Category Archives: Articles of interest

Experience of 150 people

Ready, Steady, Go Dutch

Available in Autumn 2013, Ready, Steady, Go Dutch is a must-have resource for anyone planning on settling in the Netherlands, or who has been here a little longer. This innovative English-language publication is a handy 100-page paperback full of tips, tricks, and testimonials from expats and internationals, who have already “gone Dutch”. The book has been compiled from the experiences of some 150 people from all over the world.

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The Netherlands is eighth happiest country in the world.

For the third year in a row, Australia has taken the top prize for being the happiest place to live in the advanced world, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD)Better Life Index.


The annual index ranks the world’s 34 industrialized economies based on key criteria such as jobs, health, environment, education and income and Australia was the only Asia-Pacific country to find a place in the top 10. The Netherlands performs very well in overall well-being, as shown by the fact that it ranks among the top countries in a large number of topics in the Better Life Index.

Money, while it cannot buy happiness, is an important means to achieving higher living standards. In the Netherlands, the average household net-adjusted disposable income is 25 493 USD a year, more than the OECD average of 23 047 USD a year. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn nearly five times as much as the bottom 20%.

In general, 86% of people in the Netherlands say they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc), more than the OECD average of 80%.

The survey ranked more than 30 countries on criteria such as income levels, health, safety and housing.

For more info: Dutch Daily News

Amsterdam Roots festival

The 16th  edition of Amsterdam Roots Festival returns to Amsterdam from 4 to 7 July 2013. Taking place in five locations around Amsterdam, the festival features four days of music from all cultures and corners of the world. Expect to experience the latest development in world sounds, inspiring headliners, up-and-coming international talents at the city’s venues. Amsterdam Roots concludes festively with the annual outdoor festival Roots Open Air in the Oosterpark.

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Roots Indoor

Well-known city venues such as Bimhuis and Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ traditionally host the Roots Indoor programming. This year’s programming gives platform to inspiring acts. For example, Bombino (Niger) a Sahel blues rocker who has recently collaborated with The Black Keys, will headline in the Melkweg on Thursday July 4th. At the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Brazilian stars Paulinho Leite & Andre Rio explore and celebrate Carnaval & Fórro from Pernambuco. Vibrant big band Spok Frevo turns out elaborated arrangement from Frevo, Brasil.

Roots Open Air

The festival traditionally culminates in the fabulous Roots Open Air in Oosterpark on Sunday July 7th. From noon until 22.00, visitors can enjoy a day filled with music across multiple stages spread throughout the leafy park, with both international and local bands, the latest talent from Amsterdam, DJs, dance workshops, adventurous kids’ programming and extensive market with exotic foods and accessories and a lot more. Foodies surely won’t be disappointed by the variety of global goodies to be sampled.

This year singer-songwriter Rokia Traoré (Mali) headlines Roots Open Air. Having just released her latest album Beautiful Africa and performed in the musical theatre production Desdemona at Holland Festival, it’s the perfect time to catch this mesmeric songstress.

Other highlights include guitarist Jupiter Bokondji (Congo), singer-songwriter Emel Mathlouthi (Tunisia) – who became known for her protest songs during the Arab Spring – and the avant-garde classical and rock of Geomungo Factory (South Korea). As well as showcasing non-Western pop music; the Bass Stage will celebrate 5-year anniversary and blast out slices of modern bass and electronic music with a global twist. Urban Groove stage showcases some of the best international innovative acts such as Coely (Congo/Belgium), Next of Kin (NL), Gato Preto (PT) the world and Amsterdam has to offer.

For more info: see Amsterdam Roots Festival 2013

Windmills in Amsterdam


Windmills are an iconic part of the Dutch landscape, and no trip to the Netherlands is complete without a visit to a windmill. Every year in mid-May, the country celebrates National Windmill Day when windmills throughout the Netherlands throw open their doors to the public. And with eight windmills located in and around Amsterdam, windmill spotting is a great way to see the city.

Celebrating windmills

Windmills (molens) were an integral part of Dutch life for centuries, employed for industrial purposes like milling corn or draining the lowlands of excess water. More than 10,000 windmills once dotted the Dutch landscape. In fact, they are even ingrained in the language – one Dutch expression to describe an irrational person says that they must have been “hit by a mill”. Windmills are still celebrated during National Windmill Day as well as on festive occasions and national holidays when they are often decorated with flowers, figures of angels or Dutch flags.




17th and 18th-century windmills

Most of Amsterdam’s 17th-century windmills are unfortunately not open to the public, but hunting for windmills is still a fun way to see the city. De Otter on the Kostverlorenvaart in the Amsterdam West is the oldest sawmill of its kind. You can also admire De 1200 Roe or the Riekermolen located on the banks of the Amstel River. Two later examples are d’Admiraal windmill in Amsterdam Noord and De Bloem on the Haarlemmerweg, which was actually moved from its original location. And De Gooyer mill is bound to go down well with those fond of a tipple – Brouwerij ‘t IJ next door serves a range of traditional Dutch beers brewed on site. The bar is open all year-round, and when the sun is shining you can enjoy your cold brew on the large outdoor terrace.

Open for visitors

Of Amsterdam’s eight remaining windmills, the only windmill regularly open to the public is the Molen van Sloten. The Molen van Sloten is a renovated, working windmill built in 1847 and is a popular wedding venue. Whenever possible, the miller demonstrates how he turns the mill’s blades into the wind. Another attraction at the Molen van Sloten is an audio-visual presentation about Rembrandt’s life, called “Rembrandt in the Attic”.

Outside Amsterdam

If you fancy checking out more windmills after viewing Amsterdam’s best, the surrounding area also offers some stunning examples. The Zaanse Schans is just a short trip away from Amsterdam – about 15 minutes by train. This picturesque open-air museum is free of charge and boasts eight windmills. And for a small fee, you can also visit a working industrial windmill. From here, you can also stop by the Windmill Museum, a relaxing 15-minute walk away.

More info:  I amsterdam

Summer in Amsterdam

Vondelpark in Amsterdam

Vondelpark PaviljoenVondelpark is the largest city park in Amsterdam, and certainly the most famous park in the Netherlands, which welcomes about 10 million visitors every year. The Vondelpark is centrally located south of Leidseplein and near Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and Van Gogh Museum. The Vondelpark is loved by Amsterdammers as well as by tourists, and is full of people – enjoying a sunny day, dog-walking, jogging, roller-skating, listening to music, people-watching, or just lazing about in grass. Free concerts are given at the open-air theatre or in the summer at the park’s bandstand. Other attractions are the statue of the poet Vondel, the cast iron music dome, the Groot Melkhuis with playground for children, and the historical Pavilion with its restaurant Vertigo, opening in summer a popular terrace.

More pictures and info: Amsterdaminfo and Friendsof…

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175 year of Artis

Zoo in bloom

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In 2013 it will be 175 years since Artis first opened its gates. Artis’s founders first began the construction of a city park containing animals in 1838. If you take a stroll through the zoo today, you’ll be walking past the same trees, plants and shrubs as millions of other visitors before you over the past 175 years. The saplings planted back then have grown into the huge forest giants of today.

Artis has become the green heart of Amsterdam, an oasis of peace and nature in the middle of the city. We want to celebrate that. Throughout 2013, Artis will be the most colourful and fragrant flower garden in the Netherlands. And wherever there are flowers, there is always a feeling of celebration – they create a very special atmosphere. Come and admire our colourful parade of 176,875 flowersand 36,000 plants. Take a spring walk among tens of thousands of crocuses, winter aconites, grape hyacinths and large groups of traditional Dutch stinsenplanten. Enjoy the flower beds full of daffodils, fritillaries, crown imperials and tulips.

Artis lovely animals

And there are more than 80 species of tulips around our gardens, including the unique Artis tulip, which was bred specially for our anniversary year. In 2013, Artis is going to be the most colourful and exquisitely attractive place in the whole of Amsterdam. The flowers will be blooming until late into the autumn and it’s going to be a riot of colour more vibrant than all our parrots, toucans and cockatoos put together. This is Artis’s gift to all its visitors. At 175 years old, Artis is still a park in bloom.

1 April to 31 October: 9 a.m. until 6 p.m
ZOOmeravonden (‘Summer Nights at the Zoo’, every Saturday during June, July and August): 9 a.m. until sundown
Zoo Artis in Amsterdam is 175 year. 

Gateway to the Canals

Museum Het Grachtenhuis is

the gateway to the canals of Amsterdam.

One of the world’s greatest urban projects – the 17th century Amsterdam canal district – is presented in six rooms. Visit the multimedia, interactive exhibition and travel through 400 years of history in 40 minutes. Discover the unequalled power of the real canals in room 7.

Museum Het Grachtenhuis
Herengracht 386  |  1016 CJ  Amsterdam  |  + 31 – (0)20 42 11 656
Open: From Tuesday to Sunday between 10:00 and 17:00
For more info: Het Grachtenhuis.

Year of Dutch-Russian relations

Hermitage Amsterdam | In 2013, the Netherlands, Russia, and the city of Amsterdam will celebrate their special relationship. The two countries have been major trading partners since the Dutch Golden Age, and their ties grew stronger in the centuries that followed. When Napoleon was defeated in 1813, Russian Cossacks advanced as far as the gates of Amsterdam. One Dutch prince even married the sister of a tsar. The year 2009 saw a crowning moment in Dutch-Russian relations: the opening of the Hermitage Amsterdam, the only European satellite of the famous St Petersburg museum.


Belt plaque: battle between a monster and a horse, Siberia, 4th-3rd century BC, Chased gold. 12.3 x 8.2 cm.
© State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.


Peter the Great, an Inspired Tsar |until 13 September 2013

The exhibition will be based on the collection of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, with additional pieces from the collections of museums and institutions in the Netherlands and elsewhere.

Naumenko & Fomin:

Russian Passion | Sunday 26 May, 14 pm Church Hall

An entirely Russian programme, performed by two top Russian musicians. In 2010 violist Alexey Naumenko and pianist Misha Fomin formed a musical duo. They play works of Rachmaninov and Prokofiev, among others.

For more information: Hermitage Amsterdam

Cycle Parade for Bicycle Museum

Schermafbeelding 2013-05-23 om 08.48.45Last Sunday a large group of people cycling on a wide variety of very different bicycles made a tour through. The Cycle Parade through Amsterdam to celebrate the opening of the Bicycle Museum. The temporary museum is open until 29th of June and can be found in Oosterkerk

See also: Bicycle Dutch and Amsterdam Bicycle Museum.

Passageway Rijksmuseum: Officially open for cyclist

Amsterdam | After 10 years the cyclists passed through the Rijksmuseum passage way is again open.  This was yesterday celebrated by the Dutch Cyclist Union ( Specialy because it was a great succes after years of political battle.

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Source: ANP (

The passed through, which has allowed pedestrians and cyclists a shortcut across the city ever since the museum was built, was also closed during the renovation. The path is in a tunnel which runs through the museum and offering a unique and much-loved opportunity for Amsterdam’s cycle-loving citizens.

More information: Simpy Amsterdam news