The swallow's summer weather prediction

You open the curtains and look at the sky: scattered clouds, a pale sun. You've planned a daytrip from Amsterdam today. Will  you need to bring rain clothes or sunhat? If you want to be sure, forget about the weather apps, go into the Dutch countryside and look for a swallow. Read more


The Day I Ate Local Food in Leiden Countryside

The day I ate local food in Leiden countryside was a day I went cycling with two American girls who were delighted by everything they saw. At least, I think so, as they said ‘how delightful’ all the time. It was the open landscape, I guess, or maybe the tour at the Leiden cheese farm or meeting the miller in the typical Dutch village.

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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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The Flower Field Challenge: the Best Selfie

Tulip fans, hyacinth lovers and daffodil enthusiasts, are you ready for a flower field challenge? Spring 2021 is all about taking the best selfie in the flower fields near Keukenhof. Everyone can join this challenge. There's just one  rule.

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How to recognise Gouda Farmers Cheese

How do you recognise a good Gouda farmers cheese?  There is Gouda factory cheese and farmer's cheese. This is how you know the difference.

Gouda Farmer's Cheese vs Factory Cheese

Some call it Guda, others call it Howda. The Gouda cheese is world-famous. There is a factory version and a handmade version. What are the differences? Factory cheese. It gives me the chills. Dutch farmer's cheese definitely has my preference. Like with many crafts, the authentic cheese-making is an art. The main difference between a Dutch factory cheese and a farmer's cheese is the milk used in the cheese making.  Due to food safety requirements cheese factories use pasteurised milk. The cheese farmer makes the farmhouse cheese from very, very fresh milk. Early morning the dairy farmer collects the milk from the cow and  immediately uses it for cheese making. A real - Gouda- farmer's cheese is made from raw, non- pasteurised milk. Some cheese farmers choose to heat the milk slightly to make sure their cheeses maintain the unique characteristics of the farm, but also have a more uniform taste.

Pure Taste of Gouda Farmers Cheese

Every Gouda farmers cheese has an unique taste. Multiple aspects influence the taste of the typical Dutch hard cheese.  The milk obtains its taste from the grass the cows eat, the area they live in. Gouda cheese is not made in Gouda city, but in the surroundings. Besides the grass of the pastures, the cows eat different herbs. The slightest climate difference in the Dutch countryside effects  the taste of the cheese.  Other than the milk, every cheese maker has a different recipe.  After the cheese making the cheese farmer let's the cheese ripen. Where the cheese ripening takes place and for how long also makes a difference to the taste of the delicious Dutch cheese.

Farmers Cheese stamp
This stamp indicates farmer's cheese is made from raw milk (rauwe melk in Dutch)

Gouda cheese labels and stamps

Cheese makers all around the world can produce and sell Gouda cheese. Only in 2010 the term cheese made in Holland received a protected EU status. Only Gouda cheese made from 100% Dutch milk produced by Dutch cows, following a Dutch recipe & ripened according to Dutch standard can be called 'Gouda Holland Cheese'. You can recognise this cheese from the stamp.

Did you know you can also see the difference between a Gouda farmers cheese and a factory cheese from the stamp? The stamp on a Gouda factory cheese is round, whereas the stamp on a Gouda farmer's cheese has the shape of a barrel. The stamp of a farmer's cheese tells you if the cheese is made from raw milk or warmed ( thermerised) milk.

 

 

Cycling to a Gouda cheese farm on a Saturday

Visit to Gouda Cheese Farms

Bike tour Leiden cheese & local food

 


other flower events in the Netherlands Verita's Visit Holland

3 beautiful villages Holland a daytrip away from Amsterdam

Small picturesque towns in the Netherlands, where locals are not used to tourists. Places where you sit on a terrace overlooking a cosy market square and take in typical Dutch daily scenes or see small sailing boats pass by. In these 3 beautiful villages Holland you still experience the authentic Dutch way of life.

 

Plan your stops on your bike ride through the Dutch countryside. It was one of my recommendations in my post on countryside cycling in Holland. The 5 beautiful villages in the Netherlands mentioned in this post definitely deserve a visit and offer great cafés and restaurants for a drink and a bite.

Dutch famous flower village

The first Dutch village is well known for the biggest tulip garden in Europe. Direct busses from Amsterdam airport Schiphol, Haarlem and Leiden drop millions of visitors right in front of the Keukenhof. They visit the flower park, get back on the bus and leave the cute flower village Lisse behind.  It has a cosy town square, called De Vierkant, where different events are organised. From this square you can easily access bulb culture museum De Zwarte Tulp. The St Agatha church around the corner is worth seeing! Love Dutch pancakes or in for Italian pasta? Pick one of the small restaurants in this beautiful village in Holland.

On my flower field bike tours I regularly make a stop at Lisse or any of the other small flower towns near Keukenhof.

Beautful villages Holland
One of the beautiful villages Holland

History of one of the most beautiful villages Holland

For me one of the most beautiful villages Holland, in the greenhouse area, is Naaldwijk. With close to 20.300 habitants it's actually a city, although its compact city centre feels like a village. Naaldwijk is in the heart of the Westland and is famous for its horticulture. You might know the place from Royal Flora Holland, the largest flower auction cooperation. You can find it right outside the city centre, next to a busy highway.  The best kept secret in Naaldwijk is the Kerkstraat, a circular road around the main church. It's for pedestrians and cyclists. There's even a signposted cycle route through this small street. This historical street, decorated with flowers in summer, is very picturesque. Hidden in a corner is a 15th century courtyard with a unique small chapel. On the market square around the corner are plenty of options for food & drinks.

Verita's Visit quaint town near The Hague tour & event Netherlands
Heilig Geesthofje, Naaldwijk

Village with tradition in local products

Flowers need to be transported. Many towns in the surroundings of Delft have a history in the production and transportation of products grown in the greenhouse area. Delft is just a daytrip away from Amsterdam. Not all visitors need a full day in the city of Vermeer, Prince William of Orange and Delftware. If you are visiting Delft and have some time on hands, my tip is to explore Holland by bike and head into the Delft countryside. Besides the typical Dutch landscapes like polders, windmills and canals you'll also pass through authentic and beautiful villages in this part of Holland. One of these pretty towns is Schipluiden. It's a place where many ships transporting goods such as flowers, vegetables and cheese went through. Nowadays you can still see boats on the canal that runs through the centre. The sight of the bridge which is still handdrawn is spectacular. Sit down on one of the terraces along the canal for a coffee or one of the exquisite dishes made from locally grown products.

Delft family activity familie uitje Verita's Visit

 


You might also like:

Schipluiden on Bike Tour Delft Countryside

On a Bike to a Greenhouse in South Holland

Amsterdam Keukenhof Alternative Day Program

 

 

 

 

 


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!


You might also like:

The Village Feeling of a Dutch City

Cycle tour Amsterdam beach & dunes

Family Bike Tour Delft Countryside


Keukenhof in summer Activiteiten Bollenstreek Verita's Visit

Summer tulips: dahlias. Photoblog of a flower show garden

...other dahlias are in between summer & autumn

The end of the tulip season is never a happy one. The sight of the sea of colours brings so much joy and happiness. Once the tulips are gone, what is there to look forward to? Well, dahlias! You could call them the summer tulips. Just like tulips they're bulb flowers, they're amazingly colourful, with lots of varieties and there are fields full of them. Here's an photo impression of the dahlia show garden near Keukenhof. Read more


fietstocht Delft blauw

Family Bike Tour Delft Countryside

It was a warm and sunny Friday afternoon. I was waiting for my participants at Delft station. We would do a family bike tour Delft and surroundings. I looked at the big digital clock on the busplatform. They were late.

From Europe trip to daytrip Delft

The family of four was on a Europe trip and was staying in Amsterdam for five days. Dad wanted to make a daytrip to Delft, where he had studied when he was young.  Back then he mostly stayed in Delft so he thought it would be a nice idea to explore the surroundings of Delft a bit. Besides, they had already been in the city for some time so a day outdoors would be nice. Mum and dad were quite looking forward to doing something which was relaxing and active at the same time. Their girls were excited, it was one big adventure for them.

"Sorry we're late, I was just amazed by the interior of Delft station. So much has changed here in Delft!"

The family bike tour Delft went downhill

"Sorry we're late, I was just amazed by the interior of Delft station. So much has changed here in Delft!" Dad said with a broad smile on his face. While he was still taking in all the changes, we walked over to the bikes. It took a while to get started; the girls felt a bit uncomfortable on bikes which were not their own. As soon as they were used to them and got a good cycling speed we were flying! Especially downhill.  We get to that later ;)

hand operated bridge tour Delft Verita's Visit ophaalbrug
Family watching hand operated bridge

 

Holland bridges & windmills

We reached Schipluiden right in time to see the draw bridge being opened. Manually. The whole family was impressed and even I have to say I was quite surprised that this bridge is still drawn manually. Mum quickly slipped into a shop selling only local products. Her interest inspired me to show the big greenhouse behind restaurant Indigo.  Everything produced here is used in their dishes.

We went through the Schipluiden village. Through the 'ohs' and the 'ahs' I could make out the family bike tour Delft & surroundings was a success. Mum was clearly enjoying the houses, the water and the girls happily pointed out all the flowers and young  birds. When we reached the river Gaag I told them the story of the flour mill De Korpershoek. The train bridge once used for transporting fruit & vegetable is now part of the cycle route. The 10-year old threw her legs in the air when she went downhill. This train bridge is a big hit!

 

Family time bike tour Delft playground stop Verita's Visit familie uitje

 

I promised the girls a farmers' ice-cream which they rapidly finished. When mum saw the special swing on the playground she gets the whole family together. That swing is quite an attraction every time I have a family on tour in Delft.

DIY bike ferry Delft Verita's Visit

The famous Delft bike ferry

We continued out family bike tour Delft area with polders on one side, the water on the other.  When we reached my favourite bike ferry the girls look a tad bit scared. "Do we have to cross with that, mum?", they ask.  Dad took the lead, giving the wheel with the chain a good swing. We jumped onto the ferry and mum, dad and the girls had a good exercise bringing us across. - I always take the pictures of the whole activity which in itself needs a lot of concentration :P -

After drinks & bites on the terrace boats with view on the wetlands & sailing boats at restaurant Vlietzicht it was time to head back and end our family bike tour Delft.


What the family said:

We had such a nice time with you. Thank you for a fun day!


Related posts:

Cycle Tour Delft Countryside

Tandem Bike tour Delft Countryside


August Events in the Netherlands

Summer in Holland is fantastic. Long, colourful days with nice temperatures and a good amount of sunshine ( most of the time at least).   Whether you like music, food or flowers, t here's always something to do. Most of the time you can even combine all of your interests, passions and hobbies by going to one place or even one festival.  Now, to make sure you won't miss out on some typical Dutch activities during your Holland holiday I wanted to highlight some August events in the Netherlands that Verita's Visit organises themed food & flowers.

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