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Spin Your Room Around at Holland’s Unique Crane Hotel

If you’ve ever wondered what it must be like to spend the night in an industrial dockside crane, there’s a unique hotel in Harlingen, the Netherlands, that you absolutely have to visit. The 0ne -room Crane Hotel may not be very spacious, but it allows tourists to operate the giant crane and spin 360 degrees for incredible views of their surroundings.

Located in the seaside town of Harlingen, just an hour’s drive from Amsterdam, the Crane Hotel offers a luxurious getaway for two. The genuine dockside crane used to move containers around during the 1960s was converted into a unique hotel between 2001 and 2003. Although it retains its industrial look on the outside, the interior has been radically altered to provide the same degree of comfort that other high-class hotels do. They’ve added tasteful decorations, the latest audio-video technology, a comfy double bed, and a twin person shower cabin, but also kept some of the elements that make this place so unique, like the observation deck and original windows. Perched about 17 feet above Harlingen’s peer, the Crane hotel is no longer accessed via its old steel ladder, but by a modern internal lift. And as if just spending the night in a real dockside crane wasn’t cool enough, you can also satisfy the kid in you by playing actually driving the industrial equipment. The crane is still functional, and you can rotate it 360 degrees to catch some amazing views of the old Dutch fishing town.

Crane-Hotel-Harlingen

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Het Arresthuis – A Luxury Prison Hotel You Won’t Want to Escape from

After serving as one of the Netherlands most feared prisons for almost 150 years, Het Arresthuis, in Roermond, has been converted into a luxury hotel that no one wants to escape from anymore.

Het Arresthuis opened its doors in 1862, as a prison. Obviously, no one came here to stay by their own accord, during the 19th and 20th century, but things have changed a lot since then. The jail closed down for good in 2007, and now that the facility has been transformed into a luxurious hotel, guests actually pay big money to spend at least a night in one of the old holding cells. Although “cells” is not exactly the right word to describe the chic accommodations at Het Arresthuis. The 105 prisoner’s quarters have been converted into 40 spacious rooms,  including 24 standard rooms, 12 deluxe rooms, and four suites, all of which feature modern furnishings and chic interior design. They are all equipped with air conditioning, a flat screen TV, free WiFi, and even a personal coffee and tea machine, and the hotel’s include a sauna, a fitness center, a central patio with olive trees, and an organic herb garden. If you’re wondering about bars, this place has both kinds – the ones you can’t get past and the ones where you can get your drink on.

het-arresthuis-prison-hotel

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The Mind-Blowing Installations of Bloemencorso, an Annual Flower Parade in the Netherlands

Held every year in the Dutch town of Zundert, Bloemencorso is the world’s largest flower parade made entirely by volunteers. Millions of flowers are used to decorate giant floats built from steel wire, cardboard and papier-maché.

The Netherlands is inextricably linked to tulips, but at the annual Bloemencorso flower parade, it’s all about dahlias, as these are the only flowers used to decorate giant floats made of steel wire, cardboard and papier-maché. Every year, members of 20 hamlets from the tiny town of Zundert (population 20,000) work hard to win the title of most beautiful flower float in show. Preparations begin months before the big event, as the older members of the hamlets are tasked with  planting and growing the colorful dahlias needed to cover the larger-than-life installations. Although Bloemencorso takes place on the first Sunday in September, tents are set up around town in May and June, and from then on, members of the competing hamlets start working on their masterpieces. They discuss design ideas and building techniques, but it’s the three days before the big event that are the most stressful. Because the flowers have to be fresh, contestants can only start applying the dahlias on the Thursday before Bloemencorso. If need be, hamlets will work night and day putting needles through the flowers, and sticking them in just the right spots on the cardboard body of their mobile installations. But all the effort pays off once these mind-blowing creations make their way through the streets of Zundert leaving crowds of spectators in awe.

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Girl Posts Birthday Invitation on Facebook, Gets Thousands of Unwanted Guests, Riot Ensues

A 16-year-old girl from Haren, the Netherlands, forgot to set her Facebook birthday invitation to private and got a few thousand more guests than she was expecting. And if that wasn’t enough, the revelers also started a riot in the small Dutch town.

Why don’t these young school girls ever learn? Jut last year a similar event took place after a German girl forgot to make her Facebook birthday invitation private and got 1,500 unwanted guests. Police were able to contain the crowd back then, but on September 21st 2012, things really got out of control in Haren. After the young girl posted her public invite on Facebook, her friends started sharing it with their friends, sites started posting about it, and soon the whole thing grew out of proportion to the point where 30,000 users confirmed their presence to the event known as Project X Haren. This was turning into way more than the girl had planned for her big day, so the authorities were alerted. The party was cancelled, and the police appealed to Facebook revelers, asking them not to descend on Haren. Despite their best efforts, at least 3,000 people from all over the Netherlands turned up, and they were not the most peaceful bunch either.

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Dutch Bring-Your-Own-Food Bar Beats the Economic Crisis

Basis is a bring-your-own-food bar that recently opened in Amsterdam, in response to the crisis currently affecting the Dutch capital. Over the last two years, 10% of Amsterdam’s cafés have closed down, but its cool concept actually makes Basis Bar a profitable business.

The Netherlands appeared to be handling the economic crisis quite well, when it first descended over Europe, but now, after the old government collapsed due to disagreements over budget cuts, there are increasing signs of an economic downturn. A group of young entrepreneurs anticipated the precarious financial situation of their country, and came up with a great concept that allows people to still afford to eat out, without having to break the bank. The Basis Bar allows its customers to bring their own food, either cooked at home or ordered from cheaper eateries, like pizzerias. The bar provides everything from dishes, cutlery and napkins, to microwave ovens where people can heat up their food. All they have to pay for is the drinks they order.

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Holland’s Repair Cafes Breathe New Life into Broken Objects

Got something in your home that needs fixing? Take it with you on your next trip to Holland. They have a ‘Repair Café’ there, where you can get almost anything fixed. The concept café, sponsored by the Dutch State, is the brainchild of former journalist Martine Postma. She felt that the Dutch people tend to throw away too many things, even the ones that can be easily fixed. Moreover, in modern times people have lost the ability to fix simple things, she says. So as an environmental initiative, she started the Repair Café in Amsterdam, with the intent of bringing together the people who can fix things, and those that need them fixed.

Postma basically believes that people would rather not throw away their stuff. And she sure did turn out to be right. What started off as a local initiative became an overnight success. Today, there are about 20 Repair Cafes across the Netherlands, and another 50 are being planned. A Repair Café Foundation was set up in 2010, where Postma now works full time. The foundation provides volunteers with information on how to set up their own café. The frequency of the cafes range from once a month to twice a week, and are held at a rented workspace.

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