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Keukenhof

Also known as the Garden of Europe, Keukenhof has been the world’s largest flower garden for over fifty years situated near Lisse, in South Holland. The garden was established to present a flower exhibit where growers from all over the Netherlands and Europe could show off their hybrids. Whit over 32 hectares of flowers, 7 million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, inspirational gardens and wonderful works, you will discover through Keukenhof the special beauty spots and one of the most popular destinations in the world that you should not miss.

Open daily from 21 March until 20 May
Opening Hours: from 8:00h to 19:30h (ticket office closes at 18:00h)

 

Picture by Chuck Szmurlo

Makes you want to go, right? Do it! Check out our prices here!

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Gouda More Than Just Cheese

Everyone has heard of Gouda cheese. Some of us have tried it and even regard it as one of our favourites, but few know where it comes from or just what appeal its city of origin holds in store. The fact is that the popular cheese comes from Gouda, a city in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands, situated at the confluence of the rivers Gouwe and Hollandse IJssel.

What To Do In Gouda

The city of Gouda has a very picturesque historic centre, where strolling about proves to be a rewarding experience and where the major landmarks are located. Needless to say, the first of these is related to cheese and is the most powerful magnet as far as tourists is concerned – the cheese market. It is held every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., from April to August. Farmers and traders meet in the market to strike deals and many centennial traditions are preserved here, as in the fact that all goods are still transported in wooden carts and that all deals are sealed by a touch of the hands.

Also located in the square – the Markt – the site of this trade ritual, is the Stadhuis, a beautiful Flemish Gothic building which has the honour of being one of the oldest town halls in the Netherlands. Built from 1448 to 1450, it was modified to some extent in 1692 and 1880. Notable rooms in this edifice are the Trouwzaal (Wedding Hall), dating from 1800, and the Council Chamber.

Another site you can also visit in the Markt square is the Goudse Waag, a building dating from 1668which was once a covered market for buying and selling cheese. It subsequently became a national monument and is now a museum dedicated to cheese.

Apart from the city hall, another gem is Sint Janskerk, which also makes an outing to Gouda worthwhile. Visitors should not hesitate to enter this Church of St John the Baptist. It has a history of withstanding fire, as it was engulfed in flames on three occasions, two of which – in 1361 and 1438 – saw the whole city on the verge of being consumed. The nave measures 123 metres, making it the longest church in Holland. Its most stunning feature, however, are its sixty stained glass windows, placed between 1530 and 1603, twenty of which are the work of the brothers Dirk and Wouter Crabeth I. One of the unusual highlights of one’s visit here is that the preliminary drawings the stained glass windows were based on have been preserved, a rare occurrence.

Those interested in discovering the city’s history should head for the Museum Gouda, located in the buildings known as the Catharina Gathuis and De Moriaan.

To wrap up your tour of the city, we recommend you head for the south side of the old town where you will come across two old windmills – the Molen ‘t Slot, built in 1831, and De Roode Leeuw (The Red Lion), built in 1619 and restored in 1771.

Before you leave Gouda, don’t forget to taste their stroopwafel, a traditional confectionery which consists of two waffles with a filling of soft caramel. Munching on one of these is ideal for restoring one’s energy after a magnificent stroll through the city.

Now that you know the secret gems awaiting you in Gouda, book your Vueling and discover them for yourself.

 

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by bertknot, Sander van der Wel, Hans A Rosbach

 

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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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The best gardens in Europe

It's possible to travel to a large city and find cosy and quiet corners to sit down and relax. If you're looking for peace and relaxation in a natural environment, you'd better check out some of the best gardens in Europe. This list is full of charming and magical places, and some of them are right in the centre of the capital cities. These are our recommendations!

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