Vermeer tour Delft holiday

Sleeping in Delft during Pentecost

Early Saturday morning. A couple of students wake you up by loudly ringing their bicycle bells right in front of your door. This way sleeping in Delft during Pentecost is impossible!  With the sanddust stil in your eyes, you look outside. The group carries big crates of Dutch doughnut look-a-likes. Your curiosity is sparked & you decide to follow them.

Whitsun sleepy head

In West Holland the Saturday before Whit Sunday is known as Luilak. It was an exciting day for young people. They rose early morning to make noise, shake up the city and wake up those who were sleeping long and being lazy – the so called ‘luilakken’. It was the time to say goodbye to winter, clean the house and welcome spring. There was no room for lazy people.

Morning Delft countryside tour Verita's Visit
Early morning view over Delft church from countryside

Sleeping in Delft for the holidays

In the 19th century this was still a decent festivity, if you came to work late, you had to buy your colleagues some drinks. That was it. Like any celebration, Luilak took on a different form as time went by. Just like New Year’s Day nowadays, the youngsters started disbehaving. Riots & vandalism became a common sight on the Saturday morning before Whit Sunday. There was no way to get any rest in any of the cities where the celebration. Government & municipalities looked for solutions, created their own parades and bonfires.  Sleeping in Delft during Pentecost became a challenge and while a group of Delftians lay awake at night an idea emerged.

Delft tour start historical centre Verita's Visit daytrip
No youngsters waking you up in Delft anymore

Food is the solution to sleeping well in Delft

For centuries bakeries made a special treat for Pentecost: de luilakkenbol, a sweet bun similar to a Dutch doughnut. This group of Delftians came up with the idea to create a parade for the youngsters. At the end a full load of luilakbollen would be thrown on top of them. It became a huge success and it was the start of an annual Delft festival called the Delft Bun Saturday or Delftse bollenzaterdag.

Nowadays Luilak is not celebrated any more. Its means sleeping in Delft during Pentecost is relaxed and quiet. The luilakbol is not sold by Delft bakers. But, you can make them yourself, they're similar to the English scone.

Vermeer tour Delft holiday
Pouring the milk like Vermeer's maid in Delft

Recipe for Pentecost luilakbol

  • 40 grams of yeast
  • 500 grams of flour ( of which 2/3 wheat flour and 1/3 rye flour)
  • 250 grams of milk
  • 10 grams of salt
  • 20 grams of brown sugar
  • 50 grams of butter
  • 300 grams of raisins
  • 100 grams of currants
  • tea spoon of cinnamon
My homemade luilakbol. Will you show me yours?

Step by step making of Delft bun

Mix the yeast with 4 spoons of lukewarm milk. Take the flour and mix it with the salt and sugar. Then make a little whole in the middle of the flour. Pour the melted butter in the yeast mix and add this to the flour. Knead until you have a smooth dough. Cover with a clean cloth and leave it to rise for 30 minutes.

Wash the raisins and currants and make sure they're dry. Then add them to the risen dough with the cinnamon. Knead and leave to rise for 15 minutes. Set the oven on 240°C.  Out of the dough, make buns of about 60 grams. Put them on a well-buttered baking tray, cut each bun on 4 sides.  Leave to rise for another 15 minutes. Then brush them with egg and bake them for 15 minutes.  Eat them with butter and syrup (or jam).


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Sources of inspiration:

https://www.bakkersinbedrijf.nl/recept_artikelen/recept-luilakbollen

https://www.maxvandaag.nl/sessies/themas/terug-naar-toen/luilak-het-uitstervende-kwajongensfeest/

https://www.beleven.org/feest/luilak

 

 

 


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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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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.

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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.

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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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Half day team event Hague area

Pack your bags! You’re going on a trip to the Netherlands. The grand finale: a half day team event Hague area with your work team. After a couple of days of trainings and workshops in the company’s Dutch headquarter you and your international colleagues head out for adventure!

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Boat race corporate event Gouda area

Relaxing or active half day team event around The Hague

The global organisation you work for has given you carte blanche for a half day team event The Hague. It’s up to you and your team to decide if you want to do an active event or something relaxing. It could be a workshop Delft blue painting or a boat race on the Leiden lakes.

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Due to time differences it’s not easy to get your team members from US, UK, Europe and South Africa together in a meeting to discuss the subject of the trainings in the Dutch headquarter or the content of the company outing on the last day. So, emails go back and forth and you manage to set up a call  with some of the colleagues who have been in the team for a while now.

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Dutch culture activities in cities around the Hague

These hardcore team-building event participants have quite some suggestions.  One of  them reminds you: “We’ve done a canal cruise in Leiden a few years ago and a cooking workshop in The Hague”. “The activity should definitely something fun. I don’t mind traveling outside of The Hague, see a different city” another colleague writes in a email. After a while yet another colleague adds:

“Indeed! See a bit of the area, would love it if we could incorporate some Dutch culture. Food would be great too.” 

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Fun group activity on Dutch food

Food does give an extra dimension to a group activity, you think. After having gathered all suggestions, you have an idea of what kind of half day team event Hague area could look like. After the trainings and workshops you don’t want to have to think too much. So, it should be a fun and relaxing outing. It should not take too long either. Some kind of tour in a historical city not far from The Hague to absorb the Dutch culture and maybe add something food-related.  Could you combine it with a local festival or typical Dutch event that already takes place?


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Leiden cheese and dairy cycling route

Millions of visitors head to Gouda to taste the Holland cheese. That’s a shame, because in Leiden area you can find some real tasty farmer cheeses. Today we cycle the Leiden cheese and dairy route. It takes us to a family farm where they make cheese from cow ánd goat. In the Netherlands this is quite unique.

Where to rent a kids bike in Leiden?

The bike ride starts at Leiden Centraal train station where you can rent an OV- fiets, a regular bike or electric bike. Do you have small children? Unfortunately they do not rent out kids bikes or child seats at the train station. The nearest bike rental shop which rents out children’s bicycles is 3.5km away. I usually ask them to deliver them to the train station or ask my participants to come to the cycle rental shop.

These Swedes taught me a saying: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing"

Leiden water & the Roman canal

Leiden has 28km of water ways. For me, one of the most impressive canals is the Rijn-Schiekanaal, which starts in Rotterdam and leads all the way to Leiden. Some say Roman general Corbulo dug a canal at exactly the same place in the 1st century AC.

Polder & café

Cycle towards this canal and cross it. You should now be in front of the Park Cronesteyn. This is a beautiful polder park, meaning it’s a piece of reclaimed land. The Leiden municipality has created different zones in which you can see the different essential elements of the park: water, marsh land and forest. Many walking- and cycling paths run through the park and you’ll see that they’ll all lead to my favorite bio local café in Leiden area: De Tuin van de Smid, a polderoasis.

After you’ve eaten the delicious home made apple pie, it’s hard to get back on the bicycle. Do try, because there’s so much more too see (and taste).

From dairy farm to church

familie fietstocht gids leiden kaas & lekkernijen
Polder path in Leiden countryside

Cross the big bridge over the A4 and head towards Zoeterwoude Dorp. From here you'll spot the Leiden cheese and dairy farms.  You could now follow the Noordbuurtse & Zuidbuurtseweg. It’s more fun though to take one of the cycle paths that run through the polders. You’ll cycle past small canals, between meadows full of grazing cows, horses and sheep. In the past, these paths were created for farmers to quickly get to church. They are also referred to as ‘kerkpaden’ (church paths).

One of these very small and challenging paths leads to a windmill. You’ll have a view on the Heineken brewery as well. You’re now in Weipoort. Weipoort is Leiden cheese heaven.

Butter and Leiden cheese

When Gouda made name as Cheese City, Leiden was known for the production of butter. Of the skimmed milk that was left after making butter, they made cheese. This is why the original Leiden cheese does not contain as much fat as Gouda cheese, but is a much lighter cheese ( 20+ fatt)

The taste of Leiden cheese is also much more subtle, which is why Leiden cheese farmers add herbs to create a richer taste.

melk fietstocht dairy & cheese tasting tour Leiden area omgeving
A glass of fresh milk
Farmers cheese in one hand, glass of milk in the other

Local Leiden cheese and dairy farm shops

On the Weipoortseweg you’ll find several Leiden cheese farmers. Most of them have started making full fat Gouda cheeses and in their local cheese shops sell both Leiden as well as Gouda cheese. At most of the farms you can also buy other dairy products and local products such as eggs or juices.

familie rondleiding kaasboerderij fietstocht Verita's Visit bike cheese farm guided tour family
Tour with the Leiden cheese maker

The Leiden family- run farm

Our last stop of today is located near the Zoetermeer lake Noord Aa. This is a complete family friendly farm where you can pet and feed goats, pigs, cows and other farm animal. They do guided tours and cheese making workshops as well. A great stop to have lunch or swap the bicycle for a canoe.

Leiden cheese tour Verita's Visit kaasboerderij uitje

Bye bye cow! A kiss to you!

 

 

To get back to Leiden, either take the Zuidbuurtseweg or go a bit more west and find the Rijn Schiekanaal.


Want to have this route

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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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Impressions Flower Parade Westland Day

The last years I've seen the floating Flower Parade Westland on Delfland day, the last day of this local festival in South Holland. It was like a tradition, you could find me near the Schaapwei mill in Rijswijk, near 't Haantje and later on near the Nieuwe Plantage in Delft.  This year I wanted to see the boats decorated with flowers, fruit and vegetables at the start. I chose the Westland day on Saturday for a special reason.

Picnic time at Flower Parade Westland
Picnic time at Flower Parade Westland

Flower Parade Westland, it is a Dutch celebration

What I like about the Dutch is the way they turn a local festival like the Flower Parade Westland into a full day family outing. Early morning they load their stuff on their bikes or in the trunk of the car and head to their perfect spot to see the flower and vegetable decorated boats pass by. They reach their destination far before the start of the parade and then settle. Take out their foldable chairs, their picnic material, put their children on a blanket with some toys, give their dog a bone and then they're set.

Colourful boat supporting sick children.
Colourful boat supporting sick children.

Now I've followed their example and the last years I've taken my picknick basket. Then I discovered that on Saturday, the Flower Parade Westland Day there were all sorts of small local markets in the Westland towns. So, I decided I would buy some Westland produced local fruit and vegetables on the way. After the first stop, Sonnehoeck, a historical grape grower I became more and more excited. Everywhere were these stalls where you could buy tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With my basket loaded with all kind of yummie stuff I cycled to the start of the Flower Parade, the Trade Park Westland where the first decorated boats where already passing by.  A man saw my basket and a big smile came on his face. Turned out he had worked at a grape nursery in the Westland as a teenager and had a summer job in picking tomatoes. That was before he moved to the east of the country where he met his Chinese wife, who simply is delighted to see all the boats. He brings her to the Flower Parade Westland every year and while she is enjoying the decoration, memories flash through his mind. Love the way you can so easily get in contact with people during a local festival. And, at the Flower Parade Westland you'll find out a lot of the spectators have some kind of personal link to the festival.

Close up artistic creation Westland Flower Parade winner
Close up artistic creation Westland Flower Parade winner

I took my picknick basket and found a spot on top of a bridge, which offered quite a different perspective and from there took some pictures and some vids. The vids can be found on my Instagram account.

This boat even used flowers in the costumes!
This boat even used flowers in the costumes!
This decorated boat is my favourite. Love the mix of vegetables and flowers
This decorated boat is my favourite. Love the mix of vegetables and flowers

 

In 2021 the Westland flower parade will take place in July


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