A small voyage of discoveries

Excursions to the world nearby: an eye for architecture, art and interesting details in our daily surroundings.

On my walking and bicycle tours, I like to show people how easy it is to make small discoveries in our daily surroundings. My motto is: there is a lot to see and to enjoy when you are on your way from A to B, if you have an eye for detail.

My focus is on architecture from the period between (roughly) 1850 and 1950. In this period cities in Holland started to expand rapidly, and this brought along various new styles of architecture and art. Artists and craftsmen produced beautiful ornamentations like stained glass, woodwork, masonry, sculptures, arts and crafts-decorations etc. In the beginning of the 20th century, revolutionary modern styles of architecture started to develop, both in Holland and in other countries. Several Dutch architects played a leading role in this development.

Although not an architect myself, I have always had a special interest in architecture. In recent years I have been co-operating on a booklet called “Struinen door het Statenkwartier”. In this neighbourhood, the Statenkwartier, I have also organised a stained glass event (twice), and many other walking tours (both in Dutch and English).

Most of my tours are guided in Dutch, but this summer I have scheduled the following tours also in English:

And of course I’ll be happy to guide any tour from my portfolio in English on request. Just contact me, and we will discuss the possibilities. I have set the minimum number of participants for an excursion on 4. The maximum number is 15 (biketours) to 25 people (walking tours).

A walk takes about 1,5 hours, a bicycle tour takes about 3 hours (plus 1 hour lunchbreak). All my excursions start with a short introduction and coffee or tea (half an hour extra). The rate is € 17,50 p.p., including coffee or tea.

In my portfolio I now have the following walking and bicycle tours:

The Hague/Den Haag
– Statenkwartier
– Zeeheldenkwartier
– Benoordenhout
– Centre: shop architecture
– Centre: facade sculptures
– Berlage (bicycletour)
– Bridges & sculptures (bicycletour)

Utrecht
– Wilhelminapark and surroundings
-“Amsterdamse school” architecture

In the near future I hope to add other walking tours in The Hague, Utrecht and possibly some other Dutch cities.

Feedback

Caroline and I have been visiting in the Statenkwartier for nearly twenty years now and I always felt that the architecture was a bit unimaginative and repetitive. Boy, was I wrong! Thanks, Francis for opening our eyes to the subtle, but wonderful, variations in style throughout the area.

Gene Foley

Thanks for the excellent walk, Francis. I’ve lived in The Hague for quite a long time now but learned so much more about the architectural environment around me by taking your informative (and fun!) tour.

Helen Brady

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Francis for the lovely and lively walk through Statenkwartier. Francis is certainly one wealth of knowledge. With attention to detail, she could answer all the questions we asked. Her knowledgeable character kept us entertained with fascinating facts about a century old area we live in. Francis, overall this was a wonderful walk and I look forward to more such walks.

Tanaya Deshmukh

Francis is very knowledgeable about architecture.  She puts a lot of effort into her guiding and I found her tour of our neighborhood enjoyable and informative.  I would definitely join her again.

Jennifer Garman

Francis, our guide, took a very diverse group of people for an dynamic and  interesting afternoon walk, sharing a wealth of information with such ease, humour and zest. The language did not prevent her to engage nor did the diverse age, interests and cultural backgrounds present any barrier for her to deliver a very informative and yet friendly walk. A number of total strangers who equally enjoyed hearing about historical context of not only stained glass but architecture, historical and cultural trivia of The Netherlands and our neighbourhood. A positively enjoyable, informative and friendly afternoon that was catalysed by our guide Francis.

Edina