Friday, April 3, 2020

Christmas 2017 in the Netherlands

On December 2017, Kepi and I traveled to the Netherlands. Christmas was around the corner and we both needed a vacation from our daily lives. Yup, once or twice a year we feel that way. We enjoy being at home with our furry kids especially during the holidays, but sometimes our penchant for travel pulls us away from our love of Christmas trees and lights. We've never been to the Netherlands, so we were excited to explore a new country. Besides, we've always been curious about this city called Amsterdam.

Here are the highlights from our trip:

1.)  Amsterdam, also known as the “Venice of the North”, has 165 canals and 1,500 bridges. Kepi and I spent a day walking and exploring the city with no itinerary. We took so many photos of the canals, bridges and rowed houses, and honestly, they're all postcard worthy. I don't think it's feasible to post all the canal photos we both took so here's one. Amsterdam is charming in winter, and it's a relief that we only got a few snow showers.

2)  Rijksmuseum - We decided to visit at least one museum during this trip, and it has to be Rijksmuseum. We are not art connoisseurs but we do have interest in the artwork of Vermeer and Rembrandt. From our hotel, it was an easy 20 minute walk to the museum. This was the area where the "I amsterdam" sign was located. I read somewhere that the sign was removed in late December 2018. We didn't go to the Van Gogh Museum nearby as we've already seen some of his paintings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

The Cuypers Library is the largest and oldest art historical library in the Netherlands.

I took this photo at the entrance of the museum.

When we saw this, there was much disappointment because people were climbing on the letter signs, obnoxiously hogging empty spaces to take Instagram worthy selfies. I mean, how many times do you have to take a selfie of yourself? 10? 20? It's a selfie magnet, and it felt more like a zoo.

Art classes taking place at the museum entrance.

3)  The Bloemenmarkt or the Floating Flower Market is a fun place to visit, as we strolled through colorful flower stalls matched with vibrant store owners selling their Dutch clogs, Tulip bulbs, flower bouquets and Cannabis seeds.

4)  Rotterdam is a city known for its interesting architecture.

Behind the Cube Houses is the Pencil building.

The Cube Houses or Kubuswoningen in Rotterdam are one of the city's most iconic attractions. Designed by Dutch architect Piet Blom, this residential development stands apart as its homes are literally cubes, tilted over by 45 degrees. I'm not sure how comfortable it is to live in one of these cubes. Nevertheless, it is an interesting concept.

The Blaaktoren in Rotterdam is another residential tower by Piet Blom. Also called as the Pencile or Potlood building in Rotterdam because of the pointy top.
5)  Delfthome of the painter Johannes Vermeer and the famous Delft Blue Porcelain.

The heart of Delft.

Delft Blue porcelain factory.

6)  The Hague - Almost everyone have heard of this place especially in the realm of diplomacy, international affairs, and yes, movies.

Binnenhof or Inner Court complex is the seat of the Dutch parliament. Inner Court is the oldest parliament building in the world and it was the very heart of the country's power during the Dutch Golden Age.

Peace Palace is the seat of the International Court of Justice, the only judicial center of the United Nations that is not located in New York City.

7)  Food - Rijsttafel, Oliebollen, Dutch Pancakes, and Poffertjes. Yes, this was a carb heavy heaven trip for me and I enjoyed every morsel of it.

Rijsttafel or "rice table", an Indonesian elaborate meal adapted by the Dutch.

Freshly fried Oliebollen at Lanskroon Bakery. We've tried quite a few of bakeries selling Oliebollen, but my favorite are the ones from Lanskroon.

It was snowing when we found our way to Lanskroon Bakery. Luckily there was an open table, so we had some tea with warm Oliebollen while we watched the snow.

Dutch pancake at The Pancake Bakery. This was our Christmas breakfast while visiting Amsterdam. Very light yet filling.

Poffertjes at De Carousel. I love these coin sized pancakes smothered in butter and sugar.

We enjoyed our 2017 Christmas break in Amsterdam. There is something soothing about Amsterdam, and I'm not pertaining to the open use of Cannabis. Residents there are genuinely helpful and nice. When we were having problems purchasing our train tickets, people were so patient in helping us figure out why the ticket machine keeps rejecting our credit card. They stopped what they were doing and gave us their undivided attention. There were other cities we've been to where locals would "purposely" ignore our questions and even turn away from our plea for help. Amsterdam felt friendly. Perhaps we were lucky we met the right people, but when visiting a country or any place especially at Christmas time, it's the authenticity of people that makes a vacation truly grand.


  1. Yes I agree, the Dutch and the Germans are very friendly and accommodating.

    I remember when we were based in Brussels, my dad would drive us to Amsterdam because there was a Filipino store there where we bought patis, which my mom would use for cooking. LOL Fun, leisure drive during some weekends. I was about 10 years old then my sister only 7 and we would make so much noise in the back seat of the car, dad would get angry. :P

    1. That is one thing I love about Europe, one can drive or take a train to visit another country. I tried to look for a Filipino shop when we visited, but was unsuccessful.

  2. I'm glad you are finding time to blog now. One of the "silver linings" in this unfortunate circumstances we are facing. I was telling my husband to put Amsterdam in our itinerary when we rebook the Turkey trip that was canceled due to covid-19. Only recently have I found some interest in the city. Crossing fingers that this trip happens in the fall.

    1. I agree. These days, blogging is a good distraction for me. I haven't rebooked our trips yet. I'm thinking I'll just rebook them for next year. We enjoyed Amsterdam, so I'm hoping you'll find it interesting as well.

  3. I am really enjoying these virtual travels with you.