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Amsterdam Fully Lit Up

Any time of year is good for visiting the capital of Holland, which shines with a beauty of its own, regardless of the prevailing weather during your visit. There are lots of things to do here, from touring the city – preferably by bicycle, locally the leading form of transport – to taking a boat ride along the canals, enjoying the cultural activities – featuring museums of the likes of the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, among others – delighting in the leisure offerings or soaking up the vibrant atmosphere.

You have to admit, though, that there are some events during the year which make the city shine even brighter. The most popular of these takes place from January to April and its protagonist is a veritable symbol of the Netherlands – the tulip. The city is flooded with multi-coloured tulips, particularly on 17 January, National Tulip Day, when Dam Square is lovelier than ever with its huge tulip market.

Another, lesser known event which is however gaining traction among visitors is the Amsterdam Light Festival. Although quite a recent addition – this will be its fifth year – it has gradually taken over the canals and bridges and some of the city’s buildings, greeting the winter cold with a beautiful landscape of lights. Thus, from 1 December to 22 January, you can relish this wonderful show that floods Amsterdam with “light art” installations crafted by both national and international artists.

The festival is staged in two parts, in two different arenas and at two different times. First, there is the Water Colours Boat Route, with lights arranged along the city’s canals and bridges, designed to be perused on a boat ride. Several companies provide facilities for this tour, although all rides start at Amsterdam Central Station. The tours operate from 1 December to 22 January between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Then there is the so-called Illuminade Walking Route, with an itinerary which takes visitors through the cultural Weesper and Plantage neighbourhoods. On this occasion the chosen theme is biomimicry, a new science based on a study of naturally occurring models, systems and processes with the aim of imitating them for the purpose of seeking practical solutions for human needs, as long as these are sustainable. The event is made up of 23 works, on display from 15 December to 8 January between 7 p.m. and 22 p.m.

Ready to take in a heady shot of “light art”? Book your Vueling to Amsterdam and enjoy this magnificent festival.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Udo Geisler



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Mysteryland Dancing Amsterdam

In Europe, summer is synonymous with music festivals. And as far as such events go, one type stands out head and shoulders above the rest – the ones dedicated to electronic music. The genre agglutinates a heady culture which, added to the fervour of audiences and its clear-cut hedonistic calling – the aim is to dance and have fun – provides a winning combo for the dog days on the Old Continent to throng with must-visit electronic gatherings.

Mysteryland is one of these events, as well as a must-attend rendezvous for all dance lovers or anyone eager to revel in festivals radiating a special charm. Mysteryland offers both ingredients on the weekend of 26 and 27 August – a high-carat lineup and the privileged grounds of Floriade, a complex of gardens and lakes just twenty-five kilometres from Amsterdam and just five from Schiphol, one of the main airports in the capital of the Netherlands.

The best way to get to the Floriade gardens is by train, although the festival organisers offer a bus service from Hoofddorp station in the Haarlemmermeer municipality. This region is famed for its forests and also features the Cruquius Museum, its centrepiece being the largest steam engine in the world, and the legendary Stelling van Amsterdam, a line of wartime fortifications of great historical importance.

Returning to Mysteryland, as intimated earlier, one of its claims to fame is its stunning lineup of artists and groups. Even the most avid fans will be satiated by a clutch of nearly two hundred performances, as will those eager to learn more about dance culture. These two hundred concerts and DJ sessions, backed by powerful visuals and pyrotechnic shows, will be hosted at various venues scattered about the Floriade gardens. Take, for instance, the programme scheduled for the main stage, an all-star game of contemporary electronic music headed by Deadmau5, Alesso,Alok, Broederliefde, Charming Horses, Craig David, Armin van Buuren, Axwell Λ Ingrosso, Benny Rodrigues, Digital Farm Animals, Made in June, Oliver Heldensand Sam Feldt (live), among others.

And, apart from the two main stages, the festival also boasts a space for the legendary Dave Clarke – a not-to-be-missed appointment – as well as the prestigious Mad Decent label, with Ape Drums, Boaz van de Beatz, Boombox Cartel and Dillon Francis. It also has a spot for the Dutch producer couple, Jordy and Sander Huisman, and their MC, Yuki Kempees – together they make up Kris Kross Amsterdam.

Aside from the lineup, Mysteryland offers several options for accommodation. Most suited to all pockets is the campsite at the festival grounds. Access is included in the price of some of the camping packages which you can check out here. The camping area is open from 25 to 28 August and, if you go for it, you also get an extra musical billing, a number of performances in the campsite itself, where you can get into the festival pre-party and the Saturday after-party. The latter is only suitable for the more gung ho, assuming they haven’t already flaked out after a weekend of non-stop dancing. And, if you prefer the comfort of a hotel, Mysteryland also offers ticket packages and day entry plus hotel accommodation.

A couple of tips for ensuring your Mysteryland experience is unforgettable. The festival organisers urge everyone to wear bold outfits, so don’t be shy when it comes to choosing something outlandish – the more colourful, the better. And, listen up – don’t forget to bring along your earplugs – the concert performers and DJs will be blaring out liberally, so their use is officially recommended. In fact, if you forget them at home, you can get some earplugs at the information stands in the Floriade gardens.

Gear up to the rhythm of electronic music at Mysteryland – book your Vueling to Amsterdam here.

Text by Xavi Sánchez Pons



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National Tulip Day in Amsterdam

Windmills, wooden shoes, dykes, bicycles, canals, Gouda cheese –all of these symbolise the Netherlands, but the tulip has an even greater claim to emblematic status, and, along with other flowers, is one of the country’s main exports.

The tulip’s name is derived fromdulband, an old Persian word for “turban”, and the flower was originally cultivated in the region comprising today’s Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, where it had religious connotations and adorned the tents and palaces of sultans.

The Flemish scholar and pioneering horticulturalist Carolus Clusius (1526-1609) was the first person to manage to cultivate tulips in Europe, and is regarded as the founder of the Dutch tulip industry.

The tulip was initially a luxury item for which large sums were paid, and in the 17th C. a speculative “tulip bubble” expanded to gigantic proportions –a sale of 40 bulbs for 100,000 florins was recorded in a year when a Dutch workman earned about 150 florins a year. But the bubble soon burst.

Today, entire fields carpeted with the colourful flowers adorn the Netherlands, especially in the northeast, the Kop van Noord-Holland region, and Bollenstreek with its famous Keukenhof, the world’s largest floral park, with as many as seven million tulip bulbs sprouting every spring.

This year’s National Tulip Day falls on Saturday, 17th January. It is regarded at the start of the tulip season, which finishes when late tulips are picked and the end of April. It is celebrated throughout the Netherlands, but Amsterdam’s Damm square is the place to be.

Tulip growers show their best early flowers there, turning the square into a mosaic of colours and textures, to the delight of tulip fanciers, including many foreign visitors, who are regaled with bouquets to take home.

In the course of the tulip season Dutch growers will sell more than 1,700 million flowers. Most of them to export markets.

Serious tulip fans should also visit Amsterdam’s Tulip Museum, which tells the story of the tulip in its historical context. The museum is in the Jordaan neighbourhood, just across the bridge from the Anne Frank house.

Check out or flights here!

Report by Scanner FM

Photograph by Kang-min Liu


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5 good organic restaurants in Amsterdam

The Dutch city has a very wide range of top-quality organic restaurants. We travelled there to eat in five of them. Long live healthy and sustainable cooking!

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