Lowlands Tours Blog

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This week I got my 50 Tripadvisor Review. I would like to thank all my travelers and reviewers by choosing me a your local guide in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and occasionally in other countries: Belgium, Germany and Portugal. All reviews are excellent which makes me happy and proud!!!

 

It all started in 2004 when I decided to start working as a tourist guide. I occasionally directed tours in Amsterdam already as you get a lot of visitors the moment you find a beautful apartment in the heart of this small cosmopolitan city. I was already working as a volunteer for the Amsterdam Tourist Police which I combined in the first years of my tourist guide career.

 

Many of my guests wanted to visit the Rijksmuseum, which was being renovated at that moment. So, we saw the special exhibition called the Masterpieces. Also, I directed a lot of private walking tours in Amsterdam and other Dutch places like Haarlem, Leiden, the Zaanse Schans Windmill Park, Volendam, Edam, Monnickendam (a hidden gem), the Hague, Delft, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Gouda and probably a few other towns as well. A lot of helpful colleagues which became friends gave me useful advice, thank you all for this! Meanwhile I studied a lot and added the van Gogh museum to my art knowledge, shortly followed by the Maritime Museum and the van Loon Mansion as well. I love to study and discovered a lot of connections between the countries of origin of my guests and the Netherlands. The Dutch explorers in the East Coast of the United States of America, The Dutch discoverers in Australia and New Zealand, the East- and West Indian company and so much more.

in 2008 and 2009 I was given the opportunity to work as a Cruise Director in Portugal on the Douro river for an American river cruise company. A two year intermezzo which was a wonderful experience where I learned a lot about a beautiful country with warm and proud people.

 

In 2010 I came back to Amsterdam, the Netherlands and continued to work as a tourist guide. Many new customers came and I was able to find more and more guests which were looking for a private tour guide. So, step by step I focused more on this market and less of the work as a local guide for river and ocean cruise guests who had their own included program. More and more customers were able to book me directly, due to my new website and company name Lowlands Tours. Private Rijksmuseum Tours, Amsterdam walking tours, Van Gogh private tours and many private tours in Amsterdam and the Netherlands made many guests happy.

Now, in 2019 I only do private guided tours in the Netherlands. Feel free to contact me for any assistance for your private visit to the Netherlands!

 

Today, I had another private tour in the Rijksmuseum. The guests and I met in a boutique hotel downtown Amsterdam and we traveled with the comfortable streetcar which is called tram by the Dutch. Using the fast lane entrance we were amongst the first visitors of Rembrandt’s impressive Nightwatch. This massive group portraits shows 22 members of a militia preparing for battle. I explained the idea of Rembrandt’s chiaroscuro and the revolutionary composition of this group portrait.

We also were able to see other masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age. A highlight was the serene Kitchen Maid from Johannes Vermeer which we enjoyed before the big crowds had the chance to restrict our view. This great artist paints a few elements to the uppermost detail. The Kitchen Maid explains about the Calvinistic virtues in a daily life setting. My guests also enjoyed the Street of Vermeer and the Woman reading a letter before we went to see some portraits of Frans Hals. This artist from Haarlem had the ability to paint his clients in a totally natural way. The merry drinker and also the Marriage Portrait of Isaac Massa and Beatrice van der Laan are the most famous Hals’ paintings in the Rijksmuseum. The guests were amazed to hear the etymology of the word  ‘honeymoon’.

Also, we related the historical objects from the Dutch Golden Age with other countries in the same era. We saw paintings related the early days of New York, when the Dutch bought the island of Manahata for 60 guilders from the native Americans and called it New Amsterdam. We saw objects of Dutch explorers in the Arctic, Australia and former colonies like Indonesia and Ceylon.

My guests enjoyed as well the so called genre painting. Everyday life scenes with symbolic messages hidden in the painting. One of the masters of genre painting is Jan Steen, who’s masterpiece the Feast of Saint Nicholas explains a Dutch tradition existing for ages. And yes, this is where Santa Claus found its origin.

The guests really enjoyed their private Rijksmuseum tour!

The houses of Amsterdam are built on a foundation consisting of wooden pilings. When does pilings start rotting, the house will start to lean. Nowadays, many foundations have been replaced by concrete pilings. However, it is not possible to make the house straight again. So as locals we are used to living in leaning buildings. The houses you see lean about 5 degrees. I am always surprised that the bricks do not crack. Apparently they are able to resettle without breaking. The guests on the private walking tour were amazed and noticed how many leaning buildings there are in the UNESCO World Heritage Canal District of Amsterdam. Actually, most of the buildings lean! After living here so long, I am also still surprised by this... 

A great private Rijksmuseum Tour in Amsterdam. This year, the Rijksmuseum organizes a special exhibition about Rembrandt, as he passed away in 1669, which is exactly 350 years ago. All the paintings, etches and drawings the Rijksmuseum possesses are in this special exhibition, except the world famous Nightwatch which is still on his original spot.

Great spring weather during an Amsterdam Walking Discovery Tour. The group of Portuguese students enjoyed the city of Amsterdam

An early morning stroll in Edam in great spring weather. Join me on a Countryside Tour using the public transport, it is a great way to  see the Netherlands.

You are looking at a floating house In the new Amsterdam neighborhood IJburg (yes, written with two capitals). This house is connected with rings to a foundation of concrete pilings. Join me on a tour Contemporary Amsterdam Architecture!

An early spring in Amsterdam. The birds are starting to sing, the days are getting longer, the sun is out for over a week and temperatures are rising. Great weather for sightseeing!

A private tour in Amsterdam in crisp but pleasant weather. There were originally around 10,000 windmills in the Netherlands, mainly for pumping the water. Today, around 900 windmills remain and the Dutch actually live in them. This is the windmill where Rembrandt used to come to paint and draw the Dutch countryside.

I am happy and proud with the restyled website of my small company Lowlands Tours. Thank you webdesigner David who prevented me from getting lost in the digital world. We added more pictures and more information about the private customizable tours I offer. I look forward to hear from you! Thank you, Roland