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Welcome to the port of Europe

The beautiful and cosmopolitan capital of the Netherlands, full of romantic canals and bridges, beautiful gabled houses, world famous museums and modern architecture.

2013 is a very special year for Amsterdam. Many big events are on the programme, such as the reopening of the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. In addition, the city will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Amsterdam canal belt.

I offer you walking tours, bicycle tours and you can combine any tour with a guided tour at the Rijksmuseum or other museum.

If you want something that’s not on the list, just say it.

Old Town – Red Light District – China Town – Flea Market – Floating Flower Market – Beguinage – Dam Square – Royal Palace – Jordaan – Anne Frank House (4 hours) Amsterdam is a city to walk around. All is at walking distance and after this sightseeing tour you know how and why the former little fishing village grew into the bustling capital of the Netherlands. I will show you all the highlights of the old town along the ancient canals, gabled houses and beautiful church towers. We visit the famous floating flowermarket, admire the imposing Royal Palace and after a short walk to the magnificent Westerchurch you can optionally visit the world known Anne Frank House.
Join me on an eye-catching architecture walk or biketour through the old seaport that has changed in a relatively new urban area, the Eastern Docklands. Renowned architects changed the old docks and port buildings into a modern residential area of Amsterdam.
Celebrate this years 400th anniversary of the famous canal belt. Over the centuries 165 canals were created to stimulate trade and transport. The canal ring was recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. Watch its famous canals, beautiful bridges, warehouses and visit the Grachtenhuis (canalmuseum) or one of the noble houses.
Walk with me through the heart of Amsterdam’s old Jewish Quarter and visit the recently restored Portugese Synagogue which, together with the neighbouring Jewish Historical Museum, the JHM Children’s Museum and war memorial the Hollandsche Schouwburg, forms the Jewish Cultural Quarter.
You can hop on a bike, rod and reel on the free ferry to the northern part of Amsterdam and admire the typical landscape of the Dutch countryside.
Want to go shopping? I show you the small, original and exclusive boutiques in the 9 straatjes (nine little streets). If you are an antique lover I take you to one of my favorite neighborhoods called Spiegelkwartier (Mirror Quarter) with over 70 antique shops and fine art galleries. Dutch Old Master paintings are always well represented, but you will also find Delftware and ceramics, Oriental and African Art, as well as many shops with old clocks, instruments and furniture.

Welcome to ‘little Amsterdam’

My beautiful hometown, often overshadowed by it much larger and more famous neighbour Amsterdam, is famous for its architecture, shopping and cosy restaurants. And of course the Frans Hals museum, a classical collection housed in an Old Men’s Alm House.

Haarlem is also very close to the beautiful sandy beaches, famous Keukenhof gardens and flowerfields of Lisse, historic Leiden and Delft and the cheese markets of Alkmaar.

Tours

Let me take you by the hand and you will explore the most extraordinary parts of this wonderful little town.

I can compose a tailor made day programme where you, for example, combine a walkingtour with a visit to a museum. You can eat a nice lunch in one of the many cosy restaurants Haarlem offers and in the afternoon we will taste a real Dutch jenever in a typical brown café or take a famous Jopenbeer in the Jopenkerk, an old church transformed into a brewery.

Because I have young children of my own I can also make a nice programme for you and your (grand)children.

Everything is possible in good consulation.

I take you to the well-preserved old city centre, the narrow streets around the Grote Kerk (church), we walk along the many old beautiful inheritances and I tell you more about some of the many monuments and interesting stories and anecdotes about the history of this city.

We will defenitly visit one or two “Hofjes’ – small houses grouped around a community garden with a water pump, originally build for old ladies by the rich members of the town. Everything within walking distance, which adds to the fun in this historic city.

I climb upon a bike with you and take you along for a ride. It’s a very safe and easy way of transportation, since we even have a special road and sometimes traffic lights exclusively for bikes.

Everything in and around Haarlem can be easily reached by bike. Where can we go to: -We discover the towncenter, all it’s small streets and nice old houses and than we can go outside Haarlem and visit Elswout – an estate that belongs to a historical summer residence for rich city people from the 19th century. -We go to the beach, Bloemendaal or Zandvoort, and enjoy a trip over the hills and through the valleys of our beautiful dunes. -A cycling route to the scenic town Spaarndam, which is well worth a visit. This quaint old fishing village not only takes its fame from its two forts, but also from its sluices. And of course from it’s small statue of Hans Brinkers, the famous little Dutch boy who plugs a dike with his finger.

Haarlem has more than fifteen museums, which all house unique collections. From paintings to barrel organs, from straitjackets to 18th century scientific machinery. You can combine a walking- or bike tour with a visit to one of the museums.

The Frans Hals museum: Houses a large collection of Dutch art dating from the fifteenth-century onwards. There is also a modern art department, silver and crafts section and various exhibitions. The museum is housed in a former old men’s home and has also a beautiful garden. Jubilee exhibition To celebrate this years’ 100th anniversary the Frans Hals Museum will be presenting two jubilee exhibitions. ‘Frans Hals – eye to eye with Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian’ links the works of Frans Hals to those by his contemporaries. This exhibition clearly illustrates the directness of the master’s paintings and his ambitions. The second exhibition, ‘Frans Hals – the mystery behind the master painter’, involves a multimedia presentation using six beamers. This original and exciting display lets you explore the painter’s works and techniques and Frans Hals the painter himself.

Link: www.franshalsmuseum.nl

The Teyler Museum: Dating from 1784, is the oldest public museum in the Netherlands. The unusual combination of science and arts makes this museum so interesting. It boasts an extensive collection of paintings by the old masters as a large collection of fossils, minerals and scientific instruments.

Link: www.teylersmuseum.eu

Corrie ten Boom House: Was the home of the ten Boom family, and is also called “the Hiding Place”. During the Second World War, this Haarlem house was used as a hiding place for refugees being hunted by the Nazis. Today, the house is a museum, restored to look as it did in the 1940′s.

Link: www.corrietenboom.com

The Vleeshal: As well as the Verweyhal are an annexe of the Frans Hals museum under the name “De Hallen Haarlem”, the museum for modern and contemporary art. Three times per year De Hallen Haarlem organises a cluster of exhibitions dealing with current developments in the visual arts.

Link: www.dehallen.nl

Museum Het Dolhuys: Offers visitors an interactive experience of the history of psychiatry.

Link: www.hetdolhuys.nl

Het draaiorgelmuseum: The unique collection of this museum consists nine mechanical organs, one of which is the Kunkels Organ, the largest concert organ of Europe. Since 2007 the government has assigned this organ as an official part of the Dutch cultural herritage.

Link: www.draaiorgelmuseum.org

Welcome to the city of peace and justice

Amsterdam may be the official capital of the Netherlands, but it’s The Hague (Den Haag) where the government sits, along with several international courts, for which the city’s best known. Cosmopolitan and cultured, The Hague is Holland’s third-largest town, with just under 500,000 people.

Visit The Hague with me and get to know everything about the rich history of the third city of The Netherlands, the seat of the Dutch Government, enjoy beautiful architecture and visit interesting museums.

Walking tour

Rejoice some of The Hague’s cultural institutions, landmarks and museums. There are many different attractions that you can choose from. Just tell me what you like and I make a nice and interesting tour for you.
- The historic Binnenhof (“Inner Court”) and Medieval Ridderzaal (“Knights’ Hall”), which now contains the Houses of Parliament and government offices. A good view can be obtained from the Lange Vijverberg on the other side of the lake called the “Hofvijver” (lit. “Court Pond”).

- The Lange Voorhout is a wide avenue containing many splendid houses (now home to several embassies) as well as The Hague’s oldest and narrowest house and the famous “Hotel des Indes”, the city’s most luxurious hotel.

- The town hall, a modern sparkling building designed by Richard Meier – with an atrium as large as a cathedral. The white color of the whole building and the modern design is stunning.

- The Mauritshuis exhibits many paintings by Dutch masters, such as Johannes Vermeer (girl with a pearl earring), Rembrandt van Rijn and Paulus Potter.

- The Haags Historisch museum showcases the history of the city from the Middle Ages to the present day.

- Museum Gevangenpoort (lit. the “Prison Gate”) is a former prison housed in a 15th century gatehouse, with genuine mediaeval dungeons and torture chambers.

- The Gemeentemuseum (Municipal museum) is home to the world’s largest collection of works by the Dutch painter Piet Mondriaan as well as other modern art.

- Vredespaleis (The Peace Palace), often called the seat of international law because it houses the International Court of Justice which is the principal judicial body of the United Nations.

-Madurodam is a miniature city, containing hundreds of scale-models of Dutch landmarks in a typically Dutch miniature landscape.

- Panorama Mesdag houses a cylindrical 360° “panoramic” painting, 14 meters high by 120 meters long, depicting the sea-front at Scheveningen in the late 19th century, made by Hendrik Willem Mesdag. It is presented in such a way that it is almost as if one is looking at a real scene rather than a painting.

- “De Passage” was the Netherlands’ first covered shopping mall. Dating from the late 19th century, it contains many expensive and speciality shops.