Meet the authors Saskia Naafs & Guido van Eijck in Holland

Saskia Naafs the author of Hidden Holland
Saskia Naafs & Guido van Eijck

Saskia and Guido are journalists and live in Rotterdam. They write for De Groene Amsterdammer and the Rotterdam online magazine Vers Beton among others. While writing Hidden Holland, they drew on their own experiences, travelling up and down the country. They were pleasantly surprised by hidden histories, architecture, culture, shops and the pubs, restaurants and hotels in all the twelve provinces of the Netherlands. They are also the authors of The 500 Hidden Secrets of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

street signs outside Bizarium
The Bizarium, museum of bizarre inventions

What Saskia & Guido love most about Holland

We knew that The Netherlands probably has one of the highest number of museums per square meter in the world. But still, we kept being surprised by the absolute abundance of museums in our country. What to think of the small village of Vledder (Drenthe), that has both a museum dedicated to art forgeries, as well as a museum holding the personal collection of marine artifacts brought together by explorer Jeanne Warners. Or a museum with inventions by famous and less well known inventors that were never built - until now - in south Zeeland. Or the beautiful Teylers in Haarlem, the oldest museum in the country. And what’s more, all these museums are run by an army of dedicated employees and volunteers that will tell you stories about the collection that you won’t read or hear anywhere else.

Another thing that’s striking about The Netherlands is that the country might be small, but that it has many different faces. The twelve provinces all have their own characteristics: Limburg’s beautiful hilly landscape, the woods and castles of Gelderland, the lively old fortified towns of North and South Holland, and the beautiful coastal landscape of Zeeland, to name but a few.

"The Netherlands might a be small country, but it has many different faces."

Saskia's perfect day in Holland might look like this

"I would wake up in Vijlen and enjoy the view of the rolling hills in this only ‘mountain village’ in The Netherlands. I would stop at the St. Martinus winery, and drive onto Maastricht where I would visit the Bonnefantenmuseum, eat a piece of pie (‘vlaai’ of course) at the Bisschopsmolen and walk it off in the mesmerising ENCI-groeve, a former limestone quarry next to the Pietersberg, the highest hill of The Netherlands. Then I would continue onto Heerlen, where I would marvel at the street art and visit an exhibition in Schunck. If there is time left I would definitely stop in Steyl, to visit the Mission museum, and then call it a day."

Guido van Eijck
Guido van Eijck

Guido's perfect day in Holland might look like this

"I would start the day in Franeker, Friesland, to visit Eise Eisinga’s planetarium: a marvelous construction by an eighteenth-century free-thinker. From there, I would travel to tiny Wiuwert, and have the volunteers tell me all about the mystery that lays hidden in the church’s crypt: four naturally preserved mummies. I would then cross the Afsluitdijk, a wonder of engineering and an icon of the Dutch way of ‘living with water’. Once in Noord-Holland, I would end the day in the quietude of Wieringen: a former island that feels like one the Waddeneilanden, but without the ferry crossing and the tourists."