team building based on King's Day Verita's Visit Holland

Team building based on King's Day - 3 tips

Put on your orange dress, drink some Oranjebitter and get ready to sing the national anthem.  The best way to bond is to celebrate a national holiday together. So, let's create that ultimate holiday feeling. Here are 3 tips team building based on King's Day in Holland.

National holiday to unite your team

Once upon a time there was a little princess called Wilhelmina. She lived in the Netherlands, a country that was extremely divided. People didn't want to do any activities together. Now, Wilhelmina celebrated her 5th birthday on August 31 1885. 'A great day for a national holiday', a newspaper thought. And so a new national holiday was born.  It was called Princess Day and became a huge success. The Dutch people united, the nation was one.

I know it is a bit too much to ask you to create your own national holiday. It is a good idea to look at national holidays though.  You can get inspiration on how to build & strengthen relationships . Let's have a look at King's Day!

old Dutch games King's Day teambuilding

Holiday feeling with old Dutch games: team building based on national celebration

The first tip for team building based on King's Day actually comes from Princess Day. In that time the holiday did not have the same dimension as nowadays. Focus was on strengthening relationships within your family & local community. That happened through games. Using these old Dutch games  for teambuilding is perfect as rules are simple, you don't have to use your brain a lot. They're just a fun activity to do together and a way to release any tension. Best part is also that you feel like you're getting a taste of Dutch culture. Add some orange clothes and an orange drink (Oranjebitter) and you feel like you're on holiday.

Why the royal birthday & flower parades in the Netherlands are connected

As the years went by princess Wilhelmina got older. In September 1898 she became Queen of the Netherlands and so Princess Day became Queen's Day.  Thanks to these two royal celebration; the birthday and the inauguration, the flower parades in the Netherlands became popular. Now, I let you think about it for a moment…Why is Wilhelmina’s birthday/ inauguration as Queen a good time for the flower parade? The answer is in the next blogpost.

other flower events in the Netherlands Verita's Visit HollandTeam building based on King's Day flower parade

Tip two on team building based on King's Day, is about these flower parades. Before WWII these flower processions were strongly connected to the royal family. Nowadays  the processions are used to underline the local identity & the small community feeling. Now this team building tip decorate your bike, car or other vehicle. Set some rules before you start this activity. One of these rules should be about how you combine local, regional aspects with national cultural elements. What is typical of your city? What is unique about your family or friends? When you do this group activity with your colleagues, you can also include the corporate culture and team culture in these game rules. For complete instructions & customisation of this teambuilding activity based on King's Day, contact me or book the We are one on King's Day game activity.

Team building based on King's DayBe like Dutch kids: sell what you love & they don't need

Another typical Dutch element of King's Day is the vrijmarkt, or garage sale/ flea market. This is one of the youngest traditions of the royal celebration. In the seventies, Beatrix was Queen. She is the mother of our present King Willem-Alexander and the granddaughter of Wilhelmina. She had married a German man and not everyone in the Netherlands  liked that.  Besides, you could again feel some tension building up in the Netherlands. The vrijmarkt already existed, but was not centrally organised. Here and there in the suburbs of Amsterdam and other Dutch cities these flea markets popped up. The idea was to bring these markets to the inner city centre, so the Dutch would get together in a central point. That worked!

How can you use this in a team building activity? The King's Day vrijmarkt is the ultimate way for kids to practise their entrepreneurship. So tip three in the team building based on King's Day is about negotiation skills. Try  to find some traditions or habits in your family, group of friends or team that you like, but others dislike. Imagine these habits are one of the items you sell on the vrijmarkt. You are attached to them, they see no value. How would you sell these, the Dutch way?

Liked these 3 ideas? Then contact me for the full We are one on King's Day teambuilding game.


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Delft & Gouda light festival: December in Holland

The Delft & Gouda light festival are two charming December events in Holland. They take place in the historical city centre and put their own unique local culture in the spotlight.

Gouda activities group Verita's Visit groepsactiviteiten winter

The night is dark. Darker than usual. All lights in the city have been dimmed. The Dutch usually stay inside in the cold December months, but tonight everyone is out on the street. Do like the locals, follow your nose. The scent of glühwein, hot chocolate and oliebollen - Dutch doughnuts-  fills the air. It leads you straight to the main square where a choir is singing and a huge Christmas tree is waiting to be lit.

When is the December Delft & Gouda light festival?

Lichtjesavond, Dutch for Evening of Lights, is the Delft December light festival. It takes place on Tuesday 10 December 2019 and celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.  The Gouda light festival is 3 days later, on Friday 13 December. It’s called Kaarsjesavond, Dutch for Candle Night. 

Are Delft Evening of Lights and Gouda Candle Night the same?

 These two December events in the province South Holland are very much alike.

  • The Christmas tree lighting ceremony starts at 7 PM on the main square and is the main attraction of the Delft & Gouda light festival.
  • All churches in the historical city centre open their doors to the public and have special activities.
  • There are stands selling artisanal products and very typical Dutch food and drinks.  Besides the Dutch doughnuts- oliebollen- , the pea soup – erwtensoep- is also very popular
  • Choirs pop up on every corner. Dressed in Dickens’ costumes or santa’s costume the choirs from the region bring the top Christmas pop and classic songs.
  • There are different routes through the city centre to enjoy the light festival.

Which December event in South Holland to visit

Should you visit both when these two Dutch December festivals are so similar? Yes, do add it to your list of Holland light festival visits! There are some details which make Lichtjesavond in Delft differ in feel and looks from Kaarsjesavond in Gouda

The main differences of the Delft & Gouda light festival are:

  • the routes
  • the locations of the markets
  • how the cities use their traditions.

Choose a light route

For the first time in the history of the Delft Evening of Lights festival you can choose between a couple of routes. They lead from the market square to the different festive hubs and pass various historical streets full of music, food and local products.

Tip: take the route along the oldest street of Delft, the Oude Delft. The canal is very picturesque: all buildings are lit by colored flood lights and light guirlandes hang over the water. Do stop by the Maria Jessekerk, a small, cosy church.

The Gouda Candle Night has used routes before. Gouda works with themed routes, which is great! You can choose to go arty or historical. 

Go christmas market hopping

Gouda’s December event offers a lot more activities inside monumental buildings and churches. Unlike Delft, the festive markets are mostly inside. 

Tip:  visit the St Jan church for free, gaze at the huge stained glass windows and stroll through the covered market where locals sell their artisanal products.

Uitjes winter Verita's Visit family corporate events Gouda

Dutch traditions in the spotlight

Delft 2019 was a celebration of the Golden Age, Delft Blue & Vermeer. This theme will also come up in the Lichtjesavond on the 2nd Tuesday of December. Check the website for all activities, performances and routes.

The Christmas tree on the main square of Gouda is a gift. The city’s Norwegian sister town sends a tree to Gouda every year and has done so the last 60 years.

The lights in the tree itself are not real candles anymore. Gouda, city of candles does like to keep the tradition of lighting candles on this special evening - hence the name Candle Night-. Just before the lighting of the tree, the city’s electric lights are turned off. In Gouda’s City Hall and in some of the houses on the market square, real candles are lit. 

A last tip: For me, the lighting of the tree is not the highlight. I love the atmosphere, the activities. Like any other festival, these two Dutch December events are great opportunities to get #socialwithalocal. Do ask, do sing along, do join the celebration. The Delft & Gouda light festival program already start at 4 PM. Around 6 PM the atmosphere in both cities is best. If you do decide to join the lighting ceremony on the market square, make sure you’re there at 6:30 PM or earlier.

For more info on the light festivals'program:

Delft Lichtjesavond

Gouda Kaarsjesavond

 


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Verita's Visit City Game Leiden corporate challenge culture internationaal teamuitje

Challenge Leiden local festival 3 October 2020

Mark your calendar! On Saturday 3 October 2020 the Leiden Ontzet challenge takes place for the second time. Registration with your own team of 3/4 people is possible. In this group outing you and your team follow a trail through the historical centre of Leiden. At different historical locations there's an assignment. Enjoy the Leiden local festival, get social with a local and become the hero of the challenge.

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Gouda team event Dutch culture & diversity

There’s more to Gouda than cheese and stroopwafels. For the Gouda team event I’m looking for a workshop or activity to include the three other typical Dutch products of this city. And that’s where I’m stuck.

Dutch crafts of lost times

My footsteps echo in the cobblestone alley between the 16th century St John church and the tilted medieval houses. This transports you to lost times. Lost times it is. Door closed, shutters down. The shop with the large sign saying ‘Gouda kaarsen’ now primarily sells antics. The last clay pipe maker retired. He shows the old Dutch craft once in a while in a former ceramics factory just outside the city. Gouda ceramics….yes, there is one workshop you can still visit. It’s not in the city centre though.


Start of Gouda diversity team event at train station

Gouda team event on Dutch culture

My search for typical Gouda ánd typical Dutch elements in the St John resulted in some great ideas for the customised group outing. Now I'm out in the streets looking for the three other typical Dutch products of Gouda: ceramics, candles and clay pipes.

It all started with the request for a Gouda team event on Dutch culture.  This corporate event is all about having fun and doing activities, instead of just a (self) guided city walk. And, it's a group activity for half a day, three hours more or less. Which, for my ideas, is extremely short. To add the very popular typical Dutch stroopwafels and original Gouda cheese there's going to be a stroopwafel baking session and a cheese tasting.  I'm especially looking forward to the tasting as this is not your mainstream cheese experience. Really curious what the participants think of it!

Artisanal workshops in the heart of Holland

It’s hard to picture Golden Age Gouda being full of workshops. Every second shop had some connection with Dutch crafts. Large factories outside of the city brought the production of Gouda ceramics and candles to another level. The small artisanal shops in Gouda’s historical centre went broke. The clay pipe industry simply went up in smoke with the invention of the cigar and later the cigarette. As the last craftsmen turn grey and there are no successors, the old Dutch crafts simply vanish.

Local Gouda festivals celebrating Dutch heritage

Or, is there still a spark of life? Gouda is proud of its candles, ceramics and clay pipes. On Ascension day a large ceramics festival is held on the market square. It’s not just Gouda craftsmen and -women who show ceramics is still alive and kicking, people from all around the world come show their pottery.

In December Gouda lights it candles in the Gouda by Candlelight event. The city hall lights up real Gouda candles and locals living on the market put their best candles on the windowseal.

And the clay pipes? There is a great Erasmus festival on his birthday in October. It’s a jolly and folly Saturday with all locals proudly showing the Dutch heritage. All Gouda products are put into the spotlight.

arts & crafts tour Gouda ambachten groep Verita's Visit events uitjes

Apart from the cheese and stroopwafels, clay pipes are the only elements of Dutch culture I will work with in the personalised Gouda team event in June. The Thursday market has a stall with ceramics and clay pipes. It looks o so fragile though, so I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to add an activity here. Maybe at the oldest tobacco shop in Gouda, which still has a great display of clay ánd wooden pipes...


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Where is the best windmill in The Hague - Delft?

Woosh woosh woosh. The typical Dutch flat land is great for cycling except for when there's wind. And there always is wind. Always. So, it took me some time to get here, but here I am. On the dike, next to the best windmill in The Hague - Delft. And I have to say: this giant typical Dutch icon is making a terrible noise.

Delft windmill molen fietstocht gids bike tour Verita's VisitPeek inside a Dutch windmill

There are several opportunities per year to visit a Dutch windmill and have a look inside. Most popular are the industrial windmills in Zaanse Schans, near Amsterdam and the polder windmills in Unesco heritage site Kinderdijk, near Rotterdam.  If you want to meet more locals and get a more authentic experience keep your eyes open for a National Heritage Day or a National Windmill  Day. In my humble opinion the regional windmill days are even better. Take the Westland windmill day for instance. It is your chance to live the life of a miller in the best windmill in The Hague - Delft.

flour windmill Delft bike tour molentocht fiets groepsuitje Verita's VisitSmell Dutch delicacies at Delft windmill

She's a tough lady. No matter how the landscape around her changes, Windmill de Roos in Delft stands tall.  She's been here for ages. Not at exactly the same spot, she has been moved a few metres to the left, a few metres to the right when new roads or new railway tracks were created. And now, after the construction of the underground railway, she's earned her spot along a wide cycling path.  For your great view on the city, go here. At least, that's what they say. I am afraid of heights and the steep stairs will garantee I stay with both feet on the ground. When my participants climb up to the windmill's deck I  follow the flour dust to the small shop. As I wander past the rye flour, the mixes for cakes and crumbles I can almost smell the delicious fragrances of fresh made bread and pastries. The mix for the Dutch gingerbread cookies, which they sell in winter really makes my mouth water.

Holland's best kept secrets

The best kept secrets from Holland are best kept secrets because they are either hidden from view or not that easy to reach. For the next best windmill The Hague - Delft area, leave the car at the parking and hop on a bike. One of the reasons why we cycle so much in the Netherlands is that we get everywhere. Even to the places that are not on Google Maps.

 

Cycle below the water

From the one and only flour windmill in Delft it is a 15 minutes bike ride to the Schaapweimolen. You could follow the route of the Westland floating flower parade. Essentialy that means you follow the water. Best part is where you go through a small cycling tunnel. The experience is over in the blink of an eye, so make sure you blink slowly. While you cycle in the deep dark tunnel, take a look at your right. At the deepest point you cycle below the water!

Best windmill The Hague -Delft for water management

The water level in this area is all managed by the electric pumping station you see when your eyes get used to the light again. Up you go, swirling on the bridge to cross the canal. Don't swirl to fast now. Take a moment to look out on the canal. You'll immediately see the Schaapweimolen. A few metres before are the remains of another windmill. Can you picture a row of windmills here, pumping the water from the polder land into the canal?

Meet the miller

When you visit the Schaapweimolen take your time. Many visitors take a few pictures from the outside and have a quick look inside during one of the open windmill days. If you take your time, you'll meet the miller. From the tiny window of the miller's house Wim has a good view on everyone passing by. Wim is 80 years old and quite a character.  When I ask him if he still puts the sails on the blades himself, I know I've made a mistake. He looks at me as if I just asked him if windmills can walk. Having worked at windmills for most of his life, putting the sails is like eating a sandwich with cheese. Wim is a man of little words. He'll take you inside the miller's house, where grandgrandparents would just feel at home. There are images of windmills everywhere. And, you can take a look outside of that tiny window. "Say hi to Rob" is what Wim mumbles when I tell him we're off to the Groeneveldsemolen.

local food  Verita's Visit gastronomy tour Delft region

Coffee stop on windmill route

There's more wind now, but nothing can stop me to get to my final destination, definitely on my list of  best windmill in The Hague - Delft . I've never been to the Groeneveldsemolen,  although it has a big attraction on me. I passed by when a thunderstorm was about to hit The Hague area. It looked like Jekyll and Hyde, its white side overtaken by its dark side. The cycling route from Schaapweimolen to this polder windmill leads past the tiniest village in this region: 't Woudt. It's always busy and gezellig at Koffiehuis de Hooiberg, thé place for a coffee break.

windnill The Hague Delft tour groep reis uitje event  Verita's Visit Den Haag Delft

Highspeed windmill scale models

Back on the pedals, cross the bridge and then take a right. Rob, the miller and other volunteers organise many activities for all ages on the open windmill days. Rob is so busy, I don't get a chance to talk to him today. A kid leads me to the small scale models of different windmills in the polder land. He opens each model and shows the mechanism. At a model of a flour windmill he scoops up some of the grain here, some of the flour there. "See, feel, touch' he yells through the sound of the turning blades.  The blades, wow, the blades of these models. They  turn in a high speed.  It's nothing compared to the Groeneveldsemolen itself.

Whoosh whoosh and krikkriek

The blades of this giant Dutch icon turn at a terrifying speed.  The doors of the windmill open a view into the wheel. Krikkriek. It rattles as the water runs through. The water gushes out and foam splashes everywhere. It goes without saying that I'm spellbound by the rhytms this windmill makes. Is this the best windmill The Hague - Delft?

Visit the The Hague - Delft windmills

Visit these and other windmills during National windmill Day in May or on the regional windmill day . Or, book a personalised bike tour with visit windmill. We start in The Hague, Delft or an amazing location in Westland - more than greenhouses!-

 


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January Tulip Garden in Amsterdam 2021

On Saturday January 16 we're throwing a spring party! In a central location a tulip garden in Amsterdam is especially created for this occasion.There's more than one reason why you should not miss this colorful event. Read more


Halloween in Holland - pumpkin competition

Some hollow it out, carve it and use it as Halloween decoration . Others use it in the kitchen and make fabulous curries or soup out of it. Farmers and vegetable growers use it for a contest. It is almost Halloween in Holland and the giant pumkin competion has left its trace in the Dutch countryside.

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Flower Parade Netherlands 2021 - When & Where

In spring it's time for the Flower Parade Netherlands 2021. The name in Dutch is Bloemencorso Bollenstreek.  The flower decorated floats follow a route around Keukenhof. In this post you read when the Bulb Flower Parade takes place and where you can watch it.

When does the spring flower parade Netherlands 2021 take place?

The Dutch love to celebrate flowers and color. There are many Dutch flower parades and fortunately they all take place at a different time. Every season has its own flower. The Zundert Flower Parade Netherlands 2021 takes place at the end of summer. Dahlias bloom from August till far into the autumn season. These make the perfect flowers for the Corso in Zundert.

Flower parade special behind scenes tour achter de schermen Bloemencorso dagje uit Verita's Visit

Mid-April the tulips and hyacinths bloom. Tulips are quite fragile and you won't see them that often in the Bloemencorso Bollenstreek. The hyacinths are much firmer. Besides, they can be used in different ways. You can use a full flower with stem or just a single petal as you can see in this post.

In 2021 you can view the famous street parade of the Flower Parade Bulb Region on   Saturday 17 April 2021. 18 floats decorated with spring flowers will be participating in the flower procession this year.

Verita goes behind the scenes of the flower parade from Wednesday 14 April till Friday 16 April 2021. On Friday afternoon there's a special bike tour to the evening flower parade.  Want to join her on a cycle tour or just for a visit behind the scenes?   Contact  Verita's Visit Holland for more information.

Flower parade special behind scenes 4 hour tour achter de schermen Bloemencorso mid dagje uit Verita's Visit

Where can I see the Bulb Flower Parade Netherlands 2021?

My tip of the day: go see this evening flower parade on Friday 16 April.  It's amazing and not so crowded. The nicely scented and colorfully decorated floats leave the huge hall around 2 PM. They head for Noordwijkerhout. In this cosy town they start the party at noon.

On Saturday morning 17 April around 9:30 AM the bulb flower parade starts in Noordwijk. It follows a route through the flower villages Voorhout, Sassenheim, Lisse, Hillegom, Bennebroek, Heemstede. At 21:30 the spring flower parade Netherlands 2021 ends in Haarlem.

On Sunday 18 April you can see the floats displayed on the market square of Haarlem.

Want to know where to go exactly?  Or looking for more info on the full route & timings?

In 2022 the Bulb Flower Parade will take place in the week of 18 April. 

 


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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.

 

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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