Europe The Netherlands

Amsterdam Travelogue: the one day experience

I found my way back to Amsterdam! I had the most amazing experience, a day full of favourite spots – which I’m about to share with you!

After we dropped our luggage at the hotel we went for a stroll towards the Nassaukade. This is one of the locations where you can rent a Mokumboat! We started from the Singelgracht & sailed our boat over the Amsterdam canals. I had never seen Amsterdam from its canals before, and it is so lovely. When in Amsterdam, make sure you’ll discover it from this point of view.

In case you have missed it, my motto is ‘Celebrate Life!’ – our day in Amsterdam was no exception. Somewhere sailing the Jordaan we had a marvelous lunch & popped a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut . Could this day get any better?

📸 by Niekartistiek

How about yup. After cruising the Amstel, IJ & many more canals (all while pointing out famous Amsterdam buildings) our first stop was at the W Lounge . In the W Hotel Amsterdam on its penthouse floor you’ll be sure to have a stunning view of the city as well.

After drinking one glass of wine we continued discovering the city by foot. We stumbled upon this amazing record shop Maxwell Records. I couldn’t be more delighted, combining this city trip with my vinyl records obsession. Win!

One of my absolute favorite spots of this day was at the Hoxton. How couldn’t it be? The whole vibe is such a relieve, so cozy and – frankly speaking – a hipster paradise. I beg your pardon, but I’m kind of a sucker for that sort of vibe. We ordered one of our favorite Dutch treats – bitterballen – & a burger slider with a bottle of wine. This place gave us the opportunity to lean back while we enjoyed our beverages & had some really good conversations.

📸 by Niekartistiek
Hoxton – Bitterballen & Slider

More walking through the city and gazing upon great historical buildings we decided we still had room left for dinner – I know, how? De Hallen is just the foodie hotspot to go. It is quite unique for Amsterdam, an international indoor food market, often referred to as the ‘Foodhallen’. We wandered around in this loft-like space where there are so many options. It is the best way to discover the very best of Amsterdam’s culinary scene.

We chose a burger from The Butcher – which was so extremely good. You eat while sitting at shared tables – I’m in love with this concept! People from all over the world come here – tourists & locals – to enjoy these bites & discover new things.

📸 by Niekartistiek

After so many consumptions I was glad we took a twilight stroll. We walked through the Vondelpark and enjoyed the sound of the city that was slowly waking up for the night to begin.

Since we were in Amsterdam for just one day we really wanted to live it to the fullest. Our day wasn’t over yet. We went to the Conservatorium Hotel where we enjoyed a G&T – that was so delicious. Let me rephrase that, it is definitely the best Gin & tonic I’ve had so far! I had the Monkey 47 with blackberries and oh my it was so good. The venue is an eye-catcher as well. Violins dangling from the air & all these odd artifacts are displayed around you.

The last walk we took brought us to the Bilderberg Jan Luyken Hotel where we stayed the night. Since we could walk from here to all the spots we’ve seen that day, it definitely has a perfect location. The staff is great, very friendly and funny – had some great convo’s during a “Dark ‘n Stormy” cocktail at their bar. Afterwards a midnight spa session to really relax after this day of discovering and seeing new places.

What I loved most about the hotel is its building. Typical Dutch & when in Amsterdam a total must to stay at a place like this. You can tell it used to be 3 different houses that are now connected. The old stairs & interior are hinting ages back – which gives it a very delicate, graceful but mostly stunning vibe.

I wished I could have stayed longer – Amsterdam has so much more to offer & discover! But waking up the next day & flying back to the Caribbean ain’t that bad either.

📸 by Niekartistiek


Art Europe Singer & Songwriter The Netherlands

From beer(s) to performance

Ready to serve Rock ‘n Roll​

I am in love with the power of music. This experience has been the kick-off of my performing adventures as a – although I did a cover – Singer&Songwriter. Jep, this is a story of my very first unscheduled live performance. EVER.

A crazy night of celebration was what brought us one of the best nights I’ve had so far in Nijmegen (The Netherlands). It started with a great pubcrawl, we had laughs, stories and a lot of “Cheers!” through the whole night. We ended up at this wonderful Rock ‘n Roll bar Dollars. It was crowded, but in the right way.

The live music was terrifically awesome. Some very good choirs (even one from Harvard, you should google them, the Harvard Krokodiloes , Harvards oldes A Capella singing group) and some performances which I really wished to be on my Spotify playlist. Was standing in the front row and had a little chat with one of the singers. Told her I play guitar once in a while and did a little singing. After encouraging peptalks (and lots of beers!) later, I found the courage to answer the one question she asked on stage: “Nikky, would you like to perform on stage?!”

1492512_649748721749877_1193885279_oThe crowd was yelling, calling my name, and before I even could consider if it even was a good idea (that probably was the beer doing its job) I stepped on stage. This spontaneous action consisted: a random guitar in my hands and go with the flow! It was pretty amazing and definitely awesome to do.

Sang some Norah Jones and Oasis, and the crowd loved it. It gave me the most epic feeling in the world, and an even better feeling afterwards, when some random people said some really nice things about me and what I just did.

Had an incredible experience and an unforgettable night. Reliving this night has already put a smile on my face again. This experience is what made me pursue more of my music dreams, and even got me to perform more often while I was still in The Netherlands.

Every dream starts somewhere.

Europe The Netherlands Travel

Travel & War

Why I love to travel by train


He was helping his father in the music company where he liked to write down the music. How suddenly the sound of flying planes arrived and how quickly he’d to run away, out of the shop. How his dad asked him to stay in the bombshelter. But how curious he was and how excited about seeing the planes. He saw the bomb and its destruction which wiped out the whole music shop. Nothing was left of it. He was a lucky guy, cause he survived.

He stopped for a little while before he continued. He told me about his ride to school, on his bike. How one day changed it all. He heard screaming, shouting. Again his curiosity brought him in a difficult situation. A hard one. He went toward the yelling sound, but before he could see what it was about, he was pulled of his bike. The German soldier put him in a line, with about 15 other man. They had to stand side by side with their backs against the wall. He was surrounded by German soldiers, with their rifles in their hands. He said he couldn’t remember being ever that scared.

The man next to him whispered: “This is bad, this is really bad”. He must have looked really scared, cause one of the soldiers grabbed him. He started yelling at him: “Weg! Weg! Zur Schule!!” and after a pat on the head and a hard push he let him go. He run and run and kept running towards his bike, and the moment he turned around, he saw all the man in line getting killed with loud shattering shots.

Later he learned that the man who had grabbed him out of the line was no other than the highest German officer in his hometown. He was told that the German officer has been attacked at a bar, but wasn’t harmed. Out of pure anger and revenge the German soldiers had gathered all the innocent men they could find and killed them in that specific line.

I noticed that his bright blue eyes turned wet. He added, he still doesn’t know how to feel. Should he feel anger and hate against the officer, for killing all these innocent men? Whether he was grateful, that he is still alive?

97a6vI was speechless. And when the train stopped, it was hard to say goodbye to this kind man, even though I just met him half an hour ago. Strange isn’t it, how a stranger becomes so much more in just a couple of minutes. How a passenger can open your eyes, and not only let you look, but allows you to see.

Even if there are some question marks left, you can still enjoy life and make the best of it. Not everything is good or bad. Right or wrong. Black or white. Sometimes its just the big gray mess in between.