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Archive for holland

Art and Life in Amsterdam

By Linda Tancs

Rembrandt, Netherlands’ greatest artist, lived and worked for 20 years in a building in the heart of Amsterdam. Now the Rembrandt House Museum, it has an almost complete collection of his etchings. That’s enough of a collection to inspire contemporary artists, who likewise have their works exhibited there. The 17th century home has been extensively refurbished with period art, objects and furniture. Free etching demonstrations take place twice daily in Rembrandt’s former graphic workshop, illustrating etching technique and the printing process of centuries ago.

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Crossing at the Meuse

By Linda Tancs

Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in Holland. The city’s name, derived from Latin, means “crossing at the Meuse.” Indeed, the ancient city is located on both sides of the Meuse River. It might be better known as the birthplace of the European Union: a treaty was signed there in 1992, establishing the European Union and its currency, the Euro. The capital of Holland’s southernmost region, Limburg, it’s prized for the local delicacy—a pie (vlaai) filled with marmalade.

Dutch Blue and Orange

By Linda Tancs

Blue and orange embody the Dutch city of Delft. For instance, its blue earthenware has been a popular export for over 400 years. Royal Delft, established in 1653, is the last remaining Delftware factory from the 17th century, and its prized pottery is still entirely hand-painted according to centuries-old tradition. The canal-ringed city in the western Netherlands is also the former seat of the royal House of Orange (named for a medieval province in southern France). One of the oldest royal families in the world, almost every deceased member of the family since William of Orange has been interred in the royal crypts at the New Church.

The Marlstone City

By Linda Tancs

Valkenburg is the central town in the municipality of Valkenburg aan de Geul in the southeastern Dutch province of Limburg. It’s equally as charming as nearby Maastricht (Limburg’s capital city) although probably not as well known despite having been fought after for centuries.  In fact, the city and its environs were conquered in medieval times by Duke Philip the Bold for Burgundy. No doubt he was attracted to the warm yellow glow of marlstone girding its cliffs. Marlstone was mined to build the old castle (now in ruins), cultivated from the caves that now serve as a major tourist attraction. At a unique cave gallery, professional marlstone sculptors will help you unleash your inner Claus Sluter.

The Oldest City in Holland

By Linda Tancs

Located in the western Netherlands, the medieval city of Dordrecht is Holland’s oldest city and ancient capital.   Its attractions are easily navigable via numerous bicycling paths, which isn’t at all surprising considering that the nation has more bikes than residents.  One of the oldest dwellings is ‘t Zeepaert, adorned with a decorative Gothic stepped gable of Belgian blue limestone.  Augustijnenkerk is an old abbey church dating from the 1200s with 200 tombstones, including that of Dutch painter Aelbert Cuyp.  A city of harbors and monuments, Voorstraatshaven forms its backbone.  Among all of its attractions, perhaps nothing is as monumental as the full-sized replica of Noah’s Ark, a museum that retells the biblical saga.  The unsinkable dream of builder Johan Huibers features commanding views of the Merwede River and the city.

Holland in a Day

By Linda Tancs

You can experience over 200 years of Dutch culture at the Netherlands’ Open Air Museum, the biggest folk museum in the Netherlands. Located in a beautiful park on the outskirts of Arnhem, the property brings the past to life. Exhibits include old farmhouses, windmills, Dutch houses and plenty of craft demonstrations. Better hurry, the season ends on 28 October—unless, of course, you’d prefer to experience a winter celebration from days gone by. From 1 December 2012 to 13 January 2013 you can experience stew and green beans amidst an atmosphere of music and song. Try skating on the festively lit skating rink or whiz down the toboggan run at the Delft windmill.

Open Garden Days in Amsterdam

By Linda Tancs

Think of Amsterdam and you probably envision wooden shoes and tulips.  But did you know that Amsterdam has more canals than Venice?   Along those 17th century canals where you’ll experience some of the oldest homesteads in the city as well as its industrial heritage, watch out for the clock gable and the fabulous canal houses along what’s known as The Golden Bend.  Along Prinsengracht, you’ll find very old homes, including the location of the Anne Frank House and museum.  For a taste of the city’s industrial past, sail by the giant warehouses of Keizersgracht.  The canal gardens have a charm of their own, highlighted each year in June during Open Garden Days.  Located around Keizersgracht and Herengracht, features include the floating gardens on the houseboats’ roof and behind the canal houses.   On the 17, 18 and 19 of June this year some thirty canal gardens will be open to the public.   Reachable on foot, a three-day pass will give you plenty of time to discover the color in the canals.

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