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THE THIRD DIMENSION
A kingdom under the sea - literally. The “Low Lands” are aptly named: one-fourth of the country lies below sea level. Forged by the tides as much as by man, the territory of the Netherlands is a fascinating complex of estuaries, deltas, islands, canals and polders. In Zeeland, its southernmost region, poised between fresh water and the North Sea, long beaches separate small port towns like Zierikzee, where lobstermen ply the waters of the Eastern Scheldt. Their catch, prized for its sweet-tasting meat, is served with asparagus. Living in symbiosis with the sea, Holland is a land of ships, from little fishing trawlers to ocean liners, tankers and other oceangoing behemoths, whose minutely-choreographed ballet animates the harbor of Rotterdam, one of the world’s largest ports. With its more traditional persona, Amsterdam is a strollers’ dream, its canals teeming with discoveries: here a narrow house that opens onto an inviting interior, there a houseboat ringed with overflowing flower boxes.
The capital is a city of contrasts, contemporary to the north, where the former shipyards are transforming into creative bohemian neighborhoods. North and east of the city, thefields of the polders transform every year, from March to June, into a patchwork of stunning colors. A historical emblem of the country (although its name is of Turkish origin), the tulip was introduced here by a French botanist in the 16th century. A hundred years later, “tulip mania” reached such a frenzy that some flowers cost nearly as much as a house! Inland from the coast, the Netherlands harbors some surprising region spectacles. Like De Hoge Veluwe National Park, at the center of the country, where deer and wild sheep frolic among the moors, forests and sandy expanses. Or De Weerribben-Wieden National Park, home of the village of Giethoorn. There are no cars and no roads here - the residents go everywhere by boat! To the south, the hills of the Limburg region belie Holland’s reputation for being flat. Between these high points and the banks of rivers like the Geul, Gulp and Maas, visitors can enjoy a very Dutch activity: a leisurely bike tour, perhaps ending up in one of Holland’s oldest cities, Maastricht, the birthplace of the euro.
Hotel and restaurant in a village. An hour and a half from Amsterdam, twenty minutes by boat from Den Helder — between the land and the sea — lies Texel, an island in the Frisian archipelago. It is where chef Jef Schuur, hand in hand with his wife Nadine Mögling, has chosen to open a Michelinstarred restaurant and several beautiful modern suites in what was once a presbytery. With the changing tides, he cooks local products such as Wadden Sea cockles with Texel lamb bacon, parsley root cream and a jus of puffed celery. Nadine, a sommelier, is an expert in European wines and uses her extensive knowledge of organic and natural wines to create subtle and unique pairings to compliment the cuisine's harmonious contrasts of tastes and textures. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. The St. Gerlach Estate is tucked away in the Geul Valley and the Ingendael nature reserve. Extensive parks, a vineyard, herb garden, orchard, rose garden, and its church with splendid 18th century frescoes, secure an enchanting setting for the Château, which dates back to the year 1200 and was once a monastery built to accommodate pilgrims who had come to pay homage to hermit Gerlach of Houthem. The guestrooms, housed in the former farmstead, boast views of Baroque gardens. The restaurant, which has lost nothing of its aristocratic décor, serves fine French cuisine, while the Bistrot de Liège offers the guests appealing dishes from the region in an informal setting. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in a park. Set in the Dutch idyll of Giethoorn, a village built on canals, Chef Martin Kruithof and his wife Marjan de Jonge make it their mission to spoil their guests. De Lindenhof is a thatched-roof farmhouse surrounded by the loveliest of English gardens, where the chef creates his classic but inventive cuisine, allowing the flavours of the ingredients to speak for themselves. On sunny days, dine on the terrace overlooking the delightful garden and canal or enjoy a delicious picnic on the restaurant’s riverboat, which can be hired with a captain to tour the picturesque canals. To complete the experience, stay the night in one of the Lindenhof’s two spacious rooms and four spacious suites. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the woods. Located amidst elegant vistas of landscaped gardens, a golf course and old trees in a private forest, the 100 hectare estate of Kasteel Engelenburg offers unforgettable excursions in this beautiful region. This 19th century castle is a historical monument, with hand-carved fireplaces, high ceilings, period furniture and sumptuous suites that evoke the splendour of bygone days. The restaurant, in a 19th century conservatory with a tropical atmosphere, is an absolute delight, as are the lounge with its collection of 300 Scottish Single Malts, the medieval wine cellar and its wine collection. The sumptuous rooms and suites are all individually decorated. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a park. The Sörensen family warmly welcomes guests to the estate of Het Roode Koper, a mansion once owned by the Count of Dutch-Indonesia. Surrounded by classical English gardens and the lovely woods of the Veluwe, the 3,000 hectare estate is a wonderful destination for a getaway. Explore the magnificent woods, heaths, water and wilderness by foot, bicycle or on horseback – guests can even stable their horses on the premises. On cooler days, curl up fireside with a spot of tea or a glass of wine in the lounge. The restaurant offers excellent seasonal fare, which can be enjoyed with views of the stately garden. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in the country. At the restaurant Inter Scaldes, nestled in the polders of Zeeland, the menu of the two-star Dutch Chef Jannis Brevet is very much inspired by the waters of the nearby Scheldt delta as well as by contemporary art which is reflected in his cooking. He creates amazing seafood dishes such as his famous Zeeland lobster in Sauternes, associated with salicornia and sea aster, without forgetting the cheeses and fruit from the polder of Beveland. This has ensured the excellent reputation of this elegant manor with flower-filled gardens and beautifully designed interior where Claudia, Jannis’s wife, is attentive to the slightest detail. Discover the local area with the beautiful Zeeland beaches and a mussel market that is unique in the world. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a park. At the edge of the charming village of Ootmarsum, the hotel is surrounded by meadows and woods. One need only to lie down on the bed and contemplate this ocean of greenery just outside the window to immediately feel relaxed. Everything here is designed for rejuvenation: the cuisine, simple but deliciously fresh and flavourful, the spacious rooms with their own private sun decks with direct access to the park, and above all the facilities dedicated to wellness. Indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, steam room, and solarium allow you to take care of yourself all year long and, once reinvigorated, to hike or bike the paths surrounding the property. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant on a river. The nearby shipyards were the inspiration for the décor of the dining room overlooking the harbour. In this modern setting, Chef Margo Reuten pays as much attention to welcoming her guests as she does to the quality of her cuisine. She is perfectly happy to serve her tables herself and let her guests watch her in a kitchen which opens on to the dining room. She delights in sharing her passion. She chooses her ingredients with great care and treats them with delicacy, serving inventive dishes inspired from classic recipes, such as North Sea turbot with truffles and potatoes. The service and the pairings of wines and food are in every way on a par with the cuisine. ... Learn moreless