Category Archives: Travel and music

Harbin and Schoenfeld International String Competition; a City of Music to discover!

Harbin and Schoenfeld International String Competition; a City of Music to discover!

As a modern city, Harbin has more than 100 years of history barely. However, this growing city has an affinity with music. Accompanied by music, Harbin has always been musically developing and expanding. Since five years, it’s the home for the Schoenfeld International String Competition. Continue reading Harbin and Schoenfeld International String Competition; a City of Music to discover!

Visit Venice and its hidden free of tourists spots

Visit Venice and its hidden free of tourists spots

A mission impossible? Not if you walk with locals!

by Irma de Jong

Venice is known for many things; the greatness of its settings, architecture, and artwork. It’s like walking in one big open-air museum and not having enough eyes to capture its endless beauty of buildings, churches, palaces and little squares. Many famous people lived in Venice like Marco Polo and Antonio Vivaldi and we lost count of all those who wrote in admiration of the “La Serenissima”  Continue reading Visit Venice and its hidden free of tourists spots

Lago Maggiore – Where History and Italian Elegance are merged with Music

Where History meets Elegance and Music

Visit Lago Maggiore and the Music Scene

By Irma de Jong

Lake (Lago) Maggiore is situated on the south side of the Alps. It is the second largest lake in Italy and the largest in southern Switzerland. The lake and its shoreline are divided between the Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy and the Swiss canton of Ticino.  All around the lake, there are beautiful cities and villages located, but what strikes most is the enormous amounts of music events you can find here practically throughout the whole year.  Continue reading Lago Maggiore – Where History and Italian Elegance are merged with Music

Picturesque Warmond at the Kagerplassen, home of Dutch Painter Jan Steen

Picturesque Warmond at the Kagerplassen, home of Dutch painter Jan Steen

Go beyond the tourist crowds and discover a lovely part of the Netherlands, full of watersport, Dutch windmills, art and culture.

Jan Steen Household

Ever heard of the Dutch painter Jan Havickszoon Steen?   He was a Dutch genre painter of the 17th century also known as the Dutch Golden Age. His works are known for their psychological insight, sense of humour and abundance of colour. Jan Steen was born in Leiden, a town in Southern Holland, where his well-to-do, Catholic family were brewers who ran the tavern The Red Halbert for two generations. Jan Steen lived in Warmond, just north of Leiden, from 1656 till 1660 and his house can be found at the beginning of the Jan Steenlaan.

Former Jan Steen house in Warmond

Daily life was Jan Steen’s central pictorial theme. Many of the genre scenes he portrayed, as in The Feast of Saint Nicholas, are lively to the point of chaos and lustfulness, even so much that “a Jan Steen household”, meaning a messy scene, became a Dutch proverb. Subtle hints in his paintings seem to suggest that Steen said to warn the viewer rather than invite him to copy this behaviour. Many of Steen’s paintings bear references to old Dutch proverbs or literature. He often used members of his family as models, and painted quite a few self-portraits in which he showed no tendency of vanity. (Source: Wikipedia page Jan Steen)

In 2019 Warmond is celebrating the year of the Golden Age and its famous painter Jan Steen. Walks, exhibitions and other activities are organised.  Find more info here (site is in Dutch).

Many of Steen’s work can be seen in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

Enjoy a boat trip over the Kagerplassen (the Kager Lakes) and discover a typical Dutch landscape

When visiting Warmond, don’t miss out a boat trip over the Kagerplassen! We took one with Rederij van Hulst, and can highly recommend their services. There is a beautiful trip of 2,5 hours that brings you to Kaageiland and sails over a big part of the extended Kagerplassen.  The Kaag Lakes are a popular area for boating, watersports, fishing, camping and walking. Windmills, waterfront pasture land with grazing animals, quaint Dutch boats and buildings and (in season) flower fields are all part of the charm of boating and walking in this area.

Nice musical intermission on the Kaag Eiland (Kaag island)

The boat trip goes ashore for 45 minutes on the Kaag island. In addition to a cheese farm, a large shipyard that builds yachts for the rich of the earth, we were lucky to find the music festival that takes place every year the first Sunday in July. Don’t miss it next year! More info here.

Conclude your trip with a walk through Warmond. It is full of nice restaurants and also offers events the whole year through. Famous is the Kaagwater Jazz festival in April.