Amsterdam in summer

1 You can dine in a restaurant on a secret island

For a limited time during the summer, adventurous people can take a boat from Amsterdam to a nearby deserted island and enjoy a four-course meal in a specially constructed greenhouse. The pop-up restaurant experience on Vuurtoreneiland is a popular culinary draw, so be sure to book in advance.

Vuurtoreneiland. In the spring and summer (mid-May – September) people eat in the Summer Restaurant, a transparent glass greenhouse, sheltered from wind and rain, ‘eating in and of nature’. In spring and summer the atmosphere on Vuurtoreneiland is exuberant and light. Everything blooms and grows, perhaps there are even lambs this year! Food in the greenhouse is elementary, there is almost nothing between inside and outside, clouds and weather pass you by. Sometimes sunny and warm, other times spectacular storm skies, unique and different every night. The exuberance also translates into the food, now everything is harvested in the Beemster so a large variety of local vegetables determine the menu and there is also meat or fish.

There’s a festival happening every weekend

You could say that Amsterdam is a little bit festival mad. More than 300 festivals take place each year in and around the city – the bulk of these happening in the summer months. So no matter when you visit, there’s bound to be something going on. From huge dance music events to foodie festivals and cultural carnivals, Amsterdam’s festival agenda spans all tastes and genres.

A few recommendations

3 You can go to the theatre in the park for free

From May to September, an open air-theatre in the middle of the Vondelpark in Amsterdam hosts performances of dance, music, cabaret, comedy and children’s events. You can visit this on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s totally free (although donations will not be discouraged).

Theatrical heritage. Amsterdam’s Vondelpark is steeped in musical and theatrical heritage. The ‘Vondelpark Parties’ were organised in the park and the Music Pavilion and Vondelpark Stage both hosted music, operetta and dance performances over the years. The Vondelpark Open Air Theatre sprang into life in 1974, combining the ‘Vondelpark Parties’ and so-called ‘Happenings’, the name given to the performances organised at the time.

For more information visit our website and book now. To gain experiences that you will not soon forget!

The tour guide training from Keukenhof 2018 was great! Our lovely guide Olga went there and learned everything about the new season. We also offer private tours to the Keukenhof, for more information please check this page.

Keukenhof 2018 – training

During the ITB we met Michiel from the Keukenhof. The interest for the training was so big that the we were not able to subscribe anymore. Luckily we met Michiel and they made an exception for us. Super happy! Our lovely Italian guide Olga went there to study the park. Have you already met Olga? This friendly and super smart lady from Rome is a native speaker Italian but also speaks fluently English, Chinese and German. We must say that we are a bit jealous at her skills.

As there were so many subscribers, the guides were placed into different groups. Olga’s group started with a meeting of the tour guides. Together they had a presentation of Keukenhof in 2018. After this, the group of Olga went into the park and had a tour.

Keukenhof 2018 – flowers

The theme of Keukenhof 2018 is Romance in Flowers. These two subjects are very connected according to Keukenhof: “The most beautiful spring park in the world with it’s sea of flowers will put you in a romantic, spring mood.”.

They have over 7 million bulbs in the park, with a total variety of 800 tulips. Unfortunately not all the flowers sprout during the training. At the time of writing the wind chill of Amsterdam is -10 degrees Celsius. We had some very cold days the last couple of months so it is very hard for the flowers to come out.

The flowers inside came out a bit more, which was beautiful to see. We can not wait for the flower season so we can see all the different varieties of flowers bloom!

Keukenhof 2018 – visit

The park is open in 2018 from March 22 until May 13. Check out their website for more information. We hope to guide you soon!

 

ITB Berlin

88 Travelguide was present at the ITB in Berlin. What a great fair it was! We have gained so many nice new contacts and impressions. We will tell you more about that now!

ITB

The ITB Berlin (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin) is the world’s largest tourism fair. The companies that were represented at the fair include hotels, tourist boards, tour operators, system providers, airlines, car rental companies and a lot more. The ITB Berlin takes place annually in March at the Messe Berlin.

Keukenhof

It is so interesting to see what is going on in the world of travel! The holland stand was also very well represented. We met Michiel from the Keukenhof and that was such a nice conversation. Especially because our guides have a training in the following week at the Keukenhof. It brought us many new insights.

The Royal Concertgebouw

During our conversation with Anthony from GetYourGuide, Laura joined us and she is from The Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. We were very excited, since we are going to do a combination tour with them. A city tour combined with a concert in the Royal Concertgebouw, how amazing is that! We will keep you informed about this, of course!!

Stromma

We also had a very interesting conversation with Alco from Stromma. They also offer great tours and there is a new cooperation coming up. Hint… more possibilities to admire Amsterdam from the water! As you might know Amsterdam is very beautiful from the water, definitely a must do! A fun fact is that Amsterdam has more bridges than Venice. It’s almost hard to believe. There are in fact 409 bridges connecting Venice’s canals. Amsterdam actually has 1281 bridges. That is three times as many as Venice.

Art tour

We are working on a art tour and at the ITB we had a lot of good meetings and conversations about it. We can not say much about it yet… But we are going to reveal little by little. Up to our next adventure!!

 

 

Six interesting facts about Chinese New Year

1 There’s no set date for Chinese New Year

According to the Lunar calendar, the Spring Festival is on January 1st and lasts until the 15th (the full moon). But when you try to calculate it with the solar (Gregorian) calendar, the date is all over the place. Chinese New Year ranges from January 21 to February 20.

2 The most fireworks are set off in the world that night

As in the myth about Nian, firecrackers are supposed to scare off monsters and bad luck. So people stay up on Chinese New Year’s Eve and set off firecrackers at midnight. In the morning, firecrackers are used again to welcome the new year and good luck. If you’re in China during this time, you’ll probably be able to hear and see the fireworks for at least 3 nights (and it can go on for weeks).

3 The Spring Festival causes the largest human migration in the world

The most important part of Chinese New Year is the family reunion. Everyone should come back home for the New Year’s Eve dinner. But since in modern China, most elderly parents live in villages while their children work in the cities. The migration back home and to go on vacation is called chunyun (春运). The earliest you can buy train tickets is 60 days before. It leads to a mad rush of literally fighting for tickets. In 2015, statistics showed that around 1,000 tickets were sold each second.

4 Singles hire fake boy/girlfriends to take home

You know those nosy relatives during Thanksgiving? It’s even worse in China. Especially since having children and passing down the family name is one of the most important parts in Chinese culture. So they hire a fake boy or a girlfriend to take home.

5 The Chinese decorate everything red for Chinese New Year

Every family will decorate their homes in this color. Firecrackers aren’t the only thing that scared the monster away. Red is also an invaluable weapon, and used in nearly all Chinese New Year decorations.

6 Chinese New Year ends with the Lantern Festival

The full moon on the 15th day of the Spring Festival. Closing of the Spring Festival, which started with Chinese New Year. Lanterns are hanging outside.

 

If you want to know more look at our news page and for our tours here!

Chinese New Year! Gong xi fa cai (恭喜发财)

Year of the dog

You probably know there are 12 Chinese zodiac animals used to represent years, 2018 is the year of the Dog. Zodiac signs play an integral part in Chinese culture.

Spring Festival

Chinese New Year also known as the Spring festival and In China, you’ll hear it being called chunjie (春节) is the most important holiday. It’s still very wintry, but the holiday marks the end of the coldest days. People welcome spring and what it brings along: planting and harvests, new beginnings and fresh starts.

Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, has more than 4,000 years of history and is the longest holiday of the year. All stores are closed during the first five days of the Spring Festival, with some not opening until the very end.

Traditions

Houses are thoroughly cleaned to rid them of “huiqi,” or inauspicious energies, which might have collected during the old year. Cleaning is also meant to appease the gods who would be coming down from heaven to make inspections.

Ritual sacrifices of food and paper icons are offered to gods and ancestors. People hang scrolls printed with lucky messages on household gates and set off firecrackers to frighten evil spirits. Red envelopes filled with money are handed out. In fact, many of the rites carried out during this period are meant to bring good luck, luck to the household and long life to the family.

Most important is the feasting and the best part of the evening… Food! For example, yu sheng (raw fish salad) and fai-hai (seaweed) are often on the menu, which should provide happiness and prosperity. But one of the best-known dishes eaten with the Chinese New Year are dumplings: jiaozi. These steamed dumplings are real flavor bombs. The dumplings are not only eaten for their taste, but also because the shape reminds of gold nuggets and this symbolizes financial prosperity. The name jiaozi therefore refers to a banknote.

For more information and six interesting facts about Chinese New Year read our next article!

Plus check our news page and for our tours here!

Within a few weeks, Keukenhof will be open again! Are you looking for a private tour to this wonderful park? Don’t hesitate to contact us to check the possibilities.

What is Keukenhof?

The park is one of the most famous and most beautiful attractions of the Netherlands. We, as a country, are very well known for the flowers. In spring, all these beautiful varieties will bloom and this makes it the perfect time to visit for flower lovers! Especially the tulip is very popular, did you know that it’s origin is not the Netherlands but Turkey?

A day at Keukenhof is the best day out among the flowers. Over 7 million bulbs will bloom this spring, with a total of 800 varieties of tulips. It is an unique and unforgettable experience!

Besides the spacious 32 hectares of flowers you can enjoy the spectacular flower shows, surprising inspirational gardens, unique art and wonderful events. Do not miss the Tulip mania exhibition at the Juliana Pavilion.

2018 theme and history

In 2018, the theme is Romance in Flowers. After all, the two are inextricably linked. The most beautiful spring park in the world with its sea of flowers will put you in a romantic, spring mood.

The historic park was designed midway through the Romantic period (1857) as an ornamental garden for Castle [Kasteel] Keukenhof. Since 1950, millions of tulips have flowered in the atmospheric garden around the pond with its gorgeous vistas and centuries-old beech trees. Many generations experienced joyous moments there. Propose to your loved ones in the romantic tulip garden or have a secret rendezvous in the Cupid Garden or the Love Paradise. Say it with flowers …. The flower shows will also have romance as their theme. The rose show will be bigger than ever: the red rose, the symbol of true love. In 2018, Keukenhof once again has a wonderful tulip mosaic planned featuring 50,000 bulbs.

The Keukenhof season will conclude with Romance at Keukenhof, a classical music festival that will take place amid the park’s tulips.

Family trip

This sight is also fun for the children. They will have a blast with the treasure hunt, petting farm, maze and the playground. It is a great day out for the whole family! Want to book a tour with us? Send an e-mail to info@88travelguide.com or fill in our contact form. We also create tours to flower fields in the north of Holland. Just say hello and check out the possibilities!

Keukenhof will be open from 22 March – 13 May 2018. For more information check out their website.

 

Tangguo tour – part 2

Tangguo tour – part 2. After Dam square we went to several spots at the Red Light district like the old church. In front of the statue of Majoor Bosshardt our guests started to wonder why all the houses bend forward and are so crooked… If you want to know the answer yourself make sure to book our city tour.

As it was a very cold day, we decided to grab some drinks at Nieuwmarkt. While enjoying our drinks, we discussed the business possiblities for Tangguo and 88 Travelguide. And then there was a toast, we were both in for a collaboration!

Dam Square – pigeons

After drinks we went to Bijenkorf. The CEO and his wife stayed inside for some shopping and Jack, Samantha, Teo and me spend some time at Dam square. Samatha made a lot of new friends thanks Teo’s great idea; she bought some bread for the pigeons. At one point four pigeons were trying to balance on Samantha’s arm, which was a bit too much. But is was great fun!

Lunch

We had lunch at Momo, which was a big success. The CEO told us that this was the fullest he had been since he arrived in Europa. Big plus for us! We ate sushi and other Asian food, I still got happy when I think of the food. After lunch the team went back to their hotel as they had a few meetings in the afternoon.

Boat tour

Teo and I went to the Hilton Hotel again to pick up the CEO of Tangguo and his wife. Unfortunately Jack and Samantha were not able to join us as they had to prepare for a meeting in the afternoon. We rented the beautiful and cute boat Tzar for 2 hours. The Tzar is a brand new salonboat from Amsterdam Boat Center where we collaborate with. Our sailor for the day was Sjoerd, who specially came back earlier from his weekend trip to Germany to show us around on the canals. Thanks again Sjoerd!

We sailed partly alongside the Amsterdam Light Festival and also saw the skinny bridge and the 7 bridges. Our guests completely loved it and were super impressed by the houseboats and the canals it selves.

再見 – See you soon!

Unfortunately, the day flew by and we had to send our guests back to their hotel. In the evening, they were having a dinner with former prime minister Wim Kok and they of course can’t let him wait.

We really enjoyed our day together and are looking so much forward to the collaboration. A very warm welcome to all Chinese tourists in the Netherlands!

Tangguo tour – part 1

To welcome our guests from Tangguo, we gave them a tour through Amsterdam. A part of the team visited the city before but they never had a city tour. Our lovely guide Teo and co-founder Manouk accompanied them throughout the day. After days of preparing and extra practicing, we were ready and very excited!

Introduction

Teo and me (Manouk) went to the Hilton Hotel where we picked up our guests. The taxi ride to the city was already a lot of fun! The Tangguo team was very enthusiastic and open and told us that they looked forward to the tour. After the exchange of WeChat ID’s we arrived at Dam square. I always find it so special that you can connect so strongly with people without speaking the same language. I experienced that during my trip through China and I immediately got the same feeling in the taxi as well. No doubt that this would be a great day!

As soon as we arrived at Dam Square, the Chinese favorite activity took place; to take pictures! We took a group picture and we both were so happy to be immortalized with our new friends and business partners. After we did a live stream and wished the Tangguo a happy new year, we started the tour.

The tour – part 1

Our guests were very impressed by the history of the city and the funny facts Teo told them. I personally found Teo very impressive, how is it possible that she speaks Chinese so well? I was already happy that I understood 9 words throughout the day. At least there is a start, but I have to admit that I am super jealous at her.

For the rest of the tour and the canal cruise in the lovely salon boat Tzar we would like to refer to the article Tangue tour – part 2.

Tangguo and 88 Travelguide help out Chinese tourists to discover the Netherlands.

We are very proud to announce that we, as one of the first companies in the Netherlands, started a collaboration with the very well-known Chinese travel app; Tangguo! Research showed that the young and well-educated Chinese middle class is no longer satisfied with the existing travel offer. They no longer want to visit six European countries within ten days. Instead of that they want to travel at their own pace, compile their own travel program and deviate from the usual path. Tangguo and 88 Travelguide are the perfect answer for this group of travelers!

Chinese tourists

The number of Chinese tourists doubled in the past five years to over 300,000, according to figures from NBTC and the Central Bureau for Statistics. They expect that more than half a million Chinese tourists will visit our country within five years. One group still does this in the way that we know Chinese people so well for in Europe; too many countries in too less days. But the new generation of Chinese tourists wants to gain much more experience during their trip. That new group wants more of a tailor-made journey and that is exactly what 88 travelguide offers.

Cooperating

Tangguo is one of the fastest growing and largest online travel platforms in China. With a market capitalization of 2 billion RMB (around 266 million euro) and 3.5 million members, they respond to this new demand of the Chinese travelers. They offer a series of new travel products and cooperate with parties such as 88 Travelguide.

Tojoy

The fact that Chinese people engage collectively is shown by the way in which Tangguo realizes it’s ambitious plan in Europe in general and in the Netherlands in particular. Tangguo is generously funded by one of the most prestigious business clubs and investment groups in China – Tojoy.

Locations

Tangguo’s head office is in the Hague. From there, the company covers the European market.

Amsterdam light festival 2017 is a must see! What’s better than having a canal cruise while you enjoy the beautiful light art works? We have the perfect partner, Amsterdam Boat Center. Make sure to book our tour now!

The water exhibition takes place from 30 November 2017 until 21 January 2018. During this time, various artworks will light up the canals of Amsterdam. The light art installations will be illuminated daily, from 17:00 until 23:00 o’clock.

Amsterdam Light Festival – what is light art?

Amsterdam Light Festival takes place every year city center of Amsterdam. Light art is a relatively young art form that experiences a great growth because of the LED revolution. Light is a versatile and highly visual ‘material’ that can be used both abstract and figurative. Both forms are reflected in the artworks of the festival.

Amsterdam Light Festival – what can you expect?

Amsterdam Light Festival offers a stage to light artists from all over the world as they present their work in the city for two months. The festival stimulates these artists to push their own boundaries. Through a worldwide distributed Call For Concepts they submit groundbreaking concepts. The Call for Concepts closed this March and the jury, led by Lennart Booij, selected 40 concepts. The jury selects the artworks that will become part of the festival. In this edition, 1800 artists from 93 different countries showed their interests for participation. This resulted in 900 submissions by designers, architects and artists, from 45 different countries all over the world. 35 artworks made it to the festival, one of which is ‘thinline’ by world famous Chinese artists and activist Ai Weiwei. The festival produces these installations together with the artists. 

In case you visit Amsterdam between November and January, make sure you don’t miss this breath taking and enchanting festival. It is absolutely worth it! The 88 Travelguide crew completely loves the artworks from this year.

For more information check out the website of Amsterdam Light Festival. Want to have a normal canal cruise? Book here!