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10 things to know before moving to Switzerland

Switzerland, or what is officially known as the Swiss Federation, is a country located in central, western, and southern Europe. The federal republic consists of 26 cantons, and the federal authorities are based in Bern. It is geographically divided among the Alps, Swiss plateau, and Jura covering an area of 41285 square kilometers. The population…

Amsterdam Tulip Museum review

This entry is part 25 of 25 in the series Amsterdam Museums

Did you know that Rembrandt sold his painting, The Night Watch, in 1642 for 1,600 guilders? Just five years earlier, a single tulip bulb had sold for 5,200 guilders. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means I’ll receive a small commission on anything you buy through clicking the links. This will not affect your…

Amsterdam Cheese Museum review + all about Dutch cheese!

This entry is part 24 of 25 in the series Amsterdam Museums

Amsterdam Cheese Museum isn’t really a museum: it’s a shop. It’s a very nice shop, mind you, where you get to taste lots of different Dutch cheeses before making a purchase. A bonus is that everything is labeled in English. The museum part, however, is pretty minimal, but at least it’s free. Getting to the…

A complete SAIL Amsterdam 2020 guide

It’s unusual for me to write an article about something that hasn’t happened yet, but SAIL Amsterdam only happens once every five years: best to be prepared! Here’s your complete SAIL Amsterdam 2020 guide, but in the form of a work in progress. I promise to keep updating as the event nears. News flash: SAIL…

The Willet-Holthuysen Museum: An elegant Golden Age house in Amsterdam

This entry is part 23 of 25 in the series Amsterdam Museums

Many tourists visiting Amsterdam come to see the beautiful buildings in the old center. The UNESCO site – officially called “the Seventeenth-Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht” – is lined with elegant “Golden Age” houses. It’s very picturesque and very Instagrammable. You can see a few of them on the inside: one…

Castle De Haar: An extravagant vision of the medieval

Castle de Haar is one of the most fanciful castles I’ve ever seen, if you discount Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland. It’s got a moat, a formal garden, towers and turrets galore. Stunningly ornate, especially inside, it’s a medieval princess’s dream. Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you click on one of them and…

Muiderslot Castle (a.k.a. Amsterdam Castle)

This entry is part 22 of 25 in the series Amsterdam Museums

When you were little, did you ever draw a picture of a castle? If you were like me, the castle in your picture was square, with a tower in each corner, crenellations along the walls and a drawbridge to an arched gateway in front. I’ve been to a lot of castles in my travels, but…

Eating Europe’s Jordaan Food Tour: A review

Rows of pretty small houses and shopping streets lined with a mixture of hip and quirky stores, along with a smattering of “coffee shops” leaking the reek of marijuana out onto the sidewalk: this used to be my image of Amsterdam’s Jordaan neighborhood. It never occurred to me until I took a Jordaan food tour…

Menkemaborg in Uithuizen: Dressed to impress

Groningen has three nearby manor houses or “stately homes” that are open to the public and furnished to allow visitors to learn about local history. I’ve written about one of them before: Fraeylemaborg, which I only half-mockingly referred to as the “ancestral home.” Another is Menkemaborg, a similarly impressive display of wealth and social position…