Archive for the 'Holland' Category

Worldwide Pop-up Restaurant Day August 17

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

An international idea celebrated in 50 countries, Restaurant Day is a food carnival created by food-loving people setting up one-day restaurants. The idea of the day is to have fun, share new food experiences and meet others in our community. People offer their family cuisine, favorite recipes, desserts or whatever in their backyard or a park.  Prices are very inexpensive.RestaurantDay

Check the maps to see if there is one in your city.

Date: Sunday, August 17

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Sandra and Stan on Radio

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

On Saturday Sept 10th, My husband and I will be on Radio Centre-Ville’s Centre-Ville Consumer show with Beta Wayne.

Tune to 102.3  between 12:30 p.m.  and 1 p.m. and you’ll hear about our experiences in Holland and Flanders, Belgium in May. It will be the full half hour of conversation between us.

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Dutch Food in Amsterdam

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Even though our guide said that Amsterdam is so multinational that “you can find any food except Dutch food”, we found some delicious traditional food at Restaurant Haesje Claes ( In the six Dutch-style buildings bedecked in wood – walls, ceilings, tables, we dined on crispy cheese croquettes and hearty pea soup heaped with carrots, sausage and potatoes. We licked our plate clean of a memorable “hotchpotch” with carrots and onions in mashed potatoes and meatballs, sausage and bacon. We could’ve had stamppotten, smoked eel or fish stockpot with cheese.

We tasted the old-fashioned dessert made with raisins, brandy, egg liqueur and cinnamon ice cream and Grandma’s semolina pudding with red berry sauce. The liqueur page brought smiles, for you can drink “my aunts water, tears of a bride, Hans in the cellar, parrot soup or mistress in the green”.

If you’re near the Central Station, you can eat at Restaurant De Kroonprins (located in It’s pub-like, with beer on tap and simple dishes like Indonesian sate with peanut sauce or the popular Dutch steak with yummy fried mushrooms, salad and fries, wiener schnitzel or sea perch, and even a Dutch shrimp cocktail. For dessert, we tried the traditional Dame Blanche, a cousin to the hot fudge sundae.

Indonesian food is ubiquitous in Amsterdam but you can expect a warm family welcome if you dine at Puri Mas (, popular for the past 22 years. Ordering is easy because their speciality is rijsttafel; It’s a set meal of many small tastes – about 17 plates – served by friendly waitresses in traditional dress. The dishes in their distinctive sauces are carefully explained to you and placed in order of cool to hot.

Starters would be a crispy egg roll and fried prawns while mains are chicken brochette in peanut sauce, pork brochette in a spicy sauce, lamb in curry,  chicken in a Balinese sauce, spiced cucumber salad, veggies in peanut butter sauce, fried potato sticks, coconut powder to dust about, and you finish with tropical fruit and ice cream or fried banana.

Zuiderzee Museum in Holland

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

About an hour from Amsterdam, you can immerse yourself in real living history, if you plan to spend a day in the country at the authentic Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen  ( which covers Dutch life from 1850-1932. The area was created with barrier dams and the reclamation of land, and then whole towns were moved here.

There’s a fishing harbour forming a coastal village with its stilt houses, a Church district with the sail-maker, barber, coopery, smithy, school – and a sweet shop which is still open.  The canal area has a wood-turner, paint workshop, pharmacy and theatre, and near the nature area – a working steam laundry – and yes, there’s both a dike and a windmill. Nearby, there’s an indoor museum in an old warehouse with a collection of wooden ships from the Dutch West India Company and some new art.

Zaanse Schans for Windmills

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Zaanse Schans, 10 miles northwest of Amsterdam is easy to get to by train (4 stops), bus (#91) or car, and has no entrance fee ( We lucked out and arrived on Windmill Day, so this open air museum with its six windmills was bustling, and we got to climb up all over them and learn how they work.

According to Marit Hendriksen, a spokeswoman for National Windmill Day in May, there are 1,156 mills officially listed, and the Dutch still love to go out and “meet the guys that work these things” which have been “the face of the country for so long”. Windmills were the very first factories, popular from1650-1850, and used to run machinery.

We got to meet Pete, whose family owns “De Kat”, which still makes paint pigments, probably the last wind powered dye mill in world. Windmills are run by those sails which must be turned to face the wind (which they can count on for only about half the year). Workers can regulate speed and use a brake on top which can make the mill stop in 15 sec. The other mills at Zaanse Schans press linseed oil, grind spices and cut wood.

The town buildings that surround the mill area are a bit touristy but are still an enjoyable visit. There’s a cheese maker, a bakery, a museum of the Dutch clock, a distillery, pewter foundry, cooper and you even get to see how wooden shoes are made.

I Amsterdam Card

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

When visiting Amsterdam, it pays to buy the I amsterdam card which covers free entrance to more than 25 museums, a canal cruise and unlimited use of GVB trams, buses and metro plus 25% off other attractions.

Eclectic Museums in Amsterdam

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

When you are ready to explore Amsterdam, you would be surprised at the eclectic choices of other museums in town: the one for purses (Museum of Bags and Purses or shows off 4,000 of them. The houseboat museum (Woonboot Museum) is in a – houseboat – so you can get a peek into what life is like to live on one. There are still people living in about 10,000 of them all over the country  – they’re not inexpensive at $150,00-$500,000 Euros.

There’s even one for a taste of the Hermitage from Russia, but it is filled mostly with church relics and not those gorgeous paintings we were hoping for. The Jewish Historical museum ( is situated in  a complex of four former Ashkenazi synagogues. Besides the objects on display you pick up headphones and hear personal stories of holidays, the sabbath, services and family life.

We never made it to the Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum, the Tulip Museum or the Tattoo one but we did hit the Red Light district and the floating Singel Flower market. Around since 1862, the flowers used to come by boat and the stalls set on the edge of a canal are still full of tulips, geraniums, bulbs, plants, and tons of souvenirs.

Museum of Bags and Purses Amsterdam

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

The Museum of Bags and Purses ( or has over 4,000 fabulous examples collected over 35 years  by Henkrikje Ivo, and was a favorite of this smart shopper. It covers the history of purses, which started as loose pockets on the tops of petticoats. You’ll see armadillo purses, beaded ones, ironwork, tortoise shell, ivory, stocking purses and then the famous ones: Chanel 2.55 and Kelly by Hermes, etc.

You can have a light lunch in their café or pause for a break in their garden. And yes, you can buy purses in the gift shop (bring me home the tulip one).

Anne Frank Huis in Amsterdam

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

A solemn reverent place is the Anne Frank Huis ( where, at 66 years after her death, it sports the longest lines and is worth the wait (go early). You walk behind the bookcase to the secret attic apartment where she lived with her sister Margot, her parents, and others. There are still pencil marks on wall marking her growth. Quotes are on the walls from her World War II diary, “I long to ride a bike, dance, whistle, look at the world, feel young and know that  I’m free”. She died in a concentration camp one month before liberation.

Rembrandt and Van Gogh in Amsterdam

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

For a first quiet day in Amsterdam, head to the Rijksmuseum ( for the works of Rembrandt, Frans Hals, delftware and more and the  Van Gogh Museum (, which are easy to double date as they are down the street from each other.

For free, in the garden of the Rijksmuseum, see if you can find the collection of sculptures and ruins in the form of building fragments from five centuries of Dutch architecture from Gothic pillars to city gates, a mishmash of pilasters, gables, lion masks and pieces of monuments from all over the city.

You can learn more about Rembrandt by visiting his home ( which he bought at the height of his fame in 1639 but lost to bankruptcy by 1656. In his studio you can watch a demonstration of how each day paints were made by his students, and there is an exhibition of his etchings.