How a small café by the harbour became the core of the Vlaggetjesdag Challenge

It wasn't supposed to get all the attention, but somehow it did. A small café by the harbour became the core of the Vlaggetjesdag Scheveningen Challenge. This is how it happened.

Flags Flag Day Scheveningen-veritasvisit

Celebration of the Dutch New Herring

The new herring catch of the season calls for a typical Dutch celebration. A typical Dutch celebration calls for a challenge by Verita's Visit. So there we were, me and a bunch of international minded people, at the harbour of Scheveningen with just one mission: find out what Vlaggetjesdag Scheveningen was all about and if it was more than Dutch new herring.

King William and Madonna at Vlaggetjesdag

The participants had no idea what to expect, there were question marks all over their faces when we met at the Scheveningen library. As there was some drizzle outside that was expected to turn into heavy rainfall, we headed inside for a short introduction. The given information could be used during the challenge.  King William, Madonna, the painter Mesdag and of course the Dutch herring, also known as Hollandse Nieuwe  all dropped by in this introduction.

 

the go with the flow festival challenge

Exactly at the moment the rain stopped, the participants, now divided in teams, were off to the first location in the Scheveningen harbour where they had to answer a question and complete a creative challenge. Now, finding your way in a local festival is quite a challenge by itself, so at first all teams were a bit lost.  By the time they had done two or three challenges they got the hang of it. They somehow realized the best thing to do was to just go with the flow, dive into the festivities and have fun.

Enjoy the local atmosphere and get social with a local

The best thing on local festivals like Vlaggetjesdag Scheveningen is the atmosphere, everyone is relaxed and it's easy to make contact with locals or visitors.  Just like in the Leidens Ontzet Treasure Hunt  the participants of the Vlaggetjesdag Scheveningen Challenge had to step out of their comfort zone and get social with a local.

Sharing Experiences during Herring & Corenwijn tasting

At the end of the Scheveningen Vlaggetjesdag challenge we all gathered at Restaurant de Dagvisser. In this small café by the harbour we tasted 4 exquisite herring dishes with 4 types of Corenwijn. All teams shared their experiences there. When I asked them why they all had chosen the song 'Het kleine café aan de haven' for one of the challenges they all responded in unison: "Because it was the shortest!"

Tasting Dutch Herring & Corenwijn
Tasting Dutch Herring & Corenwijn in a small café in the harbour ( actually a restaurant ;) )

Small cafe by the harbour of Scheveningen

Athough they were all enjoyed, it was not the Hollandse Nieuwe,  the fishers' boats, the stands demonstrating the local crafts or the men and women in traditional clothing, it was a small café by the harbour that became the core of the Vlaggetjesdag Challenge edition 2016.

Female net repairer Scheveningen-veritasvisit


Special tour event activiteit Verita's Visit kaas & meer

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.

Supertip

Never visited the city of Woerden and its surroundings or are all your friends on holiday? Verita's Visit organises customised Culture & Cheese tours,  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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Warehouse cheese Gouda Verita's Visit Holland kaaspakhuis

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.

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Affordable rental bike in the Netherlands

As an expat you never know how long you will stay in the same place. Two of my expat friends, an American couple, moved to Amsterdam a few years ago. They thought they would just stay in the Netherlands for one year. So, they travelled. Everywhere. Each weekend they visited another European capital. The year flew by. Then her contract was extended for another year. They asked me for tips on daytrips from Amsterdam. I suggested visiting the Waterland area, Zaandam, Haarlem, Veluwe and since they loved cycling I told them about the OV fiets, an affordable rental bike in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam alone there over 10 rental locations for the OV fiets.

Amsterdam OV fiets rental locations
Amsterdam OV fiets rental locations

Personal Public Transport Card

In the Netherlands, as a resident, or if you are registered on an address in Belgium, Germany or Luxembourg and tend to make use of Dutch public transport quite often, you could opt for the personal OV-chip card. OV stand for Openbaar Vervoer, public transport.  You can add different subscriptions which give you discounts on your travels with public transport.

OV Fiets: Affordable Rental Bike in the Netherlands

An affordable rental bike you can use all through the Netherlands
An affordable rental bike you can use all through the Netherlands

One of the subscriptions  I would definitely recommend adding is an OV fiets subscription. The subscription costs €0,01 per year. This is to verify your personal and bank account details. You can rent a OV fiets at more than 278 locations. All the rental locations can be found on the website of OV fiets.  This bike scheme is an initiative of the NS, the Dutch rail company. In the past these bikes were just rented out at the station.  The idea was and is that you take the train, from there change to a bike to get to your appointment or work. Now you can find the OV fiets at central points in the city centre, at tourist sites, hotels. An OV fiets is just over 3 Euros per 24 hours, making it an affordable rental bike in the Netherlands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OV fiets pros

  • You can use 1 OV card for 2 OV fietsen, so bring a friend along when you go for a bike ride!
  • Per 24 hours you pay €3,85 per bike ( rate on 01/04/2020). After 72 hours you are charged a €5,00 extra per day.
  • The OV fietsen are easy to use, they are 'ladies' bikes with back pedal brakes and don't have gears. 
  • No cash is needed, payment goes automatically through direct debit. Note that you do need a Dutch bank account. 

 

OV fiets cons

  • There are manned and unmanned rental locations. At stations of bigger cities, such as Amsterdam you usually rent the OV fiets at a manned bike parking facility. Nevertheless, at small stations there are lockers. These work the same as bike sharing schemes in other countries. You swipe your card and the one of the lockers opens. At times there is a technical problem or there are no Of fietsen left at the unmanned station. NS does not yet provide the possibility to check if there is a bike left at the unmanned station or if there is a technical problem at that station. 
  • You have to be registered as a resident in the Netherlands to get a personalised NS Card. 
  • The OV fiets is an affordable rental bike in the Netherlands, but it needs to be brought back at the same place where you rent it from. Bring it back at another location and you'll be charged €10,- extra. 
  • Enroute no service is provided when you get a flat tire, or have any other problems with your bike.
  • You can't reserve an OV fiets, first comes, first served.

For the actual rates of the OV fiets and all the terms & conditions, check OV-fiets.nl. Coming on a bike ride with me? Rent an OV-bike or contact me for other  bike rental options.

 


Spring event Netherlands intercultural bike tour Verita's Visit

Visit Japanese Garden Hague & Leiden Japan Market

Updated

The Japanese garden The Hague is only open 6 weeks in spring and 2 weeks in autumn. In 2020 spring opening is from May 1 till 14 June from 9:00 AM till 8:00 PM. Autumn opening will be from 10 till 25 October.  Every time I visit the garden, I'm just overwhelmed by all the colors! There is one particular day in spring which I book in my agenda and that's the day of the Japanese market in Leiden. A full Japan day in in the Netherlands!

Visit Japan in The Hague & Leiden

Last year I started my Japanese day trip in the Netherlands with a bike ride through Clingedael and a first stop at the Japanese garden The Hague, from there I cycled part of the The Hague estates route and then from Wassenaar to Leiden. In Leiden centre I parked my bike close to Rapenburg and visited the Japanese market. In 2021  I have planned a bike tour  to the Japanese Garden The Hague, a couple of stops in the nature in The Hague/ Leiden area & a visit Japan Market Leiden. Contact me to find out more.

Bridge Japanese Garden The Hague-veritasvisit

Japanese Garden in The Hague Park

The Japanese garden is the most famous of the gardens in Clingendael. It attracts over 10.000 visitors a year. One of the reasons why it is such an attraction is definitely the multitud of colours. The colours of the Japanese maples, azaleas are splendid in spring as well as in autumn.  And then there is the red bridge, one of the most picturesque and most photographed objects in the garden.

Colours as well as objects have a special meaning in this garden. Shinto is an ideology, religion and way of life which is strongly rooted in Japanese society. The design, the ornaments, the colours used in the Japanese garden The Hague  all have a symbolic meaning.

Do you feel joy and peace at the moment you see the red bridge? That is just the intention of the designer of the garden. According to Shinto the colour red is used to chase away all the bad spirits. Seeing the colour makes you feel happy.

Flag Japan market Sieboldhuis Leiden-veritasvisit

Japan Market Leiden

If you pay attention, you will also see a lot of red on the Japan market in Leiden. This year the celebration of  Japanese culture, food, music and arts takes place on Sunday, 23 May 2021.

It will be a fantastic way to try out the Japanese martial arts, feel the beautiful kimonos, taste the sushi and the sake, see the manga fans, hear traditional Japanese music & enjoy the different stalls full of typical Japanese products. The market is a beautiful way of crossing cultural bridges and showing the century old ties between Leiden and Japan. It will make you happy, no matter what color you see ;)


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Behind the Scenes of the Flower Parade

It was a sunny Tuesday evening. There were waves of wind rolling through the feverish red tulip fields. All the tulips seemed to point their heads in the same direction: that of the big hall at the end of the lane.

This blogpost was written in 2016 and updated in January 2021. The next offline Flower parade will hopefully be in 2022.

There were chills running down my spine of pure excitement. In less than an hour I would walk into that hall and dive behind the scenes of the flower parade only to come out again three days later. I had a hunch, an idea, of the amazing creations I would find there, but wasn't prepared for the things I would see.

 

A new home in keukenhof area

Last years I've been going through the area around Keukenhof by bike and each year I discovered new places, hidden treasures. I've never been in this hall or behind the scenes of the Flower Parade in the Keukenhof area. As soon as I enter the building, my jaw drops and my eyes open wide. Spread throughout the hall are enormous objects made out of the kind of foam you want to pinch your finger in to see if it is as fluffy as it looks like.

All kinds of building constructions are made around it so the volunteers are able to reach the higher parts easier. There are crates full of hyacinths, orchids, daffodils and tulips and boxes full of staples are waiting to be used.  Above all there are volunteers walking around everywhere and there is music and a place to sit and have a drink. Even though this hall is huge, all these things add up to a relaxed atmosphere and give a very homey feeling.

Due to Covid19 the Flower Parade will happen online in 2021. We hope to again go behind the scenes of the flower parade from Wednesday 14 April till Friday 16 April 2022. Want to join her on a cycle tour or just for a visit behind the scenes?   Contact  Verita's Visit Holland for more information.

Who is the flower parade winner?

But, don't let appearances fool you. There's a lot to be done. While I'm touring my English, Dutch and Russian (?!)- speaking groups around and tell them about the history and the making of this 69th edition of the 2016 Flower Parade Bollenstreek, there is a competition going on. All the floats and flower arrangements and decorations have to be done before Friday morning. The volunteers, all from different associations and clubs in the area, work day and night to finish their project. Every part of the float has to be perfect. Because besides fun, every team also hopes to win the first prize. So, the teams are definitely under pressure. It can be sensed in the air, especially Thursday evening, when the deadline comes closer.

Shower for the flowers of the parade

On Friday everything is done.  All construction is gone, everything is cleaned and the last preparations for the Flower Parade are being made. The air is literaly being cleared, as fire men spray the floats with water to freshen up the flowers. Hopefully all the flowers keep their fresh look for the next few days. That very evening the floats pass through Noordwijkerhout.  On Saturday morning they leave Noordwijk and the Flower Parade finishes in Haarlem. All the floats can be admired one last time in the city center of Haarlem on Sunday.

 

Till next year. A new edition , a new episode of behind the scenes of the flower parade.

A big thanks to all the volunteers for having given me the opportunity to enjoy and become not just a tulip maniac and a Keukenhof area fan, but also a Flower Parade (over)enthusiast.

Keukenhof kissing couple-veritasvisit
The first prize in the Flower Parade Bollenstreek 2016: Keukenhof with the Delft blue kissing couple, the clog and the tulip vase

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Cycling tour Haarlem Keukenhof verita's visit fietstocht

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.

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The Staphorster Bike & the Dutch Dressguard

How I saw a picture of women cycling in folk costume and went to Staphorst in search of a bike showing the cultural diversity in the Netherlands

Like many curious travellers/ entrepreneurs I love absorbing a good deal of information. Information that I can later pass on to you, my dear participant and reader. In a few weeks I am to give my festive workshop about Dutch traditions and celebrations again. To prepare myself I take out this book called Typisch Nederlands: tradities en trends in Nederland . On page 36 a black-and-white picture of three women on bicycles catches my attention. The middle one is casually dressed, whereas the two women on her side are in full folk costumes.  In the caption, freely translated, it reads:

 

Picture taken from the book 'Typisch Nederland: tradities en trends'
Picture taken from the book 'Typisch Nederlands: tradities en trends in Nederland'

In a small country like the Netherlands there's a large regional cultural diversity. Even the manufacturer of an everyday object such as the bicycle has to take this in account. A version of the classical lady's bike with holes in the mudgear/ fender to attach the handmade coloured 'cyclenets' (dress guards) existed for a long time in Staphorst.

 

A bicycle that was adjusted to the local needs! Of course I wanted to see this bike with my own eyes, but first I was curious which manufacturer made this Staphorster bike. Google being a good friend, I searched for 'Staphorster fiets' and 'Staphorster variant', 'Staphorst model' in combination with the words 'origin', 'history'.  What I found was lots of information on the dress guards. Those dress guards...well, they are works of art.

 

How to Prevent clothes from getting into your bike's wheel

Cycling in Staphorst is and has always been done on a black omafiets or granny's bike.  It was easy for the women with their long skirts to get on the bike thanks to the step-through frame. The only problem was that their skirts got ruined because they kept getting into the spokes. Inventive as the women were they found a solution to this: dress guards. If you see dress guards on a bicycle nowadays they're usually made of plastic. The Staphorster women made and still make their dress guards themselves. They crochet different creations in all colours and patterns. If you know a bit of Dutch you can find an original pattern here.  Is your Dutch not that good and still want to get an idea on how to crochet your own dress guard? Find an English crochet pattern here. For the non-crochetters: you can also order them on Simeli.

How the crochetted dress guard led me to Staphorst

An employee at Velorama, the bicycle museum in Nijmegen, told me that a local dealer would make little holes in the omafiets to attach these crochetted creations. Blue-red ones were for daily use, green-black ones for mourning periods.

After all this reading about the Staphorster bike I still hadn't found what I was looking for: the manufacturer of this version of the classical lady's bike. So, it was time to visit Staphorst, the small town in Overijssel where time has stood still. The town with the low straw-roofed farmhouses with traditional green doors and green wooden window shutters. The town where women still ride their black omafiets in traditional folk costume.

The typical granny's bike -omafiets- with Staphorster dress guards - fietsnetten-.
The traditional granny's bike -omafiets- with Staphorster dress guards - fietsnetten-.

What happened when I finally saw a lady in traditional costume on a  staphorster bike

When I came in Staphorst, I could only see fast cycling kids wearing the latest fashion. We then stopped at a cycle shop where the most beautiful example of the Staphorster fiets stood waiting to be repaired. I asked the shop owner the manufacturer's name, but he didn't know and wondered if there had ever been a manufacturer specialised in the Staphorster bike. He said there was still a high demand in Staphorst for the mud gears with holes in them and he now ordered them especially for the Staphorster women. A little while after our conversation a women passed by. In folk costume. On a black omafiets with crochetted dress guards. I was too surprised to even think about taking a picture...

Did you go to Staphorst and managed to take a picture of a Staphorster lady in folk costume riding her bike? Please share it here, I would love to see it!

 

 


7 favourite spring events in the Netherlands Verita's Visit King's Day

My 7 favourite spring events in the Netherlands

A fresh start of spring in Holland. Outside it's still rather cold and...where's the sun?  When it comes to the temperature spring really has to warm up, but nature is ready for it. Just take a look outside and see the new born lambs curiously looking at the young tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. The start of the season brings excitement, some people even get a bit stressed when they see spring has come. Here are my 7 favourite spring events in the Netherlands.

Note: In case the Corona measures still apply, please use this post as a source of information for a future trip.

Tip 1: Easter on the Beach

Easter is one of these spring events in the Netherlands I wouldn't want to miss out on. There are lots of activities being organised. When I'm not on a bike showing you and your friends how amazing the Dutch countryside is, I enjoy my Easter brunch on the beach. The real tourist season starts in the Easter weekend. Weeks before Easter the beach is inspected and levelled. The beach boulevards are full of trucks offloading material. Right after the beach is prepared, the beach restaurant owners can set up their restaurants. In the Netherlands cafes and restaurants can only be found on the beach between March and October. This means that every year before Easter the owners have to set up their beach restaurants again. Just to be able to welcome me & you for an Easter brunch. Isn't that great?

witte bloesem -veritasvisit
Beautiful blossom of fruit trees in spring


Tip 2: Blossoming Fruit Trees, Asparagus and Bike Races

Another part of the food sector depends on good weather. Every year the fruit and vegetable farmers anxiously wait for the results of the season. Apple-, cherry-, peartrees are not only useful for their fruits, but also for their blossom. Walking trails take you through picturesque fields full of fresh, scented flowers. But, besides walking there is another option. Known all over the world, a typical Dutch activity is cycling. As spring is also the start of the cycling season, many regions in the Netherlands offer arrangements, excursions or routes for the cyclist. Cycling routes go through areas full of blossoming trees, or later in the season through fields of fruit, where farmers give you the opportunity to pick your own fruit or make an arrangement so you can take a picknickbasket and have a picknick in the garden.

Strawberries and cherries in Holland-veritasvisit
Strawberries and cherries are sold in spring in Holland

Next to the fruit farmers I mentioned the vegetable farmers. Which vegetable am I talking about? The asparagus! Strawberries, the delicious fruit of the season are often linked with the "white gold". Asparagus are mainly cultivated in the region Limburg, the region in the south of the Netherlands. Here they can also prepare these tasty vegetables in many different ways and a meal doesn't even have to cost much. And, while you're at it, try some of the Limburgian wine ( yes, Limburg also cultivates its own grapes).

For the cycling fanatics, it is also the season in which bike races start. Limburg, with its Dutch mountains is also the ideal place for bike races such as the Amstel Gold Race. It is nice to see the cyclist pass by, with the thousand of spectator standing at the sidelines yelling and admiring. Of course,  right after the race you can create your own track and set a new record.

Amazing tulips Keukenhof-veritasvisit
Keukenhof displays a beautiful range of tulips from mid March till mid May

Tip 3: Keukenhof and Flower Parade

When you think of spring in Holland, you think of mesmerizing tulip fields, enchanting daffodil fields and hyacinth fields filling the air with their spring perfume.  Keukenhof is a must see when you are in the Netherlands around Easter. The park is dedicated to the tulip and other spring flowers.  It is a beautiful park where you even get to shoot some good pictures of all that the Netherlands has to offer: a field of tulips in front of a windmill where a girl dressed in Dutch folklore clothes  sells cheese.

A very popular spring festival is the flower parade, in Dutch we call it Bloemencorso. These parades are in the bulb flower region, that means in the area of Leiden, Lisse en Haarlem. It's a great parade to see the beautiful spring flowers and the creativity of the locals, who work on the floats for months.

Both Keukenhof and the Flower Parade are big attractions and they welcome thousands of visitors from every part of the world. If you don't want to be in a traffic jam of tourist buses for hours or are curious about the many other festivals & activities in the area, just take a look at Flower Festival Lisse for some original ideas. Cycling through the spring flower fields is -of course- one of my favourite ways to pass time and I would definitely recommend you to add it to your visit to the Netherlands in spring.

Gouda cheese market group tour groepsreis Verita's Visit

Tip 4: Cheese Markets

Enough about flowers, let's talk about cheese. The cheese market season also starts in April. It's one of those spectacular spring events in the Netherlands that is not to be missed when you come and visit. There are markets in Gouda, Alkmaar, Edam, Hoorn and Woerden. Cheese farmers and traders meet on the market square to negotiate the price of the cheese, Dutch cheese girls offer tastings of different cheeses and there are many special activities. It's a great outing for the whole family.

Flea Market King's Day-veritasvisit
A flea market on King's Day. These can be found everywhere, but those in the smaller districts of cities or in villages are the best.

To see where and how the Dutch -Gouda- cheese is made, I would really recommend you to add a visit to a cheese farm and a historical cheese warehouse.

Tip 5: King's Day

King's day is on the 27th of April and Dutch love to celebrate this on the streets. Amsterdam is an orange heaven and should be visited on this dat, but be aware: on the 27th itself everything is fully packed, trains are full, roads are full, streets in Amsterdam are full. If you really want to be in Amsterdam on the 27th go to the city a couple of days before and make sure you have your accomodation booked long before, because Amsterdam will be crowded.

I have been in Amsterdam once on King's Day and I have to say I didn't really like it. To get there it takes a lot of patience and walking around in the city is a real pain: it's just too busy for my liking. I prefer other cities such as Utrecht or The Hague, where every neighbourhood has their own flea market and you can play old Dutch games. Nevertheless, if you want to have an authentic King's Day experience try celebrating it in a small city or even a village. It's much easier to get connected with the locals and the celebration is much more intense as it's much smaller and intimate.

Now King's Day doesn't start on the 27th of April, but the evening before. On the 26th in the late afternoon I would suggest you to go to The Hague to celebrate the Life I Live festival. Bands are playing everywhere, special theatre shows are organised and there are lots of things to do and see. It is one of the few nights this very special atmosphere can be sensed in The Hague, people are just having fun and there's a common vibe everyone can feel.

Tip 6: Liberation Day

Shortly after King's Day Day the Dutch commemorate the people who died in World War II, during peace operations or in war situations. The day after, the 5th of May it is Liberation Day, the day that we celebrate the end of World War II and think about the meaning of freedom. For this we have special Liberation Festivals in different cities in the Netherlands, where bands and known Dutch artists perform. This website gives you more information about who is performing where and what other activities are planned.

Tip 7: Museumweekend

Spring in the Netherlands means being outdoors. But, if the weather is bad, you can always enjoy the musea. In april Dutch musea organise special activities in a weekend that is cleverly called Museumweekend. Entrance in the musea is for free or you pay very little.

Verita's Visit Special spring Events in the Netherlands