You’ll be craving apple pie (appeltaart) long after you’ve returned home from studying abroad in Amsterdam. That’s because it’s not your grandmother’s apple pie (unless she’s Dutch of course). Same concept, but an entirely different experience. While American apple pie use a thin, rolled-out pastry crust on the top and bottom, Dutch apple pie features a crust made with eggs, butter, brown sugar, and flour, that resembles a cake more than a pie. Between that crust lies a delicious combination of apples, raisins, walnuts, lemon and orange zest, and an intricate combination of cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, coriander, and anise called speculasskruiden. Yum!
Nothing goes better with a slice of appeltaart than a koffie verkeerd. Literally translated as “wrong coffee,” koffie verkeerd is a hot drink composed of half milk and half coffee. (Traditional Dutch coffee contains a small dollop of milk, known as wolkje.) To make wrong coffee, milk is brought to a boil and poured on top of brewed or instant coffee. It’s enjoyed throughout the day in Amsterdam at local cafes.
Head to Zuid-Kennemerland National Park in Haarlem and discover flora and fauna that is unique even to the Netherlands. Spend a peaceful afternoon walking the shores of the North Sea, birdwatching for some of the 100 species, or strolling through preserves looking for Highland cattle, Shetland ponies, deer, hedgehogs, rabbits and fox. The park is just 40 minutes from Amsterdam via public train or bus and worth every minute of the journey.