A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Looking back on the past few weeks of my summer holiday, I have probably seen more of Holland this year than any summer before. Travelling from Leiden to Texel, Friesland and the Veluwe, and with a trip to Maastricht I have yet to take, I’ve been in almost every corner of the country.
I started of at Texel, having been invited to the birthday party of a friend of mine who is from there. She invited all of her (girl)friends over for not only a party around the campfire and a sleepover, but also a ‘robbentocht’ – seal spotting. I had done one of those before with my parents, a few years ago at Ameland, and what I remembered most was the sheer amount of seals we saw. I wasn’t disappointed this time around either. From the first curious seal who popped up next to our boat there were continuous ‘ooh’s and ‘aaah’s all around me. As we were there in early summer, there were still quite a few young ones, lying around and being adorable.
On the way back to her house we stopped to get some ice cream, and not only did they have the most delicious homemade ice, but also really cute animals. All in all, it was quite the amazing weekend.
From Texel I travelled to my parent’s house in Lemmer, Friesland. Our house is pretty close to the IJsselmeer, and I can jump in the water if I just cross our garden. It’s pretty perfect when the weather’s nice, so spending a few days there immediately feels like a vacation, even if it’s just a weekend inbetween busy weeks. It’s just a small town, but it’s got the essentials, and a pretty decent beach. With all the small towns spread across Friesland, it’s also perfect for a bike tour, so if you feel like escaping the randstad for a while and seeing a bit more of the country, this may be a great weekend trip.
Last but not least, this past weekend I went to Harderwijk to celebrate the birthday of my boyfriend’s mom. Harderwijk is mostly known for the Dutch Sea World located there, but it’s actually also quite close to the Veluwe, probably the only non-flat place in the country. I’d been there a few times before, and last Christmas we went for a bike tour/walk into the woods and across the heathland. It was freezing, but it was also so so beautiful. I hadn’t been out in the woods for ages, so the quiet and lack of buildings was really refreshing. We went for a short bike ride again this time, just through the woods this time, and once again the calm and quiet was a nice change.
The day after, we visited the Kröller-Müller museum, which is located in the National Park “De Hoge Veluwe“. The park is absolutely stunning, if you have time, you should definitely visit. You just grab a bike by the entrance, and then cycle through the park, to the museum, which has a great collection of contemporary art. There’s also a ‘beeldentuin’, a smaller park filled with a large variety of sculptures.
You should really check out all of these places yourself, because they are much more beautiful than my crappy phone wants to show you.
This time tomorrow I’ll already be on a train towards the south, and I’m really curious what Maastricht has to offer, but I’m sure there’ll be plenty to enjoy.