Liberation Day

Liberation Day is a national holiday in The Netherlands celebrated each year on the 5th of May. We celebrate the liberation of The Netherlands from WWII in 1945 as well as the liberation of, then named, Nederlands-Indie. On the 5th of May, The Netherlands will also reflect on the value of freedom, democracy and human rights. The government chose this date because on that day the Germans capitulated.

History
The German army surrendered on this day in 1945, bringing the Second World War to an end for The Netherlands. Since then, The Netherlands has strived to be the capital of freedom, independence and tolerance. To celebrate its continual liberation and societal freedoms, various activities and events are planned throughout the city.

Events
The Liberation Festivals are taking place across the country and have extensive musical programs and big-name acts relating to the theme freedom. At various spots in the city you will find Dutch band and international musicians and DJs.

This year Liberation Day is celebrated differently due to the COVID-19 measures. Liberation Day is celebrated on Bevrijdingsfestivals.nl. The 14 Liberation Festivals offer a joint online programme of more than 200 performances and activities on Liberation Day.

The Liberation Concert takes place in Carré Theatre and is broadcast live on NPO1.

King’s Day

What?
King’s Day, previously known as Queen’s Day, is a national holiday within The Netherlands and is celebrated every year on 27th of April. On King’s Day The Netherlands is turning ‘oranje’ (orange) to celebrate HRH King Willem Alexander’s birthday (27th of April). Everyone is covered head to toe in ‘oranje’ (orange) as a sign of pride for the Dutch Royal family, the House of Oranje-Nassau. On King’s Day, the King and his family, visit a municipality with a central function in the region. The Royal Family will participate in the celebration, whereby the city and the surrounding places can present themselves in a festive and characteristic way. This can be done with a parade, with musical performances and with contributions from associations and organizations that are rooted in the city and region. In addition, the Royal Family meets the public along the route.

History
On August 31st, 1885, the first Princess Day was celebrated in The Netherlands on the occasion of the fifth birthday of Princess Wilhelmina. This day was the precursor to Queen’s Day. In 1891 the first Queen’s Day was celebrated and on 31st of August 1902 Queen’s Day became a national celebration day. After Wilhelmina’s daughter, Juliana, succeeded to the throne in 1949, the day was changed to the 30th of April in accordance with the new Queen’s birthday. When Juliana’s daughter, Beatrix, became queen she decided to retain the day in honour of her mother. In 2014, Beatrix son Willem-Alexander became king, he changed the date to his own birthday and the national day became King’s Day.
Activities in Amsterdam
On King’s Day Amsterdam streets are filled with all-day festivals with markets, music, laughter and cheer (and Heineken beer!)
Vrijmarkt
As a city built on trade, ‘Amsterdammers’ love to haggle and bargain. The Vrijmarkt (literally ‘free market’) gives everyone the chance to sell their second-hand things on the streets and parks of Amsterdam, creating one of the world’s largest flea markets.
Top 3 Festival’s in Amsterdam

  • Kingsland Festival
  • Loveland van Oranje
  • Oranjebloesem

What to do this year?
King’s Day looks different this year. We are all staying at home and celebrating the King’s birthday indoors this year. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do this year. First of all, for Amsterdammers there is Vondelpark Live (vondelpark.live). You walk through the digital Vondelpark and can admire young Amsterdammers performing musical and other acts. In the evening, there is the online Koningsdagconcert by The Streamers. You can order a free ticket via thelivestreamers.nl.

Moreover, the ‘vrijmarkt’ will be held online. There are several sites where you can simply lay down your digital rug this year.

On koningsdageindhoven.nl you can compile your own ideal Koningsdag. With performances, art and culture on various digital stages. The princesses can be seen in a talk show for and by young people. You can watch the visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima to Eindhoven between 11:00 and 13:00 on NPO1 and via koningsdageindhoven.nl.

 

We are open!

Yes! After a long winter, we’re beyond excited that our Secluded Garden Terrace will reopen next week.

The best cocktails will be served in our Secluded Garden. Our Head Bartender has crafted a new cocktail menu and is excited to share these new creations. Which cocktail will you order first? Try for example our ‘Blindsided’, a cocktail which is finally rewarded after a long winter, with Cachaca, Rose, Vermouth, Lime and Egg White. Or do you prefer a more spicy cocktail? Go for ‘Lady Birch’ with Birch Vodka, Birch Water, Cider, Ginger, Mint and Birch Smoke.

Rather drink a glass of wine? Try our High Wine, several wines accompanied with bites!

Make your reservation today!

 

The perfect 48 hours in Amsterdam by Michael Wigman

Day 1

What is a better way to start the day than with breakfast at Moak Pancakes? And if you’re a not really a breakfast person, crab a coffee at Koffiespot at the Elandsgracht.

Nothing is more Dutch than cycling, so get on your bike and cycle along the shops and maybe stop by one of my favourite shops: Hutspot, Samsoe & Samsoe, X Bank, Baskets. When you are tired of cycling, have some food and drinks at De Leeuw Zuren, The Cow Project, Ebbe Groenten, Vindict, Ton Overmars or De Logie!

There’s no better way to get to know Amsterdam than by boat. Have a boat tour with Nico and get lunch at Bar Brasserie OCCO to eat on the boot. When you set foot on the ground again, go to Foam and continue with an art gallery tour. After, get on your bike again and cycle to the Foodhallen for some late afternoon drinks and local delicacies and end the evening with dinner at Scheepskameel, Kien, Kaagman&Kortekaas or Gebr. Hartering. If you don’t want the night to be over yet, have some late-night drinks at Club NL or Paradiso!

Day 2

Again, start your day with some good breakfast at Berry. If you need a coffee after yesterday’s late-night, I would recommend Lot 61.

Bike through the city to explore the small streets, take a break at one of the benches on the canal side and see the boats go by. Got hungry? Have an early lunch at New King, an authentic Chinese restaurant in the heart of Amsterdam. To make the day complete, visit a match from Ajax at the Johan Cruyff Arena. The stadium is best reached via public transport.

Today we dine at Par Hasard, where everything is possible. From fries with mayonnaise at the bar to a 4-course dinner with the most delicious wines. And if you are looking for the perfect brown bar to end the evening, look no further. Let’s go to Café de Doffer in the Runstraat and when the lights in the pub turn on, it is time to go home.

The Perfect 48 Hours In Amsterdam by Stewart Rowberry

Day 1

The 3 best ways to navigate Amsterdam is by walking, bike or by boat. The city has a very good public transport system but there is so much more to see on foot. After breakfast, head down the Keizersgracht, taking in the beautiful Dutch architecture on reaching the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat (the antique neighbourhood) turn right and head towards the Rijksmuseum. In a short walk from the Rijksmuseum, (depending on your taste) there are also the following museums: Moco, Van Gogh & the Stedelijk (please buy your tickets online with a time slot) 2 hours would be sufficient in each museum.

Looking for some great lunch options? Check out MOMO, Rijks, the Seafood brasserie or the hotel Conservatorium Brasserie.

Once the second museum is completed walk towards the Pijp and maybe have a drink in one of the numerous cafe/bars by the Albert Cuyp market or stroll through the market and try and find a bargain. When you turn left at the end of the market continue walking till you reach the Utrechtsestraat, a lovely shopping street with clothing stores, delicatessen, music (cd & lps) and restaurants. this will automatically bring you to the Rembrandsplein with it’s sculpture of the Nachtwacht and it’s Grand cafes and bars. If you prefer a typical brown cafe continue walking to Spui and sample a Dutch beer and “bitterballen” at Cafe Hoppe (one of the oldest brown bars in Amsterdam). Dinner after a long day can be enjoyed with a short walk to the following: Johannes, Bussia, Sagardi, Indonesian Kitchen, Breda, MOMO and Kaagman &Kortekaas.

Day 2

Why not rent a bike and see the city as a “Amsterdammer”, cycle to the Jordaan and visit the Anne Frank museum. Then bike through the canals and the interlocking streets to get a real feel of Amsterdam life and take coffee or lunch by the Westerstraat / Lindengracht at one of the many cafes, Cafe Thyssen, Daalder, Boca, Pancake Bakery….. Afterwards bike to the 9 Streets which consists of Amsterdam’s boutique stores of local designers and others, Samsoe Samsoe, Hester Van Eeghen, Cowboys To Catwalk, Skins, Replay, Felippe K, Kaaskamer ….

At the end of the day, you have to of course experience Amsterdam by water, take a boat trip with Captain Nico for at least 1,5 hours to get the perfect experience and he will explain the Amsterdam history whilst you enjoy a glass of wine from his excellent wine list or maybe something non-alcoholic onboard his beautiful antique salon boat. Dinner can be enjoyed at the hotel restaurant Vinkeles, restaurant 212, Incanto, Izakaya.

Amsterdam’s best kept secrets: Coffee (to go) hot spots, recommended by locals.

When all restaurants are closed, where to get your daily dose of caffeine? There are many coffee spots in Amsterdam where you can get your coffee to go. We have listed the best coffee spots:

Koffiespot, Elandsgracht 53
A small espresso bar in the heart of Jordaan.

Lot Sixty-One, Kinkerstraat 112
The little Lot Sixty One shop on the corner of Kinkerstraat is always buzzing. Pass by for a good strong coffee and some tasty treats. At lot Sixty One they roast their own beans in house!

Pluk, Reestraat 19 & Berenstraat 19
A happy, healthy place full of delicious coffees and food.

Bocca, kerkstraat 96
Bocca is a coffee roasting company that delivers coffee beans to various coffee shops in Amsterdam, but they have their own coffee bar as well! At Bocca they know how to make the best coffees!

Monks Coffee Roasters, Bilderdijkstraat 46
As the name already reveals, here they roast their own beans.

The perfect 48 hours in Amsterdam by Joeki Genet

Day 1

Best thing after waking up is to treat yourself with a coffee in Oud West at “Trakteren”. Stroll through the nine streets in direction of Spui and visit the American book center or Hoogstins Bookstore in the Kinkerstraat. Feeling a bit hungry? Enjoy some sourdough bread at Bakery Levain et le vin or if you prefer bagels, try one at Flo’s Appetizing!

Rent a bike and cycle towards the Noordermarkt. At Saturdays it is worth to visit the Farmers Market for fresh biological products or go around the corner to the Lindengrachtmarkt for your weekend groceries.  On Monday morning the Noordermarkt has flea market for vintage clothing and other unique products.

Have a delicious sandwich at Smallworld or sit on the terrace of Café Thijssen and order a “tosti”.  In the mood for a local beer? Café de Tuin in the Jordaan is perfect to have some drinks with friends before you go to an early concert at Melkweg or Paradiso. Of course an Ajax match at the Johan Cruyff Arena can’t be missed from the list.  Have dinner after at  Kien at Witte the Withplein and end the evening in Cafe ‘t Loosje or Club NL.

 

Day 2

In need of a good coffee to start this day? Take a coffee to go at Lot61 and visit one of the many boutiques in the 9-streets or one of my favourite shops; Fillipa K, Baskets, Sneaker District, Paul Smith. If you would like to take something home for your loved ones, buy some flowers at the Pompon or go to the Logie for a beautiful bottle of wine. Reload during brunch at Wilhelmina and try the Reuben or Floris sandwich! After, take a long walk in the beautiful Vondelpark or just sit on a bench an watch the day go by. Have some “bitterballen” or a Special beer at Brewery ‘t Ij / Blauwe Theehuis. Too early for a beer? They have some delicious hot chocolate as well.

Bar Parry is a perfect bar to start your evening with some good wine and some snacks. For dinner go to the Golden Brown bar which is one of the hottest spots on the Westside of Amsterdam and it’s known for their good Thai food. Or if you are a fan of Ramen, try some at Betsubara or Otemba!

 

The Founding Fathers in The Netherlands

Pilgrim to President
The Pilgrims were originally English Protestants who, fleeing England from the strict rule of the Anglican state church, lived and worked in Leiden from 1609 to 1620. Later the Pilgrims travelled on to North America: the ‘New World’. Thanksgiving Day is still celebrated there every year, in memory of their hardships and ultimate salvation. The influence of the Pilgrims on the later United States has been great. Just take the fact that as many as seven American presidents descended directly from the Leiden Pilgrims!

Leiden, City of Refugees
Leiden is known as the City of Refugees. Throughout history, Leiden has provided shelter to people who were no longer welcome elsewhere. In the seventeenth century the population of Leiden grew from over 20,000 to 70,000 in a short period of time. In the twentieth century as many as three out of four inhabitants of Leiden descended from a refugee. The Pilgrims found a safe haven in Leiden.

Where did the Pilgrims come from?
In the early 17th century the English Calvinists were persecuted by Queen Elisabeth and her successor James I. Especially those who wanted to secede from the Anglican state church, the so-called separatists, had a hard time. Around 1608 a number of them fled to Holland, where relative religious freedom prevailed. They fled by boat from the coast between Grimsby and Hull. The refugees were picked up by a Dutch skipper off shore and ended up in Amsterdam, and from there in Leiden. After a stay of more than eleven years in Holland, some of the refugees emigrated as pilgrims to North America between 1620 and 1643. On the way other English joined them. In America the Pilgrims are now regarded as the Founding Fathers of the United States. As many as 9 American presidents, including Roosevelt, father and son Bush, and Obama are descended directly from them.

The Pilgrims in Leiden
A group of refugees led by John Robinson fled England in 1608, where they were persecuted for not obeying the rules of the Anglican state church. Robinson and about a hundred others submitted a request for settlement to the Leiden city council. Although permission to settle was not required, this request was answered on February 12, 1609, in the following revealing terms:

“No honorable people are free and lybre incompetent to take their place within this city…their place of residence”.

Leiden was the second city of Holland, where also the famous university was located. Robinson and his family bought a plot of land near the Pieterskerk, called the Green Gate. They built 21 houses there, so they also called the English Gate. Later (1683) the Jean Pesijnhofje was built on that spot.

Important Pilgrims were William Brewster and his adopted son William Bradford. Brewster was an elder and the most important person behind the publicity activities of the Pilgrim Press (1617-1619). He lived in a side alley of the Pieterskerkkoorsteeg, now the William Brewstersteeg. Bradford was governor of the Pilgrim Colony in America for many years. His manuscript Of Plimoth Plantation is still for us the most important source about the Pilgrims.

The Pilgrims, because they lived, worked, studied and died here, left many traces in the Leiden archives.

Departure to the ‘New World
From 1620 a part of the Pilgrims emigrated from Leiden to North America. There were several reasons for this. In the Netherlands, too, religious freedom was restricted and the threat of war increased, due to the expiration of the Twelve Year Truce with Spain in 1621. Moreover, the economic situation of the Pilgrims was not always favourable and, finally, they were afraid that their children would integrate too much into Dutch life, including the Dutch Church. As far as the latter point was concerned, they were right. More than half of the group stayed behind in Leiden and eventually merged into the local population.

Ships with history
The ships with which the Pilgrims made the crossing have become famous: Mayflower (1620), Fortune (1621), Anne and Little James (1623) and the second Mayflower (1629). After that Leiden Pilgrims still left for North America on an individual basis.

Leiden’ traditions overseas
Once arrived in North America, the Pilgrims wanted to realize their own ideals in freedom. They were looking for the most ideal form of government. In retrospect we can say that the Pilgrims have been an essential link in the formation of American society, both then and now. Their ‘Dutch’ years were one of the starting points. In the modern US, for example, we still find old ‘Leiden’ traditions.

From October 3 to Thanksgiving
After the siege of Leiden in 1574, it is customary to hold an annual service in the Pieterskerk as a thank you for the liberation of the Spaniards and the supply of food. Since then, and still today, herring and white bread are distributed in Leiden on October 3, to remember the ships with food that entered the city after Leidens Ontzetens via the Vliet. It is thought that Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims’ Feast of Thanksgiving, contains not only elements of a harvest festival, but also elements of this celebration.

Civil marriage
Civil marriage is a Dutch invention. At the end of the sixteenth century only a marriage entered into in the state church was valid. Because the Republic had a large Roman Catholic minority one could not deny marriage to almost half of the population. Those who did not belong to the state church could be married by the aldermen, the city councils of that time. The marriage could then be blessed by their own church. Only civil marriage was legally valid. The Pilgrims took the civil marriage with them to America.

Elected board
Leiden was divided into ‘bonnen’ and neighborhoods. A ‘bon’ was a city district under a board of elected councillors. The ‘bon’ took care of fire-fighting and -prevention, combating pollution, collecting special taxes and distributing money among the poor. The neighborhood provided funeral rites and other neighborhood services. The choice of civil administration can be traced back to this system as well as to the choice of ecclesiastical administrators.

Nine times from Pilgrim to President
Since the arrival of the Pilgrims to America, as many as nine of their descendants made it to president. Except for both presidents Adams, they all have a Leiden Pilgrim as an ancestor:

John Adams – 1797 – 1801
His son John Quincy Adams – 1825 – 1829
Zachary Taylor – 1849 – 1850
Ulysses S. Grant – 1869 – 1877
James A. Garfield – 1881 – 1881
Franklin D. Roosevelt – 1933 – 1945
George H.W. Bush – 1989 – 1993
George W. Bush – 2001 – 2009
Barack H. Obama — 2009 – 2017

…and as mayor of New York…
And what about Leiden-born Thomas Willett, who became the first mayor of New York? From this Pilgrim can be admired at Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken a letter he wrote on September 16, 1660 to Hugh Goodyear, the predecessor of the English Reformed congregation in Leiden.

 

Discover more: https://www.mayflower400leiden.com/ 

sources: http://joostbl.nl – https://www.leidenconventionbureau.nl – https://www.universiteitleiden.nl

Concierge’s Choice November: Some Much Needed Wonder

Grey clouds are knitted together across the November sky and the temperatures have dropped to the single digits. Late autumn can feel a bit miserable at times and it may be difficult to find a silver lining. That’s why this month’s Concierge’s Choice is focussed on all things fun and exciting. From colourful museum experiences to upbeat musical acts to fascinating Amsterdam neighborhoods, here’s a selection of things to add a little splendour to your day.

Wondr Experience, Meeuwenlaan 88

Release your inner child at the Wondr Experience in Amsterdam Noord. Wondr is a candy-coloured, indoor playground experience for the young and the young at heart. Dive into a pool of marshmallows, snap an Instagram-worthy picture inside of a kaleidoscope and draw your own creations on the wall. If you’re looking for a dreamy, glittery escape from reality, then Wondr is the place to go. Corona safety measures are in place – and be sure to book your ticket online before visiting.

Nemo Science Museum, Oosterdok 2

Fascination with the human body has grown exponentially this year. What fortuitous timing that the Nemo Science Museum has finally opened the renovated and updated Humania exhibition. This exhibition takes a deep dive into what makes us, us. Learn about the body, our sociology and psychology with interactive displays and informative art pieces, like the 8.5-metre sculpture ‘A Handstand’ by the Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. To curb boredom at home, Nemo also offers a great selection of experiments you can conduct in your own living room.

MidWest Radio, Cabralstraat 1

Gloomy November evenings are best spent with friends, sitting in a cosy cafe and listening to a live music act. The organisers at MidWest Amsterdam had exactly the same thought, so for the autumn and winter they’re putting together a weekly – and corona-friendly – live music show called MidWest Radio. Straddling all genres from jazz to electronic to classical, MidWest believes that music and a good atmosphere will continue to get us through these unprecedented times. Book tickets online as they’re not sold at the door.

Zevenlandenhuizen, Roemer Visscherstraat 32II

Sometimes the best sights are hidden down a sidestreet. Such is the case for the Zevenlandenhuizen, the Houses of Seven Countries. Lovers of great architecture should visit this row of 19th century houses in the elegant Zuid neighborhood, just off of the Museumplein. Built by architect Tjeerd Kuipers in 1894, each of the seven houses represents a different European country. See if you can guess which house belongs to which nation (if you get stuck, there’s a plaque on each building to help you out).

 

 

Condé Nast Traveler 2020 Readers’ Awards: The Dylan Best Hotel In The Netherlands. 

Each year Condé Nast Traveler reaches out the Readers’ Choice Awards. This year over 715,000 travelers have submitted their vote. Since people cannot travel and the vote is based on memories this years’ edition is even more special. Ratings are based on various aspects, like service, food & atmosphere. The Conde Nast Traveler Awards (former Readers’ Travel Awards) started in 1998 in the UK and a year later Readers’ Travel Awards associated with Condé Nast Traveler. It are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of quality within the travel industry.

Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards are divided in different categories. In the category Northern Europe the best 25 hotels are listed, including 9 Dutch hotels. The Dylan Amsterdam has ended in the third place of the category Northern Europe and with that is ranked as the best hotel in The Netherlands.

The Dylan Amsterdam is proud to be ranked best hotel in The Netherlands. René Bornmann, General Manager of The Dylan Amsterdam said, “We are incredibly proud to be recognized as a Top 3 Hotel in Northern Europe, and as best hotel in The Netherlands”. Employees of The Dylan are grateful that their hard work, to make every moment of our guests a memorable moment, has been rewarded. They’re very grateful for the recognition and would like to thank all loyal guests for their votes and support during these unusual times.