F1 2023 Insider's Guide No. 14 – Netherlands

24 Aug 23


F1 2023 Insider's Guide No. 14 – Netherlands

The Netherlands is notable for its design and industrial history, its architecture, nightlife and trade. Flowers, canals and windmills are the symbol of this friendly little nation.

The Dutch Grand Prix was just a footnote of history for a long time. There was no race between 1985 and 2021 but the quirky Zandvoort track returned to the Formula One® calendar last year - and F1 fans are glad this storied race is back. It’s a unique location in a small seaside town, with the tarmac running between windswept sand dunes and a Center Parcs holiday village next door. It will be no holiday for the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One® Team though, as it aims to score another strong finish among the sand dunes following F1®’s summer break.

What is the Netherlands' most impressive achievement?

The Delta Works – The Netherlands’ constant tussles with the water have shaped this sea-faring nation. The constant onslaught of the waves and the low-lying Dutch lands have done battle over the centuries and changed the country beyond recognition. New land has been created as marsh was drained, birthing these unique ‘polders’ where farms and even towns sit on what was once water. After the devastating North Sea Floods of the 1950s a series of massive dams, dykes, sluices and causeways were finally built along the western sea coasts to protect places just like Zandvoort from the onset of the waves and the results are remarkable. Don't miss a visit to these modern marvels of engineering.


Want to explore the most beautiful city in the country

Groningen – In the far north of the country, away from the tourist hordes, sits the city that connoisseurs of this little land know and love. Groningen is perfection. The cobbled streets lead over canals and into the main square with its church that survived extremely heavy fighting in World War II as Canadian troops pushed through to liberate the city and end the German occupation. Groningen is a university town with handsome colleges and many students riding their bikes between book shops and bars. The young demographic supports legendary music venues like Vera, which is one of the host spots for the annual Eurosonic festival. The city’s museum is one of the key post-modern architectural works in Europe: an absolute riot of colours, shapes and knowing references to the past that stuns you as you walk from the train station into town.

Where can you see the best interior design?

The Hoxton –The Hoxton has nailed the mix of modern and mid-century that makes you wonder on exactly what date the hotel opened; but elevates that timeless appeal. The aesthetic is carefree yet classy and will certainly impress for meetings, dinners, dates or whether you just want to surround yourself in quirky style (this is of course the chain that brought us the world’s smallest cinema in Williamsburg, where When Harry Met Sally is often on repeat at the two-seat auditorium). The Dutch design is from AIME Studio and local designers Nicemakers. The Herengracht Hotel is settling into itself as a destination in the centre of Amsterdam and the new addition Lloyd (which opens Aug 2nd 2023) will be bringing Hoxton style to Docks, taking over a 1920s building. The restaurants - Breman Brasserie in Lloyd and Lotti’s at Herengracht - are naturally easy on the eye too.

How can you discover the most surprising city in the Netherlands?

Eindhoven – From the history of St Catherine’s Church to the quirky 1966 science museum Evoluon built by Philips, who made the town a fortune, Eindhoven has plenty of surprises in store. One of its hippest hangouts at the moment is the Piet Ein Eek Hotel from the eponymous designer and set in a former electronics factory. Don’t miss the greenery of the pretty Stadswandelpark.


Where exudes class in Amsterdam?

Wintergarden, White Room, Tailor Bar – The ‘Kras’ is the grandest of old Amsterdam dames. A hotel for more than 155 years, The Anantara Krasnapolsky has been sitting pretty on Dam Square witnessing the ebbs and flows of Dutch history. And throughout that time it has been providing high quality hospitality to guests. Recently refurbished and looking splendid once more, its Wintergarden is a historic haven from the big city bustle. The Tailor Bar is the perfect place for refined pre-dinner drinks. And the White Room offers the finest of fine dining helmed by triple Michelin starred celebrity chef Jan Boerma.

Where can you find the coolest hang outs and most intriguing modern architecture?

Rotterdam – Swap touristy Amsterdam for the cool city of Rotterdam and you won’t regret it. This port town has sass, surprises and plenty of sights. The old dock buildings are fascinating in their own right but many have become arts and dining venues. There’s a bunch of new skyscrapers that dominate the city, helmed by DeRotterdam, designed by fabled Dutch modernist architect Rem Koolhaas. It contains, among other things, the city’s cool NHow Hotel and was, for a time, the largest building in the country. The 1977 yellow Cube Houses by Piet Blom are another quirky architectural sight. Rotterdam has tons of bars and restaurants and you can also check out the various eco projects that dot the city on bike trails - like floating parks and wooden bridges.


Where can you head after dark?

Super Lyan & Celia –The quirky bar at the Kimpton De Witt in Amsterdam is regarded as one of Europe’s best. Super Lyan comes from London’s negroni-slingers Mr Lyan and its 80s neon aesthetic even continues into the drinks. If you’re hungry, next door Celia offers a menu of modern Californian fare that feels straight out of Silverlake.


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