Discover Benelux, Issue 31, July 2016

Page 29

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Canal District

Secrets of the tulip Where does the tulip really come from? How did it become Holland’s most famous export? And who would pay the price of a grand canal house for just one tulip bulb? You can find out all about this fascinating flower at Amsterdam’s Tulip Museum, across the canal from the Anne Frank House. “If we tell our visitors that the tulip does not originate from Holland or Turkey, most of them are amazed,” says Sjoerd van Eeden. As founder-manager he has been working at the


Amsterdam Tulip Museum for many years, but he still delights in wowing his visitors with the intriguing story of the tulip. “It is just one of the most fascinating flowers around,” he explains, “with a history to match.” Through interactive, multimedia displays, the museum leads the visitor along from the tulip’s origins as a wild mountain flower via the Turkish and Viennese courts to 17th century Holland, where it caused a trading frenzy and ultimately the world’s first speculative bubble. “This is the most spectacular episode in the tulip’s history,” Sjoerd enthuses. “When prices

rocketed and in 1637 a rare bulb in Haarlem fetched as much as the price of a canal house, it was only a matter of time before the bubble would burst.” But it was by no means the end of the tulip’s story. “We also show how the tulip has become Holland’s most famous export product. If you think how this delicate flower, which is so difficult to grow, is produced year in year out in hundreds of different varieties - that is a wonder in itself.”


If you are looking for a friendly, cosmopolitan place away from the tourist crowds, look no further than Café De Huyschkaemer on trendy Utrechtsestraat. A short stroll from Rembrandtplein and only a stone’s throw from the Amstel river, Café De Huyschkaemer - with its cosy, contemporary interior and friendly staff - offers you an alternative and more authentic Amsterdam experience. This café immediately makes you feel a part of the city. “‘De Huyschkaemer’ is an old-fashioned Dutch spelling for ‘lounge’,” explains barman and co-owner Aad Beuqi. “It reflects the kind of relaxed, laid-back vibe we have created

here.” Together with his business partner Onno van Grondelle, he has been running the place for five years and has made it a real success. “I think the secret is in having a passion for what you do,” he explains. “You can see it in many of the shops and boutiques on Utrechtsestraat as well. They are all successful businesses run by passionate people.” During the daytime, Aad and his staff offer a choice of British, American and Continental breakfast and luxury sandwiches and rolls for lunch. At night and especially at weekends, the bar livens up with music and a young, fun crowd intent on having a good time. “It is all part of our inclusive philosophy,” Aad explains. “We get a real mix of different people. Young and old, students and professionals, local Amsterdammers and tourists. Whether you want to come for a snack, a meal, a drink, a chat or a boogie, we will always make you feel welcome.” Issue 31 | July 2016 | 29