Castles to classical music in a greenhouse: 11 great things to do in July

If you are in the Netherlands over the summer, there is no shortage of fun or thought-provoking things to do. July’s entertainment ranges from a visit to Hotel New York to classical music concerts in the Netherlands four botanical gardens.

Work up an appetite
The private museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar presents the first European retrospective of American painter Wayne Thiebaud (1920). His colourful paintings of cakes, ice creams and hotdogs are bound to make the enamel on your teeth crack by proxy. The show also includes new work especially made for the exhibition ( but not of a stroopwafel or Bossche bol unfortunately). Until September 16. Website

Bring a torch
A guided tour of the bat bunker in Wassenaar won’t actually bring you face to face with any bats, but it will teach you about the role the bunker played in the defence of the Netherlands during World War II. Wear sturdy shoes and bring a torch. The tours are organised by Staatsbosbeheer and take place every Saturday in July and August. Website

Come to New York

Hotel New York. Photo: Holland.com

When the former head office of the Holland America Line was turned into the trendy Hotel New York 25 years ago, one of the dodgier areas of Rotterdam became hip and happening. The Rotterdam museum chronicles its history with photos, film footage and objects. Until November 1. Website

Listen to music among the greenery
The botanical gardens in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Leiden and Wageningen are the perfect backdrop for a civilised afternoon of chamber music from July 25 to August 8. For tickets and a full programme for the ‘greenest summer festival’, go to the Hortus Festival website. Rotterdam is also included in the show this year, with music in the city’s Swedish church.

Visit a painted garden
More gardens, but of the painted variety at the Singer museum in Laren. Artists Leo Gestel, Max Liebermann, Claude Monet, Emil Nolde, Gustave De Smet, Charley Toorop and Carel Willink all tried their hand at painting gardens, with vastly different results. Until August 26. Website

Get moving
The North Sea Jazz festival is about to hit Rotterdam Ahoy for another celebration of jazz, both modern and traditional. Also check out North Sea Jazz Round Town, with performances in various locations around the city, and North Sea Jazz for Kids on July 8. July 13,14 and 15. Website

Be proud

Gay Pride in Amsterdam. Photo: Depositphotos.com

The Pride Festival kicks off in Amsterdam on July 28 with a PrideWalk in the Vondelpark, followed by a raft of activities around the capital and the annual Canal Parade on August 4. Go to the website for the complete programme. Until August 5.

Experience Africa in The Hague
The line-up for The Hague African Festival’s tenth anniversary edition includes performances by Tabanka (Cape Verde), Refugee All Stars (Sierra Leone) and Wiyaala (Ghana). The main music event is in the Zuiderparktheater on July 15 but the festival offers many more activities on various other dates. Website

Check out a castle

Photo: Michiel Verbeek via Wikimedia Commons

Wijchen Castle, a Renaissance-era jewel in Gelderland, makes for a jolly outing in itself, but the castle also has a museum. Its latest exhibition centres on a Roman villa in the town of Wijchen, which dates from the time when the Romans held sway over this part of the low countries in the first century AD. Objects found nearby shed more light on the Roman influence on local culture. Until October 28. Website

See the art in Artis
Amsterdam’s Artis Zoo and MOAM art collective has invited 18 young artists to explore the parts of the zoo that ordinary visitors cannot reach and be inspired. The results are on show on the Artisplein, adjacent to the zoo proper. Until August 26. Website

Feel their pain
The much lauded CARNE y ARENA (Flesh and Sand) tries to convey the experience of being a migrant on the border between Mexico and the United States. A virtual reality interpretation of these people’s experiences is a novel way for visitors to get to know their stories at first hand. Until August 26. Website


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