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A Weekend in Rotterdam & Den Haag

What better weekend to plan a trip through Den Haag and Rotterdam with bikes than one with 35mph winds?

In December, one of my best friends (and now my new roomie) Kaiya and I all headed to Rotterdam for a gig at Anabel to see Skepta, and seeing as it was on a Saturday night, we decided to make a weekend out of the trip.

From my experience in The Netherlands, whether you're travelling 2 hours to Amsterdam or 2 hours and 40 minutes to Rotterdam from Groningen, you pay the same price and can make as many stops as you like along the way. Because of this, Kaiya and I decided to stop of in Den Haag (The Hague) along the way, seeing as neither of us had ever been to the city before. The weather was horrendous; strong winds and rain, which made exploring the city a bit more difficult than we'd planned, but we still got to check out a tasty vegetarian restaurant, some galleries, shops, and cafes.

Vegan Dutch Kapsalon and burgers

'Repairing Earthquake Project' by Nishiko

For this exhibition, Hague-based Japanese artist Nishiko collected what remained of objects left behind after the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami in March 2011. 'she repairs and reconstructs the battered objects with great care and tenderness. Their scars are visual reminders of the historical events'.

We also stumbled across the most tacky, wannabe-glamorous €1 shop you ever did see...

Also some interesting shops around the chinatown district...

Once we'd spent our day battling wind and rain in Den Haag, we made our way to Rotterdam; which instantly feels much more industrial and less quaint than other cities in The Netherlands such as Amsterdam, Groningen or Utrecht, because of the robust architecture.

On our first night staying in the city with Kaiya's friends from Australia, we went to a few bars to experience the Rotterdam night-life where we were joined by another friend from Groningen, Max. The venues appear cozy and unique with live DJ's. One thing I've never had to do before, though, is pay €2.50 to have access to the bathroom all night.

On Saturday, we spent the day exploring Rotterdam by bike, despite the horrendous winds and feeling like we were about to be blown off of the Erasmus bridge. During the day, we visited the Nederlands Fotomuseum, where credible photographic artwork from all over the world is showcased, including two of my teachers from Minerva: Andrea Stultiens and Rein Jele Terpstra. In the chinatown district, we enjoyed some incredible vegan and vegetarian Chinese food (I was too hungry to even think about taking a photo of it). We also visited the Rotterdam Markthal, a huge indoor food market, as well as the outdoor market that sold clothes, cheese, wine, handmade soaps, and so forth.

Rotterdam Markthal (copyright

Another friend, Ruairidh, joined us on the evening of saturday, and we then made our way to Anabel to see UK grime artist, Skepta. The gig itself was incredible; we got to see a few other artists such as Frisco and DJ Maximum and we had so much fun.

The following day, we were feeling a little worse for wear, so decided to return to the Markthal for some Lebanese street food, and eventually the famous Kunsthal gallery, where we got to see the photographic project 'Surf Tribe' by Stephan Vanfleteren, as well as an entire, multi-floor exhibition about kinetic art.

As an art and photography student, having the ability to so easily visit and access galleries such as Stroom, The Kunsthal, and especially the Nederlands Fotomuseum, is an incredible opportunity. The Netherlands is such an important country in Europe for art, - and particularly photography - so, being located here, with such easy, inexpensive access to around the country, is a blessing. Other events such as World Press Photo being directly in the city of Groningen, as well as Unseen in Amsterdam (blog post on the way) are fantastic aids for my artistic progress and career.

I'll finish with a photo of me in Rotterdam enjoying a very, very expensive beer....

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