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This post is dedicated to my lovely new Dutch friends. There were actually Maxwell’s friends before, but now I have claimed them as my own….
Our travel-rich month of May began with the wedding of two of my beloved’s friends…
Maxwell has a bit of a thing for 2CV’s, way back before me, he used to travel to far off countries, head to to field, meet up with other people who have a thing for 2CV’s and they’d all get drunk and party…
It was on one of these occasions that he first met the now married Mr & Mrs Berghout, Merel and Marcel, or M&M. Fast forward 8 years and we were invited to celebrate their special day with them.
We travelled to Amsterdam then hopped in our shiny hire car and braved the terrifying dutch road system to somehow find our airbnb home. Tucked away in one of the many harbour fronts our first night was spent with a makeshift dinner and collapsing into bed.
Our first full day in Rotterdam was the wedding day, we dressed in our finery and with the help of the sat nav found the beautiful ceremony venue. The Belvédère Verhalenhuis or ‘Story House”, is a beautiful historic building which oozed charm and vintage beauty from every mismatched piece of crockery or original bit of decor. The building, which was built in 1884 has had many guises in it’s long life, from a simple cafe, to a jazz bar, a nightclub and most famously home to Rotterdam artist Elenbaas, who along with his Jewish wife, the photographer Esther Hartog, helped hide Jewish children during the war. Under it’s current title the Belvédère is a venue to hire with a museum on the second floor.
The venue and all it’s laid back charm set the tone for the day and what was a beautiful, relaxed and simple day full of love and beauty.
The bride and groom arrived (of course) in a Citroen Traction Avant, the ceremony itself and the charming man who conducted it was equally relaxed and personal, even with the language barrier the fact that the audience were spoken to and the informal feel was a refreshing twist to the traditional stuffy British customs.
After the bride and groom said their ‘I do’s’ there was cake, there was fresh mint tea, a quaint lunch, a magic show then everyone went their separate ways. This unusual custom allows the bride and groom time to enjoy a much more intimate lunch with just immediate family and encourages the rest of the guests to make their own fun in the interlude.
Lucky for us we had Maxwell’s other friend, the lovely Pieter to play host/tour-guide to us and he showed us round the new city. This was my first visit to Rotterdam, and comparing it to Amsterdam I was surprised at just how ‘new’ the city was. After being heavily bombed during the war few historical buildings remain and Pieter showed us the old, the new and everything in between.
After a lunch and few glasses of wine in the sunshine we rejoined the newlyweds for the second part of the wedding. A stark contrast to the ceremony venue, the reception was held in an ultra modern harbour front industrial unit. This contrast of venues was no accident, but played up the grooms architectural career and showcased the variety and best of what the city has to offer.
The evening was spent dancing away and enjoying the free bar (another welcome dutch custom) The band were sensational, there’s no other word for it. Liptease (who coincidently came second in the recent series of Holland’s Got Talent) are a six piece retro band, with 3 female singers and a 3-piece all male band. Think pin up girls and rockabilly boys, this group were amazing and had the who party dancing the night away from beginning to end.
In the wee hours we left the party, favours of M&M’s in hand and headed home, a little tipsy but happy….
I’ll do another post on the rest of our Dutch experience….