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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Celebrating Thanksgiving in the Netherlands 2019

Thanksgiving is an American celebration. So why would you celebrate Thanksgiving in the Netherlands? Today we travel back and forth in time in search of the roots of the harvest festival and discover thé place to celebrate Thanksgiving.

John and the Leiden Pilgrims

This is the 11th time John and his family assist the 3 October service in the Peter's Church in Leiden. As religious refugees from England they came to the city of Leiden in 1609.  Leiden is not the safe harbor it was when they arrived here. Two Protestant parties clashed and are the cause of riots and caos. Soon John & family will undertake the journey to America with 35 pilgrims in total. From Delfshaven, Rotterdam they'll sail to Plymouth on the Speedwell. The Mayflower is right by their side. On their way to New England, they'll find out the Speedwell is unfit for a long voyage. All Leiden Pilgrims will have to transfer unto the already packed Mayflower to sail on to new colonies of Massachusetts.

3 October - Relief of Leiden- celebration in Pieterskerk Leiden

Dutch Touch to Thanksgiving

During their stay in the Netherlands John and the Leiden Pilgrims had enjoyed the celebration of the Relief of Leiden on the 3rd of October in the Peter's Church - Pieterskerk-. The Thanksgiving holiday has its roots in the English culture. It combines aspects of a harvest festival with the special thanksgiving religious services. John and the Leiden Pilgrims added a Dutch touch to the Thanksgiving celebration. They had especially appreciated the thanksgiving service in the Pieterskerk and the meal afterwards.  Together with the Dutch they sang 'Wilt heden nu treden' and translated this to 'We Gather Together'.

Thé Place to Celebrate Thanksgiving in the Netherlands

The Pieterskerk still is thé place where many come together to celebrate Thanksgiving in the Netherlands. In this church the Pilgrims recorded birth, marriage & death. John Robinson, one of the main Pilgrim Fathers, is buried.  George Bush was the first sitting president of the USA who visited the Pieterskerk. His ancestor was Francis Cooke. Every year, on the 4th Thursday of November there is a Thanksgiving Day service. In 2019, the thankgiving service will take place on the 28th November and starts at 11 AM.

 

You might like:

Leidens Ontzet 3 October challenge

Team event Leiden

Leiden area activity tips

Sources used for this article:

https://nl.usembassy.gov/thanksgiving-in-the-home-of-the-pilgrims

Wikipedia Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: Nederlandse erfenis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


key to typical Dutch teambuilding outside Amsterdam Verita's Visit excursion corporate family

Team event Leiden

It was February when I received a request from the event manager of an international company. She was looking for a nice team event Leiden and had seen the Leidens Ontzet Treasure Hunt on the website of Verita's Visit Holland. Could I organise this group activity late March?

key to typical Dutch teambuilding outside Amsterdam Verita's Visit excursion corporate family I smiled while I was reading the inquiry for the group event Leiden. The Leidens Ontzet, Relief of Leiden is festival celebrated on the 3rd of October. There's a great vibe and it's quite easy to connect with the locals. To organise an event in spring around a winter festival would be quite a challenge. I soon discovered that all the venues the teams would pass on the 3rd of October were closed or being renovated. So, the  plans changed and I created  a completely different team building activity. Same style, same adventure, same mix of creative challenges  & intriguing questions, but with a different theme. Focus wasn't just on the Relief of Leiden, but on the history & culture of Leiden in general. Artists, monuments, symbols all played a part in this team event Leiden.

 

Rembrandt cultural activity Leiden cultureel uitje Verita's Visit

I do love using my creativity and organising such a custom-made group activity. At the end the 25 young professionals from the international company based in Leiden area had a great time. Well, see for yourself.

 

 Thank you so much for your kind cooperation with the event! We had a blast! 

Event manager international company Leiden area

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ico0Pzu5W7g&t=23s


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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Leiden-Keukenhof bike tour : Family Outing

It's a 40 km bike ride, around 24 miles and a great mix of different typical dutch landscapes. the Leiden-Keukenhof bike tour is definitely worth it and a great idea for a family outing as well. See for yourself.

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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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Whit Monday Bike Tour Leiden Lakes & Castles

Waalsdorpervlakte: peaceful place in The Hague to remember

Outdoor weekend tip The Hague Fall

 

 

 

 


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. 

 


You might also like:

Leiden cheese & dairy cycling route

The Hague windmill & local food route

2.5 hour tour Leiden lakes plus visit windmill