Local Time
Utrecht's Biltstraat

In the northeast corner of Utrecht, just a block north of the Stadsschouwburg, is Biltstraat, a charming street offering a great mix of restaurants, shopping and culture. There are a number of restaurants up and down the street, offering everything from sushi to shoarma. There are places such as Bouffe and Het Licht, which offer something a bit fancier if you want, although Het Licht also offers a special lunch deal these days. Then there are cafés such as the quirky Te Koop, where you can buy some of the interior decorations, as well as food. There are also a number of new bars and restaurants that have opened up, offering trendy and stylish options, such as Inspired. Of course, there are also typical Chinese and Indonesian options, as well as Grillroom Sphinx, which has some of the best late-night shoarma and mixed-grill options in town.

If you prefer to cook your own food, there's a selection of grocery options, including the newly opened Kippersluis grocery store, which has taken the place of Super de Boer. Next door, there's the organic butcher, Groeneweg and next door is the organic grocer, Estafette, which also offers gluten-free cakes and assorted items.

If you're looking for a bicycle shop, there are multiple options, such as Het Stalen Paard, for both new and used bikes, as well as the accompanying accessories.

If you're looking for games and athletics, there's the Fitness Factory for your regular workout. For something a bit different, check out Laser Quest and Snookercentrum Ozebi. If dancing is more your speed, there's the dance school Club El Brillante.

If you want a bit of beauty in your life, check out Aya Living for a beautiful selection of home goods and furniture. Their changing window displays are always a pleasure to look at. If it's yourself that you want to beautify, there's Descansa Beauty Center across the street, offering personal styling, as well as massage and other beauty treatments.

Finally, there's even a museum for your enjoyment and education. The Museum Maluku documents the culture of the Moluccan community in the Netherlands.

Biltstraat offers an array of shops and services to suit your needs and the street even has an active presence on Twitter, keeping you up to date on the latest news and openings. If you're in this part of town, it's definitely worth checking out.

     Posted by Alison at 2:23 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Utrecht University Photo Assignment

Utrecht University is looking for talented student photographers with a good camera, some experience, and a passion for conveying life through the lens. The right candidate can sign up for a paid assignment to make a series of ten photos displaying the life of an international student at Utrecht University. They're looking for photos exhibiting everything from classes and group study sessions to dorm life and life in the city of Utrecht.

Those who are interested should contact Roswitha Volten for more information at r.e.s.volten[at]uu.nl

     Posted by Alison at 2:07 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
From Africa with Love

It's no surprise that there are a huge number of spectacular art galleries in Amsterdam. Here's one you should add to your list: From Africa with Love. Located on the Brouwersgracht 188A, Amsterdam, this gallery is run by Mariette de Haan and displays and sells contemporary interior design created by some of the most talented South African designers.

You can see some examples from the collection on the website. Danielle at the style files did a recent write up of her experience seeing the work. Part of the collection can also be seen at Sukha Amsterdam, Haarlemmerdijk 110, and at Rain, Huidenstraat 17.

     Posted by Janelle at 1:16 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Art on the Lange Voorhout
IMG_2912.JPGI spent some time in The Hague recently, and wandered down the Lange Voorhout. There I discovered a fascinating outdoor art exhibition. I took some pictures but wanted to find out more.

Entitled The Hague under the Heavens - Contemporary Chinese Art in The Hague, this exhibition presented larger than life sculptures for passersby to gawk at. And gawk I did! What a spectacular exhibition.

This exhibition is just another example of the captivating art scene here in the Netherlands. IMG_2915.JPG

     Posted by Janelle at 3:20 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Netherlands Film Festival

The Theater
It's time once again for the Netherlands Film Festival, a 10-day festival in Utrecht that explores Dutch films of all sorts made over the past year. From shorts to full-length features, and from documentaries to drama, films by established artists as well as students are screened in various locations around the city. In addition to the films, there are also presentations, discussions and exhibitions.

The festival culminates with the award ceremony honoring top films and artists with the presentation of the Golden Calf award. The Stadsschouwburg and Neude are major hubs of the festival, but films are shown at a variety of locations around the city. The Stadsschouwburg is the site of the big awards presentations, with all the celebrities, actors, writers and directors hitting the red carpet. The Festival Pavilion on the Neude Square is the location of the daily talk show. The Pavilion also houses the nightly Cinema Dinner, hosted by Jan Eilander, where film professionals talk about their love of the trade. Live bands, DJs and VJs further add to the festival's entertainment.

The festival runs from September 21-30. To see the full schedule of events, ticket prices, and even some of the short films themselves, check out the festival's official website. The site is in a mixture of English and Dutch, as are some of the films.

     Posted by Alison at 2:43 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Rene Wirths: The Thing Itself
e_662.jpgGreat art abounds in Rotterdam. For example, until September 18th, you can enjoy an exhibition by German artist Rene Wirths called The Thing Itself, at the Kunsthall.

From the Kunsthal website:

"Wirths has translated a wide range of three-dimensional objects into two dimensions on canvas: a paintbrush, a sewing machine, a ball, scrunched-up paper, and a variety of chairs and bicycles. The objects have been illustrated from above or from the side using a time-consuming painting process. His chosen subjects are built up of layers piled one on top of the other as it were, first using bold brush strokes before applying fine strokes and minute detail. Wirths allows his objects to 'pose' in his daylight studio. The objects are illustrated on canvas without context and without distraction from their surroundings. The paintings are all about what you see, what is evident, and all isolated from the rest of reality."

The Thing Itself takes place at the Kunsthall in Rotterdam. It is located in Mueseumpark at Westzeedijk 341. Adults pay € 7.50, and CJP and students up to 26 years pay € 4.50. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-5pm, and Sunday from 11am-5pm. If you have questions you can contact them at communication (at) kunsthal.nl.

     Posted by Janelle at 1:21 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Jan Fabre: Hortus/Corpus

If you don't have any plans tomorrow, there's a great exhibition open until the end of the day. It's artist Jan Fabre's Hortus/Corpus. This activity is perfect too, considering the beautiful weather we're currently having in the Netherlands. Why? Because it's at the Kröller-Müller Museum, which is located in a beautiful area of the Netherlands. And the exhibition itself is spread out on the grounds of the Kröller-Müller Museum. Head on over, enjoy the sun and some wonderful art!

While you're there, you can also enjoy the pieces the museum is famous for: a world-renowned collection of mainly 19th and 20th century visual art, a large collection of van Gogh's work and a sculpture garden.

The Kröller-Müller Museum is located on Houtkampweg 6, in Otterlo.

     Posted by Janelle at 7:06 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Mobile Culture Festival

This weekend, Utrecht is hosting the In Vervoering Festival. Music, poetry, theater and film are on offer throughout the city during this free festival. Rather than the audience being removed from the art, though, this time the audience can gain more intimacy with the artist. Ride around on a bakfiets as you have poetry recited to you, or listen to a private water concert on a boat. Performances take place at various spots around the city, sometimes where you least expect it. Much of the action takes place at Korte Minrebroederstraat (behind the Stadhuis) on Saturday, and on Sunday, many of the performances take place at the charming Lepelenburg Park. The Spoorweg Museum will also have events taking place, with performances on some of the trains.

For more information about the various artistic endeavors and the full schedule, check out the website (in Dutch).

     Posted by Alison at 4:30 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
3 Days of Over Het Ij Left

The first week of the Over Het Ij Festival 2011 has already been a huge success which should only make it all the more important to get over there before it is all finished this Sunday. For those who don't know of it, every year Over Het Ij takes place at the NDSM wharf, a theater festival that features a long list of performances, many of which take place in the infamous shipping containers which can be found throughout the terrain. Food and drink, including some quality dinner options and cheap snacks are also available. As the sun goes down there is always music and a plethora of people hanging out happy to talk theater and more.

Over Het Ij is free to walk onto the property and look around. You only pay for the theater pieces you want to see. Some you can just line up in front of the container, bigger performances you can buy tickets for in advance at the ticket office. While many plays are in Dutch, others are in English or no formal language at all, which makes it a highly accessible festival even for non Dutch speakers.

To get there, just grab the free ferry from Central Station to NDSM and you can't miss it. late afternoon or evening performances are always taking place.

     Posted by Bicyclemark at 9:50 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Pluk de Nacht 2011

The pinnacle of outdoor Amsterdam summer film-related fun is less than a month away. Pluk de Nacht, the festival that takes place in several parts of Amsterdam and features full length and short films from around the world, is sure to be better than ever this year!

From the 4th to the 13th of August, when the sun goes down, the films will begin. Besides movies, there will also be food and a party atmosphere for all those in attendance. For the international audience, all films are either in english or subtitled in english. And of course, the festival is free the general public, bring your own blanket or lawn chair.

Below is this year's preview video, you can follow them via facebook where theyre also calling for volunteers and donations to help during this financial crisis year. Money or not, it will still be a do-not-miss event this summer.

     Posted by Bicyclemark at 10:48 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
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