So coronavirus is back with us for the foreseeable future, and unlike first time round, the ‘let’s make the best of it’ approach seems to have all but disappeared. Winter is drawing in, people no longer stop and let you pass in the street with a smile, and politicians appear to be on the verge of cancelling Christmas.
Last week, the extra strict measures were lifted by the government but cafes and restaurants are still shut, and parties are definitely out. Here, to cheer you up, is a list of things worth doing in while coronavirus is still with us, besides binge-watching old series and Face-timing the folks back home.
1 Go to a big museum
With tourist numbers plummeting again and restrictions on visitor number, there is no better time to visit the big museums and really appreciate the art on show. You’ll need to wear a mask and book in advance, but the thrill of being able to stroll down the Rijksmuseum’s gallery of honour without hundreds of people only interested in taking selfies is definitely worth it.
2 Sit in a room, alone with a Vermeer
The Mauritshuis museum in The Hague is offering single people or small groups the opportunity to sit alone in a darkened room with one of its best-loved paintings, View of Delft. You get 10 minutes to study the painting in peace and quiet, and your own time.
3 Finally visit the Anne Frank house
If the long queues outside the doors have put you off visiting the Amsterdam canal house where the Frank family lived in hiding before their betrayal, now is the time to go. No queues, no selfie-takers, just you and the doorway to a secret annex.
4 Get a three-course meal as a takeaway
With cafes and restaurants closed for the next few weeks at least, support your favourite eatery – or test out new places – by picking up a takeaway. Set the table with candles and your best cutlery, buy a bottle of good wine (or two) and enjoy. The Amsterdam Foodie website has a list of fine dining options in the capital which either deliver or offer pick-up services.
5 Book a beer, wine or even a cheese tasting
Some independent wine and spirits stores or specialists cafes are offering blind tasting sessions. In Delft, for example beer store Hoptic ran a blind tasting for favoured customers earlier in the month. In Amsterdam, you can take part in a virtual rum tasting courtesy of Rum Barrel while Fromagerie Kef is offering home cheese tasting sessions.
6 Become a football fanatic
The Dutch Eredivisie, Champions League, Europa League, European championship qualifications, the Nations League, the KNVB Cup – not to mention all the options you have to watch foreign league competitions. There is a hell of a lot of football to keep you busy.
7 Take up golf or tennis
Both games are ideally suited to coronavirus social distancing restrictions and are experiencing a boom at the moment. And neither sport has yet been declared ‘no go’ by the government.
If you are fond of walking, just get up and go. Avoid the dunes and national parks at the weekends on sunny days. Walking has become very popular and you may find yourself in a traffic jam.
8 Spend the night in a fancy hotel
Tired of the same old scenery and doing the dishes? Some of the country’s hotels are offering special rates – and more than that, they can also serve you a socially-distanced dinner, although the bar will shut at 8pm. Amsterdam boutique hotel Morgan & Mees, for example, is offering a special dinner and bed deal on Fridays and Saturdays.
9 Take up a new hobby
A quick run round the DutchNews.nl office reveals bread making, pickle making, learning to paint water colours and finally getting round to sort out five years of digital photographs are high on the lockdown keep busy list.
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