For Team USA’s Janneke Schopman and Tjerk Van Herwaarden, traveling to the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup in Holland is a homecoming. Schopman only recently moved to Pennsylvania, while Van Herwaarden has been in the U.S. for 9 years. During the globe’s most prestigious hockey event, the pair was excited to show the U.S. squad around their home country and to share with us a local’s view of the nation.
USA Field Hockey: What is a local’s must-do or must-see secret in or around The Hague/Holland?
JS: Madurodam, this is a great place for kids but also for grownups. A miniature Holland with all the famous places from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the rest of the Netherlands.
TV: In the Hague you should definitely visit Scheveningen to take a stroll on the beach or go to Madurodam, a miniature city which is a great place to visit with kids. If you are here during the World Cup, come to the stadium to experience firsthand the Dutch Hockey culture and excitement everyone has here for the game. Young and old, everyone will be part of this World Cup.
USA Field Hockey: What are you favorite Dutch food and suggestions on where to get it?
JS: Haring met uitjes, local fish to be bought in every fish stand in the street; it’s the season. Licorice available in every supermarket. Kroketten en bitterballen available in every snack bar, at hockey clubs or straight from a vending machine in the wall.
TV: Beside the treat, stroopwafel, which is caramel syrup between thin waffles. I would suggest for everyone to try Bitterballen, a dutch snack which is great in the afternoon.
USA Field Hockey: What's your favorite part of summer in the Netherlands?
JS: Long summer evenings eating on a terrace, probably in the month of August.
TV: The summer is a great time in Holland, lots of people will ride their bikes everywhere. The countryside is beautiful and there are lots of great little old towns to visit along the water. Although the beach is nice, the are a bit to crowded to enjoy.
USA Field Hockey: What are your feelings about being back in Holland during the world’s largest hockey event?
JS: For women's hockey it’s the best place to be, playing in either Argentina or Holland. To be able to play here for so many people is great. Also for me, it’s a nice way to be back in my home country and see family and friends. They are all supporting USA now, so we have many more fans!
TV: Very excited, in 1998 I watched every game of the World Cup in Utrecht and being back in my home country and to be part of the USA coaching staff is very special. Holland truly is the no.1. hockey country in the world and they will make sure this event will be an amazing experience for all teams and fans who come to watch the games. Being part of a major hockey event in Holland is a great experience but being part of a World Cup for both men and women is a unique and very special experience.
USA Field Hockey: What's one must-know Dutch phrase to learn and use when traveling through the Netherlands?
JS: Don’t know one, most people understand English here. But to thank people for their help you can say
TV: "Waar is het gezellig?" We are still searching for the right word to translate “gezellig” but it basically means that you are looking for a spot where you can have a great time!
USA Field Hockey: What's the top tourist spot to visit in The Hague/Holland?
JS: Paleis Noordeinde or Panorama van Mesdag. The first is one of the many palaces where our royalty lives. Our former Queen Beatrix used to and still lives in The Hague as now is our King Willem Alexander.Panorama Mesdag is a 360 degrees painting painted by Mesdag, capturing the city of Scheveningen. It is very beautiful, lit by daylight coming from the outside and it almost seems real. A must see!
TV: While in the Hague I would suggest to visit Delft, an old town with a beautiful old historic downtown area. To really get a view of the Netherlands you should visit the keukenhof but all flowers are in bloom in April so we are a bit too late. The Hague is a great city as well with lots of historic buildings, and the beach town of Scheveningen is great to visit on a beautiful day.
USA Field Hockey: What's one thing or place that best captures the essence of Holland in your eyes that you suggest people visit?
JS: Kinderdijk, you’ll see the Dutch windmills and scenery
TV: Amsterdam, a fantastic city, which gives you really a good sense of Holland, and you should go for a drive through the open farm lands, you will see how flat this country is.
USA Field Hockey: Give a little insight into the bike culture in Holland.
JS: In Holland it’s more common to have a bike than not to have a bike. I used my bike almost every day, just to go into town, go to the supermarket or for a little tour to relax.
TV: When we arrived to our practice venue in Delft the team could not get to the field because too many bikes were blocking the entrance (there must be a few hundred), so yes, it really is that popular. I used my bike all the time, go to school, go to the club for practice and to see friends or visit down town. There are special devices here to attached your field hockey stick to you bike so we have a biking culture.