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!

 

An interview with Wedding Officiant Marijke Plas

Can you tell us a little more about yourself?

I was born in Haarlem as a second child in a family of three girls. As a child, I wanted to become an actress and I was always performing. My parents didn’t think drama school was such a good idea and because of that I went to a retail school as a child from an entrepreneurial family. If I had to prepare a performance at school, I could really look forward to it, I made it a lively story and most of my classmates didn’t understand that I liked it that much. Communicating was always something that I was good at, I was curious and not really shy.

Then I got into modelling. That turned out to be a fantastic time with a lot of travelling and meeting people. It also gave me the opportunity to improve my English and French, something you will benefit from for the rest of your life. I married the love of my life and we are still married nowadays. We do have three children: two boys and a girl. My modelling career came to an end and I started my own events agency . I organized corporate events for 10 years. Next to the events agency I was also a wedding civil servant, I could usually combine those two jobs very well.

Meanwhile the children all moved out and I decided to go to India for a yoga teacher training. And I would never have wanted to miss that either. With great pleasure I give yoga classes and yes….. I am also still an independent wedding officiant at home and abroad!

At which moment did you realize that you wanted to become a wedding officiant? And how did you finally became one?

I attended a wedding of a cousin of mine and I saw how important the job of a wedding officiant is. This person can make a difference on one of the most important days of your life. I saw that the wedding officiant at this wedding didn’t make it personal. It inspired me to see if it would be something for me. I sent an open application to the three municipalities and waited for an answer, I was very much looking forward to it. I was invited for job interviews, but I decided that I preferred to work in Heemstede where I have lived and worked for many years now. Since it was 15 years ago, the criteria were not that heavy. I had an advantage because of my knowledge of languages, and because of that I was hired. The first couple I met was a couple from China, very nice people. They had let the family come over from China and they only spoke Mandarin. So the challenge started immediately at the first wedding. I learned how I could welcome their parents and grandparents in Mandarin. They loved it and from the nerves I forgot the rings at the wedding. Fortunately, the messenger helped me remember. By now, I was a few heart palpitations away. It was the baptism of fire and after that many wonderful moments followed. It added so much to my life.

What are your most memorable moments in your career?

The most memorable moments? There are so many! The preparations that are made, the intense conversations with everyone, the expectations, the anticipation, I often enjoy them as much as the couple itself. Really memorable were my marriages in Hong Kong and in Sri Lanka. In Hong Kong, I married a businessman whose bride did not know there would be a wedding. They travelled with their four children who completed the surprise. The total commotion, joy, surprise, I will never forget it. I performed the ceremonial wedding on the huge plateau on the mountain in Hong Kong in front of the impressive statue of Tian Tan Buddha. And in the Netherlands I performed the official wedding in their hometown.

And in Sri Lanka I married a couple whose bride was an adopted child. After many years she found her family again, a family with a number of sisters. The family that had adopted her was so loving. She wanted to unite the two families on the beach in Sri Lanka during her marriage. Thirty years earlier, the biological mother handed her own child to the adoptive mother, which must have been a chilling moment for both mothers. Now 30 years later, the two mothers came down the stairs to the beach hand in hand with the bride. And then try to keep it dry as a wedding officiant!

How did the collaboration started with The Dylan Amsterdam?

The cooperation with The Dylan Amsterdam started because I had agreed to meet a couple at their location for an interview for their wedding. They had chosen The Dylan as their wedding location, they came from Japan and came over for the preliminary interview. When you come to the Dylan you actually fall into a warm bath. The reception is always very personal. Especially the fireplace gives you a ‘coming home’ feeling, you immediately feel at ease. After this wedding some more weddings followed at this location and then of course you get to know each other a bit better. Because of the location it is of course very attractive to get married there. It is a hidden gem in Amsterdam, the courtyard garden, the totally different venues that merge into one another and of course the Keizersgracht canal in front of the door. All cultures come together and all styles come together, the security of the classical part and the big surprise of the modern Ariana room: everything is connected and it’s right.

What makes you different from other wedding officiants?

Well, I hope I always know how to make a difference. I think the strength lies in having a really good interview and feeling the couples wishes. The more I know about the couple, the families and the circumstances, the more personal my speech becomes. In doing so, I strongly take into account the experience of different cultures. Dutch are very direct, which can be fun, but not every culture benefits from so much openness. I am always looking for some humour in my ceremony, humour and putting things into perspective. And if those two ingredients are not explicit or appropriate, I look for beauty in the word and let myself be inspired. For example, by beautiful imagery or cultural connections.

Finally: do you have any tips for bridal couples for their wedding day?

My big tip for the big day is to let go! As soon as you hired the right people: trust them on their professionality. A good preparation is very important, but on the day itself you really need to be able to let it go in order to enjoy the day intensely.

Amsterdam Canal with a bridge with bicycles

Naughty Amsterdam

The Dutch and their openness

De Wallen is the oldest, prettiest yet most controversial part of Amsterdam. So, why did this area become a red-light district? We could only give a complex answer to this seemingly simple question. But in the end, it all comes down to the history, liberalism and economy of the city.

When Amsterdam started to flourish in the 15th century, its locals began to cater to the growing number of sailor men who visited the city. Once on shore and far away from home, these folks traditionally sought their distraction in alcohol and ladies of virtue.

Today, 400 years later, prostitution is still an elementary part of De Wallen, simply because the Dutch pride themselves on being liberal and tolerant. That is why schools, offices and apartments casually blend in with entertainment venues to naturally enforce a sense of social control. This interesting balance between liberalism and political sensitiveness makes the red-light district worth a visit.

Discover De Wallen district

Start exploring De Wallen at Quartier Putain: a coffee bar serving some of the most delicious coffees and cakes. From here, you can get a glimpse of how the area forms the backdrop of the daily lives of couples, families and blush-cheeked tourists.

Then move on to PIC: a visitor centre telling you all about the stories that hide behind the red-lit windows. Join one of the guided tours through De Wallen and meet with former ladies of easy virtue who will help you to place the district in its context.

End your discovery at the Oude Kerk: the oldest building of the city, located right in the centre of De Wallen. The old church is now a hub for contemporary arts and has always exposed a remarkable contrast between its serenity and edgy surroundings.

 

 

 

Concierge’s Choice September: Meet The Dylan’s Culinary Partner De Kaaskamer

With our unbeatable location on the prominent Keizersgracht, surrounded by the charm of the 9 Straatjes, The Dylan lives and breathes the Amsterdam spirit. That’s why we collaborate with local powerhouses to bring you the most authentic experience during your stay.

For this month’s Concierge’s Choice, we are introducing you to one of our culinary partners: De Kaaskamer. De Kaaskamer and The Dylan Amsterdam are practically neighbours and we use this proximity to bring guests the ultimate in culinary craft and delight.

Decades of an Unbeatable Cheese Experience

The Netherlands is known for its cheese. But as Loek de Loor, the founder of De Kaaskamer, knew, not all cheeses are created equal. He founded De Kaaskamer almost 30 years ago with the purpose of curating and selling cheese delicacies with the finest flavors. With this in mind, he started visiting small farms across Holland, Belgium and France, to scope out the best the world of cheese had to offer. Nowadays his daughter Sophie and her husband Joost run the store with the same care and attention to quality.

De Kaaskamer are experts in cheeses and everything that goes along with that. More than 400 cheeses from around Europe are on offer in their central Amsterdam location, including local specialties, like over 100 different types of Gouda.

The Road to the Best Cheeses

“We still drive daily through the Netherlands, Belgium and France to discover and select our favorite cheeses,” describes Joost Hammann, co-owner of De Kaaskamer. “Amsterdam covers a critical audience in terms of quality and taste. As a small store with lots of competition, we want to make a difference in assortment, heritage, quality and taste.”

Those unfamiliar with the cheese market might assume it ends there. But, after the cheese is selected and purchased, it still has to age. “This is called affinage,” explains Joost. “It’s our job to age the cheese as perfectly as possible, so when it is served on your cheese platter, the flavor and structure will be at their absolute best.”

Culinary Class at The Dylan

The fromagers from The Dylan Hotel, Jasper van Amerongen at Vinkeles and Jouke Veenstra at OCCO, work together with the team at De Kaaskamer to select the most suitable cheeses for the menu and the season. Considering that we are neighbours, our fromagers visit De Kaaskamer in person to do this on a daily basis. On occasion, we get together to learn more about the current offerings and receive training and insights from De Kaaskamer, in order to learn more about their products and presentation possibilities.

“It’s a close partnership,” says Joost, “And that’s important when you work with a product as complex as cheese.”

You can sample De Kaaskamer’s offerings during your next meal at The Dylan. Make it a full spread by adding on savory meats and luxury nut mixes, also available to purchase from the De Kaaskamer shop at Runstraat 7.

 

 

Concierge’s Choice July: The Great Outdoors

Restaurateurs are sweeping their terraces, the parks have turned into a sea of green. Time to pack a picnic, dig out your swimsuit and soak up the warmth and joys of the great outdoors. In Amsterdam, that means lounging in the soft grass of a city park, going for a swim in the Amstel or people-watching on one of the countless terraces. See our July recommendations for all these activities below.

City parks for a (distanced) picnic
Various locations

Amsterdam is one of the greenest cities in Europe, thanks to its large variety of parks and grounds. No matter where in the city you currently find yourself, there’s a luscious speck of green nearby. Take a trip to the west and discover the beautiful Rembrandt Park, with its number of ponds, playgrounds and picnic spots, as well as De Uylenburg, Amsterdam’s oldest petting zoo. If you’re exploring the east, why not take a peek at the Oosterpark and its impressive sculpture garden and charming pavilion.

De Hortus Botanical Garden
Plantage Middenlaan 2a

For a more curated nature experience, we recommend visiting the De Hortus botanical garden near Amsterdam city centre. Currently they are offering an interesting exhibition titled ‘Brilliant Plants’, which examines how exactly plants eat, sleep, communicate and reproduce. You can also stroll through the greenhouses, including one filled with hundreds of tropical butterflies. Be sure to book your visiting time online in advance.

ARTIS Zoo
Plantage Kerklaan 38-40

Lions, tigers, bears – but also giraffes, ostriches, zebras and countless botanic treasures are waiting for you at the ARTIS Royal Zoo in Amsterdam’s centre. The planet’s natural diversity is represented here, from the forest to the savannah, from the aquarium to the planetarium. Whatever lifeform you’re curious about, you can book a timeframe online in advance and look forward to a colourful day of monkeying around.

Charming outdoor terraces
Various locations

For a different kind of zoo, we recommend sitting on one of the many gorgeous outdoor terraces in Amsterdam and doing some people-watching. Observe a parade of interesting passersby from the Brouwerij Troost in Westerpark or the terrace of cafe Brandstof in the Jordaan neighborhood. For a quiet drink, visit Bar Brasserie OCCO at The Dylan, which has a private secluded inner garden for ultimate relaxation after a long day of sightseeing.

Go for a swim

Various locations

Dip your toes or take a full dive into the cooling waterways of Amsterdam. If you’re keen on going for a swim in the city this July, your options are practically endless. Though you could head to the beach in Zandvoort, we recommend getting your hair wet like a true Amsterdammer: in the ponds. There are many spots along the Amstel, like at the Martin Luther King Park, where you can jump from the pier and splash around in the mighty river. Or visit the popular man-made beach area in Sloterplas in Amsterdam’s Nieuw West for a tropical time without leaving the city.

 

 

Front Courtyard of Hotel The Dylan Amsterdam

Concierge’s Choice April: Explore Amsterdam Virtually

During times like these, when the whole world is unsettled and our usual routines restricted, it’s easy to focus too much on the negative. You might have had a trip planned to Amsterdam, which you now have to postpone for the time being. But don’t despair! We have decided that for this month’s Concierge’s Choice, we will recommend virtual destinations and must-sees in Amsterdam for you to enjoy at home. Let your mind and soul travel with our selection of cultural tips below – and be sure to connect with The Dylan online, where we continue to be available for you!

Rijksmuseum Masterpieces Up Close
Visit the website

Dazzling, masterful and slightly eerie, enter the virtual Rijksmuseum for an up-close-and-personal tour of the paintings displayed in the museum’s popular Gallery of Honour. Rendered in the highest quality and complete with audio and informational details, enjoy a rare frontrow and tranquil viewing of masterpieces such as Rembrandt’s The Nightwatch and Asselijn’s The Threatened Swan. While away the hours moving from painting to painting, and fully enjoy one of Amsterdam’s most revered cultural offerings.

Virtual Van Gogh Museum
Visit the website

Pay a visit to one of Amsterdam’s most brilliant artists at his virtual home: Go online to the Van Gogh Museum and discover the fantastic selection of digital collections, fun quizzes and lesson plans for children. Print and colour in Van Gogh’s famous sunflowers, unravel the hidden layers in his paintings on the Van Gogh app and take a ‘private’ virtual tour through the entire museum. To further pass the time, look up one of the many films that were inspired by his enduring art.

Take a 360 Tour through Amsterdam
Google Street View and 360 Stories

Spring is the time to take leisurely strolls through Amsterdam’s quaint streets and over the quintessential canals. Luckily you can still do so during the lockdown: Visit famous Amsterdam attractions like the Anne Frank House through Google Street View. Continue your virtual walk with 360 Stories, where you can transport yourself to Museumplein, Dam Square, Vondelpark and many more of Amsterdam’s best places.

Keukenhof Virtually Open
Visit the website

Closed to visitors until the 2021 season, the Keukenhof flower garden still wants to share the full glory of its blooming flower arrangements and displays with you online. Under the title Keukenhof Virtually Open (#keukenhofvirtuallyopen on social media), you can watch videos of gardeners showcasing the best parts of Keukenhof and introducing rare flower varieties. A little colour is exactly what’s needed right now.

King’s Day

Arguably the most anticipated event on the Dutch calendar, King Willem-Alexander’s birthday on April 27 is the biggest celebration in Amsterdam and all of the Netherlands. Usually, revellers take to the streets or float down the canals on boats, a bright sea of orange shirts and red, white and blue flags waving happily in the air. Although this year we will be celebrating indoors, it doesn’t mean we can’t eat, drink and be merry until the wee hours of the morning.

 

 

Concierge’s Choice March: Stepping into Spring

When the days slowly get longer and the songbirds start chirping their morning melodies, then you know that Spring is waiting at the door. And there is nothing quite like Spring in Amsterdam. Watch as the city warms up and blossoms, much like the famous Dutch tulips and other eye-catching flora that are popping up everywhere this season. Below are our picks for you to enjoy a marvelous March.

Opening of Keukenhof
Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse
It’s the moment we have all been waiting for: On March 21, the Keukenhof flower garden is opening its doors once again. Known as the ‘Garden of Europe’, Keukenhof provides the quintessential Dutch experience for international visitors, spanning 32 hectares and over 7 million flower bulbs planted here every year. Marvel at the countless colourful tulip varieties, enjoy the imaginative flower arrangements and let the stunning tulip fields serve as the backdrop for that perfect Insta-pic.

Amsterdam Coffee Festival
Westergasfabriek, Pazzanistraat 33
Looking for a different kind of buzz? Then visit the Westergasfabriek from March 13 to 15 for the Amsterdam Coffee Festival. At this yearly event, you can not only learn how different beans are roasted or sample your way to the perfect espresso – you can also root for your favourite barista during the Dutch Barista Championships.

Open Torendag
Various locations
Do you ever look up at a tall building and wonder what the view must be like from up there? With the Open Torendag – Open Tower Day – on March 21, you will have the opportunity to peer over Amsterdam from a variety of impressive perches. Towers from the previous years included the Beurs van Berlage, the Oudekerk tower, as well as many contemporary buildings and hotels. What’s lovelier than exploring Amsterdam architecture on a Spring afternoon?

Free Lunch Concerts at the Concertgebouw
Concertgebouwplein 10
In a bustling place like Amsterdam’s museum quarter, it can be difficult to find a peaceful retreat for an hour or two. If you’re in need of a refresher, try the free lunchtime concerts at the Concertgebouw every Wednesday in the month of March (and beyond). Watch and listen as musicians rehearse for upcoming performances in the Recital Hall. Although it’s free, you still need to get a ticket to attend. The box office opens at 11.30 am and the concert begins an hour later.

HISWA Boat Show at Amsterdam RAI
Europaplein 24
Find literally anything that might float your boat at the HISWA Amsterdam Boat Show, taking place at the RAI convention centre in the south of Amsterdam from March 11 – 15. Get a headstart on your aquatic adventures by taking the whole family to survey the wide selection of sloop-, speed- and sailboats. Dive headfirst into the HISWA Sport Xperience, where you can test a variety of watersports such as Stand Up-paddle-boarding or wi4ndsurfing. End the day by shopping for any new parts or water accessories you might need – maybe even a new vessel!

Image: Janus van den Eijnden

 

 

Entrance of The Dylan Amsterdam with marble floor

Concierge’s Choice: A Fabulous February

Every year we face the same question: How to combat the lull of February? With the New Year’s excitement gone and Spring still a couple of months away, it can be a slow and challenging month. Fortunately, Amsterdam’s cultural calendar is always teeming with thought-provoking exhibitions, vitalising concerts and special ways to discover the city. As a bonus, all of our February recommendations below double as fabulous, out-of-the-box date ideas for Valentine’s Day. Be sure to mark your calendars accordingly to give your loved one an experience they will treasure forever.

“Chagall, Picasso, Mondrian and others” at the Stedelijk Museum
Museumplein 10
Every new year begins with the questioning of identity. Who am I? What do I stand for? In that spirit, the exhibition “Chagall, Picasso, Mondrian and others: Migrants in Paris” at the Stedelijk Museum for contemporary art, tells the story of otherness and finding one’s way. The exhibition curates more than 50 collection pieces by famous artists who moved to Paris at the beginning of the 20th century in order to take the art world by storm. Follow master artists like Picasso, Rivera, Chagall and Kandinsky on their journey from relative anonymity to becoming the toast of the Parisian artworld. If you’re looking for personal or professional inspiration this year, then this exhibition cannot be missed.

Valentine Classics at the Movies at the Concertgebouw
Concertgebouwplein 10
If you are tired of being accused of less than stellar date ideas, why don’t you take your sweetheart to the “Valentine Classics at the Movies” concert at the Concertgebouw? On Friday February 14, let Harry Piekema and the WDR Funkhausorchester transport you musically to the set of your very own romantic comedy. Enjoy classics by Puccini, Beethoven, and Bizet in the very building where Mahler and Strauss conducted their own compositions. A classical Valentine’s Day concert is the absolute height of romance, so book your tickets now.

Outside Fashion at Huis Marseille
Keizersgracht 401
Treat your eyes and mind to something beautiful at Huis Marseille. For the first time in history, archive material from Palais Galliera, the fashion museum of Paris, is being presented to the public in the exhibition “Outside Fashion”, in order to illustrate how much fashion photography has changed from 1900 to 1969. Feast your eyes upon never seen before photographs and magazine excerpts featuring stylish women and classic beauties in smart clothing. It’s an absolute must-see for fashion and photography lovers.

What a Genderful World at the Tropenmuseum
Linnaeusstraat 2
Love is not the only hot topic in February. “What a Genderful World” at the Tropenmuseum in the east of Amsterdam explores the popular topic of gender and gender identity. Discover the expression and experience of gender from all around the world through photographs, fashion, art and personal stories. Learn why police officers in Fiji wear skirts or why “he” and “she” do not exist in the Turkish language. With colourful, interactive and captivating exhibition spaces that are both educational and entertaining, this exhibition is the Tropenmuseum at its finest.