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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Hague, Netherlands

The Hague - History
            The Hague is the seat of the Dutch government, the Parliament and the Queen. In the history of The Hague, the judicial sector always played an important role. In the 14th century the importance of The Hague increased due to the transfer of the Supreme Court of Zealand and Holland. At the end of the 16th century the Royal Court moved here, The Hague became the Royal Residency. In 1899 and 1907 took place Peace Conferences which led to the construction of the Peace Palace, which, since 1922, is the seat of the International Court of Justice.

            The Hague – Culture
            The glory of The Hague was between 16th and 17th century, because of the many churches and residences built such as Huis ten Bosch – Royal Residency, Mauritius – Royal Gallery of paintings, Escher Museum. Also in that time, the village became an important center of portraiture and landscape, as well as printing, engraving, sculpture and craft of goldsmiths. These artistic traditions were continued in the 19th century, in the School of The Hague, an artistic environment of the Neoimpressionists and Symbolists. Madurodam is an important location in The Hague - a miniature city built in 1952 and named after a Jewish student who fought against Nazi troops in the Dutch army. For car enthusiasts in The Hague you can find Lowman Museum, with an impressive collection of 200.000 cars. For the ones who love natural sciences, the science museum Museon, founded in 1904 it’s a great place to find the secrets of domestic industry of The Hague. Other great museums and cultural institutions that The Hague can offer are: Haags Historisch Museum, Museum Bredius, Municipal Museum, Netherlands Dance Theatre, Mesdag Museum, Obervoorde Park and Queen Beatrix residential Palace situated in the forest, outside The Hague’s center.
  The Hague – Education         
 The Hague is not distinguished by a large number of universities, but the existing ones sure make the difference in student culture. Royal Conservatory of The Hague is offering the possibility for a career in music and dance. The Royal Conservatory was founded in 1826 by King William I and nowadays it is ruled by a professional stuff for different areas of specializations: European classical music, early music, jazz, electronic and computer music, musical composition, ballet, opera, art sound. Royal Academy of Art is another important educational institute in The Hague, one of the oldest art academies in Europe. The art academy was founded in 1682 and has preparatory courses, bachelor studies, post graduate and master studies in different areas of expertise: fine arts, photography, graphic design, textile and fashion, interior design and architecture, artistic research, media technology, film and photography studies.
            The Hague – Local attraction
            The Hague has an important place in international politics. Over 150 international organizations are located in The Hague. The main institutions are: Euro just (European Union prosecutors), Europol (European Police Office), International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court, International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia, Permanent Court of Arbitration. The main attraction in The Hague is Scheveningen resort. It has a promenade and a casino, making it one of the most elegant resorts in the country. In The Hague many festivals are organized, among them: Jazz Festival, Koninginne Nach, North Sea Jazz Festival, Tong Tong Festival, Milan Hindustani Festival and Schilderswijk Bazaar. Night life centers around the three main squares in The Hague’s center are also searched locations: the Plein (Square), the Grote Markt (Great Market) and the Buitenhof (Outer Court). The Plein is taken by several large sidewalks where important political figures can be seen. The Grote Markt is completely strewn with chairs and tables in all seasons. The Buitenhof contains a cinema and a chain of bars and restaurants where residents and tourists relax and have a great time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rotterdam, the Netherlands


Rotterdam is Netherland’s second largest city and one of the largest ports in the world. Dating back since 1270 as a dam construction site, the city grew into an important international commercial center situated on the business maps of major companies.  

As one of the oldest cities in The Netherlands, Rotterdam has a rich and vast cultural history. Starting with the Erasmus University which is known worldwide for its study programs and scholarships, its amazing architecture and maritime heritage, Rotterdam is a vibrant multicultural city. It has a well-respected orchestra, concert halls, theaters and a large exhibition complex which can hold different type of events from tennis tournaments to pop concerts.  In Rotterdam you can also find a great number of museums; one of the most famous is Netherlands Architecture Institute, The Maritime museum and the Kunsthal. In 2001, alongside Porto, Rotterdam was declared European Capital of Culture.  At the moment Rotterdam is experiencing a cultural boom with many urban architectural projects, summer festivals and a vivid nightlife. The motto of the city emphases the inhabitant’s education and competition spirit: "Money is earned in Rotterdam, divided in The Hague and spent in Amsterdam". The competition between the two major cities helps bring out the best in cultural life by organizing events and joining forces to develop and maintain a level of international notoriety that the citizens have gotten used to. The numerous international festivals held in Rotterdam puts the city on the cultural map of the world.

Beside the rich cultural life the city has a lot more to offer in terms of local attractions. Rotterdam has an interesting architectural style that blends the old with the contemporary. After being bombed in the World War Two, the city had to be rebuilt. When visiting Rotterdam you must not miss The Erasmus Bridge. It spans the River Maas and joins the north and south areas of the city. The bridge is a beautiful piece of architecture, particularly when lit up at night. If you are a shopping fan then Rotterdam offers one of the best experiences. Visiting the Bijenkorf you will always find new products and international brands in fashion, cosmetics, accessories, home decoration, media and travel. Another interesting local attraction is Kunsthal Rotterdam. This is an exceptional exhibition building that holds around 25 exhibitions annually. The Kunsthal displays culture on a wide range of themes: classical and contemporary art, photography, and design from elitist to popular. Designed by architect Rem Koolhaas, this striking building is a work of art in itself. Once night falls Rotterdam reveals new possibilities and uncovers its beauty in the form countless late-night clubs.

Playing a key role as the largest port in Europe and the busiest in the world, Rotterdam has always been the center of the merchant shipping and fishing industry. The city also has a cruise line named after it owned by Holland America Line.  Taking a closer look at the fishing industry we discover that the Dutch fish market share is relatively small, even though several specifically Dutch products are sought out and have a growing demand. Netherland’s fisheries are limited by natural borders as well as by Total Allowable Catches for the fishing grounds in The North Sea and other EU fishing areas. In Rotterdam, the fish industry is more developed and well – organized. The market is composed of specialized wholesale and retail businesses networks that ensure national enterprises a strong position. The industry is not limited to fish processing and has started to develop interest in other food products that can help companies grow. The opportunity for development for the Dutch fishery sector is strictly related to the industries’ capability to develop a chain thinking mentality. In relation to this mentality the fish industry took action in the form of integration into Europe’s distribution chains for food products.  The Dutch fishing industry is an innovative one, always looking for ways to expand and grow beyond the national borders.

Monday, November 12, 2012


If you ask yourself where is utrecht you can find out that it is a remarcable town in The Netherlands, capital of the province of Utrecht. It is the fourth largest and populated city in this country. 

             The foundations of this city dates back to Roman times when it was built as a wooden fortress on the river Rhine. The fortress was named Traiectum. As time passed, Traiectum was Latinized as Ultra Traiectum and the wooden walls were replaced with stone walls. When Germanic tribes invaded the Roman territories the area was abandoned. A confederation of Germanic tribes, named the Franks, built a church which later had to be destroyed due to the border conflicts with the Frisians. In the mid-7th century, Frisians were converted by English and Irish missionaries. The events led for Utrecht to become one of the most influential seats of power for the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands. The importance of Utrecht as a center of Christianity is evidenced by the election of the pope in 1522. After 1870, Utrecht became the center of the non-Roman Old Catholic Churches in the world. In the Modern history the town walls were demolished and the technology and modernism put their mark, being opened a railway between Amsterdam and Utrecht. On 5 May 1945, the German general surrendered Utrecht to Netherlands. This was the beginning of city growing, development and modernization.

            The city of Utrecht is best known for its university. Established in 1636, the University of Utrecht is one of the oldest in Netherlands and has been the center of cultural life ever since. The University of Utrecht started with four faculties: philosophy, theology, medicine and law.  During the 17th century, the university flourished and attracted many students. It also established a botanical garden and an astronomical observatory. The development continued and now the University of Utrecht offers 46 undergraduate and 196 graduate programs.
            The city of Utrecht is filed with history and has a lot to offer for the tourists visiting it.

Travelling whole europe by train

Traveling by train has come a long way since its invention. Even though not many people know this,
traveling through Europe by train can be a pretty cheap and flexible alternative to plains. The way to do
this is called InterRail for the Europeans and EuRail for people that have not lived in Europe for the last 6
months and come with many advantages and discounts depending on the type of pass you purchase.

If you are a tourist looking to visit The Old Continent, the best way to do it is to travel Europe by train.
Plan your trip; choose which countries you would like to visit and how long you would like to travel.
After that choose the euro rail pass that best fits your needs. There are 4 different euro rail passes you
can choose from:

  • Global Pass, for visiting up to 23 countries in any order you like and for everyday journeys within 3 months. This is an excellent way to visit Europe by train
  • Select Pass, the euro rail pass that enables you to select 3 to 5 bordering countries and explore them. This euro rail pass comes with constrains because all the countries must be linked by a direct train to enjoy the Europe by train experience
  • Regional Pass, with this euro rail pass you can choose between 2 bordering countries and start your adventure One Country Pass, this is an euro rail pass designed for those who choose not an Europe by train getaway but an European country exploration

Traveling Europe by train offers an exciting a unique experience no matter the euro rail passes you
choose or the trip you have planned. You will find wonderful places, go beyond country borders and see
the true wonders of Europe.

Euro rail scenic trains

Some may say that train traveling is not fashionable and efficient looking at those who choose to
explore Europe by train. But train traveling is much more than getting from A to B. You get to enjoy the
sights through your train’s window, see the mountains, the shimmering lakes, and the beautiful costal
view. Europe has a lot of picturesque routes and if you choose to visit it you should travel Europe by

The best way to go about Europe by train is to get a euro rail pass. The rail network is complex and
offers lots of opportunities combined with the type of pass that best fits your needs. If you are an
explorer then you probably would want to visit every country in detail. If that is the case then you
should get a euro rail pass that combines 3 or 4 countries for a full scenic train experience for your
Europe by train journey. Most popular euro rail passes are The Global Pass, which gives you access to
23 European countries and The Choose Your Country Pass which offers the best scenic train experience.

Whichever euro rail pass you choose it is a must that you board Europe’s most famous scenic trains. You
can start with the Bernina Express which takes you across the Alps passing Chur, Davos up to Torino in
Italy. The Europe by train experience will have to include Chemins de Fer de Provence touristic train that
travels from Nice to Digne-le-Bains in France. If you are a fan of the northern Europe you can choose an
euro rail pass that gives you access to the Flam Railway in Norway or Inlandsbanan for a great view of
the Swedish landscape. One of Europe’s oldest scenic trains, Semmeringbahn, takes you across Austria
for spectacular mountain scenery.

When traveling Europe by train you get to enjoy all of its beauty and by getting a euro rail pass you do it
in style, comfort and with a great deal of savings.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Amsterdam, the netherlands

When you think about Netherlands, the first name that comes into mind is Amsterdam. This is Netherlands’ official capital and the largest city in the country. 

It was first recorded with its actual name by count Floris V in a document dating 27 October 1275 and received city rights in the early 14th century most probably from the bishop of Utrecht, Guy de Avesnes. The 17th century is considered to be Amsterdam’s “Golden Age”, the time when the city became one of the richest cities in the world. After a period of decline during Holland’s Napoleonic occupation, the 19th century takes Amsterdam in a new era of development. 

Everything about Netherlands is related to trade due to the fact that it has important sea ports. That makes Amsterdam a multicultural city due to the fact that people from all over the world visited it in their business travels. Its inhabitants’ tolerant attitude and early religion freedom was sought by immigrants. The cultural life flourished and its main attractions were the festivals. By the late 16th century the Chamber of Rhetoric was organizing lectures of poetry and drama. The first theatre was built in 1638 and starting 1642 it housed ballet performances.   1677 is the year in which the opera made its first appearance in Amsterdam through French and Italian representations and starting the 18th century German opera and music started to influence Amsterdam’s culture.  . During the 19th century the Nes area in Amsterdam was the cultural center revolved mainly around vaudeville and music-hall. One of the most important advances in classical music was made here by the invention of the metronome in 1812 by Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel. The end of the century brought an expansion of cultural life; new buildings were built such as the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum. The Hollandese Opera of Amsterdam was built in 1888 with the sole purpose to promote Dutch opera. This year also saw the establishment of The Concert Hall. The 20th century brought the technological developments into people’s lives through the radio, cinema and television.
Amsterdam history teaches you a lot about Netherland. But if you want to go deeper you have to experience the restaurants in Amsterdam. The Dutch cuisine may not impress you on a first glimpse but you have to scratch beneath the surface. You will find that the restaurants in Amsterdam are easy to book and offer some of the best value for money culinary experience. One of the most famous local specialties is the Dutch pancakes. A simple and cheap delight found in the smallest restaurants. When talking about Netherlands’ food you cannot avoid the apple pie, appeltaart.
Amsterdam’s local attractions satisfy every tourist’s tastes from cultural sites, relaxing sightseeing to night life.  It is a city filled with history. Roads and bridges, castle walls, gardens and fountains, houses and public markets give the city its individuality. Everyone who visits it must take a boat ride through the channels. Their complexity and number made Amsterdam “The Northern Venice”. Another local attraction is the Jordan neighborhood known as one of the poorest area of Amsterdam in the 17th century. Its reputation has changed since then and is now famous for its narrow streets, picturesque channels, coffee shops, art galleries and souvenir shops.  If you are looking for a piece of history, you cannot miss the Oude Kerk. It is the oldest building in Amsterdam situated in the old medieval center. The building of the church started in the 13th century and it was destined for a fisherman community. Its gothic architectural style suffered numerous modifications; the only original elements are the tower and the chapel. One of the places you have to visit while in Amsterdam is the Albert Cuypmarkt market. It is Holland’s best known and busiest open market. Here you can find over 300 stands with products varying from fresh fruits and vegetables to clothes and souvenirs.
 But one of the most popular Amsterdam’s local attractions is the red light district. This is a designated area for legalised prostitution. Here you can find sex services provided to you by sex workers displayed behind windows and glass doors illuminated with red lights. The red light district is made up of a network of alleys and roads containing hundreds of small one room apartments in which the tourist can satisfy his pleasures. This is considered to be a safe area and from confidentiality reasons photography is strictly forbidden. The red light district gives Amsterdam a chick and unique perspective on city life.
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