velvet | The Netherlands

Ten things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is my home and my favourite city in the world. I may be biased but I consider it a true privilege to live in this remarkable city. I vividly remember the first time I visited Amsterdam more than twenty years ago. I walked down the Damrak, the main thoroughfare from the Central Station to […]

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Plane views: Amsterdam

Amsterdam from a plane window. It’s a view I’ve always wanted to capture on camera but the chances of flying directly across the centre of Amsterdam on a commercial airliner are quite small considering that Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has five runways fanned out in different directions. Then you have to take the weather into account! […]

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The Dutch winter frenzy

It’s that time of the year again, when the thermometer hanging outside my window shows a lower reading than the display on my freezer. When I first moved to the Netherlands more than 20 years ago, one of the first things that caught my attention was the Dutch people’s preoccupation with ice. As soon as […]

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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: Rotterdam

Rotterdam is the main port of the Netherlands and is the country’s second largest city after Amsterdam. It’s also one of the world’s largest ports. Located at the mouth of the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta, Rotterdam is often called the “Gateway to Europe” as it handles a large percentage of cargo to and from Europe. The city […]

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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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Ok, one more photo of Holland's tulip fields... because they're just amazing!

Holland at its best

My earliest impressions of Holland before moving here in the 1990’s were of a country below sea-level, protected by impressive dikes and an extensive network of waterways; massive fields of flowers and grazing cattle; windmills; picturesque villages; farmers wearing clogs; and endless canals. The ‘Kop van Noord Holland’ or ‘the head of North Holland’ is […]

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A treasure trove in the forest

It all began with a course in art appreciation. In the late-19th century, the Kröller-Müller family was one of the wealthiest in Holland. Anton Kröller was chairman of Wm. H. Müller & Co., a conglomerate with large interests in shipping, the American grain trade and iron ore mining in Africa. One day, his wife, Helene […]

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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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