Friday, January 29, 2016

Netherlands Part One

I just returned from the Netherlands.  After many business trips to Amsterdam - finally a vacation trip and opportunities to see the country!
I'm not counting Day 1 - from the US we landed in the afternoon of the following day - with the time change.  Enough time to settle into our first hotel.  Hotel one was at the airport for some initial meetings.
We checked out the train schedules and enjoyed local food before bed.

We always like to try local foods.

These are bitterballs.  A recipe and detailed description is available HERE.

Great with a local beer, these were served with mustard dip.

Day 2
My my friend J and her husband drove in from Brussels, Belgium.
We met at Central Station and took a  walk around the canal ring.

I love this photo with the tram in front of the station.  The trains and trams were easy to use.

Of course one of our planned destinations was Den Haan Wagemakers. I had not been there since 'the boys' sold it to Petra and Nels.

The walk was enjoyable as we discussed our fabric needs!

J needed a particular red, and sure enough she found the perfect choice.

I bought a bit of fabric.  I am happy to report it is all available now in the US.  Aren't we lucky?  After my visit to Virginia last year, and power shopping at Web Fabrics I feel well stocked and very inspired.

J gifted me with a beautiful fat quarter pack I treasure.  It's the larger Dutch prints tied in a pretty Den Haan Ribbon.  In the shop they use the ribbon as bookmarks.

We saw many nice shops.

The cheese is wonderful, with specialty shops around every corner.  The large cheese wheels displayed in the window run about 26-27 pounds.  No, we didn't bring one home, but it was tempting!

We enjoyed cheese with most every meal.  Gouda and Edam are very popular.  We will always check labels now for Dutch cheese.  Imitations might be good, but do not taste the same.

My bad photography - I do not know the people in this photo!  I don't have pictures of us... J does, and I will get copies soon.

We also visited the Amsterdam Museum.
The building was constructed in 1580, for use as an orphanage until 1960.  The trade signs/plaques on the exterior wall are collected and saved - note the 1607 dates when you enlarge the photos.

Their collections are online with high resolution images.  The costumes are wonderful.  HERE.

After all that fresh air we retuned to the hotel for some quilt show 'n tell and dinner.
It was a wonderful day!  Many years over due.

Day 3
I met Phyllis (Oh Oh Quilts) and we visited Delft.

The weather was cool, but mild. Perfect to walk around town square and along the canals.

The cobble stone market square is lined with lovely shops and restaurants.

We stopped for a morning snack - raw herring.  Think a Dutch version of sushi + heavy salt.
It's been a staple in Amsterdam for over 600 years.  Legend has it, it is a good cure for a hangover.
It is a fatty fish - 15% fat.
The onion is optional.  You hold the fish by the tail, dip it in the onion, then let it slip into your mouth.  It is a little hard to hold that slippery tail.

The market square has two large buildings surrounded by the shops.
One is the church (Nieuwe Kerk), the other is the Delft Town Hall (Stadhuis Delft).

This is the 13th century restored town hall. The renaissance tower includes a torture chamber.

We were there on market day.  There were produce dealers, bakers, a dealer of olive oils and balsamic vinegar, local honey, leather goods...

Lunch at a small cafe off the square was a nice break in the day.

We had a nice walk around the town square - it was market day with plenty to look at.

Some of the Delft workshops had artists painting the distinctive pottery.    It is a white glaze base painted with a cobalt oxide that turns blue with firing.
Some of the images may remind you of 18th and 19th century chintz, even the insects and birds.  The pottery has been produced since the 16th century.

We also had quilting show and tell in The Hague.
It was wonderful seeing Phyllis's studio, antique flying geese quilt and current projects.  She has a large basket of rolled quilts at the ready for her family to snuggle with.
How lucky am I??

Next time, let's all go together.  Would you come along?

In Part Two I'll post about the next stop - Overloon and Dorry's Quilt shop:  Quilt It Dotty 
I hope you are stitching today,


  1. I was wondering where you went after you said you just got home. What a marvelous trip! Yes, I'd come along :0) But I might have to skip the herring. I have a package coming from Virginia with a few more pieces of Petra's chintz. I'm glad you shared that before. Can't wait for part 2.

  2. I looked at the recipe and now you have me craving bitterballs for lunch but, lol, not the raw herring! :)

  3. Would happily join you!! The Bitter Balls and all the cheeses sound wonderful but not so sure about the "Dutch sushi". Pickled herring - good/ raw? Maybe not! What a treat to see such a fabulous selection of chintz fabrics. (By the way - have received the Shenandoah Valley Botanical quilt pattern from VQM - just to follow along for now - such a unique quilt)

    1. I enjoyed pickled herring for breakfast in Denmark. This herring was raw preserved on salt and ice. Next time, I'm trying it with onion!
      So glad you have the SVBAQ pattern, hope you join in when you are ready.

  4. I'm so glad you had such a fantastic trip. Thank you so much for sharing the highlights. (All except the fish - you'd think growing up in Maine that I would enjoy fish, but somehow I skipped that gene!). What a beautiful place to visit.

  5. Looks like an awesome trip--love the Delft not sure about the herring and onion

  6. Nice to read about your trip to my country. I'm glad you liked it so much. And that you love our bitterballs and cheese. And the herring, which I doesn't like. In spring, the 'new herring' is delicious, so they say. I'm looking forward to read about your trip to Dorry's new shop!

  7. Love the amazing pictures from your trip!
    Happy to hear you had a wonderful time. Looking forward to Part 2.

  8. Nice to see the beautiful,pictures of your first days in Holland! Especially Delft is a city I want to visit in a few weeks, once again. And good to hear you like our dutch "national" food. I love cheese also, but the raw herring I really skip. You missed the "broodje kroket", which is in fact a sandwich with a long, flat bitterball. Looking forward to your next blogpost!

    1. We had the long bitterball sandwiches and love them too. Didn't get enough photos! We had great food the entire trip.

  9. Your trip sounds wonderful and you are braver than me, not so sure about the foods.


  10. You are very lucky! Looks absolutely wonderful!
    Oh, wish I could go with you. I've never left the North American Continent.

  11. Wonderful! Lucky you and, yes - I'd love it!

  12. Great to see you loved our country. And I am glad that you did not stay in Amsterdam, but travelled actually IN the country. The Netherlands are so much more that just Amsterdam.
    I am looking forward to your story about Overloon. See if it matches my sweet memories.

  13. Hmmm, not sure about the herring....

  14. Such a wonderful blogpost! It was lovely meeting you Dawn and being able to see those beautiful antique quilts up close. I loved your stories about them and the other antiques your brought. The gift you made for me is so beautiful, again, thank you so much, I will treasure it. It has a place now on the piano in our living room, so I see it lots of times during the day, a reminder of a great day!

    1. Thank you for the needle case! I will post it in part three, it is very special.

  15. Oh I'm so envious! What a trip!!! I'd love to go to Der Haans -- well you know. That quilt shop. lol! I can never get the name right. I loved reading about your days in Amsterdam and all you did. Looking forward to more!

  16. The fish does not look one bit appetizing. But your trip must have been wonderful. Beautiful sights to behold and friendship to be shared.

  17. Oh yes, yes I want to come along!! What a fantastic trip. My mom came to Canada from the Netherlands and I've always meant to go on a trip with her to see it. I imagine the Den Haan Wagemaker shop to be a dream to visit. The Delft is so pretty :0) I can't wait to hear and see more about your trip!!

  18. I would really like to know where you found Den Haan and Wagenmakers fabric in the U.S. [Here; I live in Wash. state] I usually have a trip there each time we are in the Netherlands. It took a while to get enough for a decent size quilt, but I think I'm about there - many trips. It's expensive, but so gorgeous. Thanks. Marne

    1. There's a link to web fabrics in the blog post. The owner is Dutch and has a beautiful assortment of Dutch heritage prints. Looking forward to seeing what you make!

  19. So good you had a great time in The Netherlands! Wonderful post, fun to see all the familiar things. And reading the comments too is fun: all the doubts about the herring...I could eat one every day...mjum.
    I have very good memories of that Saturday during the workshop and trunkshow!

  20. So nice to read about your visit to our country! Wish you would hav stayed a little longer so you could have squeezed in the Bloggers Bee at my house. Talking to Ageeth, Debby and Phyllis I learned they had a great time meeting you. I hope you liked our country so much you will return as many times as we do to the United States.


Thanks for your comments!