This past week was my core course travel week, so I was off to the Netherlands with my graphic design class! We left bright and early last Sunday (so early that there were still people out partying when I walked to the metro station with my suitcase lol), and spent a full 6 days in the country. I just got back late Friday night (to a lot more people partying, but this time to celebrate the release of a Christmas beer... had to navigate the crowded streets with my suitcase at midnight so it was an interesting welcome home to say the least) and have finally had time to breathe and reflect on the hectic but amazing week. I took many photos, so here are some from museums, the cities, and (of course) the food!
Since all of us on the trip were artists, we visited MANY museums, 12 to be specific. That number might not sound like much at first, but think about how much energy and time it takes to walk through one museum, now multiply that by 12. Yeah, it's a lot.
All the museums were really interesting in their own ways, some I was more interested in the exhibitions, others the architecture, and some the visual identity. That made tackling 12 museums a little less difficult, I got to focus on different aspects at each location. Here's a rundown on all the museums we visited (all which I would definitely recommend visiting!!).
I didn't realize just how much I would love the Netherlands! Amsterdam was high on my list of places to visit in Europe, so I knew I would love that city, but Utrecht and Rotterdam totally caught me by surprise. I knew nothing about these two cities (didn't even really know they existed), so I was shocked to see how much I loved them!
As expected, Amsterdam was incredible. The city was honestly just mindblowingly beautiful. All the canals, gorgeous buildings, cute stores and restaurants... it was too good. The only downside was that it was rainy and windy for most of our time there, this picture is from the one good day of weather. We all want to visit the city again in the summertime, when it's warm and sunny, and we can explore more of the outdoor spaces of the city!
This. City. Is. Amazing.
I had never heard of Utrecht before I read the itinerary for the trip, so I had no idea of what to expect. We only spent a few hours in this city, but that was more than enough time for me to fall in love with it. It's a college city (like Boston!) but has such a comfortable open feeling to it. There are so many wide canals, gorgeous little buildings, and large green spaces. I could 100% see myself living there. We visited a graphic design studio (Autobahn), saw the Centraal museum, and then explored and had lunch. It was a very short visit, but I would love to go back and spend more time there!
Rotterdam is probably the most unusual European city I've visited. It was almost completely bombed during World War II and when they rebuilt, they focused on having innovative, interesting architecture. There are lots of skyscrapers and metal and glass facades, giving the city a very American feel. It has a really cool vibe and lots of fun little stores!
This trip was really just a bunch of gorgeous art and delicious food! DIS provided breakfast and either dinner or lunch each day, and they picked out some really cool places for us to eat at! My friends and I are also all such foodies, that we visited a lot of cool stuff on our own two. Here's a highlight reel of some of my favorites!
You can't go to the Netherlands and not get fries. They are just so incredibly good there! I did a thorough research on where to go for the best fries, and found Vleminckx Sausmeester, a shop in Amsterdam that has TWENTY-FIVE different sauces to top your fries!! It's a bit overwhelming to choose, but I ultimately decided on a Dutch classic, oorlog. Oorlog literally translates to "war" because it's considered to be a war of flavors in your mouth! It consists of a mixture of mayo, peanut sauce, and chopped onions. It is actually probably the most incredible fries experience I've ever had. 10/10 would recommend.
There is a famous cookie shop in Amsterdam called Van Stapele, where they actually have to limit each sale to only 7 cookies so they don't run out! They change the flavor each day, and when we stopped by it was a delicious dark chocolate cookie filled with white chocolate! We each bought a cookies and ate them right away to see if it was worth all the hype. It definitely was. These were hands down the best cookies I've ever tasted! They were still warm and gooey inside and so flavorful, but not too sweet!!!! Wow I'm really craving one now...
The Netherlands is famous for their delicious, flat waffles. I've had the packaged version in the US before, but had never tried fresh stroopwafels before. We found a famous old stroopwafel stand in Amsterdam and ordered them fresh! They are filled with warm caramel, and you can get them dipped in chocolate! It was so warm and gooey and delicious! I've never had a stroopwafel so good, and I don't think I'll find another one outside Amsterdam that could compare. Guess I'll just have to go back!
On the first day, I ordered fresh mint tea at a coffee shop to warm up, however I had no idea just how good it would be! The fresh mint tea they serve really is fresh, because they just stick a bunch of mint leaves in to hot water and serve it to you! I drizzled honey over the leaves and let it seep for a bit. It was so so good! This is a common thing in the Netherlands too, I saw it in the menus of almost every restaurant and coffee shop! I really wish this was a thing in the states, because it's just so much better than a tea bag.
So there you have it, a quick roundup of the whirlwind trip to the Netherlands! There's still so much we saw and did that I didn't talk about in this post, but I didn't want to get too boring! If you're travelling to the Netherlands soon and want more food and museum recommendations, shoot me an email and I'll share more of my experiences with you!