ABOUT HIDDEN HOLLAND

Your go-to resource for planning a great trip to The Netherlands

Default Social Share Image Gerrit Amsterdam Background.
Hoi*, I’m Gerrit πŸ‘‹

HIDDEN HOLLAND’s MISSION

I started Hidden Holland to help travelers like you connect with the Netherlands.

I want you to avoid the usual tourist mistakes in Amsterdam and show you unique places inside the city and undiscovered places further away, charming medieval cities like Amersfoort or Deventer.

But also, in Amsterdam, there is a lot of beauty away from the crowds if you know where to look (and I do).

I’m committed to making your Netherlands vacation memorable.

I do this by:

Travel advice: I love writing blog articles about Dutch cities, areas, attractions, culture, and much more, like practical how-to-get-to guides. With many local tips added in (you know those things you only know when you live somewhere). I’ve been to most, if not all of these places and experienced them firsthand.

Vacation coaching: In my 1-1 video calls, I give travel tips based on your questions, interests, time, and budget. So we can together create the best possible itinerary for your trip.

Private tours: For a unique experience in the Netherlands, I offer the possibility to travel together to popular (and hidden) places in the Netherlands. I understand this service is not for everyone, but it is a unique opportunity to explore the country with a local.

MY STORY

From a Critical Health Scare to Celebrating the Charms of Holland

Late 2022 I found stuck in a hospital room, thinking, “Why not turn this into a little Christmas oasis? – I was determined to find joy in the most unlikely place. My life just came to a screeching halt. From working all waking hours of the day, to suddenly doing absolutely nothing, except making Santa Claus jealous.

This was the time when my Hidden Holland idea, this website, really took off. Because for a while all I could do was think. My body was exhausted and caved in. It was time for a change.

My story started in childhood when two things were certain – my entrepreneurial spirit and my love for travel.

My poor family had to buy handmade magazines from an 8-year-old – me – That I had put together to sell as a subscription.

And my grandmother’s adventurous spirit encouraged me to explore the Netherlands with her. I vividly remember seeing that map of the country at the Hague Central Station and being given free rein to pick the destination for the day. Magic.

From left to right: my grandmother, myself, my aunt, my mom, and my brother.
My grandmother is on the far left, with me right next to her – Β© Hidden Holland

Then, when I was a young teenager, I kept pushing my travel boundaries and ventured further each time.

At 17, I found myself in the USA all by myself, visiting a childhood PenPal friend. Yes, E-mail was not a thing then. Pen and paper and a dictionary, that was it.

Not much later, I lived half the year in Burbank, CA, for four years in a row. During the 6 months I was back in Holland, I would earn enough money to support my travels for the next 6 months, discovering the new world and learning proper English. It was that time America became my 2nd home and culture.

But as adulthood approached, so did the need for stability. I entered the corporate world and found a place to live with my amazing life partner for over 23 years now.

By accident started an e-commerce store 12 years, mainly to help out a friend, but it grew into something different. From an adorable baby, into a full-fledged business, not quite so adorable.

I loved the creative side of running a business though, to create, that was so much fun.

That’s when I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I wanted to create useful things for other people.

But this business was labor intensive, and not the best idea (in hindsight). Amidst all the busyness, another dream quietly took shape – a dream to share my love for the Netherlands as a beautiful travel destination beyond the clichΓ©s.

I took a leap of faith and launched Hidden Holland in 2019.

Not great timing.

At all.

I launched the website just months before the pandemic hit. Soon, the website was a ghost town, and my e-commerce stores were busier than ever.

Dream on hold.

Fast forward to winter 2022. The e-commerce business had put a higher demand on me than ever before when I lost a staff member and my better half encountered a serious work accident. After all that, my body just wasn’t able to keep up anymore, and days before Christmas I was in a hospital bed with a team of doctors next to me. That was surreal.

I was unsure if 2023 would still be on the horizon for me. And that brings us back to the start of this story. Here I was in my new function as Chief Christmas Lights, having suddenly nothing else to do.

My hospital stay gave me the much-needed pause to reassess, leading to two decisions: 1. Closing my e-commerce business and 2. Dedicating myself to Hidden Holland.

Now, I pour all my energy into Hidden Holland. I’m traveling across the country and experiencing attractions and destinations firsthand more than ever before, often together with Herman, making me feel like the luckiest guy alive.

I share these discoveries with you through this blog and personal video calls, which you can also book. I help people just like you improve their itineraries. My goal is that everybody gets the most authentic Dutch experience while here.

WHAT SETS ME APART

The Dutch are direct (more in my article, “Are the Dutch Rude“). Here I am also going to be for a moment:

I’m not your typical Amsterdam travel writer.

I don’t write for commercial intent alone. If advising you NOT to ride a bicycle in Amsterdam cost me affiliate commissions, so be it. (because you really shouldn’t. It’s dangerous). Also, I’m NOT your guy if you’re looking for partying tips, where to smoke, or red-light district guides.

And I get a rash seeing people on other sites promoting train tickets via Omio to get a commission while you have to pay more and get less. Just tap your contactless debit card, credit card, Apple Pay, or Google Wallet before entering the platform, and you’re good to go!

However, if you want to see the Netherlands from a local’s perspective, explore hidden gems, find true hot spots beyond the TikTok craze, capture postcard-perfect photos, and learn all about the rich culture of the Netherlands, then you’re in the right place. That’s what I’m all about.

Welcome to Hidden Holland. Let me help you explore the Netherlands like a local with authentic experiences.

CONNECT WITH ME

I hope my website is helping you while planning your vacation to the Netherlands. If you want to drop me a quick message, you can do so here. If you want more practical tips and inspiration for your vacation, join my e-mail list ⬇️

PS: If you ever get confused about my name (you might find Gerjo sometimes online besides Gerrit). My full birth first name is Gerrit Johannes. Combining those makes for a shorter Gerjo, which is what most people here call me and the name I use locally, but it is impossible to pronounce if you’re a foreigner. And that’s why using Gerrit is simpler and still very much my name πŸ€—.