Travel Writer of the Decade award

Stuart Forster was presented with the Travel Writer of the Decade Award at the 2020 Netherlands Press Awards.

It’s always an honour to receive any award. To be named the Travel Writer of the Decade at the 2020 Netherlands Press Awards is particularly special. The award reflects several years of hard work, writing about a variety of aspects of the Netherlands.

Travel Writer of the Decade

The Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions has been holding annual awards in the United Kingdom for 10 years. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been named Journalist of the Year three times during that period.

My work on the Netherlands encompasses features about art and culture, food and drink (notably beer and brewing), innovation and business plus architecture. I’ve also written many travel features, travel round-ups and city guides. The Mail on Sunday, The Independent and Food and Travel magazine count among the titles that have published my features and guides about Dutch destinations.

You can also find blog posts about the Netherlands here on Go Eat Do.

The Netherlands Press Awards was previously known as the Holland Press Awards. The new name reflects the country’s change in policy regarding marketing.

Stuart Forster's Travel Writer of the Decade from the Netherlands Press Awards 2020
The Travel Writer of the Decade award from the 2020 Netherlands Press Awards.

Holland is part of the Netherlands

So, what’s the difference between Holland and the Netherlands?

North and South Holland are just two of the 12 provinces in the Netherlands. The likes of Friesland, Groningen and Utrecht are also Dutch provinces but not part of Holland, despite being in the Netherlands.

To some extent, you can compare this to the United Kingdom consisting of four nations: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Technically, it’s correct to say that people from Scotland also come from Great Britain or the United Kingdom. However, it would be incorrect or anyone to imply that Scotland is part of England. A Scot might take issue if it was suggested that they are from England rather than Britain or the UK.

The 2020 Netherlands Press Awards

This year’s awards ceremony was scheduled to be held at the Dutch ambassador’s residence at Exhibition Road in London on 24 March. Like so many gatherings of people, it was cancelled because of the threat posed by the coronavirus.

The ambassador, travel writers, journalists, employees of the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions plus people representing Dutch tourist attractions would have been at the event. It would have been lovely to have met but it’s clear that the decision to cancel the awards ceremony was wise.

I was informed that I’d been named Travel Writer of the Decade by email. In the days that followed I was sent a package with the award plaque plus some lovely prizes.

Virtual travel to the Netherlands

Meeting people and telling their stories is something that I’m missing (badly!) during the coronavirus lockdown. Unfortunately, it looks as if leisure travel will be impacted for some time. That said, I’m looking forward to travelling again, when it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, museums and tourism attractions in the Netherlands are doing a grand job of providing online travel inspiration. I guess we can use the lockdown period as an opportunity to undertake research and look forward to visiting attractions in the future. Here’s a an A to Z of reasons to visit the Netherlands.

Perhaps the lockdown will ensure all of us truly cherish opportunities to travel.

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I’m thankful for the journeys I’ve made to the Netherlands in recent years and for the Travel Writer of the Decade award. Here’s to staying safe and enjoying life’s special moments.

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