself. After that she approached me and asked if I could create a city challenge in Delft. I was thrilled with the request. My dream of creating a treasure hunt in Delft came true.

At the end it wasn’t difficult to come up with a theme. The exact location of the masterpiece The little street by Delft painter Johannes Vermeer had just been discovered and Museum Prinsenhof  Delft had managed to borrow the painting from the Rijksmuseum. From 25 March until 17 July 2016 Prinsenhof dedicated a full exhibition on this painting of Vermeer and its location in Delft. The news spread like wildfire and local businesses, churches and other museums joined in by offering special Vermeer products and deals. Delft was under the spell of Vermeer.

City game Vermeer Delft painting science. Photo by: Barbara van Gelder
Assignment: become a Vermeer character. Photo by: Barbara van Gelder

I had always wanted to work with Barbara van Gelder, owner of the studio Something Extra. In her studio you can become Vermeer or one of his characters. Dressed in 17th century costumes and some nice accessories added to the scene she will immortalize you in a portrait. Barbara has many ideas and is always enthusiastic. When I told her about the Delft Vermeer Challenge, she immediately came up with questions and assignments.

In the last weekend of the exhibition the participants of the challenge gathered at a special place  where they were served a cup of tea ( in Delftware cups). Rowena whispered in my ear: “Are we getting our portrait made here?”.  I smiled and said : “Who knows..”

In the Delft Vermeer Challenge the teams followed a route past different locations important to Vermeer. Through questions and creative assignments they could find out about his life, his family, the technique he used. One of my favourite assignments was in the Vlamingstraat, the location of The Little Street.  This is where Vermeer’s aunt lived. She sold intestines. The assignment was to make a video while tasting this 17th century delicacy. The looks on the faces of the participants! It was fantastic….I don’t know if they ever found out that what they ate was kokosbrood  a typical Dutch spread made out of cocos. Well, in Verita’s Visit’s tours and events things never are what they look like ;)

The Delft Vermeer Challenge finished at a special place where, how could it be otherwise, the assignment was to become a Vermeer character, pick the right costume and get your portrait taken. Love to show you this unique place in Delft!


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Cow-outside-first-time-veritasvisit cow dance koeiendans

Cows going outside for first time

In different areas throughout the Netherlands there are cows going outside for first time in 2020. Mid-March a farmer in Flevoland was the first to let out his dairy cows in the green pastures. Living in The Hague and being a big fan of the dairy and cheese farms in Leiden area, I searched for a chance to see the cow dance in my neighbourhood.

Cow Dance

Cowdance, in Dutch called koeiendans is the frolic jumping, twirling and running of cows let out in the meadows for the first time in spring. I saw the cows going outside for the first time at different dairy & cheese farms in Hague/ Delft / Leiden area in previous years.  Boerderij de Vierhuizen is one of my favourites. It's an amazing farm with calfs, lambs and there's a lovely atmosphere.

Dry land, fresh grass

I've had quite some conversations with the farmers on when it's the right time to let the cows dance. Cows can't dance when the soil is still soggy, cows can't eat grass when grass hasn't grown yet. If the farmer lets his cows out to early, they trip in the soggy soil and will need to get back into the barn again as there is no grass yet. It's actually quite animal unfriendly to let them out too early. You will surely enjoy the cow dance more if you wait a bit.

Cows going outside first time in spring the Netherlands Verita's Visit on tour
A little race going on between cows going outside first time in 2019.
frolic cows in spring dance Verita's visit bike ride
April is generally the best month to let the cows out. The grass has then grown high enough and the land is not that soggy anymore
Sometimes it's just great showing your excitement, even when all other cows have finished jumping around.
Sometimes it's just great showing your excitement, even when all other cows have finished jumping around.
Be a Dutch cow in spring workshop Verita's Visit
Just really getting connected with the ground & the fresh grass

 

Life gets back to normal. Here's a poor lonesome cow on a long long way from home.
Life gets back to normal. Here's a poor lonesome cow a long long way from home.

This beautiful video by Midvliet TV was made in and around the cheese farm. In the spotlight the cheese farmer, the happy cows and....me :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFDHeivB8yk

 

Cow Alert

Land van Wijk en Wouden, in Leiden area gives you the opportunity to register for a 'cow alert'. This way you receive the latest updates on when and on which dairy and cheese farms in the area between Leiden and Zoetermeer you can see the the cows going outside for first time in 2021.

Vockestaert, in Delft area also has a cow alert. They publish the dates you can see the cow dance on their FB page.

Do you want to know more about the cheese that  is made out of the milk given by a cow that has eaten fresh grass again after a long time? If you want to find out, just get in touch. 

 


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