A Taste of Amsterdam

What’s the coolest bar you’ve been to?

Call us crazy, but we were actually somewhat underwhelmed by Amsterdam. Perhaps it’s because we had spent so much time already in its sister, Rotterdam, that it just didn’t amaze us all that much. Additionally, there were a LOT of people – most of them on bikes. We had to be careful to not get run over as we tried to walk the city.

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Despite that, we had a lovely evening canal cruise, and we had some truly delicious Dutch pancakes. Our Servas host was also amazing, driving us around to some local windmills. We walked our feet raw (literally) wandering the many alleys and canals (perhaps we should have stopped into a coffee shop.. ;)).

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Our main highlight was a slight splurge on Amsterdam’s famous Ice Bar. While it was mostly a gimmick, it was fun to lose ourselves in the Pirates-themed bar, donning the provided parkas to brave the Arctic for a few beers at -9 degrees celsius. Pro tip: don’t pay full price! We easily found discounts online that saved us a lot on the admission (which also comes with drinks).

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A Taste of Den Haag

Where have you found awesome sculptures or statues?

Den Haag is another popular day trip from Rotterdam. We were fortunate enough to have some locals to go with us, and it was a lovely day!

Right from the start, we were greeted by a beautiful train station. We wandered the streets, admired the governmental buildings, and got lost in Chinatown.

We also spent a fair amount of time at the beach. Packed with people soaking in the warmer day, we explored the shops-packed pier and even sampled a fresh-made stroopwafel!

But our favorite part was these bronze sculptures. These Beeldenaan Zee (“sculptures by the sea”) are geometric cartoonish characters depicting fairytales and folk stories like the Hansel and Gretel, Moby Dick, and Gulliver’s Travels. There is also a giant “herring eater” – a comical representation of a typical Dutch herring-fanatic – and a “crying giant” meant to represent America post-9/11. Reminiscent of Vigeland Park in Oslo, each was intriguing and a bit disturbing.. perfect for a beachside sculpture garden!


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A Taste of Delft

What day trip would you do again in a heartbeat?

Delft is a quaint town and a fun day trip from Rotterdam! We instantly fell in love with the winding alleys, the tight lines of buildings, and the leaning towers. We even had to find a wooden shoe to pose in!

The name “Delft” comes from the word “delven” (like “delve”), and is named for the canal beside which it was built, the Delf. The Netherlands are known for its many canals, and we enjoyed walking alongside them and drinking on patios floating atop them.

We also climbed the tower of the New Church with a beautiful view of the city below from its dizzying height. And we marveled at the leaning tower of the Old Church, threatening to tip into the adjacent canal.

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We only spent a day in Delft, but we could have spent more time there. It felt like a mini Amsterdam, with a rich history of its own (a gunpowder house once exploded and destroyed a large part of the city) and lots of character. Be sure to check it out if you’re in the area!


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A Taste of Holland Windmills

What’s a funny mistake you’ve made in your travels?

Holland is known for their windmills. We wanted to photograph some while we were there, but we weren’t too keen on going all the way out to Kinderdijk (the crowds it also draws didn’t sound too appealing, either).

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A Taste of Biking in Rotterdam

Where do you like to bike?

Rotterdam is a particularly bike friendly city. We had to be careful when crossing the street that we didn’t get run over. With lots of bike lanes and ample bike storage garages such as these, there’s no reason to not take yours out for a spin!

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5 Cities to Make You Fall in Love with Holland

Holland is a land of many winding canals, amazing architecture, old churches, traditional windmills, and rich culture. These things easily made us fall in love with the area. During our trip, we spent most of our time in Rotterdam and did several day trips from there. The places we visited were sometimes even better than our home base of Rotterdam. Can you guess which city was our favorite? It may not be what you expect.

View from Nieuwe Church in Delft Netherlands Holland

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A Taste of the Rotterdam Markthal

What kinds of markets do you like to visit?

If you wind up in Rotterdam, do yourself a favor and check out the really cool Markthal. Located right in the center of town (within spitting distance of the Cube Houses), this indoor market is a fascinating place to visit.

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A Taste of Rotterdam Architecture

Where have you seen the coolest architecture?

Rotterdam is known for its unique architecture. When the city was leveled during WWII, the city voted to start fresh rather than rebuild what was there. This created a city with an architecturally young center.

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A Taste of the Cube Houses

Would you sleep in a cube house?

The Cube Houses of Rotterdam are a fascinating example of modern architecture! In fact, it was a picture of these unique buildings that originally inspired our trip to the Netherlands.

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