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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)
Vegetarian Record Setting

The Dutch Vegetarian Association is going to be attempting to put together the longest vegetarian table tonight (3 August) at Neude in Utrecht. From 18:30 until 20:00, they will be hosting a vegetarian dinner for 200 people. Stop by this evening and see for yourself. You may even be able to squeeze in for a spot at the table. Among the dishes on offer will be filled endive leaves with raspberry and humus, a peasant bread with rosehip chutney and pine nuts, and a ginger and zucchini soup.

The event, of course, is to raise awareness about the vegetarian diet and encourage more people to become vegetarians. For more information about the association, visit their website (in Dutch), which also includes recipes and lists of restaurants.

     Posted by Alison at 2:22 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Domtoren Concert
It was on this date, 1 August 1674, that a tornado struck Utrecht and destroyed the nave of the cathedral. To this day, the nave has never been rebuilt, even though it originally attached to the Domtoren. Instead, there stands a lovely square which includes the memorial statue to the country's war-related deaths. Considering the numerous events that take place in the Domplein on an almost monthly basis, perhaps the open space has proved more useful over the centuries.

If you feel like visiting the Domplein today, consider heading over in the evening to enjoy the weekly carillon concert. The concert begins at 19:45 and entrance is free. The concerts are held every Monday through the end of August. The best place to enjoy the concert is in the Pandhof, the cloistered garden area. Enjoy a drink and the sounds of the bells and be glad the Domtoren wasn't destroyed in the storm. The concerts are organized by the Utrechtse Klokkenspel Vereniging.

     Posted by Alison at 11:40 AM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Island hopping in the Netherlands

When island hopping comes to mind, it's easy to think of places like Greece or the Caribbean. But this activity is also possible in the Netherlands. Ever heard of Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog? These are the islands located in the Wadden Sea, which also happens to be a World Heritage Site since June 2009.

What can you do there? Texel, the largest of the islands, hosts the nature center Ecomare, which is located within the seventy-acre Dune Park. You can visit one of the tallest lighthouses in the Netherlands (236 steps high, on Ameland) or visit the seal colonies on Terschelling. If you visit in the warmer months you might even spot some baby seals. As with any visit in the Netherlands you can also cycle around the islands and enjoy nature.

In the summer, from Amsterdam you can make use of the Eilandhopper, or Island Hopper. This service provides sailing trips between three and six days long.

     Posted by Janelle at 8:49 AM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Liefde van het Donker

It's another dark and cloudy day in the Netherlands. So how about some theater? At 8pm tonight the Regentenkamer van de Meermansburg (Oude Vest 159a, Leiden) hosts "Liefde van het Donker," or "Love in the Dark." Visitors can expect Leonard the magician to provide a mixture of fascinating storytelling and breathtaking magic tricks.

The entrance fee is € 12,50 and the price includes drinks. For more information or to reserve seats, you can visit Leonard's website, call 06-10824301 or email info (at) leonardillusions.com.

     Posted by Janelle at 8:12 AM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
An afternoon in the Vondelpark

Even with mediocre summer weather, it is possible to enjoy outdoor activities with milder temperatures. Particularly if the rain stays away as it did today!

This afternoon I had the privilege of strolling around the Vondelpark, enjoying the sites and getting some lunch. It wasn't as busy as usual, though the same eclectic mix of bikers, joggers, and leash-less dogs were there.

If you're coming from outside Amsterdam it's easy to get to the Vondelpark. Just head to the Central Station and then take tram 1, 2, or 5. To keep it simple you can get off in Leidseplein and the main entrance to the park is about a five minute walk from there. Highly recommended at any time of year! (photo taken with Instagram)

     Posted by Janelle at 6:47 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Gay Pride Weekend Amsterdam

It's almost here! From August 5-7, Amsterdam will host its annual Gay Pride Weekend. Get ready for street parties. Get ready for club circuit parties. And get ready for the canal parade on Saturday the 6th!

You can find Amsterdam Gay Pride on Facebook (strangely, from the looks of it they aren't doing Twitter). If you're not sure whether you should attend, check out amazing photos of past Amsterdam events that will be sure to convince you.

The official site also has a hotel search function and provides details on all parties along with an online map. More to come on this big event!

     Posted by Janelle at 8:00 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Swapping in the Nijntje Pleintje

Nijntje Pleintje
This Saturday, July 30, from 13:00-17:00, the Nijntje Pleintje in Utrecht is going to become the Swapping Square (Ruilplein). People are free to bring any unwanted items, be it clothing, books, CDs, appliances, or anything else, and try to swap them for items other people are offering. No money changes hands; just good old-fashioned swapping. It doesn't have to be like-for-like. You could bring some baked goods and maybe find someone who will trade an item for your baking skills. The organizers will provide, coffee, tea and lemonade, and there will be music on hand, as well. Get creative while you help prevent unwanted items from heading to the landfills. There's more info at the event's Facebook page.

     Posted by Alison at 10:54 AM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
Summer Darkness

If you're going to have a Goth festival, what better place to host it than Utrecht, with it's fabulous Gothic (half-destroyed) cathedral. The city is host each year to the Summer Darkness festival, which sees visitors from all over Europe and elsewhere converging to enjoy music, art, fashion and more, all with a distinctly dark underground vibe.

Music covers a wide range of bases, including: New-wave, ambient, electro, medieval, neo-folk, EBM, darkwave, synthpop, futurepop, neo-classical, industrial, noise and now also dubstep and witchhouse. There are live performances by a huge number of artists, including Nitzer Ebb, Killing Joke, Freakangel, The Neon Judgement, and VNV Nation.

Opening night will feature a Bal Du Masque, while the rest of the weekend will include a market in the Domplein, full of clothing, hair accessories, makeup, records, and other ephemera. The Domplein is also the site of numerous fashion shows, and generally a great place to see and be seen. Photographers can find a number of willing models, with the cathedral gardens serving as an ideal backdrop.

Summer Darkness runs July 29-31. Tickets, including full-day passes, and prices are available on the official website (in English), along with the full schedule of events, as well as tips on accommodation and access.

     Posted by Alison at 10:32 AM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
How to have a great Dutch summer

The American Book Center blog has some great reading tips for anyone "stuck" in the Netherlands this summer. A fine suggestion, if you ask me, with all this rain and coldness.

They recommend five books that "the Lonely Planet missed" (I can particularly recommend Amsterdam Made by Hand from this group). They continue with cooking, grilling, and wine tasting items, and then list a number of books focused on surviving outdoors. Kids books are also listed along with those deliberately addressing rainy day activities. Check the post for all their suggestions, and be sure to stop by the American Book Center (in Amsterdam and the Hague) if the rain is boring you.

     Posted by Janelle at 2:20 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)
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