Dutch culture and heritage will be forever tied to London thanks to the reign of King William III, whom in the second half of the 17th Century became monarch of England, Scotland and Wales – first with his wife Queen Mary II and then (following her death) on his own. As such, the Kensington and Hampton Court Palaces – in which he either lived or with which he’s strongly associated – retain a particular appeal to many Dutch visitors to London.
And yet, there’s far more that’s ‘Orange’ about the UK capital than merely some of the Royal attractions; from pancakes to savoury treats, films to drinks, comedy to concerts and art to talks, London’s one of the best places to experience all things Dutch – outside of the Netherlands itself, of course…!
My Old Dutch
(131-132 High Holborn WC1V 6PS/ 221 King’s Road SW3 5EJ/ 16 Kensington Church Street W8 4EP)
Popular with all sundry, this pancake house chain has three outlets – in the Holborn, Chelsea and Kensington areas respectively – ensuring punters can get their crêpe fix right across the centre of town. Serving fantastic poffertjes, bitterballen and, yes, good old pancakes, of course; one visit to any one of them and within moments you’ll definitely feel gezellig!
The Dutch Centre
(7 Austin Friars EC2N 2HA)
Just round the corner from Liverpool Street Station in the heart of The City is the suitably cosmopolitan location for this supreme hub of Dutch goings on. Dedicated not just to bringing together those in the capital from the country in question but celebrating its culture too, it plays host year round to exhibitions, movies, music, comedy, plays, talks/ Q&As and much more besides. Indeed, if you’re staying at somewhere in The City (for instance, at London City Suites or the Montcalm Brewery Hotel on Chiswell Street London) then it’s an ideal, easy-to-reach venue.
(Broadway Shopping Centre West, Hammersmith Broadway W6 9YD/ Victoria Place Shopping Centre, 115 Buckingham Palace Road SW1W 9SJ/ Euston Station NW1 2DU)
Sort of the retail equivalent of The Dutch Centre, this is the place to head to for snacks, trinkets, homewares, stationery and, yes, gezelligheid – all with an irresistible Dutch twist. You’ve simply got to drop by the stores in Hammersmith, Victoria Station or Euston Station if you’re up for stocking up on ontbijtkoek, chocoladeletters and kletskoppen!
(11 Macclesfield Street W1D 5BW)
A Netherlands-themed nightlife hot-spot right in the heart of the West End, De Hems may look like an old-fashioned British pub, but don’t be deceived; it has a plethora of Dutch and Belgian beers on tap, friendly staff, a fantastic atmosphere and even party nights when the jukebox cranks out some great Dutch music. Definitely the place to go to celebrate King’s Day (April 27th) – if you can’t make it to Amsterdam, of course. Hup! Hup!
(188 Eversholt Street NW1 1BJ)
If there’s one thing the Dutch are famous – and quite, frankly, well respected – for it’s their commitment to cycling. Well, what with the bike’s role in the transport make-up of London ever increasing nowadays (an admirable thing, to say the least), perhaps it should come as no surprise to discover this Dutch-derived bike shop in Camden. Not only is it the place to find a genuine cycle straight out of the Netherlands – but also a great place to shoot the breeze with expats from that part of the world.
National Gallery/ Tate Modern/ V&A/ Kensington Palace/ Kenwood House
Finally, there’s no getting away from it, over the centuries the Dutch have churned out some fabulous fine art – and some of its finest examples are to be found in the galleries of the UK capital. One of the greatest attractions of The National Gallery are its van Gogh works, while Kenwood House offers Rembrandt and Vermeer, there’s Mondrian to sample at the Tate Modern and Delft Blue porcelain and yards and yards of tapestries to discover at the V&A Museum. Talk about Dutch masters!