Ultieme roadtrip door Netherlands van 2.700 km

The road trip through the Netherlands is divided into fourteen stages and starts in Friesland. Prefer to start nearby? No problem, because the route makes a round. So you can start in Goes or at Lopik, whatever you want. In principle, you do one stage a day, but depending on your attention span at the sights, it is best to cram two or three stages in a day. The first two days in Friesland you will visit the Elfstedenroute and see the hunebedden around Borger. On day three you catch some parts of the Zuiderzeerally, where in 1991, for example, Richard Burns drove.

Furthermore, the road trip through the Netherlands leads through almost every province, with the other way around Flevoland. Also, the creators seem to want to go around The Hague with a big bow. Kinderdijk, De Veluwe, Zeeland and even a castle route over the Utrecht Ridge are included. The route is already designed in Google Maps. All you have to do is enter it. See the full route on your desktop or mobile. And read about the official rules of shotgun calling before you leave, that saves hassle again.

Road trips have become immensely popular in recent years. Every year, thousands of Dutch people go out to explore America with a rental car or to drive a route through Scandinavia or the Alps. This year, of course, it’s all different. Whether a holiday abroad can continue is all highly uncertain. So many people have already put a big line through their road trip plans. But is that necessary, we thought? Why not take a road trip through the beautiful Netherlands? That got us thinking.

Online there are plenty of nice routes to be found. Think of the well-known routes across the Veluwe and in Limburg. But a whole route through the Netherlands? There’s hardly any of them. That had to change, we thought! We took the map of the Netherlands once and before we actually knew it, we had a very cool road trip criss-crossing the Netherlands. How many miles is this route? Over 2700 kilometres! So you can still enjoy a whole holiday ‘on the road

Stage 1: From the Elfstedenroute to the Drentse Land
Since road trips are often done abroad, we start our road trip in Zurich. No, not the Zurich in Switzerland, but the one in North-East Friesland! From there we actually move directly in the direction of the well-known Frisian villages and towns that we all know from the Elfstedentocht. Via Harlingen we go to the historic town of Franeker. Via a number of garlands on the north side of Leeuwarden, we deviate from the Elfstedenroute and come through Dokkum in Lauwersoog, where you can look out over the Wadden Sea. From Lauwersoog we enter the province of Groningen, from where we set course towards the south. Via Norg, Appelscha and Oranje we arrive in Drenthe. There we pass by Camp Westerbork and not much later we also arrive in the epic centre of the Hunebedden in the region around Borger. There is the finish of the first stage!

Stage 2: From the Drentse Land to the Elfstedenroute
During this stage number 2 we will finish the loop in the north of the Netherlands. Not long after the start of this ride we are already moving westwards in which we come through the Dwingelderveld. Via Dwingeloo and Elsoo we enter Friesland again via the neighbourhood canada. Then we pass the National Park de Alde Feanen, where with a lot of luck you can catch a glimpse of a bald eagle. Then we make a loop via Terherne and Joure where we drive along Lake Sneeker. Via Sneek and Burgwerd we come back to the Elfstedentocht territory. Via the well-known places such as Witmarsum, Makkum and Hindelopen, we drive south along the edge of lake IJssel. After a long day, this stage ends between the triangle of Lake Sloter, Lake Tuke and the Groote Brekken.

Stage 3: Right through the Weerribben-Wieden
Just after the start of day three, we quickly leave the province of Friesland behind us. After entering Slijkenburg we drive the necessary kilometers on the famous dike roads of the Zuiderzeerally, where in 1991 the regretted Richard Burns drove one of his first full asphalt rallies. Via the old town of Blokzijl we quickly end up in one of The Netherlands’ most famous nature reserves: the Weerribben-Wieden. Via Zwartsluis (where you really have to build up to eat a fish) the tour is continued along the Black Water, after which the IJssel comes into view not much later. Via Kampen and Wezup the village of Vorchten is reached, where the pound can cross the IJssel. On the dike roads along the IJssel we reach the end of this ride via Wijhe and Olst just above Deventer.

Stage 4: Hilly Overijssel
During this stage 4 we trek through the surprisingly hilly Overijssel heel. The first ‘mountain’ soon follows. Via the south side of Sallandse Heuvelrug we drive up via Holten de Holterberg. Especially at the end of August when the moor is in full bloom, the view on top is really worth a look! After the descent of the Holterberg (with stretches of 10% gradient), we continue to climb. After the Hellendoorn berg we drive a part of the former Luttenbergring, after which we come to the Elerberg. Via Ommen and Den Ham we leave the Sallandse territory behind us and enter Twente. Via the rural roads of Marle, Notter and Ypelo we pass the castle of Twickel. From there we move deeper and deeper into Twente. Via Zenderen, Tubbergen and Vasse, the landscape begins to simmer and continues to simmer. At Nutter we ride a part of the steepest part of the dutch cycling championship that was organized there in 2008 and 2011. Through Tilligte and Denekamp you end up with the land drifts and the Dinkel around the Lutterzand. A unique piece of nature along the Dutch/German border! Via Losser and Enschede the finish of this stage will be reached in Bentelo not much later.

Stage 5: The Achterhoek
The start of stage 5 is in Bentelo, but via the N740 and the Needse Berg we enter Gelderland quite quickly. After we pass the N18 at Groenlo, we pull into a big bend along the German border. Via Meddo, Winterswijk and Gendringen, the landscape starts to simmer again. Especially when passing ‘s-Heerenberg and Zeddam the view through the Bergherbos is really worth it. Via Etten, Silvolde and Sinderen we go north and cross the A18. There we drive a part of the motor circuit De Varsselring. After passing a number of castles in the northwest part of the Achterhoek we cross the IJssel at Zutphen. There we drive mostly on entire cool dike roads along the IJssel. At Welsum we take a turn to the west, to finish after a long day through the Achterhoek at Epe.

Stage 6: De Veluwe
Today is a day with the necessary altimeters on the program. We will drive both the well-known North Veluwe and South Veluwe route. Let’s start quietly. From Epe we travel across the N309 to ‘t Harde and Elburg. From Nunspeet there is a bend towards the south, where the Veluwse roads are starting to become quite rolling. After leaving the N310 we arrive at Vierhouten, where the real hillwork begins. From there we travel via Elspeet and Garderen via the N334 towards Apeldoorn, right through the northern part of the Veluwe. There we pass two well-known tourist attractions, namely Julianadorp and Apelheul. Via Loenen and Dieren we finally arrive at the edge of the Veluwe, which is also one of the steepest parts of the Veluwe. Via Rheden and Velp we take the exit north, back into the Veluwe. There we drive through Hoenderloo past the Kröller-Müller Museum out of the Veluwe again. Not much later the finish of the stage is in Ede.

Stage 7: Castle route over the Utrecht Ridge
This day there is a short stage ahead. After the start at Ede it is in one line towards the west, where we go up the Utrecht Ridge between Woudenberg and Austerlitz. Via Soesterberg and Soest we drive past Paleis Soestdijk and then drive south again via the Hoge Vuurseweg. There we pass another well-known royal building, namely Drakensteyn Castle. Via Den Dolder we drive through the south side of Zeist past the eponymous Zeist Castle. We continue to drive along prominent places on this route, because not much later we pass by House Doorn and Castle Amerongen. There lies one of the most hilly stretches of today’s route. At Elst we turn left on the N416, after which the finish is not much later at Veenendaal.

Stage 8: Waal en Meuse route
After the rolling stages for this, this stage is anything but that. Just after the start at Veenendaal we will go to Rhenen de Lower Rhine and Waal. Along the Waal and the Meuse we go along nice technical dike roads. Here we come along castle Hernen and the puddle known among divers at the Green Hills. At Nijmegen we cross the Waal twice and then drive on one of the most beautiful roads along the Waal. Via the Ooijpolder we leave the Waal behind for the time being and we move south. Via the Kraaijenberg Passes at Cuijk we enter North Brabant. Via the rural roads at Volkel and Gemert we move in the direction of Overloon, where one of the Netherlands’ most impressive war museums can be found. Shortly along the German border we cross the Meuse twice again to drive through the National Park De Hamert. This means that we have now arrived in Limburg! After passing the castle gardens of Arcen, the finish of this stage is near Panningen.

Stage 9: On and off in Limburg
As a car enthusiast you want to arrive in Limburg but one thing of course: looking for the hills in the south of the province. But make no mistake! Not far after the start we drive through the east side of Roermond through the National Park de Meinweg where Limburg already shows its first wrinkles in the landscape. Then we swing along the German border further south in the direction of Sittard. The real climbing starts as soon as we leave the N276 south of Sittard at Windraak, where we end up on the Panoramaweg near Puth. From that moment on, you’d better be sure of a good pair of brakes on your car. At Schimmert we cross the A79 to get how ironic through the town of Climbing. When you enter Fromberg, you will see for the first time the iconic images that can be seen every cycling spring of the Amstel Gold Race. From now on we have also arrived on the infamous Marlland route, one of The Netherlands’ most famous car routes. Via Mingersberg and Eys we continue in a southerly direction along the German border to drive towards the Three Country Point at Vaals. There is a unique driver’s road: the Eperbaan. With a number of hairpin bends and roads that go up and down constantly, this is almost an un-Dutch road. Finishes at Sleneken to add to that from a spicy day of steering!

Stage 10: Continued Marlland route
After a night of recovery we set our way back north during stage 10. For this we will of course still have to finish the necessary kilometers on that beautiful Marlland route. After a loop at Mheer we arrive at one of the most impressive places of the road trip. Here we pass the Dutch-American cemetery. A place where you really need to think about it during this trip. Then we head to the Keutenberg in the direction of Valkenburg, where we make a loop to drive both past the famous caves, as well as over the Cauberg. From that moment on, the landscape begins to level down. After crossing the River Geul we pass maastricht airport and then drive further north via the Juliana Canal along the Dutch-Belgian border. Not much later we drive right through Born: one of the epic centres of the Netherlands in the car field through the factory of Mini (VDL-Nedcar) that stands there. Via Monfort and Roermond we cross the Meuse for one last time to finish this stage at Baexem.

Stage 11: Along the Belgian border
After driving the necessary kilometers through Limburg, we drive across the border with Brabant at De Groote Peel. For rally lovers we come here on familiar territory. For example, we ride part of the classification test of Someren who has a prominent place in the ELE Rally. This is also the signal for the start of a well-known route that we are now going to drive. In the first part of this day we drive a part of the Kempenroute that leads us along the south side of Eindhoven. After passing the Strabrechtse Heide we drive through Valkenswaard, Borkel and Schaft and Eersel further and further towards the west of the province. For the animal lovers, a visit to the Beekse Bergen where this route practically goes along is definitely a good option to stretch your legs. Do you need a walk in nature? No problem! Via Alphen and the Chaamseweg we arrive at the Mastbos south of Breda not much later. The rest of the route takes us into another well-known rally area. To the southwest of Breda are the infamous classification tests of the former Night of Eight Times (now the GTC Rally). Via Rijsbergen, Zundert, Achtmaal and Wouwse Plantage we leave North Brabant behind us to enter Zeeland. It is clear that we are also entering a different landscape. The Brabant green countryside immediately changed as soon as the Southern foreport is crossed. Via Kruiningen and Kapelle the finish of stage 11 is near the Goese Meer near Wilhelminadorp.

Stage 12: Criss-crossing Zeeland
After the start of stage number 12 in Zeeland we go even further west, to literally the corners of our country. Via the Muidenweg we drive along a little later also over the Veerse Meer. Via Arnemuiden and Middelburg we then arrive at the Zeeland place where Bøf once wrote a small hit about it. You know, that place where they ate vodka with bokking… After a nod around the Westchaelsche Creek we drive up the N287, where for the first time you can really enjoy a beach view! At Domburg this party is over and we return inland to drive via Oostkapelle and Gapinge towards Veere. That’s where we turn the Polredijk: the road that Autoblog described as the most beautiful road in the Netherlands! Not much later, another treat awaits. It is time to move towards the spectacular Delta Works. We are going to cross the Delta works Neeltje Jans de Oosterschelde. Arriving again on the Zeeland mainland we swing through several rural roads and small village centres like those of Brouwershaven to drive on the N59 via Bruinisse, then we drive back back into North Brabant. There we not only pass through the fortress city willemstad, but above all we have not yet driven past one of Brabant’s most unique areas. Right: the Biesbosch! Driving all through the Biesbosch is not the best option, but to take the exit to the Bandijk at Werkendam will not disappoint you. Once returned to the route, cross the Upper Merwede near Gorinchem to head west via Sliedrecht to one of The Netherlands’ biggest tourist attractions. After all, what would a road trip through the Netherlands be to not drive through Kinderdijk!? After a look at the mills, we actually turn into one of the most beautiful dike roads in the Netherlands, namely the Lekdijk. This stage is not much later near Lopik!

Stage 13: and water route
At the start of the second last stage we immediately turn away from the Lekdijk at Lopik. But don’t worry! Via Oudewater, Waarder and Bodegraven we quickly arrive at another, very cool dike road. North of Bodegraven we turn right onto the Kerkweg, which turns not much later into the Meije which passes along the river of the same name and cuts through the place of the same name. When turning the Meije we drive through Breukelen past two of The Netherlands’ two most famous puddles. First of all we drive along the west side of the Loosdrechtse Plassen and then cross the A2 to cross the Vinkeveense Plassen via the Provincial Road which has gained quite a lot of popularity thanks to the necessary attention on Instagram. The continuation of the route leads us past a number of other puddles and lakes. At Langeraar we drive along the Langeraarse Plassen, at Roelofarendsveen we drive along Lake Braassemer and at Leiden we drive past Het Joppe and the Klinkenbergerplas. Before you notice it, you will quickly enter Noordwijk in this way. Although the beach is not yet visible from the route, you just know that this can’t take long! When you turn left at Aerdenhout and enter Zandvoort, a very pleasant North Sea breeze immediately blows against the car. Not only the beach of Zandvoort is a reason to let the route pass by, but of course the circuit of Zandvoort in this route can not be missed either. At Bloemendaal aan Zee we then make our way over the N200 where you have to pay extra attention. Who knows, you might spot a few deer between the dunes of the South Kennemerland National Park. The last part of this stage we zigzag between the big cities to really enjoy the North Dutch landscapes with the accompanying waters and puddles. At Buitenhuizen we take over the pound the North Sea Canal, to drive along The Uitestermeer via Uitgeest. After passing Egmond aan Zee, this stage ends on the edge of the Schoorlse Duinen in Bergen.

Stage 14: From North Holland to the Afsluitdijk
It is already time for the very last stage of the ultimate road trip through the Netherlands. After leaving the National Park behind at Schoorl, after a loop around Alkmaar we set our course again towards the roads along the different waters in North Holland. At Veenhuizen we turn left onto the Groenedijk, to drive along the Oostdijk along the Ringvaart. Via Rustenberg and Schermerhorn we drive along the Molendijk then past the Schermerringvaart. The dike roads and waters keep us alert on this route, because after crossing the N244 we turn left to drive along the Vinkenhop and the Knollendammer Vaart. These dike roads then take us to Purmerend, where via Monnickendam take a small trip. At Monnickendam we cross to a peninsula. Indeed: a peninsula! The town of Marken is situated on the edge of Markermeer and offers the ultimate view of this lake with the Horse of Marken in the foreground. After a return over the Zeedijk we head back to the north of the province. There we drive right through Edam where the famous cheese market is organized. After passing Edam, the road trip is really almost at its end. Via Spierdijk, Hoogwoud and Aartswoud we turn this trip narrow road along the water for the last time, after leaving the Greeting Canal and the Waardkanaal behind us, we make a loop around the Amstel lake where we turn up the A7. The experts of the Dutch roads know exactly which road this is. This is the Afsluitdijk! When turning off the Afsluitdijk we find out where this road trip started fourteen stages ago: in Zurich. After sending 2700 kilometres on The Netherlands’ most beautiful roads, it’s time to head home again!

Zurich is a village in Friesland


German island Usedom is berlin’s luxury bathhouse

At the end of the 19th century Usedom was the beach destination for the Berlin elite. Two wars, decades of decay and a totalitarian regime later, the island in the Baltic Sea has reinvented itself. From this week onwards, tourists will be able to stroll and recreate.

They like to call themselves the Kaiser-bäder. Heringsdorf, Ahl-beck and Bansin, three historic seaside resorts on the island of Usedom in former East Germany. But it was not the German emperors who made this island famous. Already Emperor Wilhelm II regularly came to Heringsdorf to drink tea with Elisabeth Staudt in her seaside villa, according to the official lecture.

The popularity of the island among the elite of 19th-century Berlin is mainly due to writers and artists. In stories and on paintings they polished Usedom into a heavenly place in the empire. When the first bankers and speculators had built their villas there, the rest soon followed. Aristocrats, artists, businessmen.

The German emperor was not tempted to stay in a summer house or one of the unprecedented luxury bath hotels. He stayed on his ship in Swinemünde and hurried to Heringsdorf by horse-drawn carriage for tea and biscuits. For completely unclear reasons, there is now a bust of his father Wilhelm I in the garden of Villa Staudt, who was only in Heringsdorf as a child.

The old seaside resorts are full of stories. About oblique marchers and heroes, Nazis and brave resistance, about healthy socialist summer camps and GDR repression. It all blows a bit as soon as I walk into Ahlbeck the Seebrücke. The old wooden pier is 170 metres long and I turn around at the very end for spectacular views of the coastline with its beach, low dunes, stylish villas and classic bath hotels.

Not all piers are as beautifully preserved as in Ahlbeck. For example, heringsdorf’s – formerly usedom’s showpiece – was rebuilt in the 1990s with an ugly pavilion made of steel and glass.

Concrete construction and ‘Badearchitektur’
This car recalls the GDR past.
This car recalls the GDR past. © Hnas Adventure
On the 12-kilometre promenade I walk back to my location of Heringsdorf, in the early 20th century called the Nice of the Baltic Sea. The route takes you along the sea, dunes, park, villas and classic bath hotels such as the Ahlbecker Hof, Villa Oppenheim and Villa Oechsler. Fortunately, in the GDR era, the money was missing to break them down or convert them into functional holiday complexes according to socialist model.

It is clever how the architects have managed to make such pompous buildings look so light and cheerful. For this they used frivolous elements from all kinds of architectural styles: balconies, verandas, columns, wrought iron decorations, staircases and turrets. The result is called Badearchitektur.

Due to its turbulent history, the seaside resorts have not become open-air museums. The wars, the Russian occupation and the GDR era have also left their mark. For example, holiday colonies and concrete flats were built where workers who had behaved well were allowed to rest and blow out for thirteen days. Hundreds of thousands of families drove their Trabant of Wartburg across the bridge in the summer for a carefree time.

Memories of that period behind the Iron Curtain occasionally re pop between the beautiful 19th- and early 20th-century villas. Like some concrete flats at the pier of Heringsdorf or the art pavilion on the promenade. It was built in 1973 after a design by the famous GDR architect Ulrich Müther and you can still visit changing exhibitions there.

On the small piece of Usedom that remained in Polish hands after the fall of the Wall, much more concrete construction can be seen. Also because the center was badly damaged by Allied bombing during the Second World War. I visit Swinemünde, which is now called Swinoujscie. In the early 19th century all bath tourism was born here. New resorts have to give the town that role back. The atmosphere there is undeniably more Eastern European with large squares and parks, shiny new construction and neglected old villas.

With these bath cars the ladies used to be driven into the sea.


Nature and rockets
With these bath cars the ladies used to be driven into the sea.
With these bath cars the ladies used to be driven into the sea. © Hnas Adventure
Usedom owes its popularity to the sea, the beach and the bathing culture. But also the hinterland is beautiful. In the past, the nobility used to hunt here. A large part of those forests and inland waterways has been preserved, but now as a safe place for the animals. There are waterfowl, otters, beavers and also the bald eagle is back.

More than 200 kilometres of cycling route and 400 kilometres of hiking trail leads through hillcountry, marsh and nice villages like Karnin with its small lighthouse and Stolpe, which is built around a small castle. Between 1908 and 1921, the German-American painter Lyonel Feininger captured the landscapes on canvas. Millions are paid at auctions. On Usedom is a cycling route past his favourite painting spots such as the Benz mill, the hills of the Usedomer Schweiz and the long promenade of Heringsdorf.

Less fine in terms of cultural history is the north of the island. During the Second World War, the construction and testing site of the V2, the wonder weapon of the German war machine, was located here. The flying bomb brought death and deply in cities such as London and Antwerp, but claimed the greatest toll among the forced labourers who had to make it. An estimated 12,000 of them died from illness and exhaustion.

The power plant of the factory in Peenemünde is as a museum and a large part of the former base is considered a protected nature reserve where you can walk. Inside, you will learn, among other things, that the development of the Vergeltungswaffen 2 was led by Wernher von Braun, who, despite the blood on his hands, later became a celebrity in America: he was the most important man in the rocket program that brought the first man to the moon in 1969.

Beach baskets
The German emperor made of sand.
The German emperor made of sand. © Hnas Adventure
The Second World War ended the fame of Usedom and Heringsdorf. Just as the Nazis seized houses and hotels from Jews, so did the GDR regime of individuals who were out of step. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, it took a long time to determine and find the rightful owners.

But see how beautiful the weather is. On the Kaisermeile between Heringsdorf and Ahlbeck for example, or take the Bergstrasse in Bansin. There the villas on both sides of the street were built so that they all had sea views. It still is. The seaside resorts have gradually regained the allure of its heyday. We are even thinking about building a direct fast railway to Berlin. It disappeared during the Second World War, causing the train journey to take more time than it did 75 years ago.

It’s wonderful strolling through the streets of Ahlbeck, Heringsdorf and Bansin. But zinnowitz, further down the island, is also beautiful. Although the beach, the bath architecture and the wooden piers are the main attractions, there are also attempts to modernise and attract a younger audience. For example, Heringsdorf has a concept store consisting of a fashion boutique, lounge bar and excellent restaurant in one.

The sea side of the island consists almost entirely of beach. And everywhere you see the so-called beach baskets, benches of reeds with a hood that protect you from wind and sun. They were there as early as the 19th century and have remained. I see them criss-crossing the beach as I walk on the Seebrücke of Ahlbeck on my last evening. As the first stars appear in the dark blue sky, the setting sun draws an orange stripe on the horizon. Below, the water of the Baltic Sea gently rips towards the coast.

Out & Home

The journey
Usedom is 750 kilometres from Utrecht. The ICE or IC train will take you to Züssow or Stralsund. You’ll step on the Usedomer Bäderbahn that connects the seaside resorts. There are also domestic flights to the small airport of Usedom.

Anything is possible. From camping at the farmer’s office to luxurious stays in a bath hotel. The magazine slept in Hotel Esplanade Heringsdorf, partly with the atmosphere of 1896 when it was built.

Food and drink
The Fischbrötchen is the speciality of the German Baltic Coast. Tip: try the Bischmark herring, a German herring variant that is prepared with a marinade of vinegar, onions and mustard.


Discover ‘our’ Wadden Sea while sailing

The Wadden Sea lives
‘The Wadden Sea is the largest wadden system in the world,’ says skipper Andries Terpstra. “You’ll find out what I mean by that.” Photographer Thijs van den Burg and I, Pim Westenberg, have just set off from Harlingen, berth of Terpstra’s ship De Linde, but perhaps better known as the port for the ferries to and from Vlieland and Terschelling. However, we leave the Wadden Islands – literally – and go out to sea with our three-master, to wait for it to dry.

The Linde is forty meters long, has three masts and can accommodate fifty people. However, the ship is only 1.37 meters deep in the water. Due to the flat bottom, without keel, De Linde is ideal for trips on the dry-falling Wadden Sea. The bunches have been loose for an hour and there is nothing but water around us. At first glance, the water seems deep. But appearances are deceiving. “We’re stuck!” andries suddenly shouts from the cabin. Jammed? I look over the railing, but nothing indicates a sandbar. Although… The smell suggests something’s going on. A pungent, acidic air, similar to that of rotten eggs, evaporates from the surface of the water. “The bottom of the ship is tossing up sand and water. The first inch of the soil is oxygenated. Among them are sulphur and iron bacteria. And when they come out, you can smell it right away,’ explains Andries’ girlfriend, Marjolijn.

For a moment I suspect that Andries has made a steering wheel – or error of judgement, but fortunately that is not the case. In fact, getting stuck on the mudflats is an important part of our trip. “And now?” I ask, looking at Andries with hope. The skipper hangs slumped in a beanbag on the deck and enjoys the rest. The tone has been set. For the next six hours, we have nowhere to go.

The crash on the wax is an important part of the trip with the ship De Linde.

Moments later I hang in the kuivernet – a kind of hammock XL – above the water. The waves slosh against the ship and the autumn sun makes me doze off. But the salty air immediately refreshes, after relaxation I think it’s time for effort and I decide to canoe. I keep my gaze focused on the horizon. After all, a seal’s head can always loom. Just down the road, a bird colony enjoys an extensive meal on an already parched stretch of seabed. Ten to twelve million migratory birds find their resting or breeding place here every year, because the tide keeps feeding new nutrients. I use my paddle a few times as a measuring instrument. The water is getting shallower. Other ships or people can’t come here for a long time. We have the empire all to ourselves.

When canoeing, look around you! Maybe a seal will swim by.

Turning the tide
In order to retain his permit, every skipper who sails the Wadden Sea is obliged to purchase a new sea map every year. After all, the Wadden seabed is subject to change. Andries picks up the card for clarification. What immediately stands out is the huge amount of greenery. Each green stain indicates a sandbar. In my performance, a sea map is mostly blue. But that color can hardly be seen on this map. Only a few veils – the fair channels – are coloured blue. ‘The soil is littered with sandplates,’ says Andries. ‘With high tide, the water from the North Sea is squeezed onto the wadden system. At low tide, it’ll run away again. Sedimentation such as gravel, clay, sand and loam remains and increases or moves the mudflats. This means that other places keep drying out.’

Not only the tide, but also the construction of the Afsluitdijk causes the Wadden Sea to change. Previously, a deep, wide channel ran from the North Sea to the IJsselmeer, but it was interrupted by the construction of the dike. As a result, the Wadden Sea is silted up. The waterways towards Ameland and Schiermonkoog must be dredged 365 days a year to prevent this and to keep traffic possible.

On the map of the Wadden Sea, every green spot indicates a sandbox, so pay attention

Water and fire
Once the water has dropped to ankle height, it’s time to disembark, get off the seabed. In the last scrap of crystal clear water we see dozens of crabs and shrimps with the current moving towards deeper pools. Curious shrimp treat me to a foot treatment. Fortunately, the crabs can’t do that. In the places where the water has already been pulled away, mussels, oysters, cockles, otter shells, puitals and beach gapers remain. The Wadden Sea floor can rightly be called a natural paradise. There is something new to discover over and over again. ‘It’s a matter of digging and rooting,’ says Marjolijn, as she examines the bottom with her fingers and finds a beach gaper. ‘The Wadden Sea is alive. Wherever we get stuck, we always see new things.’ Besides second mate, sailor and hostess on the ship, Marjolijn is also an adept nature guide. She fishes a crab out of the water with her hands, braves the sharp scissors and says: ‘This crab is right-handed and a male. Look, his right scissors are clearly thicker and stronger than the left, and at the bottom you see a kind of lighthouse on the abdomen. In females, this pattern looks like a beehive.’ Meanwhile, Andries is already busy building his own lighthouse. On the dried-up soil, he lights a campfire. With a beer in hand, we’ll look for the heat.

A unique experience: campfire on the dry bottom of the Wadden Sea

That same afternoon we take a walk on the mudflats. Because we start on the open sea, we’re all alone. We don’t have any problems with the quicksand-like swallowing fields along the coast and since we have a boat we don’t have to visit the mainland in time. This way of wading is completely different than I imagined. Sinking to knee height in the mud or wading through the water in waterways is totally out of the question. And the expected crowds also remain out. After a while we notice that the water is starting to return at a rapid pace – the water of the Wadden Sea always returns faster than it runs away – we quickly climb back aboard De Linde.

After a nice wading walk, we enjoy the view on board de Linde.

That night I am startled by ominous noises. The ship beeps and creaks on all sides. With my sleepy head, I decide not to pay too much attention to it and I dope away again. But a few hours later, exactly the same thing happens. It sounds like people are walking across the deck, opening and slamming doors and hoisting the sails. I can’t quite place the sounds.

The next morning, I ask Andries what was going on. ‘First the water moved away from us, so that the pressure of the mass was completely on the ship. The ship then literally shrinks. When the water, propelled by wind force six, returned, the ship went out again. Now you’ve not only seen the tidal change, you’ve heard and experienced it.’

How to get shipwrecked on the Wadden Sea
De Linde is part of shipping company NAUPAR. We boarded at the Willemshaven in Harlingen. NAUPAR had already done the shopping for us. Weekend tours on the Wadden Sea are available for groups from 12 people. From €125 pp including crew.

Naupar’s show-off ship, the Abel Tasman, sails from Lelystad or Hoorn to the newest part of the Netherlands: the Marker Wadden.


Day trip to Amsterdam? 10 special facts about the North/South line

Soon a day out in Amsterdam? Maybe you can use metro line 52: better known as the North/South line. Zoover has collected ten special facts about this infamous metro line in Amsterdam.

Heated escalators
Did you know that the escalators of the North/South line are heated? This is to prevent the escalators from becoming slippery if the temperature drops below freezing in winter. To prevent energy waste, the escalators are equipped with a thermostat.
Sixteen Eiffel Towers to steel
119,626,655 kilos of steel was used for the construction of the North/South line. No less than sixteen Eiffel Towers can be built from all that steel.

Not the first North/South line in the Netherlands
Do you think metro line 52 in Amsterdam is the first North/South line in the Netherlands? Then you’re wrong. The people of Rotterdam were earlier. The first Dutch metro line in Rotterdam was also called the North-South line when it opened in 1968.
The Big Friendly Giant
The metro that runs on the North/South line is also affectionately known internally as the Great Friendly Giant. The M5 has been nicknamed because it is the tallest metro in the world.

Secret swimming pool
Fancy a refreshing splash? At Rokin station, a ‘secret swimming pool’ (a so-called mountain sedimentation basin) has been built to absorb excess rainwater.
Longest escalators in the Benelux
Always wanted to be on the longest escalators in the Benelux? Then you have to go to station Vijzelgracht. At 47 meters it is slightly longer than the escalator to the Maastunnel in Rotterdam.


Higher ceiling at the Sixhaven
Under the Sixhaven port, the ceiling of the metro tunnel is level and fifty centimetres higher. And, of course, that’s not without reason. Space has been left available for the construction of the future Sixhaven station. It is not yet known when this station will be built.
Over 2.4 billion over budget
The construction of the North/South line has cost no less than 3.1 billion. This is more than 3,500 euros per Amsterdammer and 320 million euros per kilometre. A mere 2.4 billion above the budget, initially the cost was estimated at 681 million.

Archaeological finds
During the construction of the North/South line, one archaeological object after another was excavated: about 700,000 pieces. From a lower jaw of a crocodile and a unique bob bar with the coat of arms of Amsterdam to a stone hammer of approximately 4,600 years. The 10,000 most beautiful archaeological finds are exhibited in Rokin station. Nice to take a look during your weekend in Amsterdam. You can sleep well at Best Western Deplhi. Reviewer Nancy really thinks this is a recommendation: ‘The hotel is small-scale, personal and professional.’
4G connection
In an underground tunnel good range and mobile internet? In the metro tunnel between Amsterdam North and South it is! The entire Amsterdam North/South line is equipped with 4G. How nice is that? To do this, providers have installed 194 antennas and used 11.5 kilometres of cable to spread the mobile signal through the tunnel.

Finally, some figures
The North/South line is 9.7 kilometres long, of which 7.1 kilometres is underground.
The metro runs up to 70 kilometers per hour and the total ride takes fifteen minutes.
The subway runs ten times an hour in both directions.
On 22 April 2003, construction of the North/South line was started. More than fifteen years later, on 21 July 2018, the metro line was opened festively.
Sources: wijnemenjemee.nl and AT5
Tip: Use the Zoover Day Away voter
Have you been to Amsterdam so many times, but do you feel like another day out? Then plan your day out. Choose a destination, a date and choose between indoor, outdoor or budget. Then you get a list of the best outings and best benefits. How convenient is that? Do you want to stay the night in Amsterdam? Then we match these fantastic hotels: Hotel Skotel Hotel Wyndham Apollo XO Hotels Park West Hotel Freeland Hotel Banks Mansion Hotel Artemis





joking with a kinp eye

A bank is being robbed, says
The robber to the staff:
“Open that safe.”
– “But sir…” . Robber: “Nothing to
buten, open that safe!”.
The safe is opened, there is a
plate of porridge.
The robber slurps the board and
says, “Next safe open!”
The next safe will be opened. Weather
A plate of porridge.
He slurps it again and says:
“Next safe open..”.
Says the administrator distraught: ‘But
Sir, listen.
You’re the wrong bank
Humor with a wink
You’re here at the Sperm Bank!”


What do the UK’s new quarantine rules mean for travellers?

The UK has introduced mandatory quarantine for anyone entering the country, including returning citizens and residents.

From 8 June, anyone entering the UK from another country will have to spend 14 days in isolation. This applies to anyone who arrives by plane, ferry, train or car. People entering the country must fill out an online form, known as the public health passenger locator, up to 48 hours in advance, with contact details and address details. Failure to complete the form could result in a fine of £100. Random checks will be carried out and those caught breaching quarantine rules will be fined £1,000 or fined £3,200 for providing incorrect information.

Once a person is at their destination, whether it is his home or a hotel, they are not allowed to use public transport or taxis. They can leave their accommodation only to buy food or other supplies or to seek medical help. The rules will be reviewed every three weeks as the UK’s rock-downlockdown rules are relaxed.

Vital professions such as nursing, doctors, seasonal workers and freight drivers are exempt from quarantine. Those arriving from the Common Travel Area (CTA) – Ireland, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man – can also bypass quarantine as long as they have not been outside the CTA for the past 14 days.

As the UK relaxes the rules, groups of up to six people are now allowed to meet outside the home. Non-essential businesses will open from 15 June, the same day that mouthcaps become mandatory in public. Looking ahead to future travel, the government is considering an “international travel corridor” agreement with countries with low infection rates, as a way to relax some quarantine regulations. But for now, the Foreign Office is still advising all but necessary travel, and with returning citizens having to isolate themselves, it seems that there are “staycations” on the map for British holidaymakers this summer.


Sniffing the ‘tartufo bianco’ in Alba

For those who let the summer holidays in Italy pass by: think of October. In Alba, among the northern Italian hills, the white truffle moth begins. That rare and above all delicious fungus can only be traced with trained dogs. Journalist Liza Karsemeijer did a truffle tour last season.

“Rocky, fermo!”” shouts truffle seeker Piercarlo Vacchina. “Stop!” We walk along a leaf-covered forest path in Le Langhe, a wine region in the Piedmont region. Moments before, his dog disappeared among the trees. About 100 yards away, he’s digging. Rocky stops. Vacchina rewards him with dog biscuits and pulls out tools from his pocket to further excavate the truffle. “If you don’t get there in time, the dog can damage the truffle, or worse, eat it.” The dogs are trained from a young time. This way they get bits of the fungus through their chunks. There are rumors that some truffle hunters smear the nipples of the mother dog with truffle oil to get the newborn pups used to the taste. Piercarlo presses the black truffle into my hand: “Smell it.” I smell onion, forest mushrooms and nuts.

As we walk further, Rocky suddenly shoots across the forest path. More focused, more determined than before. “Rocky!” exclaims Vacchina again. We follow the dog about 300 meters uphill this time, and find him in a clearing, frantically digging. Even as his owner gets closer, he doesn’t give up. “This must be a white truffle,” Vacchina exclaims, delightedly as he tries to lure Rocky away. After a few attempts with a lot of chunks, he succeeds and digs on himself. A strong, garlic- and musky smell rises from the earth: intense and refined, not comparable to the smell of the black truffle we found. At about 20 centimeters depth, Vacchina finds what he was looking for: a small, light brown chunk that fits on the palm of your hand: tartufo bianco di Alba.

More expensive than gold

Le Langhe, the area around the town of Alba, is suitable for the growth of all kinds of truffles due to its wooded valleys with mineral-rich soil. They grow there all year long between the roots of the trees. As soon as they are ripe, they give off a strong smell. The most precious and rarest of them all, the white truffle, grows only from September to December, cannot be grown and is only picking freshly tasty. During the truffle season, alba’s Fiera del Tartufo Bianco (the white truffle fair) takes place every weekend, italy’s oldest and most important truffle market that attracts visitors from all over the world every year. In that period you can taste plenty of tartufi bianchi. For that, you have to bring a well-stocked wallet, because these underground mushrooms are not cheap.

“The price of the white truffle fluctuates,” says Silvia Orione, tourist guide and truffle expert, as we walk through the small centre of her hometown of Alba. “The amount depends on what the tartufai, truffle seekers, find, and that catch again depends on the weather conditions and temperature.”

That amount can change by the day and they need to be sold quickly, because white truffles can last up to seven days. For example, wetness is disastrous for the smell of the dogs, so if it has rained for a few days, the supply is smaller and the price rises. Shape and size play a part: the bigger and more even, the higher the price, because large pieces are more popular at restaurants. Tourists also influence the price, says Orione: “Every local knows that you should never buy in on weekends, during the truffle fair.” So you prefer to wait until Monday, when the tourists are home and want to get rid of their ‘old’ stock.

Silvia Orione and I take the test and step inside tartufi Morra, one of Alba’s oldest truffle shops. In a glass display case, different types of truffles are displayed as jewels on a checkered handkerchief. A lady from the village chooses a 10 gram piece, with which she can provide two plates of white truffle pasta that evening, and charges 25 euros. That price is on the low side: on average you paid 3750 euros per kilo last season and during alba’s famous international truffle auction a Hong Kong buyer even broke the record last year by buying a tartufo bianco of a kilo for 120,000 euros. Such large truffles are very rare: the vast majority is no heavier than 500 grams.

Truffle King

The truffle shop is named after the man who made the truffle world famous and wanted: Giacomo Morra. In its time – early 20th century – the truffle harvest was larger than today: due to the lower temperatures and more heavy rainfall at that time, the fungi thrived better. Tartufi were therefore a lot less rare and certainly not a delicacy: the local, mostly poor population ate them like potatoes.

Still, Morra saw bread in the white truffle and the romantic story of truffle hunters and their dogs. He knew that the truffles were already loved at the court in the Middle Ages, and wanted to make it a symbol of good taste. He opened a shop, later a restaurant and organized the first truffle fair in 1929. After the war, morra gained international attention for the truffle by gifting it to celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Winston Churchill. By the time he died, in 1963, the white truffle was world famous.

Protected heritage

If you want to bring home a real tartufo bianco, you should have it judged first by a jury at the truffle fair. Silvia Orione was part of that last year. “It starts with the smell,” she says. “It should be garlic-like and a little cheesy, but definitely not ammonia-like.” A good truffle is light brown on the outside and white on the inside. It feels sturdy when you squeeze it, and a fresh one is 80 percent water. If a truffle complies with all these guidelines, he will receive a certificate.

The truffle sellers aren’t the only ones bound by rules. As a truffle hunter, you must have a permit, for which you have to take an exam. This shows that you know the rules. So you can’t put it on a grave yourself: then you risk taking away the traces of the truffle, so that no new ones will grow. There are about 5,000 registered truffle hunters all over Piedmont who keep their best spots in the forest hidden from each other. That’s why they usually search at night and sometimes travel miles on foot so that their parked car doesn’t betray them.

Small company
That evening we dine at Hotel Tota Virginia, among the vineyards for which Le Langhe has become so famous. We choose an appetizer of egg, cheese and white truffle and a classic tajarin al tartufo, a typical Piedmont kind of ribbon paste that is prepared with just butter and white truffle. For a plate of truffle you usually pay about fifty euros, depending on how much tartufo you want on your dish. Often the truffle is grated on a scale on the spot. The waiter comes to the table with a perfect, round piece of truffle. I think back to what Piercarlo Vacchina said today about the small, strangely shaped and debuted pieces, which he always keeps for his own consumption. “They’re no less comfortable.” His best advice for those who want to try the tartufo bianco? “Make sure that your table group consists of as few people as possible.”

Out & Home

Under normal circumstances, flights to Turin depart daily. By train you can go via Paris to Turin and from there by train or bus to Alba (from Rotterdam about 11 am).

Hotel Tota Virginia in Località Baudana, near Alba, is located among the vineyards of Le Langhe.

At Alba’s oldest truffle shop Tartufi Morra you can get acquainted with all kinds of truffle during a tasting.

Hunting with a truffle hunter and his dogs? Check out tour.langhe.net or langheroero.it for tour providers.

Truffle fair
Tastings, cooking demonstrations and workshops. fieradeltartufo.org


Travelling in Europe: by country what can and can’t be done this summer

From 15 June onwards, we are allowed to go back to many countries on holiday in Europe. At least from our cabinet. Because the Dutch are not yet welcome in all Schengen countries, even governments sometimes brood on an official decision. An overview of our correspondents on the ground.

Belgium will reopen its borders to residents of Schengen countries from 15 June. This was announced by Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès yesterday at the end of the National Security Council meeting.

The border will remain closed for the Dutch tourist until 1 September. The country will relax border measures from 15 June, but only for Germany, Norway and Iceland.

From 15 June, Germany will be accessible to dutch and other tourists from EU countries, the Schengen area and the United Kingdom. This as long as the corona situation is similar to that in Germany. Hygiene regulations apply everywhere, a distance rule of at least 1.5 metres, contact restrictions and a gait requirement in shops and urban and regional transport. A general scheme for catering, holiday homes, campsites and outdoor swimming pools is lacking. Länder decide for themselves what is allowed.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
No restrictions or quarantine on the spot (as long as the number of infections in the Netherlands remains below 15 per 100,000 inhabitants).

It is not allowed to go on holiday in Finland from a Schengen country. It is unknown until when the borders will remain closed, at least until 15 June.

France wants to lift border controls from 15 June. From that day on, foreigners are welcome again. However, the Dutch Cabinet is still waiting for a formal green light for dutch nationals to be admitted. EU citizens do not need to be quarantined unless they come from countries that quarantine French. In France, however, hygiene rules apply. Special protocols have been drawn up for campsites, for example around the swimming pools. In cafes and restaurants there must be 1 meter distance between tables. If you want to go to the bathroom, you have to wear a mask. In Paris and surrounding areas, only the terraces are still open, due to the increased risk of contamination in the capital. For the time being, all rules apply until 21 June.

According to Greece, aircraft from the Netherlands will be welcome at athens and Thessaloniki airports from 15 June. The Dutch Cabinet still awaits a formal green light on the opening up. Passengers will be tested on arrival. Whoever has the virus must spend 14 days in quarantine. After a negative test, a week of self-isolation follows. If you want to avoid this, you have to fly from Groningen-Eelde, the only Dutch airport not on the European blacklist that the Greeks use. Via Germany is also an option. Moreover, that list is constantly being updated. From 1 July all tourists are welcome at all airports, but Greece can still refuse or quarantine holidaymakers from countries to be determined.

The Dutch cannot now go to Hungary, possible easing as of mid-June.

Since Wednesday, Italy’s borders have been open to tourists, as have the borders between the 20 Italian regions. In principle, Dutch tourists are allowed to go on holiday all over Italy. On arrival at airports, the temperature is measured and in case of fever, passengers can be subjected to a virus test. There are different rules for each region, for example on arrival in Sicily and in Puglia you are obliged to register on a special website. Taking the car to Italy is still a problem at the moment, the only possible route is now via France.

Croatia (not a Schengen country)
Croatia has been open for tourism for several weeks. The first Dutch have already been spotted on the campsites of Istria. For the time being, holidaymakers at the border must show a confirmed booking for accommodation.


Luxembourg’s borders are open, but not for holidaymakers who want to stay in Luxembourg. Only essential movements are permitted, and tourism is not included. It is not clear until when these restrictions apply. Campsites, hotels, restaurants and cafes are only accessible to luxembourgers themselves.

As of 1 July, the international airport is open again, but not for the Dutch.

From 15 June only Danish tourists are welcome in Norway. According to local media, the Prime Minister is now talking to Iceland, Sweden and Finland. After that, Norway looks further into other nearby European countries.

Austria will open its borders to all neighbouring countries except Italy on 15 June. That border will also open as soon as possible, but that depends on the contamination rates of the Italians. Moreover, the Dutch Cabinet is still waiting for a formal green light to ensure that our country is welcome again. Hygiene regulations apply throughout Austria, but from mid-June the gait requirement only applies in urban and regional transport, pharmacies, health facilities and in places where 1.5 metres can’t be kept away. Catering, campsites and outdoor swimming pools are open, but with restrictions.

Poland does not allow foreign tourists until at least 12 June. The West Polish resorts on the Baltic Sea and the popular German-Polish island of Usedom may be accessible again from that date. The other border crossings with Germany may open on 15 June. Restaurants and campsites in Poland have been open to domestic tourists since last month, but strict rules apply, such as a limit on the number of guests allowed.

With open arms, the Portuguese are ready to welcome tourists: the first holiday flight from the Netherlands arrives on Thursday. The restaurants are open, museums and other attractions as well. Through a traffic light system, sun worshippers can see which beach there is, between umbrellas must be three meters away. Everywhere the advice is to keep your distance, in shops, public transport and other enclosed spaces a mouth cap is required.

No restrictions or quarantine on the spot, tourists must be able to show proof that they have booked an overnight stay in Slovenia.

For the time being only necessary travel, situation after 15 June unclear.

Spain extends the state of emergency for another two weeks, which will be finalised on 21 June. Moreover, the Dutch Cabinet is still waiting for a formal green light to open its borders. Not all regions will have completely come out of lockdown by the end of the 21st. This is in phases, the cities of Madrid and Barcelona, for example, are slightly behind the rest. But in the vast majority of regions there will be no more restrictions. The Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and most of the Costa’s are already well advanced. Hotels, apartments and campsites are allowed to open again throughout the country.

Czech republic
Possible easing of the overall entry ban as of 15 June.

Turkey (not a Schengen country)
The Government of Turkey has indicated that tourists will be welcome again from 20 June. But for the time being, the Cabinet does not recommend travelling to countries outside the EU/Schengen zone.

Until June 15, only necessary travel. After that situation is still unclear: possible extension of the mandatory quarantine on arrival or a Covid-19 test.

There is a negative travel advice for the country for the time being. Sweden’s borders are open to foreigners from other EU countries, although tourist travel is also discouraged by the Swedish government. The country has no quarantine requirement for travelers. The beaches, restaurants and also some museums are open.

In Switzerland, the borders open on 15 June. However, the Dutch cabinet is still waiting for a formal green light that dutch people are welcome. The wearing of mouth and nose protection is recommended in train, bus and cable car. Tickets should be purchased online as much as possible. The catering industry has restrictions, for example everyone has to sit (at a table). Hotels may open wellness areas provided that a maximum of one person per square metre is allowed in swimming pool, sauna or steam room.


Reconstruction: how George Floyd was killed in 8 minutes and 46 seconds

How did George Floyd die? Using footage from bystanders and surveillance cameras, The New York Times reconstructed his fatal minute-by-minute confrontation with police.

On May 25, Minneapolis city police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after a store employee accused him of paying for a pack of cigarettes with a fake $20 note. Seventeen minutes after the first police car arrived, Floyd lay unconscious on the ground, restrained by three officers.

By studying the video footage of bystanders and security cameras, along with the official documents and after consulting experts, The New York Times was able to reconstruct the minutes before Floyd’s death.

The day after George Floyd’s death, the four officers involved were fired. Shortly after, Officer Derek Chauvin, who can be clearly seen in the footage as the officer sitting on top of Floyd, was charged with manslaughter. Chauvin pressed Floyd’s neck with his knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, while he repeatedly begged for help and indicated that he was out of breath. Even when the emergency services arrived, Chauvin remained with his knee in the neck of the then unconscious Floyd for a full minute.



Man who was innocent for 37 years blows everyone over on America’s Got Talent

59-year-old Archie Williams blew everyone away during the latest audition round of America’s Got Talent. The American was convicted in 1983 of a rape he had not committed and served 37 years in prison. Behind bars, Williams was a loyal viewer of the popular talent show, longing to one day participate. His dream came true this week: after his audition, Archie was treated to a standing ovation and a hug from judge Simon Cowell.

After an unwarranted prison sentence of 37 years, Archie Williams is now a free man again. On stage of ‘America’s Got Talent’ he looked back on the terrible period he has had. “I couldn’t believe it was really happening,” he said of his arrest for rape in 1983. I knew I was innocent. I didn’t commit a crime. But as a poor black boy, I didn’t have the financial capacity to compete with the state of Louisiana.”

Despite forensic evidence and testimony confirming Williams’ innocence, he was sentenced to life imprisonment at the age of 22. “They wanted someone to pay the price,” Archie told judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Howie Mandel. “But I never let my mind go to prison.”

Finally free
Williams’ case was taken into the hands of the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to wrongfully convicted in the 1990s. Finally, a fingerprint analysis in 2019 could prove its innocence. The man was released in March last year.

All these years in prison, Archie dreamed of participating in the talent show as a loyal viewer of the show. That dream came true now: after an impressive and emotional version of Elton John’s ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’, Williams was treated not only to a ticket to the next round, but also to a standing ovation from the jury and the hall. Simon Cowell was so touched by the performance that he took to the stage for a big hug, while the audience cheered and cheered him on.



Enjoying his Frisian: discover the Alde Feanen

It’s beautiful summer weather; with the distinctive white cloud skies. From the village of Wartena we sail to our place of stay in the heart of the water-rich Aide Feanen — a boat trip is the only way to get there. We’re going to lay at a jetty. ‘Ah, you will already have our accommodation there,’ says photographer Hillebrand, pointing to the ship’s cottage that arrives with a flying Frisian flag. A so-called ‘boathouse’, which can dock anywhere. How cool is it to enjoy only the sound of whistling birds and rustling reeds for two days in this floating shell, far away from the inhabited world, for two days with the low bog.

friesland shipping house

With the goat in the attic
Curious ducks come to take pole height — people are not used to them in this place — but they flee when Jacob Nauta arrives with his electric praam, a flat peat ship. Jacob provides sailing sons in the area by evening light. He was born and raised here and knows the area like no other; an ideal guide. Once we are on the road it quickly becomes clear to us that the Alde Feanen is an eldorado for plants and (predatory) birds. Roe deer and otters also feel at home there. This area used to be inhabited by hunters and fishermen, who led a meager existence there,’ says Jacob. ‘People put peat on it themselves to stoke their stoves.’ Jacob adds: ‘The area used to border the Middelsee, an arm, and was regularly submerged because of the excavations because there was no grinding yet. The people then moved to the attic with the goat. This is how the caps (excavated water puddles) and strips (drop-off bags) were created that you see around you.’ That the area besides flora and fauna also overflows with the stories, it turns out as we sail through the Langesleat, the long ditch between the villages of Wartena and Eernewoude. Jacob: ‘The Langsleatttenman is haunted here which is the spirit of Wibe, far descendant of King Redbad, who mistakenly beat his own brother Bouwe to death with his blacksmith’ hammer. He hasn’t been resting since then. Sometimes he would help people who sailed here by moving their ship forward. But when they docked in the evening, their ship turned out to be on the other side of the ship the next day. Or the walkway was gone. Very occasionally the mind sails along a bit on the helmet wood or on the boom.’ Jacob will drop us off at our boathouse after the beautiful evening cruise. It’s getting really dark now. We enjoy on our back deck with a glass of wine from the last light and its magical appearance on the water. What a freedom!

Far from being fished out
At 5:00, the alarm goes off. Today there is a very special activity planned: we are going to see up close how eel fishermen empty their traps here. You don’t normally experience something like that?!

With Jacob again as skipper we sail through the low bog for a while until we see a small boat in the far of a road with two men in yellow trousers. it turns out to be professional aling fisherman Ale de Jager and his predecessor Johannes Postmus. “What do you think?” responds John when I ask him carefully about his age. Even before I can make a throw, he proudly replies: ‘Eighty!’ And then, “I’m still busy with it; I still go fishing regularly and repair the nets at home.’

Ale, meanwhile, pulls a long shot out of the water. In the middle of the net, the catch squirms: a pair of wrist-thick alen and bycatch. Johannes immediately throws the small fish overboard, after which flying terns immediately dive off. The eels are ververbed in a barrel. Ale sprays the net with a kind of fire hose and attaches the net back to one of the many bollards that are set up in the water. “How do you know how to fix the pole?” I ask as a layman. Jacob explains and points out, “Do you see those poles over there in a line? An ”keernet’ is bound to it. The eel swims around that net and then so in the trap.’ He points again, but now in a different direction. ‘Those few poles that aren’t in line, there’s the fuiknets on them.’ Yes, now that I look at it closely, I do recognize a system in the setup. Ale explains that he used to be a carpenter, but as a child he loved fishing. Soon the idea arose to become a professional eel fisherman. But yes, how do you get in between, he thought. There are only ten eel fishermen in Friesland, who have divided the entire fishing area among themselves. And the profession is passed from father to son. Exceptionally, Ale was able to take over the baton from the aforementioned John. Ale now fishes sustainably in a thousand hectares of fishing area in the heart of Friesland, including the Alde Feanen. Eel that is substandard goes back into the water. Ale: ‘I’m looking to the future. Even then, there must still be eels to fish for.’ Besides fishing for eels, he is also involved in smoking it. He sells the eel to restaurants in his fishing area. “You can’t get it fresher.”

We have been deeply impressed by the beautiful but heavy work of the Frisian eel fishermen. And of the drive with which they practice their craft.

eel fishermen friesland

Frisian professional eel fishermen Ale and his predecessor Johannes practice their craft passionately. Photo: Hillebrand Breuker

Paddling through slog
We sail in peace along the reed collars back to our boathouse. As soon as we get there we transfer our stuff into a motorboat and canoe. I take the canoe and paddle slowly away from our boathouse, back to the inhabited world. With the warm sun on my back I glide through narrow diter full of leaves of the yellow plomp, a kind of small yellow water lily that is also depicted on the Frisian flag. Here and there, a swan flower blooms. I reach a lake in the middle of this almost tropical magrove forest, surrounded by bushchages and with two white swans in a field full of white water lilies. For me this is pura vida in optima forma. For me, this is a little fun on his Frisian.

In the narrow ditto you will find yellow plom everywhere, which is also depicted on the Frisian flag.


sleeping under the stars in North Groningen

Frits’ house and garden are very secluded

What does a night’s sleep in the Groningen open air do to someone?
‘Often, at the beginning, so right after arrival, guests still suffer from stress. “There are other campers,” they grumble. ‘Then we have to share this and that…’ My answer is the same time and time again: take a look at it, enjoy a day and then make a judgment. At some point, they’re gone. They ‘de-stress’ and open up as it were. They just need a little time to get in. Many guests see my grounds as the perfect place to unwind after a long working week, and enjoy quality time, clean air and 180 degree sun. They arrive here, get out of the car – [as an illustration Frits breathes deep through his nose] – and get an overdose of oxygen. Really, I respect people who live in Amsterdam, where space and fresh air are limited.

My terrain is the perfect place to unwind, and enjoy quality time, clean air and 180 degree sun

It sounds like you’ve created some kind of oasis. Does it feel the same way?
“It’s funny you call it that. My brother lives in Australia and a while ago he was visiting. He too was enthusiastic about the Campspace and the contact with guests that comes with it. And guests, in turn, enjoyed speaking to an Aussie (someone from Australia). My brother just noticed that the Campspace should have been called corroboree. A corroboree is a meeting place in Aboriginal culture. They come together to dance and tell stories. I have to agree with him; my Campspace does indeed feel like a meeting place.

Around frits’ yard lies a nature reserve of 16 hectares

To what extent can guests get in touch with you?
‘I’m definitely open to it. But I’m not going to get in their way either. Since 1992 I have my own construction company. I specialize in the use of organic materials. For work, I travel all over the country. I usually leave on Sunday nights, and i’ll be in an Airbnb until Thursday. What makes my Campspace unique is that as a guest you can check in and out whenever you want. You’re always welcome, even when I’m not home myself. As a result, it’s always a surprise who I find in the yard on Thursday night. I have been receiving guests on my property for over ten years. In all these years, All I saw was happy faces after I got home. What else do I want?

Plenty to do. For example, pick your own vegetables or relax in the sun

What is there to experience on and around your yard?
‘There is always a place that is needed for you at that moment, from the wind and in the sun. You can lie down in the grass, you can sit under a tree, you can pick your own vegetable from the vegetable garden or you can sit behind the attic window with a booklet. If you prefer to go out, you can of course also grab your bike and cycle to the Wadden Sea – Europe’s largest beach. On the North Groningen coast there is usually no human being to be seen. When they lose me, I’ll be at the dob, an excavated nature pond in the adjacent nature reserve of the State Forest Service. The water is pure and clean. You can swim there all year round or practice the Wim Hof method (breathing technique) for example.

End your evening around the campfire

The nearby Dark Sky Park Lauwersmeer will not apply until late at night. What does it mean? And what can guests expect

‘Dark Sky Park Lauwersmeer (Lauwersmeer National Park and the area around it) is the least populated part of the Netherlands. The stars are extremely visible because there is hardly any light pollution. You feel like you’re in a 3D starry sky all the time. The Milky Way, Orion; You can see them all. There are tours you can do at night. You’ll go into Dark Sky Park with a ranger. Your mobile phone is left behind, because even if your screen lights up, there is already light pollution. It’s only when you’ve walked around here that you realize how dark it can really get. So the Dark Sky Park means that a new world is opening up for you, that you will see the bigger picture a little better.’ − € 20 per night


This way fruit remains longest-lasting (and that’s how you keep it best)

Nothing as healthy as a fruit basket on the table, which everyone can take their own all day. Then of course you want to be able to enjoy it as long as possible. That’s how your fruit is best – and you do this against annoying fruit flies.

In your smoothie, by your yogurt or something out of control: fruit is delicious. But unfortunately, on hot days fruit ripens faster than when it is cold. This also means that you can keep it for less time. How do you make sure that your fruit holds good as long as possible? We figured it out for you.

Exactly how long you can store fruit depends on the type you choose. “There are ways to extend the shelf life of your fruit. One fruit is best used in the fridge, while the other fruit is a longer life in a bowl outside the fridge,” says , spokesman for The Nutrition Centre. She stresses that it is best to eat fruit separately rather than in a smoothie.

Fruit in the fridge

Apples can be kept in the fruit shelf for a small week, but in the fridge you can store them for 2 to 4 weeks. “Make sure your fridge is set at the right temperature for optimal taste and shelf life. A temperature of 4 degrees is best. At this temperature, bacteria and fungi grow less quickly and at the same time your products suffer as little as possible from the cold.

Soft fruit such as raspberries and strawberries is also best stored in the fridge. For optimal shelf life, place the fruit on a piece of kitchen paper on a plate or in a bowl. The kitchen paper ensures that your fruit does not get moist, so you can keep it well for up to three days. Kiwis, grapes and pre-cut fruit are also best used in the fridge.

Hole in a lemon
Lemon and other citrus fruits retain their taste best and longest outside the fridge. It’s good to put a ‘grab stock’ of fruit on the table in a fruit bowl because it makes you grab a piece of fruit faster, but the rest is better stored in a cooler place: between 10 and 15 degrees.

Do you need a little lemon juice for a dish, for example? Then don’t cut open the whole fruit, but stick a hole in it and squeeze it out. So you can use it more often and he stays good longer.

Outside the fridge
Bananas and other exotic fruits also benefit better from a spot outside the fridge. This group suffers from so-called ‘cold decay’. This means that they do not go well at a temperature below 7 degrees Celsius. As a result, cells break down and the fruit loses moisture faster, which negatively affects the taste. Eventually, the fruit can even rot from it. The best option is to store them in a cool pantry. One exception: when the fruit is cut, no matter what kind, it is best to keep it in the fridge.

“Do you want to keep fruit good as long as possible? Don’t put it close to bananas’
Do you want to keep fruit good as long as possible? Then don’t put it near bananas. Bananas repel a substance called ‘ethylene’. This strengthens the ripening process of the other fruits. Fortunately, you can also use this to your advantage: is your avocado still too hard, but do you really want to do it through your salad this morning? Then put it in a bag together with a bunch of bananas – et voilà: the next day your avocado is ripe

Rotten spot spotted? Don’t throw the fruit away right away. A spot on a strawberry is of course not good, but as long as it is not too big you can just cut it off and you can still eat it. “Also does the rest of the strawberry look a little fair and feel soft, then it is better to throw it away

Rotten spots
‘Look, smell, taste’, is in the case of fruit a saying that the Nutrition Centre likes to use. “If your fruit is no longer good, you will taste it immediately. Do you see a moldy or beurous burr in a box with other blackberries? Then take these out to prevent further molding from the other blackberries in the box,

Fruit flies? This helps them prevent it.

Fight them by cleaning up properly. Do not leave sliced or peeled fruit in the kitchen or living room.
Swap your garbage bag regularly – especially if you find that there are fruit flies in it.
Use a fly cap to protect your fruit from fruit flies and other insects.
Wash your fruit well before you eat it.
Put a bottle of red wine with a bottom of wine in the kitchen: within one day you have captured a large part of the Fly family


The 10 most beautiful villages in France

We can’t travel yet, read about it. The Michelin Guide The most beautiful villages in France, for example. Travel journalist Hans Adventure was inspired and made his own selection.

Le Bois, Savoie
In Champagny-en-Vanoise, the valley ends and it looks like the buildings are ending. But a narrow road will take you even further. The asphalt climbs almost perpendicularly and wriggles through a gorge until a plateau looms with in the middle of the hamlet of Le Bois. One hundred years ago, this was a thriving farming community with hameaux, groups of houses of wood and stone inhabited by large families. Some of the buildings are in disrepair, part beautifully refurbished and in use as a holiday home in the summer. In Le Bois, original façades – sometimes the old advertisement of a café or shop are still visible – recall the vivid past. The place is peacefully on the edge of the Parc Nationale de la Vanoise

Collioure, Pyrénées-Orientales
“Come here,” Henri Matisse wrote to his friend and fellow painter André Derain in 1905. Immediately after arriving at collioure station, he had fallen in love with the light, the village and the languid life on the coast. That summer, the fate of the fishing village of Collioure changed and – according to the experts – that of painting. Matisse and Derain had the colours popping on their canvas and the village became a popular destination for painters and art lovers. Beautiful it is still there with pastel-coloured houses, a robust castle, traditional fishing boats and a spectacular rock coast. In bar Les Templiers there are reproductions of works with which artists paid their bills. Among them also Picasso, Chagall and Dalí.

Balazuc, Ardèche
Balazuc balances on a steep rock face above the fast-flowing Ardèche. Every time the wind in the valley stirs up, the houses seem to be blown into the abyss. Yet they have held out for centuries. The town of Balazuc almost still looks like it did hundreds of years ago, when the Seigneurs ruled the Balazuc there with a strict hand, controlled the region and went on a crusade. The Rue Publique was the main street of the village in the Middle Ages. When you walk through it, you’re constantly surprised. Due to a beautiful water source, a special façade or an alley that hides under old vaults. Take a wall at the edge of the village and wait for the sun to drop behind the mountains across the water. Pure magic!

Cassel, Le Nord
Cassel’s appeal is in the unique atmosphere. It feels like France, but the village looks like Flanders. Including a Grand Place that is invariably the centre of a city or village in Belgium. Cassel is located in the heart of Frans Vlaanderen, surrounded by places with names like Boeschepe and Bollezele. After a series of wars and borders, these originally Flemish villages finally ended up in France at the beginning of the 18th century. For a long time people stuck to their West Flemish dialect, but nowadays there are hardly any inhabitants who speak it. Cassel is the ideal starting point for a visit to this region full of buildings that are more Flemish than French.

Claviers, Var
They are characteristic of the hinterland of the Côte d’Azur: the villages perchés, high-altitude villages overlooking a landscape of olive trees, vineyards and undulating hillland. Many sun worshippers take a trip from the beach to top performers such as Gourdon, Tourrettes-sur-Loup and Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Claviers is just a little further away from the main tourist concentrations and has remained authentic. The village has a small medieval core with creep-by-sneak-through streets, which used to bustle with activity including cobblers, basket braiders, tailors, olive mills and potters.

Cancale, Brittany
A stone’s throw from the famous fortress town of Saint-Malo is the village of Cancale. Cosy centre, beautiful waterfront location, charming harbour. But above all, Cancale is the capital of oyster farming and culi fans come from far and wide to eat oysters here or buy them directly from the producer at the market. Some growers have opened their business to visitors, including a tasting and peek at the oyster banks in the sea. From the higher cliffs there is beautiful views of the hundreds of oyster fields that fall dry at low tide.


Bonneval-sur-Arc, Savoie
Bonneval-sur-Arc is a small human bastion in the wild mountain world of Haute-Savoie. It consists of a relatively modern centre with some hotels and apartments and an authentic part that belongs to Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, a club of beautiful villages with strict admission requirements. The old part has hardly changed in hundreds of years. The houses are built of wood and grey stones, with slate roofs and small windows. The village, located 1800 metres high, is located at the foot of the Col de l’Iseran, known for the Tour de France. A short walk leads to the abandoned hamlet of L’Écot, which is listed on the list of monuments and feels like the end of the world.

Le Poët-Laval, Drôme
The ancient part of Le Poët-Laval consists of ruins that stimulate the imagination and refurbished streets through which you can walk pleasantly. It is as if you are visiting a village that has slept for a hundred years and has recently been pulled from under the ivy and thorn bushes. At the top is the donjon, the fortified tower, with the remains of a castle. Below it is a terrace among the olive trees from which you look out over the Drôme. Writer Gerard Reve lived in the lower part of Le Poët-Laval. His house – La Grace – is still there, opposite the bakery. He also had his ‘Secret Estate’, hidden somewhere high in the hills. Reve was happy with his surroundings, but less enthusiastic about village life. ‘At least you still have real rights in Schiedam, I’m just talking about nothing with the neighbours. However, it is formidably beautiful again’, he wrote to his partner Joop Schafthuizen in 1977.


Mers-les-Bains, Somme
About 400 protected art nouveau buildings make Mers-les-Bains one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Europe. The promenade is a succession of colourful facades with wooden balconies, bay windows, ornaments and decorations of mosaic and tilework. The town became popular when the end of the 19th century a railway link with Paris and le tout Paris wanted a holiday home there. As if a miracle, the historic centre has almost endured the Second World War. From Mers, as the place is called in short, you definitely have to discover the coastline. It is spectacular with steep cliffs and wide beaches, where wind and waves have free reign. On foot you can also visit the town of Le Tréport, which is across the estuary. A cog wheel takes you to a viewpoint and a World War II bunker.

Arbois, Jura
Many Dutch French visitors literally leave the Jura on their way south. Not warm enough for the sun worshippers, not high enough for mountain lovers. But the region is beautiful and full of surprises. Take the village of Arbois, which is surrounded by hills and vineyards. The compact centre is full of houses in earth tones with colored shutters. In the narrow streets you will find shops with products from the region, with the emphasis of course on wine. Arbois is also known thanks to Louis Pasteur, the man who in vented the theory in the 19th century that many diseases are caused by tiny small lives. In addition, he discovers a vaccine against rabies. His statue stands in a small park on the main road through the village and his former home is now museum.


The best street food: recipe for Hong Kong egg waffles

In the world of waffles, these dough pads are distinguished by their bite-sized size: each waffle consists of thirty egg-shaped balls that are held together by the crispy batter.

160 g sugar
2 large eggs
60 ml condensed milk
120 ml water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp melted butter
80 g flour
31≤2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp custard powder
baking spray

1-Beat the sugar and eggs in a large bowl.
2-Add the condensed milk, water, vanilla extract and butter and stir everything together.
3-Sift the dry ingredients over the bowl and stir until you have a smooth batter without lumps.
4-Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
5-Heat a waffle iron and inject the light with cooking oil.
6-Pour the batter into the waffle iron and fill it to about three quarters.
7-Close the waffle iron and turn it around so that the inside is completely covered with batter.
8-Bake the batter for 2-3 minutes on both sides until crispy and golden brown.
9-Place the waffle on a cake grill for 1 minute and serve it hot.

Gai daan tsai (‘small eggs’) was born halfway through the

20th century when the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed and many Chinese sought refuge in hong kong; the growth of the population asked for a creative use of the limited culinary resources. Some claim that the batter was made with damaged eggs, others that the waffle maker’s egg-shaped cutouts had to correctly compensate for the lack of eggs.

Trial notes
Amid the savoury dumplings and hong kong’s spicy aromas, the scent of sweet egg waffles strikes you as a sepia-colored reminder from grandmother’s kitchen. The vendors often have several waffle irons on the fire, so that each customer is assured of fresh waffles. from the irons the waffles are shaken on a grid and then put in a paper bag. Warm they are the best: the ‘egg shell’ is crispy and the yellow inner is soft and melts on the tongue. The waffle should be sweet, but not ant sweet, and it should have a pleasant aftertaste. Because a waffle can contain up to thirty ‘eggs’, it becomes a task to work them all warm ly inwards; this makes the easy to tear and distribute snack very suitable for eating with friends.


Stonehenge streams the solstice online for the first time

The ancient, mystical place Stonehenge in England has announced that for the first time ever it will live stream its solstice feast in the summer on English Heritage’s social media accounts.

Stonehenge is one of Britain’s greatest archaeological mysteries. Despite countless theories about the purpose of the place, ranging from a sacrificial centre to a celestial clockwork, no one knows for sure what drove the prehistoric British to spend so much time and effort on its construction. The first phase of construction began around 3000 BC, although recent archaeological finds show that the area had been sacred for hundreds of years before work began.

Stonehenge hosts one of the world’s most popular summer celebrations every year on the longest day of the year. Thousands of visitors come to see the sun rise behind the Whole Stone, but with the COVID-19 pandemic it is not possible to receive a crowd this year. Instead, the English Heritage organisation will offer a livestream of the sunrise on Sunday morning GMT on 21 June on the social media channels. “We hope that our livestream will provide people in the area and far away with an alternative opportunity to connect with this spiritual place at such a special time of year and we look forward to welcoming everyone back next year,” said Nichola Tasker, director of Stonehenge.


Forgotten states of the US: Roadtrip door Idaho

With its 50 states, the U.S. has countless road trip options. For another road trip in the future, think about an intriguing but lesser-known state: Idaho.

This state in the form of a raised gun is an exciting enigma: rugged and elegant, urban and wild, old and new. The topography limits the location of cities to a few locations that bend down from boise’s northern protrusion to Yellowstone on the Wyoming border like a fishing hook. Idaho contains rich wilderness, sharp peaks and foaming rivers, as well as high desert plains and rolling arable land. With its forests, rivers and air, the state offers a personal and undisturbed outdoor experience and a look at the roots of American history. Perhaps, in addition to all the natural beauty, you will be surprised by the inventive and creative spirit in the villages and towns of the state. An authentic journey through Idaho offers space to roam; an exceptional trip ensures that you get dirty nails.

Day 1 Explore the Boise River Greenbelt, a footpath between the city’s cultural destinations: art, history, parks, zoo and gardens. Dine at the Basque Block.

Day 2 From desert to mountains: take the meandering Payette River Scenic Byway to McCall. Raft or kayak on the Payette River or cruise silent waters on Cascade or Payette Lake. Stroll into McCall in Ponderosa State Park.

Day 3 Relax on the Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway to Stanley along rugged mountains, crystal clear lakes and wooded meadows. Don’t forget to watch stars in the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve.

Day 4 After Galena Summit, Sun Valley offers outdoor activities with a distinctly decadent taste. Alternate a morning bike ride or fly fishing with visits to boutiques and art galleries. Take a chair lift to the top of Baldy and soak up the midday sun above the Wood River Valley. Switch to the evening with live music at the Sun Valley Pavilion of Whiskey Jacques’.

Food & drink
Basque cuisine

Idaho is more diverse than its reputation suggests. Boise has a remarkably large Basque community, the largest outside Spain. The Basques began to settle in Idaho in the early 19th century and now they are giving the so-called Basque Block in the center of Boise flavor with paella, lamb, chorizo and croquetas

(a kind of croquette). If you miss the annual Jaialdi (a culture festival), take the time to sample the regional specialties offered here all year round. Idaho’s unique Basque cuisine has evolved into a combination of traditional Basque flavors with American products like lamb.


Yes, there’s an Idaho Potato Museum. Yes, potatoes from Idaho are exceptionally delicious and ubiquitous; about 6 billion kilos of it is grown annually. Whether you’re eating delicious fries at Boise Fry Company (you can choose your own potato variety) or an unconventional ice cream potato (don’t worry, it only looks like a pager), the humble potato is inseparable and proudly attached to Idaho.

Craters Of The Moon National Monument & Preserve

This is a strange and very subtly changing landscape of hardened lava flows surrounded by a diverse natural park. Descend into caves, climb cinder cones, and discover the history of the Shoshone-Bannock Native Americans through archaeological discoveries in the region. nps.gov/crmo

Priest Lake

This pristine 9,300-acre lake (pictured in the forest above) reflects the Selkirk Mountains. In addition to the usual water activities, tree lovers can admire 2,000-year-old cedar trees (up to 3.5 meters in diameter and 45 meters high) in the Roosevelt Grove of Ancient Cedars, while snow fanatics can indulge in neat orbits. priestlake.org

Shoshone Falls

The waterfall at Twin Falls is 275 meters wide and over 60 meters high. The water flow is strongest between April and July. The nearby Shoshone Falls Park offers beautiful photo points, a playground, picnic meadows and hiking trails, in addition to hiking and swimming opportunities. It is one of the most beautiful places in the western USA. fid.org

Wild Salmon River

The Salmon River, which begins in the waters of Redfish Lake (also the end point of the longest migration of red salmon in North America), is called the ‘river of no return’ for its fast currents and steep canyon walls. It’s partly next to the huge, rugged Sawtooth Wilderness, so a trip across this river could be the American adventure of a lifetime. See 1.5 billion ancient rock (Idaho’s oldest), rare and diverse wildlife, and ancient pioneer spots. rivers.gov

Art, Culture & History
Basque Museum & Cultural Center

Among Boise’s ethnic inns, restaurants and bars is the Basque Museum & Cultural Center, a successful project to introduce people to Basque culture and how it traveled 10,000 kilometres west from the Pyrenees to Idaho. Lessons euskara, Europe’s oldest language, are also offered (see the programme). basquemuseum.eus

Old Penitentiary & Botanical Garden

In Boise, you can stand behind bars that kept hardened criminals inside during the wild west. The cold stone and iron are echoes of the pioneering past, but with the neighbors, Idaho’s modern history is brightened up. After tasting prison life, stroll through the 12 diverse gardens. idahobotanicalgarden.org

Silver City

See a rare mining town that has barely changed since the 1860s. Roam more than 70 buildings including a hotel, school, church, cemeteries, and the birthplace of Idaho’s first newspaper. It is located in the hinterland of Owyhee County and the Silver City Road closes in winter, but is open from Memorial Day (late May) to the end of November; all-wheel drive is always recommended. historicsilvercityidaho.com

World Center Birds Of Prey

At this center in Boise (pictured above), Fall Flights (September to November) showcases the natural elegance of birds and the expertise of the trainers by letting hawks, owls and falcons do fly shows. Visit the archives of the Falconer’s Library and the outdoor and indoor exhibitions to see how they handle conservation here. peregrinefund.org/visit



Mountain biking in Croatia: marshes and nature parks in Slavonia

We can’t travel yet, but if we can do that again soon, Slavonia might be a happy destination. The green, hilly region in eastern Croatia can be well explored on foot and by bike.

1. Resilient Vukovar
The music in the bright pink coloured passenger boat is a tad too loud, just before the departure of a 45-minute cruise from Vukovar over the Danube. It sounds like military marching music, bombastic. A special welcome to this brand new electric boat with room for sixty passengers. When the Magenta 1 Vukovar Waterbus – as the boat is called – goes sailing, the smiley captain happily turns down the volume considerably. To the delight of guide Gorana Kušic: her voice does not reach that far. Kušic – also working as a curator at the Vukovar Municipal Museum – was born and partly raised in Vukovar. “During the war in the 1990s I lived in Germany for a few years, but I’m glad I’m back,” she says.

The Danube, as the Danube is called in Croatia, lies peacefully. On the right is the border with Serbia, on the left vukovar. Just after The Second World War, this city became one of the most developed cities in the former Yugoslavia, producing textiles as an economic pillar. In this prosperous city with beautiful, monumental buildings, Croats, Serbs and other populations lived side by side without any problems. The boat sails past the huge borovo factory complex, where shoes from Bata and Adidas, among others, are produced. By the end of the 1980s, the factory had 20,000 employees, now there are only 3,000.

Everything changed in 1991, the year the Croatian War of Independence began. Twelve Croatian police officers were murdered near this factory complex on 2 May 1991. It marked the beginning of a gruesome period, with the Battle of Vukovar at its lowest point. It began on 24 August with the encirclement of the city by the Yugoslav People’s Army, supported by military forces from Serbia. The city was defended by less well-armed soldiers of the Croatian National Guard. No one could get in or out of town. There were 2,000 civilian casualties. Kušic was lucky, she says. “A few days before the encirclement, I fled to Germany with my family.

When the boat turns at Borovo to return to Vukovar, Kušic points to the water tower. Until 1991, residents of Vukovar came here to have a picnic. In the upper part there was a restaurant. During the Battle of Vukovar, the structure was hit daily by mortars, but the water tower remained standing. And yet the badly battered tower – despite many holes – stands proudly standing. Vukovar Nocturne, so is called a collection of tangible war memories in and around the city, including the Ovcara Memorial Hall, the Ovcara mass grave, a cemetery with war victims and The Homeland War Memorial Centre.

In 2020 Vukovar will be a spacious city, with lots of greenery and new construction. A number of old buildings are still there, such as The Grand Hotel, the Franciscan monastery, the Saint Philip and Jacob Church and the old gymnasium. A small part of the Baroque centre has also been preserved. Restaurants and cafes are plenty of them. Because of its rich past, the city – with about 30,000 inhabitants – has above average museums, which mainly tell the history before the war.

2. Tough climb in Papuk
There my rented mountain bike stands shining against the porch of Eco Point Jankovac, the bike rental company in The Papuk Nature Park, which opened last year. This hilly park in the otherwise predominantly flat Slavonia is located between Zagreb and Vukovar. It is a matte black bike of the brand Trek, not a cheap one, with battery. Is it necessary, electric support? “Why be difficult when it’s easy,” says the landlord, smiling. “We also have them without a battery, you know.” Please, I’m not averse to a little challenge. For 8 euros you can pedal for three hours, helmet and a ticket of the area are included. “The routes are well signposted,” the landlord tells me.

The first 600 meters go down nicely. But whoever drops has to climb, too. And sure enough, beyond the bridge is a warning sign with a big exclamation point above the word serpentina: hair-playing bends! A subsequent sign indicates that the rate of increase is 10 percent. After a few minutes of climbing, the sweat gushes from the forehead. The woman from the bike rental already knew.

After the tough climb of at least fifteen minutes there are twelve silver poles, they symbolize the twelve Croats that were shot dead in 1991, after which the Battle of Vukovar began. At the monument are candles and a wreath.

The asphalt overflows into unpaved and less steep paths along flower fields, streams and waterfalls. And through forest with impressive oaks, beech escarpments and pines. The ticket remains in the pocket, the route is indeed well marked.

Papuk Nature Park is one of the most popular recreation sites in Slavonia and a Unesco geopark: throughout the mountains you can see remnants of geological history. The many mountain bike trails are easy to connect and hikers also get their money’s worth here. In a lake near the largest waterfall in the park you can canoe.

3. Snakes in Kopacki Ride
And again there is a dark coloured snake on the asphalted road on top of the kilometre-long dike. Today I am in the marshy nature park Kopacki Rit, a stone’s throw from Osijek and about a 45-minute drive from Vukovar. It’s snake number eighteen, after twenty minutes of cycling. Half of them are dead, knocked down by cars. But this one moves, painfully slowly. Dark red blood drips out of his mouth, he hisses when I get closer.

Kopacki Rit, with an area of 238 hectares, is one of the largest natural marshes in Europe and is nominated for unesco’s natural heritage list. This is where the Rivers Drava and Danube meet. Because both regularly flood, the water level of the marshland changes time and time again. A valhalla for any animal that loves water.

The mountain bike – rented at the recently opened education centre – is a great way to explore the area. The roads are right, the signage is clear and the vistas are beautiful. An attempt to get off the beaten track by choosing an unpaved path right next to a farm turns out to be no smart move: a barking dog comes running towards me. The friendly-looking farmer calls the animal and makes it clear with sign language that cycling elsewhere makes little sense. He’s right, the dirt path runs after a mile of death.

It suffocates in this park of birds, about 300 species live there. Like the rare bald eagle and the black stork. Deer and wild boar don’t show up today.

After almost two hours of pedalling through the marshland and along pastures and arable lands, I’m back at the bike rental. A good base for boat excursions to shallow foothills of the swamp. Also here begins the White Water-Lily Boardwalk, a hiking trail of a few kilometers. For 6.50 euros you can go on an excursion with a guide. Canoeing with a guide is also possible.

When I tell the employee about the snakes along the way, she chuckles. They’re just ring snakes. They cross the dike to hibernate in a dry place on the other side.

Out & home

Slavonia is about 1600 kilometres from Utrecht. The best option is – normally – fly on Zagreb and then rent a car. Return tickets are available from 130 euros, including via Croatia Airlines. Trains to Zagreb are also possible, the ride takes about 22 hours, with three or four transfers. Returns from 100 euros.

Stay at
Comfortable sleeping in former stables can be done at Ivica i Marica on the edge of the tiny town of Karanac, not far from Kopacki Rit. From 50 euros per night.

Heritage Hotel Kurija Jankovi in Luka,č is highly recommended for more grandeur. Double room from 56 euros per night.

Renting a bike is not expensive, for about 8 euros you have a good mountain bike, including helmet and ticket of the area. If you are not well trained, you can opt for an extra pair of euros for an electric mountain bike. Routes can be found on the websites of the national parks. There are also addresses of bicycle rental companies.


Hotels Greece may reopen from 1 July

After weeks of lockdown, Greece has begun a phased reopening of various services in the country, with the aim of reopening hotels in July.

Speaking to CNN, Mitsotakis said that traveling would only be an option if it is considered safe. At European level, he said he would support travellers to get an antibody or PCR test before they arrive in Greece, stressing that if tourism is indeed possible, travellers should be prepared for their experience to be very different. ‘More social distance, maybe no bars open and no street crowds, but you can still get a fantastic experience in Greece, provided the global epidemic comes down.’ The Prime Minister also said that Greece would reopen at best on 1 July and that they are preparing for it. The plan requires protocols to be drawn up with respect to airlines.

Like many countries around the world, Greece’s recovering economy has been hit hard by the loss of tourism. Mitsotakis, however, was optimistic, telling CNN that he hoped the worst for the country would be over.


Hair loss: this is how it comes – and this is what you’re doing

Losing your hair is particularly annoying. Fortunately, in many cases there is something to be done about it. Like: make sure you experience less stress in your life.

If you’ve just vacuumed your house, it’s full of stray hair again in no time. Either you wash or brush your hair and (a lot) more hair comes loose than you’re used to. You wake up and your pillow is full of hair. So annoying. How is hair loss caused? And are there ways to stop it?

According to hormone expert Ralph Moorman, hair loss occurs if we lose more than 100 hairs in a day. This sounds a lot, but it’s not so bad. “We have about 100,000 hairs on our heads on average. The amount of hair you have is hereditary. As we age, the number of hair follicles and therefore the number of hairs decreases.

It varies from person to person how long your hair can be. Every hair has a hair growth cycle. A hair consists of two parts: the follicle and the shaft. From the shaft grows the follicle, the root of the hair. As new hair in the follicle develops, the hair shaft pushes it out. This will cause your hair to grow.

Bald at once
Not all hair follicles grow at the same time. Anyway, otherwise we’d have lost all our hair at once. The hair growth cycle consists of three phases: growth phase, transition phase (growth grinds to a halt) and degradation phase.

During the first phase, new hair growth takes place. This takes between 2 and 7 years. The length of your hair is determined in this first phase. Eyebrows and other body hair have a shorter growth phase than your head hair.

After the growth phase you get a transition phase, which lasts two to three weeks. In it, a hair stops growing and detaches itself from the blood supply. Then he gets into the demolition phase. This is where the hair is loosened and it falls out. At this stage you will find hairs in the shower gutter or on your brush. After the last phase, the cycle repeats itself.

There are multiple causes of hair loss. A common cause in women is PCOS: the balance between oestron (sufficient), testosterone (more than adequate) and progesterone (insufficient) is disturbed. This is particularly common in overweight women, insulin resistance or underweight.

Hair loss also occurs in the event of a lot of stress. This is due to a large presence of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. “The proteins in the hairs are then affected. Lactic acid accumulates, which makes the hair weaker and falls out faster,” moorman explains.

In order for your hair to grow optimally, it is important that your thyroid gland works well. A delayed thyroid effect causes poor blood flow and poor supply of nutrients to the hair. In addition, it reduces growth rate.

In addition, hormonal changes have a major impact on how full your hair dos is. If you are pregnant, the percentage of hair seen in the growth phase is about 95 percent. After your pregnancy, due to rapid drop in estrogen, these hairs move to the breakdown phase faster than usual.

This increases hair loss three months after your pregnancy. This hair loss is not permanent. Once your estrogen is back on the record, your hair will return to its ‘normal’ cycle and grow and fall out normally.

‘Baldness in men is largely hereditary. Unfortunately, you can’t escape it’
Baldness in men
One of the factors that affects both men and women is hair loss is stress. In addition, baldness is largely hereditary in men. Hair loss in men often follows a fixed pattern and as a man you can hardly escape it.

Another cause for baldness in men is the calcification of blood vessels around the hair follicles. As a result, blood flow decreases and fewer nutrients can reach the follicle and less waste is disposed of. “There is also a large amount of the inflammatory substance PGD2 in the scalp of balding men, which has an inhibitory effect.”

For many men, getting bald is a blow to self-confidence. Fortunately, there are more and more possibilities to disguise or prevent this ‘problem’.

“For example, hair doctors with a ‘trichoscan’ of the scalp can assess hair density and make a prediction about the course of the kaling process. Based on this, a treatment can be chosen,” says Moorman. “A lotion for improving blood flow in the scalp, a hair transplant or injections of growth factors are treatments that are increasingly being done.

Magic remedies
There are plenty of hair resources on the market. Moorman says you can’t expect miracles from most. Especially if you have a lot of aptitude to go bald. “Taking dietary supplements and minerals, for example, only works when you have shortages of these substances.”

“By supplementing this deficiency, your hair can indeed start to grow faster than before, but you already have enough of that particular vitamin and you will try to replenish it, then little will happen.”

Various spreads for stimulating blood flow to your scalp can also help. “These ensure that your nutrients can reach the hair follicles better or faster, resulting in better hair growth.

Tips from the hairdresser
According to hairdresser Nikki Visser, there is a ‘limp hair follicle’ in the event of a hair loss. There are special shampoos and kours that will make this hair follicle strengthen again. “Biotin, iron and vitamin are good to swallow against hair loss,” explains the hairdresser.

Also, there are some things that are bad for the hair, but they don’t necessarily cause her to fall out. “Some people confuse hair loss with broken hair,” says Nikki. “For example, they think that after wearing extensions you get hair loss. This is not the case: the hair is broken down faster, causing you to lose them. But this doesn’t mean they’re falling out.”

What can you do yourself?
Do not wear your hair (too) tightly in a tail. This can cause hair to break down and damage hair follicles
Don’t dye your hair when you don’t need to: hair dye contains chemicals that can pull into your scalp and harm your hair follicles.
Sleep with your hair loose! Sleeping in the night with a bun or tail creates tension with your hairline and roots.
Wash your hair with caffeine shampoo: caffeine makes your hair roots stronger and so your hair attaches longer to your scalp.
Use rubber bands without metal in them. Your hair can stick to the metal, causing them to break down. A good solution is a rubber rubber band, or a rubber band that is glued shut.