Probably the first thing that comes to our minds after hearing the name of this country is sex, drugs and rock&roll. Yes, you can find all three and more in Holland, but let’s not judge the book by its cover – there is so much more to discover! This time The Uppers invite you to open your mind, get a little bit tipsy and have a different kind of fun in The Netherlands.
The Venice of Holland
Giethoorn is the Dutch village that has no roads and no modern transportation at all. Founded in 1230, this amazing town is considered to be the most peaceful and the greenest place in the country. If you want to forget your busy lifestyle, disconnect from the modern world and see something different, this is the best place to go. People there use ‘’whisper boats’’ to get from one place to another, which have noiseless engines. The loudest sounds that you can hear there could probably be the quacking of a duck. Giethoorn only has canals and even 176 bridges. Yes! – 176! When the postman delivers the mail he travels by punt – a long, narrow flat-bottomed boat. But it wouldn’t be in the Netherlands if there’s no fun. You can rent a small electric boat that requires no great technical skill to manage and enjoy this experience at its fullest. Most of the canal restaurants offer you this Giethoornalous way to spend an afternoon gently floating the narrow waterways under gracefully arching bridges. In case you feel safer with your feet on the ground – footpaths beside the canals are ideal for walking or cycling and there is a wide selection of cafes and restaurants in the area. Of course – very different from the ones in the centre of Amsterdam, but something different is what we are looking for, right?
Jenever for a toast?
Dutch people probably have the same amount of words for Jenever as the Eskimos have for snow. It has been Holland’s national spirit since the 17th century. If you are thirsty for the real Dutch experience, trying the Dutch gin is a must. The best gin brands are the 3 best results from a testing session: 1.Hartevelt 2. Ketel 3. Jonge Bols.
Served in a tall, slender glass it has to be filled up with Jenever so much that is has a so called ‘head’ (de ‘kop’). The ‘head’ has to be drunk by leaning towards the glass avoiding to spill the precious drink. Do it like the locals – never drink a Jenever as a shot! Enjoy it slowly, it’s all about the taste of the magic! If you are interested in trying different types of Jenever, you can find small and cosy tasting rooms in Amsterdam – sounds like a great start for an adventure and don’t worry – what happens in Amsterdam, stays in Amsterdam, cheers (Proost in Dutch, might be useful ☺).
Everybody knows that Holland can offer the finest cheese, but Gouda cheese is the most known and eaten cheese in the whole world, that’s why the city where it originates from – Gouda is called the cheese capital of the Netherlands. It’s not a secret that the Dutch are very good at trading, they have been trading the cheese in the city of Gouda for ages. This tradition is still alive nowadays – the Gouda cheese market is held every year where the farmers negotiate over the price with the traders and the deal is still sealed with a handshake, as it has been for centuries. Visit and discover Gouda yourself, everything is within walking distance. Have a walk through the picturesque streets, take a break on a cosy terrace (yes, the Dutch find the way to keep them in autumn or even winter) and have some Gouda cheese, we are pretty sure you will love it!
The Tulip Mania
Freshness, colours and freedom – this is how the beauty of a tulip can be described. Originally cultivated in the present-day Turkey, tulips were imported to Holland in the sixteenth century. They became so popular that the first economic bubble known as ‘’Tulip Mania’’ was created. As people bought up bulbs, they become so expensive that they were used as money. Nowadays, Holland is still famous for its tulips and can be called ‘’the flower shop of the world’’. If you are in Holland during spring, you will definitely see the colourful tulip carpets in the fields of the highways, don’t miss the chance to stop and admire this beauty for a moment, we can promise you – it’s magic! However, there is one specific place where you can find the rarest and the most beautiful tulips – Keukenhof. Located in the south of Haarlem, Keukenhof is the largest flower garden in the world. The images speak for themselves:
Koningsdag or Orange is the New Black
The Dutch people know how to party and they love it, they know how to turn every single event into celebration, but the King’s Day (Koningsdag in Dutch) is the biggest and the craziest of all. King’s Day is when the Dutch celebrate the birthday of their king. King Willem Alexander was born on the 27th of April and so there are many parties, flea markets and, of course, the king himself visits one or several cities with his family. The locals and the visitors soak up the whole country and enjoy the biggest open-air fun. It doesn’t matter where you go – the streets, canals, parks and everywhere in between is coloured with orange.
It is because the Dutch royal family bears the name: House of Oranje. This literally means the colour orange. As a result it has become Holland’s national colour. On Koningsdag people wear orange clothes, orange wigs and even orange make-up. Involve yourself into the royal orange fun – next King’s Day celebration in Holland sounds like a fun plan!
In the end, it doesn’t matter where you go or what you do, your mindset is all that matters. Don’t believe in stereotypes, clichés and don’t judge anything by its cover, even if it’s a country or a person – discover. Life can be tough sometimes, but it actually is what we make it. So take time to travel, to discover and to breathe the freshness of the new adventures and the diversity of everything! Be yourself, because only this way you will be different!
The Uppers wishes you to breathe – breathe as much as possible, it’s what keeps you alive!