Archive for the ‘The Netherlands’ Category

Zomerlicht @ Pampus

In an article about original places to have dinner in the Netherlands, I read about Zomerlicht (Summer Light): a pop up restaurant / event on the island of Pampus, just outside Amsterdam. I’ve always wanted to visit Pampus (I’m an island girl!) so this sounded like a really fun opportunity. We were told to meet up at 19:00 in the harbour of IJburg, from where partyboat Sailboa would take us to Pampus.

On board, we were all given a big key with a number, this was their way to keep track of drinks for each couple/group. Already on board, you could start your trip with a drink…

There was a nice holiday/adventure atmosphere on board. The crossing to Pampus took half an hour, and luckily it stayed dry. Well, from the sky that is – there were a couple of waves crashing onto the front of the boat ;) The crossing took half an hour. Here, we are nearing the island…

It had been a rainy day, but the clouds started to clear. I loved the views while coming in to the jetty at Pampus.

When we arrived at the island, we were welcomed by the host of the evening, who took us into the fort, through very colourful corridors. We were served a welcome drink (gin & tonic) in a very pink room. After that, they served delicious sweet potato and coconut soup, and then left us to explore the fort and the island by ourselves.

Pampus is an artificial island, built on a sandbank. This sandbank used to stop ships from coming in to the harbour of Amsterdam until the tide was high enough to pass. There’s a famous Dutch saying “Voor Pampus liggen” or “Laying for Pampus” which means lying down knocked out, which stems from the ships having to wait. They started building the island and the fort in 1887, and although there were 200 soldiers stationed on the island during World War I, it never saw any action. When the Afsluitdijk (Closure Dike) cut off the IJsselmeer from the open sea, Pampus lost its strategic position and it was abandoned soon after.

Especially for Zomerlicht, the fort was lit beautifully. It was a lot of fun to walk around the corridors while they kept changing colours, and exploring all the rooms.

Such pretty lighting…

And the colours really changed to all colours of the rainbow…

Outside the fort, but inside the outer walls, was a photo exhibition of all the other forts in the defence line of Amsterdam.

We climbed on the wall surrounding the fort, to get a good overview of the building:

Then we walked around the shore of the island and enjoyed the views in all directions…

Until our stomachs told us to go to the restaurant area. Here they had set up food stands where you could get different dishes – here the mussel spaghetti. Michiel had a very nice selection of different fish. There was bread and dips, and cheese plates to go with it.

This was our view during dinner, I just had to walk outside and take a quick photo of the sunset. A group of volunteers were camping next to this house, they were staying there for a week and were working on renovation of the island.

After finishing our first course, we went for a sunset walk. This almost looks like it was taken from a tropical island instead of a fort island outside Amsterdam ;)

It was a beautiful evening as the sun was setting in the direction of Amsterdam’s skyline…

Peaceful views from the jetty…

A panorama showing the jetty, with on the right the Sailboa and behind it the restaurant where the dinner took place.

When it got dark, we saw all the city lights of Amsterdam on the horizon: a pretty sight!

They lit a couple of campfires and the atmosphere was really nice. There were lots of different places to sit and enjoy your meal. We had another course of meat and potatoes, which was really tasty. The only downside was that the organization was slightly chaotic and at times there were long lines for the food. Luckily the food was worth the wait!

The view from the top of the island – a magical evening! Around 22:00, dessert was served, as well as tea and coffee with really good chocolate.

At 23:00 we all boarded the Sailboa for the journey back to IJburg. What a wonderful night!

Zomerlicht is taking place each Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 02 September, and there are still tickets available for most nights. Much recommended! Tickets costs €57.50 and include the boat transfer, dinner and a welcome drink. Check the website of Zomerlicht (only in Dutch…) for more information and tickets.

If you just want to visit the island of Pampus, it’s open daily except mondays until the end of October. For regular visits, the boat leaves from Muiden, and a return ticket plus entrance to the island costs €17.50. For more information, check their website. If you’d rather leave from Amsterdam, you can do so by using Amsterdam Tourist Ferry which leaves daily at 11, and a return plus entrance to the island costs €20. This is the same company that runs the Sailboa ferry that we took to Zomerlicht.

De Rotte

One day in December I rented a bike in Rotterdam and followed the river Rotte (which Rotterdam is named after) almost all the way to its source. It’s a beautiful trip, especially on this frosty sunny day! A very Dutch landscape, with a lot of windmills…

Bike path along de Rotte

Panorama of the bike path along de Rotte

There are houses along some parts of the river. Must be a nice place to live!

Boats on de Rotte

Houses along de Rotte - must be a nice place to live!

Panorama of the pretty views along the road

I rented my bike from the train station. The train company has a very good deal on rental bikes, and I only paid 3,20 euro for 24 hours. So convenient!

The bike I rented for only about 3 euros!

Beautiful house on the river…

Nice house along de Rotte

At some point you reach the recreation area Rottemeren. A really nice area where no cars are allowed, and there are many jetties in the lake. Some were very fotogenic, I took a lot of photos of this nicely shaped jetty…

Jetty panorama

It was such a beautiful frosty day!

I took a lot of photos of this photogenic jetty

Another windmill along the way…

Another windmill along the way

Which also had a jetty next to it…

Windmill and jetty - there were a lot of similar jetties

Here I crossed a bridge over the river and returned along the path on the other side. Nice view from the bridge!

View from the bridge over de Rotte

Further along I saw this pretty bridge…

Pretty bridge over de Rotte

I cycled back along the Kralingse Plas, a really nice lake with amazing views of Rotterdam. Here they also built some jetties, and I love the Rotterdam skyline view on the other side.

The jetty at the Kralingse Plas - I love the view towards Rotterdam from here

A jogger on the jetty

After this, I cycled back to the central station to return my bike. The station is a really cool modern building…

Panorama of the very cool train station in Rotterdam

I had cycled 38 km – beautiful ride! Here is a map of the trip…

Map of my bike trip

Birthday Bike Ride

My birthday was the day after we came back from Florida. Michiel had to work, and I was lazy most of the day. The weather was beautiful though – cold but sunny – so in the end I decided to go for a little bike ride around sunset. I don’t have my own bike in Rotterdam, but it’s very easy and cheap to rent one at the train station. This photo is from the short walk to the train station…

On the way to Rotterdam central station to pick up a rental bike

It took me a while to get out of Rotterdam, I lost my way a bit and ended up in some quite industrial areas. I was almost afraid I’d miss the sunset, but finally it started to get pretty when I reached the small village of Zweth.

Beautiful building housing a restaurant in Zweth

From here, I followed a very narrow walking/cycling path that follows the Berkelse Zweth (a small river). The path is so narrow you have to pay attention, as you could easily end up in the water! I loved the colours and the calm scenes along the river…

Along the narrow path

Behind me the sunset had become very beautiful and very red…

Beautiful sunset!

Passing a house while continuing on the narrow path…

Continuing on the very narrow path

One last look at the sunset from the bridge over the river…

One last look at the pretty sunset

After that I cycled back to Rotterdam quite quickly, as it was getting dark and much colder. I was glad I convinced myself to go for a bike ride and that I got to enjoy this sunset!

Lelystad – Ameland – Texel – Lelystad: by plane!

Four years ago, I went flying with my brother for the first time (blog here). I really wanted to go again, but somehow we could never make it work while I was in the Netherlands. But this summer we finally did, and how! We had PERFECT weather, and we decided to fly from Lelystad (where his flight club is based) to Ameland, then to Texel and then back. A day trip :)

Jakob on his way to boarding the plane

We flew north towards Kampen, nice landscape with the meandering Ganzendiep.

Het Ganzendiep at Kampen, a branch of the IJssel river

and my brother even let me fly for a while – which I found terrifying. You have to think of so many things at the same time, I found it stressful – I guess you get used to it though. I much preferred just to look at the landscape and take photos :)

Dutch landscapes where Overrijsel, Drenthe and Friesland meet

Here we’re flying over Friesland, and reaching the coast.


A farmer at work…

Farmer at work

Ameland, one of the five Dutch Wadden Islands.


Lots of caravans near the beach…

Crazy amount of caravans on Ameland...

HUGE beaches :)

Huge beach at Ameland

Beautiful beach at Ameland

The lighthouse on Ameland (Bornrif), and the island Terschelling in the distance.

The lighthouse at Ameland, Terschelling in the distance

We landed on Ameland, and had lunch outside – really nice. Then we walked back to “our plane” and set off for our next stop, the island Texel!

Another photo of the beach at Ameland

I loved the play of clouds, light and sea here :)

Love the play of the clouds, sunlight and water here :)

Windmills near Harlingen

Windmills near Harlingen

And boats leaving the harbour of Harlingen…

Boats leaving the harbour of Harlingen

The amazing Wadden Sea, where low tides brings out lots of sand banks.

The amazing Wadden Sea with lots of sand banks showing up at low tide

Mussel aquaculture near Texel…

Apparently these are for mussels - near Texel

And Texel itself :)


This is a place I was very familiar with from cycling around Texel. I love all the different colours in the water, from green to brown to blue!

A familiar place for me on Texel, love all the different colours of the water

We landed at Texel airport, had a drink in the sunshine and watched the parachutes land. And then it was time for the final lap, back to Lelystad.

Ready for take off!

Leaving Texel…

Leaving Texel

Den Helder on the left, Texel on the right…

Den Helder on the left, Texel on the right

De Afsluitdijk, a 32 km long dike which closes off the IJsselmeer (now a lake, used to be part of the sea).

De Afsluitdijk, a 32 km long dike that closes off the IJsselmeer (now a lake, previously sea)

A big holiday park near Andijk, and nice pattern on the water.

A holiday park near Andijk, with a nice pattern on the water

Sailing boats and amazing colours on the IJsselmeer…

Sailing boats on the IJsselmeer, love the different colours in the water

The Houtribdijk, which goes from Enkhuizen to Lelystad. Even more clear colour difference here, so pretty!

The Houtribdijk from Enkhuizen to Lelystad, with even more extreme colour differences

Reaching Flevostad, a relatively new area of the Netherlands (reclaimed from the sea).

Near Lelystad

With lots of windmills and big fields for agriculture:

Flevoland and all its windmills

In for landing :)

In for landing!

What a fantastic day!!