It is often said that the little things in life are those that fulfil us the most, I absolutely agree. Give me a good cup of creamy cappuccino, some dessert complemented with the lovely company of friends and I am the happiest camper!
I like to consider myself a foodie (or maybe I’m just a fatty) and I’m a complete sucker for little cosy cafes. So today I’ll take you to some of my favourite places for an afternoon snack and delicious cup of joe in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. I must warn you though, I have an unprecedented sweet tooth …
- Sweet mother of R’dam:
Alice in Cakeland. http://www.aliceincakeland.nl/en/. Van Oldenbarneveltstraat 117.
This cute little cupcakery with its bright pink walls and lovely staff offer the so-famous American cupcake with a main goal in mind: freshness. At Alice, they bake a limited amount of cupcakes every morning and if they sell all their items they close shop until next day. They are also constantly offering many themed cupcake workshops, so check the website for an alternative activity with friends.
Dudok. www.dudok.nl/. Meent 88. Rotterdam
The ultimate Dutch diner! I really like coming here because of the lively atmosphere. You can have soups, sandwiches, drinks or the famous appletaart that was introduced to me, and I corroborate it, as one of the best ones in the country. I recommend you go all out and order it warm with whipped cream, I assure you won’t be disappointed!
Koekela. www.koekela.nl. Nieuwe Binnenweg 79a. Rotterdam
I was brought here by a dear friend who preached Koekela’s chocolate truffle pie as one of the most heavenly things on the face of the earth, and she was nothing but right! For the chocoholics out there, look no further; this can be your holy grail. The place also offers a different array of cookies, breads and pies. It is a very cute bakery where you can buy your daily bread or sit on the two-storey cafe and relax while enjoying the delicacies.
As a very international city, Amsterdam does not fail to rise to the occasion when it comes to its culinary offerings. Since I’m often busy with school and on a budget, I can count with my fingers the times I have travelled to Adam; but every time, this city does not fail to mesmerize me. I am lucky enough to have my own Adam native tour guide, and have been taken to many cool places. Here are two cute cafes that are beyond delicious.
T. http://www.t-etenendrinken.nl/. Roetersstraat 4. Amsterdam
From brunch to a large tea selection and homemade desserts, you will never run out of options at this old-time favourite UvA hangout spot. Make sure to try their cheesecake since it is rumoured to be one of the best in town.
De Taart van M’n Tante. http://www.detaart.com/en/home.htm. Ferdinand Bolstraat 10. Amsterdam
This is a very famous cake place where you are transported to a psychedelic land as soon as you step in the door. All tables and chairs are different and the décor is just full of life. After being mesmerized for some time with the cakes on display, you can go ahead and pick from the assortment of amazing desserts. If you are lucky enough like me, the owner, famous baker and tv star, Siemon “Siem” de Jong, will be around looking over his ever packed business.
There are many other places to explore and try. All the more now that it is finally getting warm and terraces are fully equipped and inviting to spend a lovely afternoon with friends. So don’t count the calories, but the endless memories that could happen over a piece of cake .
Until next time
For many (new) students in the Netherlands this is the day of the year. They start planning it up to two months in advance and are reserving boots in Amsterdam together with their friends or buying tickets for special festivals that are held throughout the country. Different to last year, my Queen’s day planning was very spontaneous. Up until one day in advance, my friends and I were not sure whether to go to a festival in Leiden, staying in Rotterdam or just go to Amsterdam and chill out at the “Grachten” with thousands of people. Even though many colleagues stayed in Rotterdam this year, we decided to go to Amsterdam because this Queen’s day would be very special due to the coronation of Willem-Alexander and we felt that staying in Rotterdam wouldn’t be really special. Furthermore a friend had some visitors from abroad who were more than happy to see the capital. As you can see in the picture to the right, we were actually able to have a look at how some royals and important persons entered the church for the crown ceremony.
So for those who are prospective student from abroad and who want to join EUR I will shortly explain the most important things about this national holiday.
This holiday was inaugurated first as “Princess Day” of Princess Wilhelmina of the Netherlands in 1885 on her birthday, the 31 August. After her ascension it was named Koninginnedag (Queen’s day) and was simultaneously the last day of summer vacation. With the ascension of Queen Juliana in 1948, the holiday was moved to its current date, the 30th of April. Beatrix retained the date when she became queen in 1980. Before Beatrix’ ascension, the monarchs usually received a flower parade that day near the royal palace. Beatrix changed this tradition and accustomed to visit different villages throughout the country each year.
With the ascension of her son Willem-Alexander to the throne this year, the Queen’s day will become King’s day and will be held on 27 April. However the first King’s day in 2014 will be held 26th of April since the 27th is a Sunday.
On this national holiday all goods can be sold tax-free and there exists large markets in all big cities.
So how does an international student prepare for this day?
Well first of all you realize last minute that you still need to wash your sole orange shirt that you haven’t worn since last year. Then you meet up with your friends at the Albert Heijn to supply yourself with the necessary liquids for the following day. The tough ones start off with the first beer at breakfast before meeting with everybody at the heavily crowded Rotterdam central station.
Arriving in Amsterdam, be prepared to lose at least some people of the group once a day=). And don’t put too much faith into the mobile networks on this day since they are overloaded.
After a long day in Amsterdam we were on the way to the central station when we realized that we would miss the entire 2nd part of the champions league semifinal (BVB vs. Real) if we took the train. Therefore we stayed in Amsterdam and watched the game which gave a marvelous end to the day with the German club advancing to the final =).
I leave you with some nice photos of the day.
The Argentinian representation on Queen’s day!
An annual event in Rotterdam is the alternative ‘life-style’ market held at Museum Park.
Titled ‘Swan Market’, this arcade of vintage clothing, house-ware, original art work, and homemade jams echoes to the cool-cats around Rotterdam to scratch out a bargain buy.
With all the homespun cards, bicycle-originated chairs and sofas, tree-made tables, and an assortment of antique handbags on offer, explorers were able to search the stalls for a good couple of hours. This particular Sunday afternoon the sky was clear and the coffee was hot; it was a perfect day to watch the Dutch shoppers go by whilst on a break from scouring the collection of intriguing items yourself.
Rotterdam’s ‘Swan Market’ takes place once ever couple of weeks around the city. Its well worth a visit!
For more info, visit this website; http://www.swanmarket.nl/
Hello beautiful people!
Spring is finally here and we are having many lovely and sunny days. We are almost done with exams (although most of us have the thesis to think about) and the picture is looking good for things to do in these warmer months!
Were you aware that in 2010, the grand start of Le Tour de France happened in R’dam? Well next time you are strolling/running near the Erasmusbrug take a look at the ground and you will see the Tour de France logo! So yes, today I will tell you about sports events that have/are happening in and around our lovely city.
Ever since I knew I was coming to R’dam I started looking for activities and festivals that are organised in the city. I must confess that I was more excited about the fact that the 40th edition of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament was going to be held in February 2013, with no one other than Roger Federer playing in it, than knowing I was accepted into the International Economics program. The event was very well organised and although my all time tennis hero did not perform as peRFectly as usual, it was still amazing to se him from so close. For info on tickets and next’s year event check: http://www.abnamrowtt.nl/
Another cool sport event, the 33rd ABN AMRO Rotterdam Marathon, just happened on the 14th of April. That Sunday was the first really warm day, so runners were very lucky because the weather was just perfect. This day did not only host a marathon but also a 5k, a 10k and a kids run. For the less athletic type, it offers a whole day of street entertainment for the old and young alike. Since I am speaking of marathons I cannot oversee the devastating events of the Boston Marathon that occurred just one day after, I want to send my thoughts and condolences to all of those affected by this tragedy. On a brighter note I leave you a nice pic I took from the website you can see the amazing energy that was flowing around Rotterdam Centrum that day!
Marathon’s website: http://www.marathonrotterdam.org/home
Of course there are many other sport events not only in Rotterdam but all around Holland, but I don’t want to bore you with the longest blog entry in history. However, below I leave you some up-coming events and other relevant info so you don’t miss out on what this city has to offer.
Shell Eco-marathon: 15 May 2013. For all of us eco-friendly people. www.shell.nl/ecomarathon
Stitching Roparun: 20 May 2013. A three city run (Paris-Hamburg-Rotterdam) http://www.roparun.org/
Ladiesrun: 9 June 2013. Sorry boys, you can always come and cheer J http://en.rotterdam.info/visitors/events/1016/ladiesrun/
CHIO Rotterdam: 19-23 June 2013. For equestrian lovers! www.chio.nl
On soccer: there are three professional football teams in Rotterdam: Sparta, Excelsior and Feyenoord. EUR organisations are always giving away tickets, so be on the lookout, I’ve heard the matches are super fun to watch!
I wish everybody the best of luck with the final exams and remember there is always time for a little fun in the Rotterdam sun.
Since I have been twice in Brussels during the last ten days, I thought I should tell a little bit about my favorite city in the Benelux.
Only 1.5 hours away by train, it is possible to discover the capital of Europe during a weekend or even on day-trip for those who have less time. With 1.1 million inhabitants and 1.8 million including the surroundings, it is the biggest city in the Benelux and has a lot to offer for tourists and students.
Personally, I really like to stroll around in the “Quartier Europeen” where all the European institutions are located. In this area, East of downtown there are also many parks and one has a nice view on the city center.
From there you can walk down the Boulevard Regent, one of the biggest shopping streets in Brussels with many expensive designer stores but also more affordable clothes for young people like Abercrombie & Fitch and Zara.
Finally you will reach the Palace of Justice from where you have a magnificent view over Brussels and you can descend via an elevator to the lower downtown.
I really like the inner city of Brussels because it reminds me of Paris with its small streets, cafes and old buildings. You definitely enjoy a coffee or a “petit dejeuner” in one of these cafes in the morning!
I enjoyed some of the best French fries of my life in Brussels and there a many chocolate stores that offer many different sweets that you can combine and are paid per weight. Furthermore you should definitely try some waffles (you can opt for the simple version with powder sugar or something more fancy with Nutella, whipped cream and even strawberries=)).
For the drinks I can recommend some “Belgian Blonde” beer, be it Leffe, La Chouffe or Duvel. Behind the “grand place” there is one street with a bunch of “tourist trap” restaurants, including very annoying waiters and menus in 5 different languages and pictures, so watch out to not get stuck there but no worries you will immediately notice=)). For the night there are many bars in the “beurs” area with some Irish Pubs but I was a little bit disappointed because there was no real activity during the week. Watch out for pick-pockets!
It is in the North of the city and one of the main sights. With escalators you can go from one “atom” to the next and in each part there is an exposition about the history and the construction of this complex that was built for the World Exposition 1958.
I was even fortunate to get to see some organisations while I was in the city. On my first visit we went with EFR to IBM headquarters and the NATO Headquarters which was a very interesting experience and we got a good overview over the organizations and possible work opportunities. On my second visit with the Erasmus Honours Programme we were able to talk to EU commissioners about their current work.
So keep your eyes open at the university, maybe you might be able to also combine this city trip with some company visits!
The Royal Palace
The English are not renowned for their cuisine. Battered cod and deep-fried potato is seen as a seaside delicacy, and this can be offered with a side of mushed up and minty petite-poi if you want a real Northern treat. All the same, being reunited with Great British condiments and supermarket standards when studying abroad can reignite some sort of passion for British dinners and kitchen culture, as I experienced when I stepped inside English delicatessen ‘Jac. A. van Zanten’.
With two other English girls neighbouring me, sipping a milky Yorkshire brew and admiring the Cadbury’s chocolate, Ambrosia custard and the rather large assortment of jams, I had never felt so British in The Netherlands. Not only did ‘Jac. A. van Zanten’ minister their high teas in pleasant teapots, but their array of familiar goodies became endless when my exploration of the place commenced.
Admittedly some of the quaint foodstuffs led to shelves displaying Christmas candles and festive themed bowls, which seemed a little peculiar. Moreover, while ‘Jac. A. van Zanten’ is a Dutch take on a cosy English tea room, other traditional gastronomy products were sold; curious pasta shells and the selection of atypical ‘Wijs & Zonen’ coffee beans weren’t representing the UK catering industry at all, but these yields just added to the charm of the place.
After overlooking the snowflake covered kitchen wear, and digesting my afternoon treats and pleasantries, I hopped along to the counter with kitsch, ‘Cath Kidson’ style tea-towel in hand – no Brit could leave this English-goods nirvana deprived of a souvenir.
Words by Hannah Whelan
For more information click on: http://www.jacavanzanten.nl/en/welcome/
Or see the wonderland for yourself: Karel Doormanstraat 292, 3012 GP Rotterdam
This entry is going to be a little different because I’m writing it from Indonesia. I’m a participant in the 2013 IRP (International Research Project) hosted by Aeclipse (Int. Economics study organisation). It has been an amazing experience that can hardly be described by words. In a little less than 2 weeks, we’ve been to Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Thousand Island. We have visited multinationals, companies, universities and research institutes. But don’t think it has been all work and no play; we have done some cool sightseeing and have also gone out. I am not going to write about everything we’ve done and seen because I would end up writing a bible, but I leave you some pictures so you can have a look.
Rice fields outside the city
Borobudur temple in Yogyakarta
Locals working on rice crops
Research projects and study trips are amazing opportunities to travel on a low budget while doing something relevant with your studies. Being able to visit both private and public institutions offers an insight on the working culture of the country; additionally you get to spend time with your classmates in a more personal way.
The majority of trips organized at EUR are to developing or emerging economies; which makes them all the more interesting. I have a friend that is travelling to Shanghai with the Chinese Student Association (CSA); EFR is hosting trips to Jordan and Ghana, just to name a few. All these trips are for students and organized by students and it is a great way to spend 1-2 weeks away from the regular student activities.
If studying abroad is sometimes not enough and you want to expand your international exposure, be sure not to miss all the amazing opportunities offered at EUR.
Up ’til next time!
So unfortunately spring decided to let us wait a little bit this year. For all the business students among us, the exams have just ended and many are escaping the freezing winds of Rotterdam by making a little family visit to their home country.
So what is there to do around Rotterdam? Well since it’s really chilly, I have decided to tell you about some events that take place inside. And what is better than to watch a movie in a warm cinema while it is cold outside? If you are interested in human rights and the injustice that is taking place in so many places around the world, I would strongly advise to visit the “movies that matters festival” in The Hague next year! This year it took place from 21st of March until the 27th of March and showed many movies, documentaries and hosted some talk shows, Q&A’s and debates. I went to a movie about the drug cartels in the North of Mexico today, but for whom that is too brutal there were also less violent topics =). For further information just have a look at the website: http://www.moviesthatmatter.nl/english_index
Returning to Rotterdam, one could finish the day with a nice dinner in one of the many international restaurants in the city. Personally I can especially recommend two places that astonished me with their food and atmosphere. The first one is called “De Smaak van Africa” and serves food from East Africa (mostly Ethiopia) and West Africa (Senegal). Besides the delicious dishes (the African pancakes are awesome), it is also a real cultural experience since you will sit in dimmed light in a nicely decorated place that let you feel like you are on a different continent. They have a really nice website with a virtual menu and many pictures! It is also a very vegetarian-friendly place which offers a wide variety of non-meat dishes! http://desmaakvanafrika.nl/
For those that are more into more eastern food, “The Light of India” might be a good address. We went there with a committee from STAR last year before going on a volunteering trip to Nepal. Personally, I am a huge fan of Chicken Tandoori and I even brought some tandoori spices all the way from Nepal for me and my roommates =). http://www.lightofindiarotterdam.nl/
So either way, enjoy your meal and hopefully you went to The Hague for the movies!! I leave you with a video that I found on YouTube about “De Smaak van Afrika” http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kcFQVLIljz8
When in Holland it is important to seek out the goings-on of the capital. Here are some crucial spots to visit when exploring A-Dam, a side apart from the Red Light District and Coffee Shops…
EAT – SKEK
Skek is a loving, honest, and curious student restaurant just off the city’s Central Station. It’s an alternative diner with delicious food, art-work-lampshades and kooky paintings, live music, ‘gezellig’ atmosphere, a piano – and student discount. Considering the food is so good, and the people are so friendly, it is worth having a snack at this cultural eatery.
For more: http://www.skek.nl/
ADVENTURE – VONDELPARK
For a Saturday or Sunday stroll, or any some week day escape, have a walk around the famous Vondelpark based in the south-west area of central ‘Dam. With a large picnic in hand, pretty bridges, calming water, and the occasional festival, it’s a Spring/Summer must do.
PARTY – PARADISO
Foals at Paradiso, March 2013
Paradiso is a pop podium based on central Weteringschans. It hosts fine acts and club nights to suit all ages and interests. Beginning out in the 60s, this music hall has grown a world-wide reputation for being a party house bursting with live music and beautiful interiors. The main hall has ‘mooie’ stained glass windows that drop behind the stage, and a large balcony that outlines the room. The acoustics are fabulous, and with other rooms within the building, there is bound to be something on that you’ll enjoy at this paradise.
Find out: http://www.paradiso.nl/web/show
CHECK OUT – NEXT MONDAY’S HANGOVER
Concept event project ‘Next Monday’s Hangover’ are continuously running Amsterdam based outings, which are always worth attending. From the Amsterdam Dance Event, to Buiten Westen festival in the summer months, the group are consistent in hosting a lot of fun. Before taking a trip to A-Dam have a browse through their up-coming happenings.
Information can be found on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/events/361639710601837/
All content and photographs by Hannah Whelan. Some photos taken by Mat Guzzo, search http://holandaeoutrascoisas.tumblr.com/ to see further.
Have you ever stopped to think about Tuesday? It is just sitting there, between the so-dreaded Monday and quasi-weekend Thursday just waiting for something exciting to happen. Well, in Rotterdam Tuesday is a different kind of day, because it is market day!
Every Tuesday and Saturday from 8:00-16:00 hrs. an outdoor market is built up in the centre of Rotterdam and it offers a huge array of EVERYTHING. From tulip seeds to second hand washing machines, from antiques and diverse paraphernalia to the best stroopwafles in town; in this market you can find anything, and I really mean anything you look for (I know of a friend who bought a mattress there, I’m not advising you to do it but it is always good to know right?). One thing is for sure: you will never get bored at the market. Sometimes, I even feel am back home with all the vendors announcing promotional prices and all the little grandmas walking around with their market karts.
I mainly buy my fruits, veggies, and nuts for the week there. I am all about buying local and/or organic as much as I can, and I love the market because it allows me to support local farmers, without mentioning the very low prices compared with the supermarket (student budget alert!!!). A little insider’s advice: if you go later during the day, you’ll find better prices since the vendors are wrapping up to go home!
The market is an awesome place to visit in a touristic stroll as well, as many of you know Rotterdam is a very international city, so you will find many dishes/fruits/breads that are not typically Dutch but that throughout the years, have made their way in this multicultural city. I leave you now with some pictures I have taken in many of my numerous trips to the Blaak market.
Oh, one last remark on Tuesdays: if you are not too tired from your adventurous market day, you can always party with ESN Rotterdam at BED (more info: https://www.facebook.com/esn.rotterdam?fref=ts) … but more on parties on another entry.
Until next time,
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