Tag Archives: Amsterdam

FAKING THE CITY TO SURF – by running it in Amsterdam

They're off! Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

They’re off! Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

It’s exactly ten years since last I finished Sydney’s City to Surf race from the city centre to famous Bondi Beach. Time to do it again.

One problem – I’ll be in Amsterdam, not in Sydney, on the big day.

So I’ve had to devise a 14km virtual reality City to Surf route in a town which has no true city centre, no surf and nothing remotely like Heartbreak Hill, the steep stretch halfway along the course that causes so many hopefuls to ‘hit the wall’. Continue reading

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A TOP CITY FOR EXPATS – who don’t need friends

Millions want to visit, so why wouldn't you want to live here?

Millions want to visit; why wouldn’t you want to live here?


According to an article on the BBC website, I’m living in the one of the best places in the world to be a foreign resident.

But on delving further into an HSBC survey comparing countries’ liveability for expats, I was disconcerted to see that while the Netherlands scored well on things like job opportunities, health services, ease of transport, culture, language (meaning widely-spoken English) and good schools for expat children, it was near the bottom of the list on various social criteria.

The country rated very low for expats in ‘making local friends’, ‘social life’ and ‘integrating into the community’. China and Germany scored much higher in these categories. Continue reading

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ALEXANDER CALDER HANGS OUT IN AMSTERDAM

The entrance to the remodelled Rijksmuseum is worth a visit on its own, with Mr Calder as a bonus.

The entrance to the remodelled Rijksmuseum is worth a visit on its own, with Mr Calder as a bonus. And it’s free.

No time to queue for Rembrandt and Vermeer? Find the EUR15 entrance fee for the Rijksmuseum a bit steep? Hate crowds?

There is an alternative for cheapskate, agoraphobic art lovers. The gardens of the Rijksmuseum are a little treasure, and this year they’re graced by an exhibition of 14 large-scale works by an international superstar. Entry is free and there’s plenty of elbow room. Continue reading

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THE SHAPE OF OTHER THINGS – day of Amsterdam architecture

IJDOk - Hotel Room Mate Aitana.

IJDOk – Hotel Room Mate Aitana.

Continuing our weekend of exploring Amsterdam on the second Dag van de architectuur, Mevrouw T and I rode the bikes along the Ij harbour from Centraal Station to the new development at IJ Dok.

Like it or loathe it, it’s certainly at the pointy end of Dutch design. Continue reading

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THE SHAPE OF THINGS – Amsterdam’s weekend of architecture

Intel Hotel, Zaandam

Intel Hotel, Zaandam. Brilliantly witty or gimmicky kitsch?



Mevrouw T is a regular at Amsterdam’s excellent annual Dag van de architectuur (Day of Architecture). This year I joined her, and many others joined us.

The event’s popularity led the organisers to extend the 2014 edition to a whole weekend of walks, talks and open building inspections.

Highlight of our Day 1 was a boat ride along the Ij from Amsterdam to Zaandam with Mr Remy Vlek as our expert guide. Naturally I was pointing the camera at the sights along the route. Continue reading

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FIVE DUTCH VILLAGES – a day’s cycling from Amsterdam

Markermeer - they don't call it 'Waterland' for nothing.

Markermeer – they don’t call it ‘Waterland’ for nothing.

A sunny day, a gentle breeze, a work deadline met, bike chain oiled and legs in need of a stretch. Time to do one of my favourite loop rides from Amsterdam, out into Waterland, aiming to visit five of Holland’s most picturesque villages.

Two of the most visited posts on this blog are about Waterland and Dutch villages, so there’s another excuse to put the two together in one pretty, watery ride and have a story to tell at the end of it.
Continue reading

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AMSTERDAM TO NAARDEN – a fine spring cycle

By the Amstel River. 'Amster-dam' = 'Dam on the Amstel', remember?

By the Amstel River. ‘Amster-dam’ = ‘Dam on the Amstel’, remember?

We’ve just arrived back in Holland, the breeze is gentle and the rain won’t be with us for two more days. So what better way to fight the jetlag than a ride through the Dutch countryside?

One of the most hit-on posts on this blog is my brief list of Holland’s Prettiest Villages. I decided I’d see how many of them I could manage to ride around in a day. My route took me through Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, Abcoude, Weesp, Naarden, Muiden and back to Amsterdam. A respectable 72kms, plus a few where I forgot to switch the computer back on.

If that seems a bit energetic for Day 1 in the saddle, let me confess up front that Mevrouw T kindly offered me use of her electric bike. I know, that’s cheating, but we thought the beast should be tested again, before we take it farther afield.

It was indeed a lovely ride, and the bike’s electric booster left me energy over for photography. Continue reading

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