When small town boys visit the canal parade

When small town boys visit the canal parade they get hyperactive and super excited. Maybe it is the surrounding. The story about Vermeer and his secret marriage. All of a sudden they fall silent and look serious. Not for long though.

Windmill on Delft bike tour molen fietstocht Verita's Visit

Secret marriage in Delft countryside

We’ve just walked through the chapel and the group’s laughter and chitchats turn into a respectful awe. Now the three men sit opposite of me, hands supporting their heads, eyes looking straight at me. I tell them the story of protestant Vermeer and his marriage with the catholic Maria. Catholicism was forbidden in those days so they had to get married in secret in this village not far from Delft.

 

Back home in Dutch farmland

The handsome small town boys know how it feels to hide your true self and sigh. “North of New York is where I grew up, but it wasn’t like NY at all. Just farmlands. Nobody travels, everyone stays in their comfort zone.”, one says. He almost jumped up and down on the bike when we started the tour. Now he looks at the others and finds comfort in their expressions.

When Fields of Dreams meets the Big Apple

“Do you know the movie Fields of Dreams?, that’s where I’m from”. The guy who’s talking is quite the opposite of his friend. He took his time to take in the scenery while cycling. You can see he thinks before he speaks and right now he has a stern look on his face. A mix between melancholy and pride. He’s clearly goal driven: “When I was young I told my mother I wanted to live on Sesame Street. Now I live one block away from it”.   They moved from small countryside villages to the Big Apple. Dreaming of a good job, meeting like-minded people and being accepted for who they are. They succeeded and are proud of themselves. So they should be.

Delft countryside flower parade bike tour fietstocht natuur Varend corso Verita's Visit

Birthday celebration in and out of Amsterdam

These three beautiful men celebrate a birthday in Amsterdam. At their arrival they stumbled upon the first Pride parties. They’re all excited for this afternoon, when these small town boys visit the Canal Parade. An endless flow of questions runs through the air:

“Will the Canal Parade be like the one in New York , celebrated in different districts? Will it be as big?”

Juicy stories and good food in Vermeer's wedding town

They left big city Amsterdam and Pride to wonder through the countryside near Delft with me. Even if they would have liked to be at the Canal Parade the whole day, they don’t show it. Their attention is on me and that makes me feel real special. When one of them gets a flat tire, we’re all sad. I promise them beer and good local food. Their laughter and juicy stories can be heard from far away. Somehow, with some effort, we make it back to Vermeer’s wedding place. In my favorite restaurant we savor local delicacies and good beer. More stories, more questions follow. They miss their train back to Amsterdam. And the next one. And the next one. Then they decide to really make a move. Ready for Pride Amsterdam!

local food tasting gastronomy tour Delft gastronomische tour reis Verita's VisitWhen small town boys visit the canal parade

When the small town boys visit the Canal Parade, they make a trip in Delft to visit the farmlands. I’m happy they did.


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team-outing-by-bike-Leiden-windmill-Veritas-Visit-Holland

Tip for pre-meeting activity Leiden

Her whole person beams with confidence. She's to-the-point, has a great sense of responsibility and a hands-on mentality. She aims for the stars and...is new to the team. So she organises a team outing. Thé tip for a pre-meeting activity Leiden.

team-outing-by-bike-Leiden-windmill-Veritas-Visit-HollandMeeting your colleagues in real life

"Have you met each other before?" It's my favorite question when I greet a group for a teambuilding event or company outing. For me, the question is to open up conversation, get everyone talking to each other. From the group interaction I already know the answer. One of my participants was spot on when she said: "We know each other's voice".

Idea for pre-meeting activity Leiden

The power woman of this company  planned a 1-day meeting to get to know her team.  With the European headquarter in Leiden, she invited everyone to come over to the city of Rembrandt.  And she booked a bike tour as pre-meeting activity Leiden. That, I think, is a perfect idea.

Typical Dutch activity Leiden

Whether it is before a 1-day meeting or weeklong conference, an active outing is a good starting point to get to know your team. Most of the time Dutch colleagues love to do something typical Dutch like a workshop cheese making or Delft blue painting. Cycling is one on the most popular corporate outings for international companies. And a bike tour has  certain advantages.

Natural communication during team event

By doing something active the focus is on the activity itself. Communication happens more naturally. Sometimes networking feels forced. During the team activity it's mostly just small talk. The more intense conversations are kept for later.

teambuilding pre activity meeting business Verita's VisitDuring a typical Dutch cycling tour there's lot's to talk about. At least, when you're in the countryside. Although infrastructure in the Dutch cities is nice, passing busses, cyclists and pedestrians crisscrossing, might cause stress. The focus is not on the activity anymore. The only thing which is on your mind is how you'll get through this alive. Survival mode, that is. So, tip for pre-meeting activity in Leiden: go for a bike tour in the Leiden surroundings. Visit a windmill, pass by the lakes, have a drink at a castle. Talk to your colleagues from all around the world about everything you see and how that is different or the same from home.

Kasteel Castle tour Leiden groep reis Verita's Visit

What a bike ride tells about team spirit

The very very best of a bike tour as pre-meeting activity in Leiden is that you're in it together. Not everyone is born on a bicycle. The way you respond to the cycling skills of your colleague, says a lot about you as a team. Do you motivate her/ him? Do you leave him/ her behind, cycling all by him/herself or do you adjust your speed? Go for a bike ride and find out about your team's spirit!

Just curious: Do you have an idea who takes the lead in supporting the non-daily cyclists if you were to go on a cycling outing with your international team?

 


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Family Holland cheese making & windmill Leiden

A Mexican family with a passion for cheese made several stops on their Euro trip. After their workshop of parmigiano cheese making in Italy they came to the Netherlands. I took them for a workshop fresh Holland cheese making and windmill visit in Leiden area. A tasty experience!

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Verita's Visit teambuilding Delft

Meet Vermeer in Holland - From virtual museum to real life

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Workshop cheese making & stroopwafel baking Holland

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Making of Hague Peace Challenge: Palace Tour

A Hague Peace Challenge wouldn't be complete without a stop at the Peace Palace in The Hague.  To come up with a good question and a creative assignment, I wanted to visit this mustsee in The Hague again, but I needed an incentive. Then my friend Jacqueline Alders, owner of I Guide you Through The Hague  told me that the annual summer Peace Palace tours had started again.

Peace Palace The Hague front side Peace Challenge Verita's Visit
Front side Peace Palace The Hague

Guided Tour through Peace Palace

One of the main goals in my life is to find the exceptional, to get off the beaten track. A long time ago I worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One of the many departments organised a trip to the Peace Palace and, like many, I was curious to find out how the building looked from the inside. So, I went along. I remember beautiful objects, stained glasses, amazing decorations.  if you haven't done it: a guided tour through the Peace Palace is definitely worthwhile. There is no proof that I went inside; you are not allowed to take any pictures.

This statue is a gift by Chili to the Peace Palace. It represents the women, children and elderly who suffer from war.
This statue is a gift by Chile to the Peace Palace. It represents the women, children and elderly who suffer from war.

Peace Palace tour

There is a guided tour offered at the Peace Palace in which you are allowed to take pictures. It's the guided tour through the garden of the Peace Palace. Our guide Roos - what's in a name- not only told us about the flora and fauna, the landscaping and the statues, objects and plants that were given to the Peace Palace by the different nations. She also explained how shortly after the competition for the design of the Peace Palace, three garden architects were invited to compete against each other for the design of the grounds around the building. Thomas Mawson won the competition and became the designer.

Peace Palace guided tour garden Verita's Visit

Peace in the Palace Garden

In an earlier post I have tried to define peace. Mawson associated peace with balance, harmony, symmetry, soft leaves and no thorns ( except for the roses), water. While walking through the garden I thought about the the base of the Hague Peace Challenge. imaginary situation of constructing a second City of Peace and Justice in the Middle East.  I thought it would be interesting to integrate Mawson's ideas in the design of the City or in The Hague Peace Challenge itself.

If you are interested in visiting the gardens ( only in Dutch, on request in English) or the Peace Palace itself, use this link.

 I want to know more about the The Hague Peace Challenge

 

Update:  In The Hague Peace Challenge the question and creative assignment about the Peace Palace will be based on what you see and hear in the Visitor's Centre. If you are participating in the challenge, it could be a good idea to visit the centre before. Go for the opening hours to the website .


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