3 events to check out in Holland this November

foam amsterdam This November, 2011, Holland is full exciting events. Whether you want to experience art, music, literature, or photography, you can find it in Holland. Here are three must-attend happenings in Holland this Fall.

GLOW 2011
Eindhoven, The Netherlands, November 5-November 12, 2011

The city center of Eindhoven is transformed into a stage of light design with GLOW 2011. Enjoy surreal and interactive art installations, performances based on artificial light, interventions, and architecture.

The Future of the Photography Museum
Foam Amsterdam, Amsterdam, November 5-December 7, 2011

Foam Amsterdam is celebrating their 10th anniversary by hosting The Future of the Photography Museum, a collaboration of four different experts from the cultural field to discuss how photography can be presented in a museum. The four results are each radical and provocative and will be presented in the same space at the same time.

Crossing Border, The Hague
The Hague, Netherlands, November 15, 2011

Crossing Border The Hague is one of Europe’s main international music and literature festivals. Watch live performances, hear lectures, see exhibits, and attend after parties. To see a full schedule of events and to order tickets, click here.

New Gadling travel series: the lowdown on the Low Countries

travel seriesToday I’m starting a new travel series here on Gadling. While Alex explores Far Europe, I’m checking out Near Europe. I’m spending the next ten days seeing the sights and sampling the cuisine of the Low Countries. My first stop is Antwerp, Belgium, and from there I’ll head to Amsterdam and the Hague in The Netherlands.

There’s a lot to explore and I have a full schedule. I’ll be seeing castles, a German bunker from World War Two, beautiful historic buildings and cutting-edge modern architecture, and oddball attractions such as Amsterdam’s Tattoo Museum and its collection of preserved human skin. I’ll also be striking out into the Dutch countryside.

I won’t forget the culinary side to my journey, a mixture of fine Belgian cuisine and down-home Dutch cooking. Belgium is famous for its chocolate, and I’m under strict instructions from my chocoholic wife and mother-in-law to make a thorough investigation. In Amsterdam I’ll sample some of Holland’s excellent cheese.

Sadly this journey will include only two out of the three Low Countries. I won’t have time for Luxembourg. Gadling blogger Andrew Evans has already walked across the country so I’m not sure how I’d top that anyway!

I’m writing this from the Hotel Julien in the heart of the historic downtown. After my first few hours in Antwerp and I must say I have a good first impression. Winding little streets pass by lovely old houses that look similar to Amsterdam canal houses but with a bit of their own style. In one little square I found the beautiful 17th century church of Saint Carolus Borromeus with some elegant woodwork as you see here. After that I walked around the shopping district along and around Koepoort Straat, with an eclectic mix of antique shops, bookshops, metalhead music stores, and vintage clothing stores. Stay tuned tomorrow for a more detailed overview of the important and fascinating city.

This trip was partially funded by Tourism Antwerp and Cool Capitals. All opinions, however, are my own.

Scratch and sniff cannabis cards distributed by Dutch police

The new government of The Netherlands has been cracking down on marijuana-serving coffee shops lately, and now it’s setting its sights on marijuana cultivation.

Police are distributing 30,000 scratch and sniff cards to homes in Rotterdam and The Hague to help people identify the smell of cannabis. That’s right, many Dutch people apparently don’t know what pot smells like. Just because something’s decriminalized doesn’t mean everyone does it.

While possession of up to five grams of pot and the cultivation of up to five plants is decriminalized, large-scale growing is illegal and authorities consider it a problem. The cops are hoping people will scratch the cards, take a good whiff, and then sniff around near their neighbors’ backyards and narc on them if they turn out to be growing something they shouldn’t be.

The cards also ask citizens to be vigilant in noticing if their neighbors keep their blinds closed, have ventilators running all the time, or use a lot of electricity.

This latest move appears to be attacking coffee shops from another direction. While some localities are closing shops down or making them members-only to keep out the tourists, the authorities recognize that illegal farms (up to 40,000 in the entire country, they estimate) are needed to supply the shops with weed.

[Photo courtesy user Bastique via Wikimedia Commons]

The most beautiful Pizza Hut in the world

Pizza Hut in The Hague
Is it a shame, or is it fantastic? Rather than tear down a former royal building in The Netherlands’ historic Den Haag (The Hague), it’s been turned into a Pizza Hut. What do you think about that, National Trust for Historic Preservation? Taco Bell at Hemingway’s house in Key West anyone?

Seriously, this Pizza Hut maintains the ornate, gorgeous, original mid-18th century ceiling of what used to be the Grand Salon, and is decorated with appropriately decadent chandeliers. There’s a lovely fireplace, classy dark wood fixtures, and well … I have no qualms calling it the most beautiful Pizza Hut in the world. I encourage you to try and find a lovelier one. Queen Wilhemlina’s treasury was once here, for Pete’s sake.

At the end of the day, though, it’s still Pizza Hut. Check out the photos below for a tour of this anachronistic, WTF wonder. If you weren’t thinking of heading to The Hague, which is just 45 minutes from Amsterdam, perhaps this will change your mind — and if you’re into the chandeliers, check out the ones in The Hague’s Escher Museum here on Luxist.

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This trip was paid for by the Netherlands Board of Tourism, but the ideas and opinions expressed in the article above are 100% my own.

Is 13-year-old Dutch girl too young to sail solo around the world?

Let me think. What was on my mind at age 13? Homework and boys and fitting in at school, probably.

Laura Dekker, a 13-year-old in the Netherlands, has bigger fish to fry. She wants to take on the world. In a sailboat. By herself.

She has her parents’ permission. Now she just needs the Dutch government’s.

The Dutch Council for Child Protection is in the process of asking for temporary custody of Laura to stop the trip, since her parents won’t. They’re concerned that this goal comes less from Laura’s own drive, and more from the need to please her divorced parents–especially her father, who is an expert sailor and the parent with whom she lives. The decision will be made on Friday by the Utrecht District Court.

I’m a bit torn. I’m so impressed by her adventurous spirit and want to cheer her on. But at the same time, I’m worried for her safety. At what age would it be okay for her to go? I’d be happier if she had an adult with her, but, of course, that defeats the purpose of a solo trip.

But if anyone has the background for a trip like this, Laura does. She spent her first four years on the ocean because her parents were on an around-the-world sail. She’s been sailing solo since she was six, and dreaming of her own around-the-world trip since she was ten.

If she wins her court case on Friday, Laura would start her two-year trip in September.