If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I’m part of an online book club called ADM Global Reads For Grownups. Back in January, we read and discussed Olga Mecking’s book “Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing“. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Olga’s experiences of living in the Netherlands and what it means to do Niksen. In lieu of us all travelling overseas at again, I’ve invited Olga (writer, blogger, and translator), as well as, entrepreneurs, content creators and expats across the globe to tell us about where they live, when is the best time to visit and share their special place with us. I’m kicking off the series with Olga. In this interview Olga Mecking shares how the Coronavirus has impacted her life, what visitors should know before visiting the Netherlands and where her special place is.
About Olga Mecking
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a writer, blogger and translator, originally from Poland but now live in the Netherlands with my German husband and three multilingual and multicultural children. I have written for US and UK magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, The BBC, The Guardian and many others and my first book, “Niksen. Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing” is out in eight countries now, including the US where it has been published with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
How long have you been living in your town/city?
I have been living in The Hague, The Netherlands for 11 and a half years. Before that, I was living in Hamburg, Germany. And before that I spent a few months in Winnipeg, Canada. All those travels and adventures have been due to my husband’s work.
During this time of the Coronavirus, how have you been looking after our mental health?
If possible, I read, I write, I drink tea. I cook and I bake. We did a lot of fun baking projects during lockdown with the kids. I also did a lot of nothing because I live what I preach, lol. This, however, was much harder to do when schools were closed and that was very stressful. In fact, the only way I did nothing at that time was when I wasn’t able to do anything else because I was too exhausted from hours of distance learning.
How has the Coronavirus impacted the way you travel around your town/city?
First of all, I now take public transport much less often. I used to take a lot of busses/trams/trains before the pandemic and now, of course, that has become less safe so I avoid it if I can. However, I take more walks in the park and I ride my bike much more, especially as they’ve just built us a lovely cycling route. So, funnily enough lockdown made me move much more than ever before!
What visitors should know before visiting the Netherlands
What’s one thing people should know about your town/city before visiting?
The Hague is lovely but much less known than Amsterdam. When people visit, they usually go to the Mauritshuis to see the most famous paintings like The Girl with the Pearl Earring or the Mesdag Panorama or Madurodam and I think that’s a shame. Because The Hague also has 11 kilometers of coastline which means sandy beaches, a swim in the sea or a walk in the dunes (which are my favorite place here).
Because of the many international organizations, there are many expats living here but it’s not as crowded or loud as Amsterdam. From there, you can also get quickly to Delft, another beautiful city famous for its white-and-blue pottery. And the huge harbor of Rotterdam is also 15 minutes away by train. The Hague is not just pretty but it’s also a great place to live.
When is the best time to visit your town/city?
The Hague is interesting all year round but springtime or fall is probably the best time to visit: not to hot, not to cold, it’s not yet exactly season but the weather can already be quite good.
What is the biggest event on your town’s cultural calendar?
I would say probably Prinsjesdag, or Prince’s Day, schools in The Hague get a day off.
Olga’s Local Hidden Gem
Do you have a hidden gem or special place(s) in town/city? Where is it and why is it your favourite?
It’s the dunes in Duindorp or Kijkduin, you can go for a walk or cycle and admire the beautiful nature that changes all the time but is always pretty. It’s also not where tourists usually go.
I hope you enjoyed Olga’s interview as much as I did. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter . As mentioned earlier, Olga’s book “Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing” book is available on Amazon.
Have you ever been to The Netherlands? What was the highlight for you? What’s on your wanderlust list? Comment below, I would love to hear from you.
Finally, you can stay in the loop about the new series “My Special Place” by registering to the website, or visiting the blog’s travel page.