Hilversum

The 10 best pubs & bars in Hilversum (updated Oct 2017)

I first wrote this list about a year and a half ago, but things have changed since then! So it’s time for an update. Here’s a local’s guide to the best pubs and bars in Hillywood:

1. Cafe ‘t Tolhuis

Tolhuis, Hilversum

Photo credit: Café restaurant Het Tolhuis Facebook Page

Tolhuis, Hilversum

Photo credit: Café restaurant Het Tolhuis Facebook Page

This is staying at #1 as it’s still my favourite pub in Hilversum. I kinda don’t want to tell you about this one… but y’know, I’m a nice gal, so I’m gonna. But first a warning: it’s preeeeetty bloody hard to go here just for a drink without ordering food. As well as standard borrelhapjes they serve platters, tapas and a variety of mains. Everything is delicious. I think we managed to go here once without ordering food and we both complained the whole way home.

They have fantastic wine and I have no idea about the beer. They serve beer.

Apparently there’s live music here every Thursday, I have no idea how, it’s teeny! But anyway, go check it out. Brilliant place! (Oh and make sure you book a table if you want to eat!)

Soestdijkerstraatweg 2, 1213 XA Hilversum | tolhuis-hilversum.nl

 

2. Karroesel

Karroesel, Hilversum

Karroesel, Hilversum

My second favourite pub is definitely an acquired taste. It’s rustic… and by rustic I mean it’s a shithole. But a nice shithole. It’s where the ‘alternative’ (for want of a better word) crowd go in Hilversum. They’ve taken down the smoking room wall (which used to take up half of the pub!) so it looks way bigger these days. So now there’s a tiny smoking room – or just go outside! Pool table is still there and the music is loud and mostly aggressive.

As I say, an acquired taste. What I will say though – you’ll meet some interesting characters here!

Spoorstraat 44, 1211 GB Hilversum. No website. Proper old skool. 

 

3. Foodhall MOUT

MOUT Foodhall, Hilversum

MOUT Foodhall, Hilversum

A new addition to the list and to Hilversum! If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see I’m there quite a lot! It’s a great place to visit day and night – sometimes I go there to work, other times to eat and drink lots of wine. It’s an all-rounder and as many Dutch people would say, “een aanwinst voor Hilversum” – an asset to Hilversum. I couldn’t agree more!

Naarderstraat 8, 1211 AL Hilversum | mouthilversum.nl

 

4. The Guardian

Guardian, Hilversum

Photo credit: The Guardian  Hilversum Facebook Page

I had to get an English pub on the list, right?!?!? A pretty standard pub, slap bang in the middle of the Groest (the main street for bars/restaurants in Hillywood).

Does what it says on the tin.

Groest 33, 1211 CZ Hilversum | the-guardian.nl

 

5. Café Moeke

Cafe Moeke, Hollandsche Rading

Photo credit: Cafe Moeke Facebook Page

Ok, technically not Hilversum… but Hollandsche Rading. I can get here on my bike in 15 mins, so close enough I reckon.

Another bar / cafe / restaurant. Fantastic food… like a gastro pub. Their slogan is “de vijfsterren kroeg met eetallures” which roughly translates to “the five star pub with fine dining intentions”. Occasionally things sound better in Dutch. This is one of those times!

Anyway, never had a bad meal here and it doubles as a pub. Closest thing I have found to an English pub in Holland (and yes that even includes the “actual” English pub above!)

Utrechtseweg 263, 1213 TR Hilversum | cafemoeke.nl

 

6. Winebar Vintage 

Winebar Vintage, Hilversum

Photo credit: Winebar Vintage Facebook Page

I’ve been here a few times now and had some really delicious wine! They have “Meer dan 100 open wijnen”  – more than 100 open wines – so there really is something for everyone!

They also do hapjes and platters if you fancy a little something something next to your wine!

Spoorstraat 65, 1211 Hilversum | wijnbarvintage.nl

 

7. The Skiff

The Skiff, Hilversum

The Skiff, Hilversum

This place has to be on the list as they do FREE BITTERBALLEN for a couple of hours every Friday (6-8pm I think). Another pretty grungy place, but also frequented by hipsters.

Kampstraat 2bc, 1211 GE Hilversum | theskiff.nl

 

8. VIDA Vineria

VIDA Vineria, Hilversum

Photo credit: VIDA Vineria Facebook Page

I’m not sure if this one should be on the list because I haven’t been there yet… but I’ve heard good things and it has fab reviews on Trip Advisor, so 💁🏻

The people behind VIDA tapas restaurant have opened this second location next door to cater for those wanting wine and snacks rather than a full meal. I like.

Groest 16, 1211 EC Hilversumvida.nl

 

9. Barracuda

Another ‘acquired’ taste. This one’s a metal bar. There’s live music every Saturday. We went here late on Kingsday and the lovely bar lady let us play whichever songs we wanted. Good reason to go back in my book!!

Herenstraat 43, Hilversum. No pics, no website. You’ve got to see it to believe it.

 

10. Eetcafé Gulle Graef

Gulle Graaf Hilversum

Photo credit: Gulle Graef Facebook Page

Eetcafé technically means eatery but it’s going on the list because of their extensive beer menu! They also have cider which isn’t Strongbow or that sweet crap Apple Bandit, so they’re doing right in my book. Order a steak alongside your drinks and you won’t be disappointed!

Laanstraat 37, 1211 HG Hilversum | gullegraef.nl

 

Where’s your favourite place to go in Hilversum?

Hayley x

 

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The best pubs & bars in Hilversum

There’s an updated version of this post for October 2017 (original post May 2015): The 10 best pubs and bars in Hilversum (updated Oct 2017) 

I’m writing this because apparently no one else has. Seriously, pfffff. I even Googled it in Dutch, but zip. Nada. All I get is a Trip Advisor link SAYING it’s going to give me a list of the 10 best pubs & bars in Hilversum, but the link then goes to restaurants. Not cool man, not cool.

So anyway, if you want something done right… do it yourself. (This post isn’t necessarily for you regulars, soz. It’s more for Googley people…)

*Waves at people actually looking for the best bars and pubs in Hilversum! HI!* 

This list is based on my personal experiences and I haven’t visited every bar in Hilversum (I wish!) so if you have any others to add… hit me up.

 

1. Cafe ‘t Tolhuis

Tolhuis, Hilversum

Photo credit: Café restaurant Het Tolhuis Facebook Page

Tolhuis, Hilversum

Photo credit: Café restaurant Het Tolhuis Facebook Page

I kinda don’t want to tell you about this one, because it’s my favourite bar in Hilversum. But y’know, I’m a nice gal, so I’m gonna. But first a warning: it’s preeeeetty bloody hard to go here just for a drink without ordering food. Wanna know why? The menu LOOKS amazing. The food SMELLS amazing. The food TASTES amazing. I think we managed to go there once without ordering food and we both complained the whole way home.

They have fantastic wine and I have no idea about the beer. They serve beer.

Apparently there’s live music here every Thursday, I have no idea how, it’s teeny! But anyway, go check it out. Brilliant place! (Oh and make sure you book a table if you want to eat!)

Soestdijkerstraatweg 2, 1213 XA Hilversum | tolhuis-hilversum.nl

 

2. Karroesel

My second favourite pub is definitely an acquired taste. It’s rustic… and by rustic I mean it’s a shithole. But a nice shithole. It’s where the ‘alternative’ (for want of a better word) crowd go in Hilversum. Half of the bar is a smoking room, complete with pool table and the music is loud and mostly aggressive.

As I say, an acquired taste. What I will say though – you’ll meet some interesting characters here!

Spoorstraat 44, 1211 GB Hilversum. No pics, no website. Proper old skool. 

 

3. Felix II

Felix II, Hilversum

Photo credit: Felix II Facebook Page

A Hilversum institution. So good they have a restaurant (Eten bij Felix) and a bar. They even opened a Felix 3, but unfortunately it has now closed.

Popular terrace outside, pool table inside. I have been known to dance on the table. (It was covered, we were allowed.)

Herenstraat 9, 1211 BZ Hilversum | felix2.nl

 

4. Guardian

Guardian, Hilversum

Photo credit: The Guardian Hilversum Facebook Page

I had to get an English pub on the list, right?!?!? A pretty standard pub, slap bang in the middle of the Groest (the main street for bars/restaurants in Hillywood).

Does what it says on the tin.

Groest 33, 1211 CZ Hilversum | the-guardian.nl

 

5. Café Moeke

Cafe Moeke, Hollandsche Rading

Photo credit: Cafe Moeke Facebook Page

Ok, technically not Hilversum… but Hollandsche Rading. I can get here on my bike in 15 mins, so close enough I reckon.

Another bar / cafe / restaurant. Fantastic food… like a gastro pub. Their slogan is “de vijfsterren kroeg met eetallures” which roughly translates to “the five star pub with fine dining intentions”. Occasionally things sound better in Dutch. This is one of those times!

Anyway, never had a bad meal here and it doubles as a pub. Closest thing I have found to an English pub in Holland (and yes that even includes the “actual” English pub above!)

Utrechtseweg 263, 1213 TR Hilversum | cafemoeke.nl

 

6. Het café van Amstel 

Het Cafe van Aemstel, Hilversum

Cosy little pub on the Gijsbrecht. They’ve kinda rebranded to Brechtje van Amstel and now it’s a pub and a cafe/restaurant side by side but meh, I’m still gonna call it Cafe van Amstel.

Gijsbrecht van Amstelstraat 145, 1214 AX Hilversum | brechtjevanamstel.nl

 

7. Gastrobar KURK

Gastrobar KURK, Hilversum

I’ve only been here once, but this is a place I definitely want to go back to. Extensive wine list and I love the concept of their menu. Diverse dishes broken down into different price points depending on how much you want to spend / how hungry you are.

We went here on the Wijnspijs Culinaire Wandeling last year and had a fantastic glass of wine and taster dish. (As you can see in the lil Instragram pic above!)

Kampstraat 22, 1211 GE Hilversum | gastrobarkurk.nl

 

8. Winebar Vintage 

Winebar Vintage, Hilversum

Photo credit: Winebar Vintage Facebook Page

Again, I’ve only been here once but I’ll definitely be going back soon. “Meer dan 100 open wijnen”  – more than 100 open wines! That’s enough reason for me! 😀

Last time I only had a couple glasses of wine at a Hilversum Ladies Meet Up, but I’d definitely like to check out the Hapjeskaart (snacks menu) too!

Spoorstraat 65, 1211 Hilversum | wijnbarvintage.nl

 

9. Barracuda

Another ‘acquired’ taste. This one’s a metal bar. There’s live music every Saturday. We went here late on Kingsday and the lovely bar lady let us play whichever songs we wanted. Good reason to go back in my book!!

Herenstraat 43, Hilversum. Again, no pics, no website. You’ve got to see it to believe it.

 

10. Vliegveld Hilversum

Vliegveld Hilversum

Wine and flowers at Vliegveld Hilversum

Lovely place to go for a beer (for the Dutchie) and a wine (for me) and see the planes landing and taking off. They have good snacks, there’s a play area for the kids and they’re dog friendly. I only care about one of those things, but maybe you have ankle biters and furry friends… just looking out for ya!

For the cyclists / walkers amongst you – the surrounding area is a lovely place to explore (right near Loosdrechtse Bos and Hilversumse Hei).

Noodweg 43, 1213 PW Hilversum | restaurantflyinn.nl

Where’s your favourite place to go in Hilversum?

Hayley x

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Yesterday, Sinterklaas arrived in Hilversum and because my curiosity was getting the better of me… I had to go along and find out what all the fuss was about!

If you don’t know who/what Sinterklaas is… start with last year’s post about my first Sinterklaas experience: Mijn eerste Sinterklaas (as I already did a lot of explaining there… and I don’t like repeating myself unless I’m drunk!)

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum – Zaterdag 14 November, Oude Haven 

First, all the Zwarte Pieten arrived…

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

There were tons of them, more than 100 I’d guess.

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Traditionally they hand out pepernoten, but I heard one little boy ask a Zwarte Piet “Mag ik pepernoten?” (May I have some pepernoten?) and the response was “Nee, ik ben een gezond Piet. Ik heb alleen ballons of mandarijntjes”. (No, I’m a healthy Piet, I only have balloons or mandarins.) He opted for a balloon 😉

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Some Piets went traditional though…

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Then there was lots of music and dancing…

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Before Sinterklaas arrived on this steam boat from Spain, along with this faithful horse Schimmel.

Sinterklaas' horse, Schimmel

(The horse’s actual name is Amerigo, but many Dutch people refer to him as Schimmel – the type of horse. Schimmel also means mold/fungus so prepare yourself for lame jokes like “There’s Sinterklaas with his schimmel between his legs.” Hawhawhaw.)

The crowds were huge and we weren’t early enough to get a prime spot, so I don’t have a photo of the boat. Dammit.

The Dutchie and I did get a fair few of the big man himself though 🙂

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

His entrance was followed by more music and dancing, before Sinterklaas made his procession around town.

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

Intocht Sinterklaas in Hilversum

A lovely time was had by all and I’m glad to have experienced this tradition first hand. Though I must say: now I’ve seen a Sinterklaas Intocht (arrival/entrance), I don’t really have to go again. It’s definitely just for kids.

So now the only thing left to do is leave my shoe out for the next 3 weeks and see what happens 😉

Hayley x

Live in Hilversum or nearby? You might want to go to Hoorneboegse Heide right about now…

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

Hoorneboegse Heide

Hoorneboegse Heide, Hilversum

No filters, no Photoshop, no fancy camera – just my iPhone.

It really is this beautiful!

Want to visit? Just put Hoorneboegse Heide into Google Maps.

You’re welcome!

Hayley x

Sunflowers in Hilversum – Remembering the victims of flight MH17

A year has passed since the MH17 air disaster. It happened on July 17th 2014 and Hilversum was one of the towns hardest hit. Fifteen residents were killed among the 298 passengers on board.

To commemorate one year since the tragedy, Hilversum is in bloom. The town is awash with bright yellow sunflowers.

According to some news reports, the seeds were taken from a field near the Ukrainian town of Torez, where the plane crashed, and were given to a victim’s father by a journalist who covered the disaster. They state that some were passed on to St Vitus church and others were entrusted to the city’s chief gardener, Hans Roon, who planted them in Hilversum’s botanical garden. (Sources: RFE/RL and The Guardian)

Hayley x

Sunflowers in Hilversum (Zonnebloemen in Hilversum)

Sunflowers in Hilversum (Zonnebloemen in Hilversum)

Sunflowers in Hilversum (Zonnebloemen in Hilversum)

Sunflowers in Hilversum (Zonnebloemen in Hilversum)

Sunflowers at St Vitus Church, Hilversum. (Zonnebloemen bij de St Vitus kerk in Hilversum)

Sunflowers at St Vitus Church, Hilversum. (Zonnebloemen bij de St Vitus kerk in Hilversum.)

Sunflowers at St Vitus Church, Hilversum. (Zonnebloemen bij de St Vitus kerk in Hilversum)

Sunflowers at St Vitus Church, Hilversum. (Zonnebloemen bij de St Vitus kerk in Hilversum)

Sunflowers at St Vitus Church, Hilversum. (Zonnebloemen bij de St Vitus kerk in Hilversum)

Sunflowers at St Vitus Church, Hilversum. (Zonnebloemen bij de St Vitus kerk in Hilversum)

Sunflowers at St Vitus Church, Hilversum. (Zonnebloemen bij de St Vitus kerk in Hilversum)

 

When you moved to the Netherlands what is the one thing you wish somebody had told you about?

Dutch windmills

(It’s not all tulips, clogs and windmills.)

The idea for this post came from an expat group I’m in, so the question was originally: When you moved to Hilversum, what is the one thing you wish somebody had told you about?

But actually, many of the comments weren’t Hilversum based, they were just general tips for surviving in the Netherlands. So I thought I’d share them with you. Real tips from real expats living in this funny little country called Holland the Netherlands…

1. “Bring cold and flu meds and loads of strong pain killers just in case, because paracetamol just doesn’t cut it sometimes.”

2. “If there isn’t a queue don’t try forming one! Otherwise you’ll be waiting all day – follow the Dutch lead.”

3. “Watch out for mopeds & pindakaas is not peanut cheese but peanut butter!”

4. “The most important one – the online takeaway ordering service: Thuisbezorgd.nl!”

5. “I wish someone had told me (still would love to hear the logic behind it) how cars from the right automatically have right of way even when it makes absolutely no sense.”

6. “One thing I didn’t think about was the weather differences. I packed shorts and t-shirts, no real jackets. I wish I had brought warmer clothes for cooler temps.”

7. “That customer service is a rare find here!”

8. “That credit cards are rarely accepted as a form of payment. Or VISA debit.”

9. “Download a parking app for your phone – it makes life much easier!” (Try yellowbrick.nl or parkmobile.nl)

10. “It’s a ghost town on Sunday!!”

11. “There are many different rules for pets – in particular dogs. Dog tax. Rules for poop and leash etc. I only found all this out after someone said the dog tax inspector was knocking on doors.”

12. “Where is the nearest A&E? What’s the emergency number? (112) And the non-emergency number? (0800 8844).”

13. “Public transport apps / links to NS.nl and 9292.nl were a lifesaver.”

14. “The blue parking spaces at the supermarket, and where to buy the blue time thingy.” (Blue spaces are temporary parking spots and you need a parkeerschijf – a parking disk to indicate what time you arrived. Available from HEMA, Bruna and Halfords stores and at many petrol stations.)

15. “Dutch rudeness directness. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.”

Can you tell that the last one was me? 😉

When you moved to the Netherlands,  what is the one thing you wish somebody had told you about?

Hayley x

Things to do in Hilversum: WijnSpijs Culinaire Wandeling

WijnSpijs Culinaire Wandeling

The title of this post could also be: That one time in Hilversum when I ate loads of delicious food, drank loads of amazing wine and got so tipsy I cried about learning Dutch. But I guess the other title is more factual and Google probably likes it better… so…

First things first: What is a WijnSpijs Culinaire Wandeling? Wijn = wine. Spijs = food / dish. Together it means wine pairing, food pairing… the act of pairing food and wine together type thing. Culinaire = culinary. Wandeling = walk.

So: a culinary walk around Hilversum (other Dutch towns and cities are available) where you get to drink lots of wine and eat food that goes with it. In short, heaven for food and wine lovers.

Unlike the time when I ate Amsterdam – I can tell you every single detail of this trip (the stuff I remember anyway) because the Hilversum one is done, over, finished… for this year anyway!

However, WijnSpijs run dates all over the country – pretty much every weekend during the summer – so there’s probably one near you soon! Here’s the agenda. (Dammit!! Utrecht is sold out already! *Sad face*.) Anyway… without further ado…

Restaurant 1: Gastrobar Kurk

Wine: Gran Sasso. Food: squid ink risotto, gin & 7up foam, parsnip puree, peas and a prawn!

Gastrobar Kurk, Hilversum

Gastrobar Kurk

We both loved this place, including the very keen waitress (it was early in the day and she was super enthusiastic, bless her!) and we will definitely be returning. The menu looked very interesting and not over-priced, so I’m curious to see what else they have up their sleeves!

Restaurant 2: Zilt & Zo

Hot and cold smoked salmon, asparagus and asparagus foam, topped with a beetroot chip. Re: wine… I’m struggling to read my own handwriting, I wrote down something like Gruner Veltliner – Roshlitz. I remember it was nice 😉

Zilt & Zo Hilversum

Zilt & Zo, Hilversum

The food was good, but not the star of the day. The presentation in a wine glass was funny, but quite difficult to eat! I would go back for the”beach” at the end of their sunny terrace, however, to sip a cocktail with my feet in the sand!

Restaurant 3: Proeverij De Open Keuken

Here they served up a beef salad made with jodenhaas (beef shoulder tenderloin). Although I thought he said Yodahaas so I’m sticking to that! It was paired with a light, easy drinking red: Dornfelder Nahe 2014. Yum. Very, very easy to drink!

Proeverij De Open Keuken

There was a chip in my bowl (naughty, naughty!) so I had to switch plates with the Dutchie because I wanted to photograph it zonder chip. However, my beef was slightly chewy and the Dutchie’s was perfect… so it serves me right for switching I guess!

Proeverij De Open Keuken

Proeverij De Open Keuken

(The Dutchie getting arty with his wine ^)

We sat outside… because it was awesome weather that day! But FYI – the inside of this restaurant is gooooooorgeous! (My iphone camera, not so much.)

Proeverij De Open Keuken

Proeverij De Open Keuken.

Restaurant 4: Lust 

This beauty is meerval (which I think is catfish) pasta with samphire, tomatoes and a gambas (prawn) sauce. Definitely the dish of the day!! Served with Finca Constancia Altozano Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc. (70% Verdejo and 30% Sauvignon Blanc.) Result: yum-a-lum-a-ding-dong.

Lust Restaurant, Hilversum

Lust Restaurant, Hilversum

Lust Restaurant, Hilversum

Restaurant 5: Deja Vu Restaurant and Wijnbar

Monkfish with a fermented risotto (what the heck?!) an orange coloured sauce and a cherry tomato. It was delicious, but they didn’t do much explaining! Served with Boschendal Sauvignon Blanc.

Deja Vu Restaurant and Wijnbar

Deja Vu Restaurant and Wijnbar

They also had a DJ…

Deja Vu Restaurant and Wijnbar

…and a dude playing saxophone who liked hiding in bushes.

Deja Vu Restaurant and Wijnbar

Restaurant 6: Heren Spyker

Zachtgegaarde runderwang (slow cooked beef cheek) with roasted tomato, pea cream and a cumin crisp. Served with a 2013 Cuvee Tradition Rouge – Corbieres from Chateau Beauregard Mirouze.

Heren Spkyer

Here it is, in Dutch (nice touch btw, they were the only restaurant to do this).

Heren Spkyer

This was probably the tiniest dish of the whole day. It was good, but not great. The crunchy cumin thing outshone the beef cheek, which is never a good thing. I love the fact that this place is connected with Spyker though and due to it’s brilliant sunny position, I’d go back for a glass of wine or three!!

Heren Spkyer

Restaurant 7: Rex 

Pulled pork with a chilli and BBQ sauce and mango chutney. I can’t remember what the thing on top was… a kind of prawn cracker type thingy. It was seriously good! (Sorry, Rex – I totally underestimated you. When I saw this place on the list, I was very surprised as I thought it was just a bar/club so my expectations were rather low.) But boy did they prove me wrong!! Served with a Beaujolais Nouveau.

Rex, Hilversum

Rex, Hilversum

Restaurant 8: Puur Smaeck

Last but not least: Puur Smaeck. (That’s the old way to spell smaak, meaning taste / flavour.)

They served rib eye filled with yellow and green courgette with a cream of goats cheese and white chocolate. Yes, you read that right. White chocolate. The Dutchie loved it… I tasted it together, ate the beef and then had the white chocolate cream as pudding! This was served with an Italian red: Salice Salentino.

Puur Smaeck

Puur Smaeck

After that, we didn’t want to go home straight away, so our friend joined us, we ordered a bottle of prosecco and then I cried. Nothing to do with the brilliant day, perhaps a little to do with the wine!

Result: if you didn’t pick it up already, I absolutely loved my WijnSpijs culinary walk. Wine, food, walking… what’s not to love? I think it’s a fantastic way to sample new restaurants in your local town/city… or a unique way to check out a brand new city! I will definitely be going on another one in the near future!! (Hopefully this time without the tears!)

THE LOWDOWN

COST: €55-60 depending on location, but to try 7 or 8 new restaurants in your area – that’s a bleedin’ bargain! Not to mention said number of starter sized-portions and glasses of wine. (Not all glasses are “full” measures by the way. It depends on the restaurant and how shaky the waiter’s hands are.)

MORE INFO: Wijnspijs.nl

Hayley x

Things to do in Hilversum: Loosdrechtse Bos, Hilversumse Hei en Zonnestraal

I wrote the majority of this post a few months back and never got round to posting it, but since visiting Vliegveld Hilversum (Hilversum Airport) over the Easter weekend, now seems like a good time to share it with you. I’m obviously slightly biased towards Hilversum because I live here… but if you happen to find yourself in the area, then hopefully I can provide some ‘insider tips’ to keep you amused. So here goes…

Loosdrechtse Bos

Loosdrechtse Bos (bos = forest / woods) is located at the edge of Hilversum, bordering Loosdrecht (hence the name) and Hollandsche Rading. If you put ‘Loosdrechtse Bos’ into Google Maps, it’ll direct you straight to the Zonnestraal compound, in the heart of the woods. (More on that later.)

IMG_9265sm

The woods are extremely beautiful and (as most woods are…) just a tiny bit spooky feeling… especially if you’re on your own. The perfect place for cycling and walking in Hilversum: loads of people take their dogs for a walk here.

IMG_9267

If you want to visit, but aren’t familiar with Hilversum: a well-known landmark is Zuiderhof, a cemetery on the edge of the woods. Aim for here and then enter the woods from either side of the cemetery. (Note: don’t enter the cemetery itself as it is a dead end. No pun intended. Argh!!)

Hilversumse Hei

Hilversumse Hei or Heide (meaning hay, heath or moor) refers to the large areas of open space in Hilversum. I’m a bit confused about what all the different parts are called, but according to Instagram tagging, the bit that we visit most frequently is known as Hoorneboegse Heide.

Loosdrechtsebos

There are cattle grazing in the fields so pay attention to the signs and keep your distance from them. You are in their home, so play nice and follow their house rules. Like me…

IMG_3588

Or be like the Dutchie and go in for the full on close-up… he thinks he’s bloody Rambo or something! 😉

IMG_3569

I’ve seen these things run, so I stayed well back!! Aside from the scary cattle, it’s a great place to walk around and explore. You could easily spend a couple of hours wandering around the heath and the woods. (Or run or cycle, whatever you’re into…)

Landgoed Zonnestraal

Slap bang in the middle of Loosdrechtse Bos is Landgoed Zonnestraal (meaning Sunbeam Estate). It’s a former sanatorium used in the 1920s and 1930s for patients with tuberculosis. It was designed by architect Jan Duiker and is an example of Nieuwe Bouwen (Literal translation = new buildings, meaning Modern Architecture).

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It’s a bit more run-down than I was expecting but still interesting to look at. The reason for the sheer volume of glass was to let as much light as possible to enter the patient’s rooms and help them feel better. Sun = happy, right? These days it’s used a conference centre which can be hired out. Many local businesses are also located here – mostly clinics and fitness-related.

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There’s not much to do here, unless you’re feeling peckish – then there’s a brasserie. I made a special trip by bike to take photos for this post as I’d never been before and I have to be honest and say I was a little underwhelmed. (Trip Advisor – you actually let me down this time!!) The buildings are different, that’s for sure, and if you’re really into modern architecture then I’m sure you’ll like it… but personally I wouldn’t make a special trip. If you’re already visiting the area and fancy a walk anyway, ok, but don’t come here especially.

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In fact, I found this building in front of the Zonnestraal much prettier, especially with a dusting of snow! (Told you I wrote this post months ago!!)

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Vliegveld Hilversum

If you’re walking / cycling in this area you may also come across Vliegveld Hilversum (Hilversum Airport) which does what it says on the tin.

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We went for a bike ride in the area on Saturday, well – actually we were planning on cycling to Loosdrechtse Plassen, but we never made it that far – so we stopped here for a bite and a borrel instead!

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The two female waitresses were really welcoming and the menu had a good selection of typical Dutch cafe food… broodjes, uitsmijters, borrelhapjes etc. We had the bittergarnituur mixed platter and for once I actually enjoyed the kaasstengels! It’s a miracle!

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With bitterballen, obviously. These only score a measly 6/10 but as I’ve said before: you can’t get bad bitterballen!

For some reason this place is ultra dog friendly, so if you’re taking a furry friend, there’s a special menu for dogs called “De Waf Kaart!” (In Dutch, dogs don’t say “woof woof” – they say “waf waf”!)

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Oh and a hondenbar! The owners must be dog-people…

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So there you have it. How to spend a few hours in Hilversum on foot or by bike. And if you’d like more info…

THE LOWDOWN:

ADDRESS: Various. To enter the woods on foot or by bike, aim for Zuiderhof, Hilversum. Or park at Vliegveld Hilversum and start there.
OPENING TIMES: Always. (However I did see a sign that you can’t enter certain parts of the woods between 8pm and 6am. Seems sensible!)
PARKING: Free street parking near Zuiderhof and at the airport.
MORE INFO: Landgoed Zonnestraal | Brasserie Zonnestraal | Hilversum Airport | Hilversum Airport Restaurant (Websites all in Dutch.)

Next on the ‘Things to do in Hilversum’ list is: Film Theater Hilversum.

Where are your favourite places in Hilversum / Het Gooi area?

Hayley x

Kijk, Mam! Ik sta in de krant!

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If you live in Hilversum and receive the Hilversums Nieuws, today you will see me on page… 5!! (Ok, ok, the OnderOns feature is always on page 5, but I’m easily pleased.)

If you don’t… then here’s the full text:

OnderOns
Naam: Hayley alias Bitterballenbruid
Leeftijd: 32
Beroep: Marketing Manager
Hilversumse sinds: April 2014

Wat doe je in het dagelijks leven?
Ik werk thuis als Marketing Manager voor een Engels bedrijf. In mijn vrije tijd zwem ik, wandel ik op de (Hilversumse) hei en schrijf ik aan mijn blog.

Je blogt. Waar gaat Bitterballenbruid over?
Mijn blog gaat over een expat zijn in Nederland, Nederlands leren, jullie rare gewoontes en te veel bitterballen eten.

Grootste verschil tussen wonen in Southampton en Hilversum?
Mijn leven in een andere taal leven, hele kleine supermarkten (in Engeland zijn ze kolossaal), al die fietsen en veel mensen die parttime werken.

Fish or chips of bitterballen?
Dat is een heel moeilijk vraag, maar ik moet bitterballen zeggen natuurlijk!

Thee of koffie?
Thee, met melk, maar alleen één kopje per dag! Ik drink bijna nooit koffie.

Mooiste plek van Hilversum?
Dat moet de Hilversumse Hei zijn. Ik vind het Beeld en Geluid gebouw ook supermooi!

Waar ga je heen in Hilversum als je uitgaat?
Eerst naar een Japans restaurant (Sumo of Aiuchi) en dan een paar drankjes in The Guardian, Felix II of Karroesel.

Wat pak je aan als je een dagje burgemeester van Hilversum bent?
Nationale Bitterballendag introduceren!

Wat kijk je graag op televisie?
Mijn guilty pleasure is Keeping Up With The Kardasians! Ik kijk ook graag naar Moto GP en Masterchef Holland, UK en Australië.

Naar welke muziek luister je?
Nou, dat is een vraag! Ik ben een enorme muziek fan, dus waar begin ik?! Heel veel bands met ‘The’: The Smiths, The Cure, The Clash, The Pixies, The Vaccines, The Savages, The Kooks, The Strokes en Arctic Monkeys. Jake Bugg is ook een superleuke tip! Oeh, en niet te vergeten de nationale parel: Anouk.

Waar mag je voor wakker gemaakt worden?
Bitterballen en nieuwe schoenen, graag!

*****

En nu, in het Engels (and now, in English).

What do you do in your daily life?
I work at home as a Marketing Manager for an English company. In my free time I swim, I walk in the Hilversumse Hei (Hilversum Heathland) and I write my blog.

You blog. What is your blog about?
My blog is about being an expat in the Netherlands, learning Dutch, your weird habits and eating way too many bitterballen!

Biggest difference between living in Southampton and Hilversum?
Living my life in a different language, small supermarkets (in England they’re HUGE) all the bikes and so many people working part time.

Fish and chips or bitterballen?
That’s a really hard question, but I have to say bitterballen of course!

Tea of coffee?
Tea, with milk, but only one cup per day. I hardly ever drink coffee.

Most beautiful place in Hilversum?
That has the be the Hilversumse Hei. I also think the Beeld and Geluid building is extremely beautiful.

Where do you go out in Hilversum?
First to a Japanese restaurant and then a few drinks in a bar. (The Guardian is an English pub, Felix II and Karroesel are Dutch bars.)

What would you do if you were the Mayor of Hilversum for the day?
Introduce National Bitterballen Day!

What do you like watching on TV?
My guilty pleasure is Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I also like watching Moto GP, and Masterchef UK, Holland and Australia.

What music do you listen to?
Now, that is a hard question! I’m a huge music fan, so where do I start?! A lot of bands with ‘The’: The Smiths, The Cure, The Clash, The Pixies, The Vaccines, The Savages, The Kooks, The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys. Jake Bugg is also a good tip. Oh, and not forgetting your national treasure: Anouk.

What would you get out of bed for?
Bitterballen and new shoes, please!

I want to know more about YOU! Care to pick a question from the above and answer it about yourself?

Hayley x

Things to do in Hilversum: Beeld en Geluid

At the weekend we visited the Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid  (The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision) in Media Park, Hilversum. The Institute collects, looks after, and provides access to over 70% of Dutch audio-visual heritage! It’s also a museum, offering an unprecedented amount of (Dutch) sound and screen history to its visitors. Lucky us!!

I’ve been wanting to visit since we first moved to Hilversum because 1. it’s where the Top 2000 cafe is stationed in December (!!) and 2. it has such great reviews on my beloved Trip Advisor!

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

But first of all, let’s just take a moment to appreciate HOW DAMN GORGEOUS this building is!! It was built in 2006, despite looking as if it was built in 2036, by Dutch artchitects Willem-Jan Neutelings and Michiel Riedijk. I’m not sure how exactly they came up with it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were on some mind-bending drugs at the time! 😉

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When you enter the building, it just keeps on getting better and better. This seriously has to be one of the most beautiful modern buildings in the Netherlands, or even Europe.

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Interior view, Beeld en Geluid, Hilversum

Interior view, Beeld en Geluid, Hilversum

Once we’d finished oohing and aahing, it was time to collect our entry tickets – which turned out to be interactive rings! How very modern!

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Space age rings!!

As you enter the museum there are a number of interactive stations where you scan your ring and enter your name and email address. The idea is that you then scan your ring on each of the interactive exhibits and at the end of your visit you are sent a special personalised page of your visit including photos and video clips. You can also elect which ‘tour guide’ you would like to take you through your journey of the museum, from a number of options. I assume they are all Dutch celebrities, but being English, I didn’t recognise any of them (oops!) so I chose “Rembrandt” the only English-speaking guide.

My tour guide, Rembrandt

My tour guide, Rembrandt

By the way… it’s worth noting at this point that apart from the tour guide, all of the other attractions and exhibits are in Dutch. So if you don’t understand Dutch, it will be difficult for you to fully appreciate the museum. I would therefore only recommend it for Dutch-speakers.

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The magnificent building is split over four floors (yup, it’s kinda like a tardis!) with the majority of the exhibits on the top two floors. The top floor is known as ‘Experience’ and is made up of 16 different themes including Animal Crackers, Sterrenshow (Stars Show – about Dutch stars of sound and screen), POP studio, Macht en Media (Power and Media) and Dit is het nieuws (This is the news).

My favourite was Ben ik in beeld  (I’m in the picture) because you get to do stupid stuff! There’s a ceiling mounted camera pointing at the floor (which is decorated like a living room) so you just lie on the floor and strike a pose – to make it look like you’re upside down in the pictures. Leuk! 

If you were to visit every single exhibit and log in to every interactive station, you could seriously spend the whole day here. Luckily, it’s open from 10.00am – 5.30pm (from Tuesday – Sunday) so knock yourself out!

Maak het nieuws - Make the news

Maak het nieuws – Make the news

A large area of the museum is dedicated to Tijdelijke tentoonstelling (temporary exhibition(s). Currently, it is Voorbij het nieuws (Beyond the news) a special exhibition showing personal stories from journalists and editors talking about the choices they made in the reporting of particular stories. Unfortunately, most of it went over my head!

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Checking out Voorbij het nieuws

Checking out Voorbij het nieuws

In total, we spent a good couple of hours at the museum, but I think if you were with kids, you could spend soooo much longer. There are so many things to see and do, for grown ups too (you could spend a whole day just watching old archived TV shows if you had the time or the inclination!) but I think the interactivity works particularly well for children. They were into everything and didn’t want to miss a thing. A brilliant place to take ankle biters, especially on a rainy day.

And if you get hungry or thirsty during your trip? There’s an ultra modern cafe – what else!?

Cafe, Beeld en Geluid

Cafe, Beeld en Geluid

We’d already eaten, so we just grabbed a drink and sat on the terrace (yup, even in January!!)

We also couldn’t leave without a quick visit to the gift shop, where we bought, among other trinkets… TOP 2000 PHONE CASES!!! Reasonably priced too, at just €6 each. My life is now complete! 😉

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Want to visit for yourself?

THE LOWDOWN:
ADDRESS: Media Parkboulevard 1, 1217 WE Hilversum
OPENING TIMES: Tuesday – Sunday, 10.00am – 17.30pm. Closed Mondays.
PRICE: Adults: €15, Children 6 – 12: €8, Children 5 and younger: Free.
PARKING: Underground car park. €1,50 an hour with a maximum of € 7,50 a day. Limited disabled spaces.
MORE INFO: Beeld en Geluid website (Also available in English.)

If you’ve already been – what was your favourite bit?

Hayley x

PS – for loads more photos I took at Beeld en Geluid, see my Pinterest Board.

PPS – we were given two entry tickets rings to the museum, but all other costs were covered personally.