Last autumn, I bought a ticket for the blogger conference Traverse18, which took place in Rotterdam. When I saw a few months later that there was the Dutch Kizomba Festival in Tiel – not very far from Rotterdam – taking place exactly one week after the conference, I did not wait for long, but bought a full pass – a ticket that includes workshops, social dancing, and the parties.
As I said before, I was in Rotterdam. Since I didn’t plan long in advance, I decided to spend a few days in Utrecht after Traverse18. From there it was only 40 minutes with the sprinter to Tiel. My recommendation is to get there by train.
Tip: The OV Card costs 8 Euro, but you can use it with ALL public transport throughout Holland. You simply load money on it and can then check in at the means of transport (or at the entrance to the station). Do not forget to check out at the end, otherwise, the highest possible amount will be charged for the longest possible route. But that’s not all: Tickets are also cheaper with this card. So it’s worth it twice!
If you want to fly, Amsterdam airport is probably your best bet. But then it’s around 1.5 hours by train to get to Tiel.
You can also come by car. The hotel, where the Dutch Kizomba Festival took place, had enough free parking spaces and is very easy to reach from the motorway.
The festival took place at the Van der Valk Hotel. Most of the dancers I know had been accommodated in the hotel, so between the workshops or social events and the parties in the evening there was enough time for showering, dinner and getting changed. And if you skipped a workshop, there was also a little nap time.
The workshops took place between 12pm and 6pm. There were three rooms, one of which, however, was used for the socials. Room number 3 was unfortunately on the 2nd floors and pretty far away from the other two rooms, so that you could not always simply choose to go to another workshop.
I liked the Urban Kiz Workshop of Hugo and Marina the best. I participated as a leader and learned a lot. Hugo explains really well. I highly recommend going to a workshop with him. And if you’re a follower, you shouldn’t miss a dance at the party with him. He has a very gentle yet clear way of leading.
In general, the level of the workshops was very mixed. Some were incredibly good, others completely ignored the topic with teachers who didn’t speak English, or forgot the choreo.
Unfortunately, the parties took place in only one room, although both would have been available. One evening the wall between the two rooms was even opened so that it was bigger. Personally, I would have preferred two rooms with different styles. It’s always a pity when you’re in the flow and then the music style is radically changing. Once I waited a whole hour for “better music” (I know that is very subjective) and then went to bed disappointed. I know that it was similar to others and such a problem can be prevented quite easily with two rooms.
UPDATE: After publishing this post, the organizers reached out to me telling me that they will talk to the DJs next year to have the music more balanced.
Still, I like to remember the parties in Tiel. It was there that I had one of my most beautiful dances so far.
The Pool Party
The pool party was probably my personal highlight. The weather was fantastic, the music was great almost all the time and everyone was dancing in a good mood in their bikinis or shorts in bright sunshine. Some even danced in the pool, although – unlike you would expect from the word pool party – it was an indoor pool and you couldn’t really dance around the pool. But it was enough for a cooling break every now and then.
Some things could have been done a little better in my eyes, but all in all, it was worthwhile to go to Tiel. It was a nice festival with great dancers and loving people. I booked my pass for 2019 during the early bird phase. If you want to be there, too, just follow this link to get a discount with the code KIZZINGNOMAD: Dutch Kizomba Festival 2019 here I come!