velvet | Amsterdam

Things to do on a layover at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

The man sitting next to me on the plane looked a bit flustered. We were about to land at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol when he turned to me and muttered that he had a five-hour layover in Amsterdam and asked me if I was flying on to another destination as well. “No, I live here”, I […]

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High wine at The Dylan Amsterdam

Afternoon tea is a centuries-old English tradition of late-afternoon indulgence: a cup of freshly-brewed tea accompanied by a selection of pastries and bite-sized sandwiches. This quintessential English tradition was introduced in many of the ex-British colonies, including Malaysia, where I grew up, where it became commonly known as high tea. It was something I always […]

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Plane views: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the main international gateway to the Netherlands and a major air hub in Europe. Schiphol (pronounced ‘skip-hol’) Airport handled almost 70 million passengers in 2017, about 4 times the population of the Netherlands, making it the third busiest airport in Europe. On a flight from Amsterdam, I was treated to a […]

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De Haar Castle – straight out of a fairy tale

De Haar Castle is one of the largest and most beautiful castles in the Netherlands. Situated near Amsterdam, this fairy-tale castle can trace its roots back to the 12th century but the current structure was built in the 19th century. Commissioned by Baron van Zuylen van Nyevelt (who married into the Rothschild family; one of […]

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The last day of summer

Saturday, 9th October 2010. Technically, it wasn’t the last day of summer but it sure felt like it. The sun shone brightly and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. At 24 degrees Celsius, it was perfect t-shirt weather… if it weren’t for the reddish-orangy leaves in the trees, you wouldn’t have guessed that […]

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How well do you know your city?

It’s funny how a moment of boredom can somehow become an eye-opening experience. I was sitting in a plane on my way back from Italy. The meal service had come and gone and I’d finished reading the inflight magazine. Feeling a bit bored, I took a peek at what my neighbour was reading. It was […]

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The intersection of the Keizersgracht and Leidsegracht.

The canals of Amsterdam: a window into the city

My hometown, Amsterdam, with its rings of canals, historic monuments, world-class museums and vibrant nightlife is one of the most visited cities in the world. Amsterdam’s world famous canals offer visitors a unique window into the history of the city and the lifestyle of its inhabitants. In the 17th century, Amsterdam was one of the […]

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Keukenhof garden, Holland

Visiting Keukenhof – the world’s largest flower gardens

The Keukenhof is perhaps the Netherlands’ most popular tourist attraction in the spring. Literally translated, Keukenhof means ‘kitchen garden’, and is located near the town of Lisse (map), about a half-hour drive southwest of Amsterdam, in the heart of one of the country’s major flower-growing regions. The Keukenhof is the world’s largest flower garden and […]

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Picture perfect Amsterdam

Amsterdam, with its rings of canals and many historic monuments, is arguably one of the most picturesque cities in the world. I’ve listed below eight beautiful spots in Amsterdam for visitors and photography enthusiasts. The city centre is very compact, making it very easy to explore by foot. 1. The Amstel River There are many […]

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Enchanting spots: Amsterdam

I recently wrote an article on “The Most Impressive Tourist Attractions” and Sara, one of my readers, included a comment describing how she felt when she visited the Victoria Falls – it was a magical experience. Her honest, beautifully-worded comment got me thinking about all those enchanting places around the world that I’ve visited and […]

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