Netherlands & Holland Reads
Reading list inspiration for travel
Books & eBooks
- A Worldly Art: The Dutch Republic, 1585-1718View on Amazon Newly independent in 1585, the increasingly prosperous and politically powerful Dutch Republic became an artistic powerhouse. The author provides a full account of Dutch artists and patrons; artistic themes and techniques; and the political and social context. By Mariët Westermann.
- Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal CityView on Amazon From the building of its first canals in the 1300s, through the brutal struggle for Dutch independence and its golden age as the capital of a vast empire, to its complex present in which its cherished ideals of liberalism are under siege, the author provides an ever-surprising, intellectually entertaining story of Amsterdam. By Russell Shorto.
- Girl with a Pearl EarringView on Amazon A richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of the most celebrated paintings by the 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. By Tracy Chevalier.
- Merchant KingsView on Amazon Examining the rise and fall of company rule in the centuries before colonialism, the author profiles the merchant-adventurers that led the Dutch East India Company, the Dutch West India Company, the British East India Company, the Russian-American Company, De Beers, and the Hudson’s Bay Company. By Stephen R Bown.
- The Dutch and their DeltaView on Amazon Dikes, polders, windmills and wooden shoes are well-known icons of this unusual below-sea-level nation, while its sturdy dams and storm surge barriers also enjoy world fame. But how does it all work? By Jacob Vossesstein.
- The Embarrassment of RichesView on Amazon Examining its art and literature, the author explores the mysterious contradictions of the 17th century Dutch nation that invented itself from the ground up, attained an unprecedented level of affluence and lived in constant dread of being corrupted by happiness. By Simon Schama.
- The UndutchablesView on Amazon A hilarious yet profound and revealing look at the Dutch, their customs and their mentality. This exquisite satire explores the most diverse aspects of daily Dutch life, from coffee to child rearing, from train travel to the toilet. By Colin White and Laurie Boucke.
- TulipomaniaView on Amazon The story of the world's most coveted flower and the extraordinary passions it aroused. By Mike Dash.
Articles & Academic Papers
- “A Mecca for Modernists”View on TheAtlantic.com The Netherlands is studded with twentieth-century architectural marvels. By Francine Russo.
- “Dutch Offer Preview of Net Neutrality”View on NYTimes.com Digital life has not changed all that much in the two years since the Netherlands started demanding that Internet providers treat all traffic equally. By Mark Scott.
- “My Kushy New Job”View on GQ.com With pot laws changing, we thought it'd be a good idea to send our weed-averse correspondent to see what life is really like in Amsterdam, the world's cannabis capital. By Wells Tower.
- “New Amsterdam”View on NewYorker.com The city remakes its signature museum. By Peter Schjeldahl.
- “Reverse-Engineering a Genius”View on VanityFair.com How did Vermeer create his photo-realistic paintings in the 1600s? By Kurt Andersen.
- “Selfie with ‘Sunflowers'”View on London Review of Books website No one did colour more blatantly and more unexpectedly than Van Gogh. Its blatancy gives his pictures their roaring charm (includes podcast). By Julian Barnes.
- “The Age of Rembrandt”View on MetMuseum.org This catalog reviews the Met Museum's extensive collection of Dutch paintings in the world, dating from 1600-1800. By Esmé Quobach.
- “The Ghosts of Amsterdam”View on NYTimes.com Walks in the city can evoke figures from the past, from Rembrandt to Anne Frank, who continue to have profound stories to tell. By Russell Shorto.
- “Water Management in the Netherlands”View on rijkswaterstaat.nl A comprehensive review of the country's water management system, put together by the Rijkswaterstaat.
- “Why is Cycling So Popular in the Netherlands?”View on bbc.com There are more bicycles than residents in The Netherlands and in cities like Amsterdam and The Hague up to 70% of all journeys are made by bike. By Anna Holligan.
- “World of Faces”View on the London Review of Books website An insightful, probing look at what makes Rembrandt's portraits so penetrating. By TJ Clark.
Online Sources & Blogs
- Rijksmuseum| RembrandtVisit rijksmuseum.nl Amsterdam's premier museum has digitized over 200,000 works of art, allow you to download them all and zoom in close to catch all of the details. Check out the museum's collection of Rembrandts.
- Trade in the NetherlandsVisit atlas.media.mit.edu Excellent, highly-graphical summary of the country's exports and imports.
- World Bank | NetherlandsVisit worldbank.org A great resource for the country's quality of living indicators, economy and climate change data.
- Going Dutch, Part 1: Exploring Paintings from the NetherlandsListen on soundcloud.com Arthur K Wheelock Jr, curator of northern baroque paintings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, explains what makes Dutch paintings unique.
- Louis DavidsListen to our Spotify playlist Listen to Louis Davids (1883-1939), one of the most famous Dutch musicians, known for his levenslied, ballad-like "life songs."
- The Dutch East India CompanyListen on soundcloud Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC, known in English as the Dutch East India Company. The VOC dominated the spice trade between Asia and Europe for two hundred years and, at its peak, had a virtual monopoly on nutmeg, mace, cloves and cinnamon.
- The Sounds of Holland | LevensliedListen to the Spotify playlist Listen to a personal collection of Holland's traditional music, Levenslied, compiled by Trip Reads founder Jennifer Raezer. The perfect pre-trip soundtrack.
- Yale Lecture: The Canals of the Dutch RepublicListen on oyc.yale.com Listen (and watch) Professor John Merriman explain the nature of the Dutch state built around sea trade (1648-1945). Jump to Chapter 4 using menu on the right.
- Amsterdam Global VillageView on Amazon A powerful four-hour documentary by the revered Amsterdam-based filmmaker-artist, revealing the heart and soul of the residents of this great city. Directed by Johan Van Der Keuken.
- Antonia’s LineView on Amazon Winner of the 1995 Academy Award for best foreign language film, it tells the story of a woman who return re-learn and re-shape the the place of her birth — a small Dutch village — at the end of WWII. Directed by Marleen Gorris.
Just for Kids
- 20 Ways to Draw a TulipView on Amazon Inspiring sketchbook, designed to offer artists, designers, and doodlers a fun and sophisticated collection of illustration fun. Each spread features 20 inspiring illustrated examples of 45 themes–tulips, roses, dahlias, and much more. By Lisa Congdon.
- Hans Brinker, or The Silver SkatesView on Amazon Set against a backdrop of frozen canals in a little Dutch village, Hans Brinker and his sister Gretel, with their hand-carved wooden skates, compete against their well-trained young friends who own fine steel blades. By Mary Mapes Dodge.
- Vincent’s ColorsView on Amazon Vincent van Gogh is one of the world's most famous artists. Throughout his life, he wrote to his younger brother, Theo, about his colorful, dynamic paintings. This book pairs the artist's paintings with his own words. By Vincent Van Gogh and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Who to Follow
- Twitter: Alex Drace-FrancisFollow @AlexDrace Associate Professor, European cultural & literary history, @UvA_Amsterdam. History, literature, translation, travel.
- Twitter: Dutch Culture USAFollow @DutchCultureUSA Featuring and announcing Dutch art and culture across the U.S. Provided by the Press & Cultural Department of the Netherlands Consulate in New York.
- Twitter: Overdose.amFollow @overdoseam Cultural magazine about Amsterdam. We will guide you through an overdose of information, inspiration and entertainment.
- Twitter: Visit HollandFollow @visitholland Your official source for tips and suggestions to make sure you have the best time in Holland!