All Things Holland – Tulips, Cheese, Clogs and Windmills

All Things Holland – Tulips, Cheese, Clogs and Windmills

“There isn’t a single windmill owner in Holland who doesn’t have a second job, for when there is no wind.”  Johnny Ball

What comes into your mind when you think of Holland? Tulips, Cheese, Windmills and Clogs.You have to leave Amsterdam to see all these things properly. You are definitely missing out if you don’t get out to the countryside. I did such an interesting day tour with Gerk Kazemier. ( He is knowledgeable and fun. I highly recommend spending a day with him in the country.


We started at Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, the best place in the world to see tulips and spring flowers if you are there between April 1 and June 20.


‘Keukenhof’ means Kitchen Garden and in the 15th century, supplied herbs and vegetables for the Castle belonging to Countess Jacoba van Beieren.


It is now a floral world of tulips in every color imaginable.


It is the largest flower park in the world.


Each year different artists are invited to show their work which adds a quirky element to the gardens.



There is a whole spectrum of magic in bloom with new creations and formations at every turn.



Walking along the paths of the park is an extraordinary experience.



I passed many tulip fields outside Amsterdam


I was there at the beginning of April. This winter was very cold so they were not in full bloom yet but still spectacular.


The picturesque village of Edam is particularly known for its cheese covered in red or yellow wax.


The canals and reflections are worthy of any great artist .


it was once a port, but today its main trade is tourism.


Cobbled streets, storied architecture and picturesque canals spanned by centuries-old drawbridges, can be found throughout Edam.


Every scene is a picture is a perfect postcard.


Wandering around the quaint and quiet streets is a photographer’s dream.


I did not see anyone wearing clogs in Amsterdam but it is still an important part of Dutch culture. They are the oldest surviving footwear in Europe and are still used in agricultural communities.


Though now they are machine made, at the Zaanse Schans, you can see the shoes being crafted by hand. They were recyclable and when they were worn out, they were used for fuel for the fireplaces.


My favorite are the wedding clogs. When a boy wanted to get engaged, he would place a pair of beautifully carved clogs, outside the door of the girl’s home. If she took them in, they were engaged.


Zaanse Schans is really touristy and there are better places to see windmills but if you are trying to do a lot in one day it is an excellent option. They have a collection of well preserved eighteenth and nineteenth century windmills.


The windmills are actually beautifully working mills that perform various functions including a sawmill, paint mill, oil mill and mustard mill.


I didn’t know that windmills were used to make paint pigments out of raw materials. The De Kat mill at Zaanse Schans is believed to be the only remaining paint making windmill. The huge grindstones inside crush the limestone into a fine powder and pack it with natural pigments.


It is paint used by the Dutch artists during the Golden Age of Painting.


It is the paint used to fix old paintings and the paint that Rembrandt used.

Who does not want a picture with a windmill in Holland? Sometimes even I have to drop my nothing fazes me New Yorker attitude and be a geeky tourist.


Fly safe,

Art Museums In Amsterdam

Art Museums in Amsterdam

“I’ve become like one of those people I hate, the sort who go to the museum and, instead of looking at the magnificent Brueghel, take a picture of it, reducing it from art to proof. It’s not “Look what Brueghel did, painted this masterpiece” but “Look what I did, went to Rotterdam and stood in front of a Brueghel painting!” David Sedaris

The best place to start exploring art in Amsterdam is the Rijksmuseum.


Many of Johannes Vermeer’s paintings are housed in the Rijksmuseum and though Girl With A Pearl Earring is in the Hague there is a lot to see. Several Rembrandt paintings are there including Night Watch. There are many rooms devoted to Dutch painters. Allow a few hours.


The passageway at the Rijksmuseum has the best outdoor acoustics in the city. Many professional musicians come there to practice. It is definitely worth a walk through.


The Van Gogh Museum is a crowd pleaser . Visit during the week to avoid the crowds.


However, it’s still worth wading through floods of tourists for a chance to get up close to so many recognizable works of art crafted by such a complicated fascinating man.

Sex sells . Easy Virtue explores artists’ fascination with prostitution in Paris in the second half of the 19th and start of the 20th centuries.


It was curated at the Musee D’Orsay in Paris and is now showing at the Van Gogh museum till June. It is confrontational, interesting and beautiful. It is filled with unanswered questions, double standards, hints and clues. Amsterdam with its red light district is a good city for this exhibition.


The Stedelijk Museum is also located in Museumplein with the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum and is usually overshadowed by them . All three museums are worth visiting because they represent different aspects of Dutch art. The Stedelijk focuses on modern artistic movements and is definitely worth a visit.


If you are a photography fan or not, the Foam Museum is a cool place to go. They always have fascinating exhibitions and change them often.


It is a large and interesting space with a great gallery and bookstore. It could be one of the best photography museums in Europe.


The Rembrandt House Museum consists of a seventeenth century house, his studio and a modern shop.


He painted many of his masterpieces here.


The rooms have all been refurbished with art and furnishings of that period. The museum also own most of Rembrandt/s etchings and many are on display.


The Moco Museum just opened in Amsterdam with an exhibition of work by   Andy Warhol and Banksy.


It is located also in Museumplein and is hoping to reach a larger younger audience. It opened the day I left and I really wanted to see this.


There is a lot of art in Amsterdam. So do some research and decide where you want to go or randomly walk into a museum or gallery that looks interesting. You won’t be disappointed.

Fly safe,


Nine Reasons To Visit Amsterdam That Don’t Involve Smoking Pot And One That Does

Nine Reasons To Visit Amsterdam That Don’t Involve Smoking Pot And One That Does

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.” John Green

Amsterdam is  probably the best place to visit a coffee shop since this is perfectly legal.You are allowed to buy other drugs as well, but you will have to find someone on the street. If you’re not sure whether a pill you bought is good, you can send it to the government for free and they will test it for you and send it back.

The Diary Of Anne Frank was the most important book I have ever read. It was how I learned about the holocaust and maybe even love. It hit me hard. There are long queues for The Anne Frank House if you don’t get advance tickets. . Get your tickets online before you go. It is a bucket list things for me.

Photos of rainbow carpeted flower fields and bunches of tulips are the iconic symbol of the Netherlands. A short ride away from Amsterdam in Lisse is the Keukenhof Gardens. From March to May tourists, visit this beautiful flower park. I might catch a few windmills on the way.

Amsterdam is a pioneer in green and eco-friendly cities. it is listed as one of the fifteen safest cities in the world.

Watch out for cyclists. The city is famous for bikes. It is a healthy and easy way to see the city.

The Dutch love their street markets. Every day of the week you will find vendors setting up stalls somewhere in the city. There are different markets for antiques, art, produce, fashion and vintage. There is something for everyone at Amersterdam’s markets.

Gouda and Edam are among my many favorite cheeses. There are five traditional cheese markets in the Netherlands. I’m planning to go to one.

Canals are everywhere. Getting around can be a bit confusing because everything sort of looks the same. ( especially after you visit the coffee shops) . It gives the city a unique and beautiful atmosphere.

Amsterdam’s most famous and unique tourist site is the red light district. Whatever your opinion of women on sale in windows, you won’t see it anywhere else. Pictures are forbidden and your camera will be confiscated if it is seen.

There are plenty of museums to check out as well. The Van Gogh museum has permanent queues in front of it, to see some beautiful paintings by the most famous Dutch artist of all time – even if he wasn’t well known at all in his lifetime. The “Potato Eaters” is there. The Rijksmuseum is huge and needs several hours to go through and has many paintings by Vermeer and Rembrandt.

Goede reis,