To barge or cruise?

There’s no denying the excitement, wonder and appeal of river cruise ships. Longer than a football field and able to carry up to 400 passengers, river cruise ships come with amenities that include sun deck whirlpools, gyms and libraries. With an abundance of staff, 5-star chefs and itineraries that include some of the best sights Europe has to offer, surely river cruise ships would win over their smaller, humbler cousins, luxury barges? It all comes down to personal preference. River cruise ships appeal to a completely different holidaymaker than luxury…


Local is lekker!

“Lekker” is a very handy word in Dutch. Most of the time it means “delicious”, but you can apply it to more than just food. Vacations, fun pastimes and many other things can also be described as “lekker”… including exploring local culture on one of our cruises! Holland and beyond It’s worth mentioning that our Holland Culture Tour doesn’t take place just within Holland. You might be surprised to learn that – officially – the name “Holland” refers to the Dutch provinces of North and South Holland, home to Amsterdam,…


Celebrating 75 Years of Freedom

This year, three quarters of a century after the end of WWII, Europe is celebrating 75 years of freedom. Commemorative events began on June 6 in Normandy, France, on the famous beaches where the Allies landed in 1944. In the Netherlands, Dutch memorial events commenced on August 31 at Terneuzen, Zeeland, where the Battle of the Scheldt took place in October and November 1944. 75 years of freedom in the Netherlands Throughout the end of 2019 and well into 2020 there will be Holocaust remembrance ceremonies and celebrations of freedom…


Three Should Be Dutch Masters

“The Dutch Masters” refers to the Dutch painters of the Dutch Golden Age, which roughly spans the 17th century, in other words, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Jan Steen, Frans Hals, Hendrick Terbrugghen, Willem Kalf, Rachel Ruysch, Pieter Claesz and Jacob Isaacksz Van Ruisdael. The influence these masters had on not just European art, but indeed, art from all over the world is undeniable. Rembrandt’s mastery of light and shadow, Hal’s customary loose brushwork, the endearing chaos of Steen’s work, the dark, spirited portrayal of the human psyche through nature that was van…


3 “must-cycle” routes in Amsterdam

If you had to translate Amsterdam’s “fietscultuur” (bicycle culture) into numbers, it tells a fascinating story. Amsterdam has over 881,000 bicycles that Amsterdammers use to cycle over 2 million kms every day! The total length of cycle paths and bike lanes in Amsterdam is 767km (which is the distance from Amsterdam to Salzburg, on the border of Austria) and 58% of the population older than 12 cycles daily. There can be absolutely no doubt: Amsterdam is the world’s biking capital. However, as history buffs and bike enthusiasts will tell you,…


7 “Must See” Museums in Amsterdam

During its “Golden Age” (1585 – 1672), Amsterdam was the undisputed jewel in the crown of Europe. As the leading financial center of the world, Amsterdam set the tone and style of European art for nearly two centuries, which is the long way of saying if art grabs your fancy (or even if you’re a casual admirer), you can’t beat Amsterdam for its sheer volume and variety of museums. Whether you’re into gorgeous photography, punky pop-art, “Golden Age” masterpieces or the world’s largest collection of handbags (yes, that’s a thing),…


Top 5 Tourist Spots on the River Lek

Ah, the majestic River Lek, winding its way for roughly 60kms west from Wijk bij Duurstede to Kinderdijk through Utrecht and Gelderland, and between South Holland and Utrecht. It meanders past a collection of both hidden gems and world-famous tourist destinations alike, so with no further ado, here’s our list of top 5 tourist spots to visit along the River Lek. Wijk bij Duurstede The first stop along the river Lek as you journey from East to West, Wijk bij Duurstede not only boasts the world’s only drive-through windmill (De Runmolenpoort)…


7 Gems in Ghent

Sure, Bruges has enjoyed a fair amount of limelight in recent years (along with a huge influx of tourists) and is often described as a “fairy-tale medieval town” but the place to visit if you want to experience all that without hordes of tourists is undoubtedly Ghent. Though its historic roots can be traced back to 650AD, Ghent truly flourished from the 11th century on, becoming one of the biggest cities in Europe by the 13th century. Some of the architecture from that period stands to this day, side-by-side with…


The best Gouda to taste in Gouda

Though we’ll never know who first thought of curdling cultured milk, washing the curd, pressing it into circular molds, soaking it in brine then finally drying and aging it in order to make Gouda cheese, we do know the process began roughly 830 years ago in a quaint little city called, you guessed it, Gouda. Older than Genghis Kahn, the invention of eyeglasses, the printing press, and most countries, Gouda cheese accounts for 50-60% of the world’s entire cheese consumption, according to cheese.com. With its incredible range of flavor variants depending…


True Blue: A brief history of Delft’s finest export

When people think of Dutch culture, they invariably conjure images of majestic windmills, sunlit canals, the works of Rembrandt and Van Gogh, fields of tulips, millions of bicycles and, of course, Delft Blue pottery. Though Delft Blue pottery had its heyday between 1640 and 1740, the Dutch began making pottery of the tin-glazed variety as early as 1570. Though it’s often confused with porcelain, Delftware is actually made from a blend of three different clays, one from Delft, one from Tournai and one from the Rhineland. Interestingly, it was actually the Chinese that inspired…