Monthly Archives: May 2012

Artie Aardvark Absconds Around Ameland

Once again it is time from our faithful correspondent, Artie Aardvark, to give his account about an astronomical adventure! This time it’s the 2012 NAC, or Dutch astronomers conference.

Hello everyone, and welcome to Ameland!  It’s an island in the North Sea close to Germany so very, very far away from Amsterdam by Dutch standards.  It was a very pretty place, but most importantly I was excited to come and learn about Dutch astronomy while here! Continue reading

Dutch Queen’s Day!

The Dutch are not, as a rule, a particularly patriotic people- no one bothers to fly a flag unless it’s one of a handful of days even on official government buildings, and in fact it turns out when I wanted to buy a Dutch flag it took me several stores to fulfill this quest and even then I only found one in a tourist shop.  The exception to all of this though is every year on April 30, when the country catches oranjegekoorts, orange fever, and goes crazy in a giant street party to celebrate the Queen’s birthday in an event known as Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag– rolls right off the tongue doesn’t it?). Continue reading

Tiptoe through the Tulips… at the Keukenhof

My brother was visiting me for a few days just recently, which of course meant we did all the touristy things one never does when you actually live somewhere. And one of those very touristy things is a visit to the Keukenhof, the largest gardens in the world and most Dutch people themselves have never visited despite it being less than an hour from Amsterdam.

It’s their loss honestly, as it turns out the Keukenhof is ridiculously, gorgeously lovely and pretty in a way that makes you take a million photographs but it doesn’t really capture the beauty of it. Sure there are a bunch of other tourists around, many posing for truly awkward pictures, and no Dutch child voluntarily dances around a maypole on a Sunday afternoon in traditional costume that I know of (though my brother and I watched in solidarity, having done many similar performances in our lives), but this is really one of those special places. We’re spent hours wandering around admiring everything, and if you don’t believe me, well I guess the photographs capture a bit of the magic-