We have received many, many answers to the question ‘What is your favorite Dutch city or village, and why?’. It was a pleasure reading all the answers. Of course, we had to choose a winner! We selected Amruta K. as the winner of the competition. She wins an Intensive Beginners course at Direct Dutch Institute! This is her answer:
It was two years ago when I first landed in Netherlands. It was for the first time I was travelling outside India. I had very little knowledge about Netherlands. All I knew about Netherlands was that it houses beautiful Tulip gardens, wind mills, 60% of the country built on the reclaimed land, well managed water bodies spread across the country, city of Amsterdam, one of the biggest and busiest shipping ports-Rotterdam and city The Hague which houses international court of justice.
I would have wished to stay in one of the above mentioned cities but it was not to be. My husband came to pick me up at Schiphol airport and journey started. I asked “where are we heading?” He said “Voorburg” (pronounced foorburg). When arriving at the place I saw sign boards mentioning “Voorburg”. He mentioned “this is our place” I asked him “you said foorburg and this is Voorburg”. This is my first lesson of Dutch pronunciation. And I am not going to stay in Amsterdam, Rotterdam or The Hague but in a city whose pronunciation is way different than how it is written.
I was pleasantly surprised to see colonial styled apartments and not the high rise buildings which I am used to, back in India. It was surrounded by greenery, small garden and canals. The second surprise of the Voorburg came with its quietness and greeted by total stranger wishing me good morning!! That’s when I was told that this is a common practice here to greet any one when they pass by you. I started liking this place.
Since I came to Netherlands I have visited few cities in Netherlands and also few in other European countries as well. But of all the places that I have visited its Voorburg and Den Haag that I like the most.
I slowly started to explore the place and found that it is well connected with all the cities by bus, train and tram. Voorburg and Den Haag is a combination of the past, the present and the future.
With the parliament, the working place of King and the embassies located in Den Haag, the city never bores you. The city Den Haag expresses business, the restaurants; Voorburg expresses a relaxing, hospitable and friendly environment whereas the castle, the palaces, the canals and old mansions shows history! The city has atmospheric city centre and the leisure possibilities at the beach! And the big world in small: Madurodam.
This city houses Haagse Markt (the biggest open market in Netherlands) which ensures constant supply of fresh fruits and vegetables. The bonus for me was the close proximity of an Indian Grocery store.
Another place that I like to visit frequently in Den Haag is Haagse Bos where I can be alone with the nature.
With all these features, whenever I visit any other place, I am eager to come back to the peace and tranquility that Voorburg offers.