Tag Archives: the Netherlands

GAY PRIDE – Amsterdam’s Canal Parade in pictures

Everybody is welcome, everybody is fine, even those who are not gay are happy.



The annual Gay Pride festival was on again this weekend. There were parties and concerts and, in keeping with the Olympic fervour, sports played in high heels.

But the highlight as ever was the Canal Boat Parade. Continue reading

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HERRING STALL – a little fishy tale

A Dutch herring stall. Not the one in this story. Not the people in this story. Nor the same dog. This one isn’t even in Amsterdam.



The herring stall in the street is a Dutch institution. The Dutch like their herrings raw, slimy and, well, very fishy. Mevrouw T loves them. I quite enjoy them as a snack or light lunch.

Since customers need to wait while the haringboer (‘herring farmer’) fillets each fish in front of them, there is always time for a chat at the herring stall. Some people take their herrings home, but many eat them on the spot.

So little social dramas play out, one of which I was privileged to catch. Continue reading

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AMSTERDAM’S TOP 10 STREETS – my picks

The Prinsengracht is high on everybody’s list of most beautiful Amsterdam streets, and with good reason. But I was looking for lesser-known alternatives.

After a frantic few months, we now have five weeks ‘at home’ in Amsterdam, with no travel plans.

It’s a good excuse for me to spend a day in the bike saddle, my camera slung over my shoulder, getting reacquainted with my favourite spots around this beautiful town.

Two years ago I blogged about the ten streets voted Amsterdam’s most beautiful by readers of the Parool newspaper. That’s proved to be a massively popular post (thanks very much, all you people who click on it a few times every day).

So this time I’ve picked ten other places I like to take visitors to show them Amsterdam’s variety as well as its charm.
Continue reading

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AMSTERDAM – back home on the Schinkel

If you’re lucky enough to have wifi access from the cafe across the road, you can work in the outdoor office.

It’s nice to be ‘home’ in Amsterdam, at least for a little while. Followers of this blog may have noticed that Mevrouw T and I have been getting out and about rather a lot recently.

‘When are you going to spend some time in Amsterdam?’ Dutch friends and neighbours are asking. ‘Aren’t we interesting enough for you?’

We came back this week and Mevrouw T found an article in a Dutch newspaper featuring the history and present-day delights of our part of town, the Schinkelbuurt. The writer made it sound very interesting indeed, so I took the camera out for a walk, then googled the Schinkel to see what we’d been missing.

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DUTCH-STYLE BIKES – will they catch on in Australia?

Dutch grandmothers love their granny bikes, and so do many other people.

A friend who learned her cycling in China came to visit us in Amsterdam. Naturally we took her for a bike ride, lending her our guest Gazelle with ‘sit-up-and-beg’ handlebars. She liked it.

Back in Sydney she went straight down to Paul van Bellen’s Gazelle bike store in Matraville and bought herself one.

There’s a burgeoning market for sturdy city bikes in Australia, and the Dutch can fairly claim to make the best ones going. Continue reading

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PALEIS HET LOO – the Dutch Versailles

There was nothing those Dutch kings liked better than getting up in the morning and trimming a hedge.

The Dutch may be on average the tallest people on the planet, but most other things in the Netherlands are built in miniature.

Palace the Loo doesn’t have the same acreage as Versailles, where the Sun King had more room to spread himself, but it’s rather grand in its modest way. Continue reading

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TEYLERS MUSEUM, HAARLEM – gadgets and games

The way museums used to be - polished wood, glass cases and a creaky floor.

They just don’t make museums like they used to, unfortunately. The Teylers Museum, the oldest in the Netherlands, began as a private collection, donated to the state by Mr Teyler in the eighteenth century and added to in the intervening years.

Teyler and subsequent curators put together anything which took their fancy, so the museum houses an extraordinary mish-mash of treasures. Continue reading

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