Firenze, Harry Potter's divination teacher poses for a photo for my walking tour on Edinburgh's Royal Mile

Ron's postal owl from Harry Potter

Holland, purveyors of the finest occult textbooks to Hogwarts

JK Rowling's Dutch Rapture

Ien van Laanen, who drew the book covers for Harry Potter in Holland, sent Rowling the originals. Rowling's reaction was: "How extremely nice! The Dutch editions I like the best, together with the Americans."

The Dutch book covers for Harry Potter pocket edition

For former teacher Rowling 'nice' is her barometer of civility, she once publicly chastised her agent Christopher Little over it.

Christopher, nettled by rejection, was on a rant shaming editors who'd rejected the Philosopher's Stone, the blow of turning down Harry Potter already wasn't the high point of their careers, so Rowling interceded "do you think that's nice? I don't think that's nice".

Harry Potter & the codex of Riemsdijk

The Hogwart's library has many occult books and the golden trio spend much time there, studying and sneaking. JK Rowling's says... I recall the beautiful image from CS Lewis where there are the pools, the ‘world between worlds’, and you can jump into the different pools to access the different worlds. That for me has always been a metaphor for a library. And that for me is what literature should be.

Madam Pince's library is an important backdrop for Harry when the mysteries thicken and the film makers needed to get the atmosphere right.

The German book cover for Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire

This prop, featured in the Hogwarts library scenes throughout the Harry Potter films was based on an 1881 Dutch book by J. C. M. van Riemsdijk chronicling the role of the city of Utrecht's music college on the development of Dutch music. It's indispensable to the rounded development of any modern witch or wizard.

Napoleon cast a shadow on Holland

There is great upset amongst passionate Dutch Potterheads that Rowling has forced Dutch witches and wizards to go to Beauxbâtons académie in the South of France, rather than Hogwarts.

Ron Weasley & Harry Potter fly to Hogwarts in the Chamber of Secrets
Harry sometimes found it hard to get to Hogwarts too

Alex, a Potterhead from Amsterdam, says:
"Of course it's not impossible for Dutchmen to learn French, just like it's not impossible for George W. Bush to convert to Islam.
Saying that in the wizard world, Dutchmen would gladly study in France (in whatever language) is kinda like saying that in the wizard world, Scottish wizards actually helped the English in conquering Scotland and form the United Kingdom. Possible, but very unlikely."

Under Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, France occupied the Netherlands, that friction continues today. Alex says they get stopped by French police simply for being Dutch. "French cops seem to be under the impression that every Dutch person always carries marijuana everywhere".

Well this is readily solved. The Beauxbatons Express, like the Hogwarts Express, would be concealed from the Muggle Police.

It's presumed they speak French at Beauxbâtons, which is reinforced by Fleur Delacour and her school's visit for the Triwizard tournament in the Goblet of Fire.

Fleur Delacour & Ron Weasley in Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire
Beauxbaton's Fleur Delacour bewitches Ron Weasley

In the eyes of Alex speaking French might be cultural conquest. But maybe they speak Esperanto? Or Mermish?

The Triwizard Tournament was first established some seven hundred years ago, as a friendly competition between the three largest European schools of wizardry – Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang.
Albus Dumbledore, Goblet of Fire

Maybe Holland has it's own small wizarding school, probably on a unplottable island; any Muggle who goes near it suddenly realises they have an important dentist's appointment. The Dutch have some very puzzled dentists.

The Great Dutch migration

When I'm blessed with Dutch Potterheads on my tours my impression is they're generous and worldly with generally excellent English. So it's fully possible that Dutch witches and wizards shun both Beauxbatons and the inward looking British Ministry of Magic's Hogwarts and sail to Ilvermorny in the US, for a more character rounding education.

Harry Potter flies his broomstick for the Quidditch house cup
Snitch Harry, Snitch! Gotta catch the Snitch! Former teacher Rowling loathes school-yard snitches

The Dutch were made liberal, tolerant and unprejudiced through trade. It's hard to farm the sinking Netherlands due to coastal flooding and capable as they are, Dutch witches and wizards still can't create food from nothing (Gamp's 3rd law); so the Netherland's has been trading and seafaring since the 14th century.

If Dutch students opt for Ilvermorny they may be alarmed by the bigoted anti-Muggle laws enacted by MACUSA - 'MAgical Congress of the United States of America'; but a Dutch presence would surely be a healthy influence on impressionable minds.


Despite JK's apparent Beauxbatons oversight, through her charity work, tweets, articles and art, Rowling is a liberal pin-up, the hero of the vulnerable, making the world a little kinder and nicer. I think it's fair to say she's probably, really, an imposter. Her passport's British but her soul's Dutch.

Fleur Delacour & Ron Weasley in Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire
Order of the Feniks Thestrals flying to the Department of Mysteries. Could they be any creepier?

If you thought this was nice, please consider my tour...

JK Rowling's Edinburgh

An exhaustive 4 plus hour old town walking tour on the inspirations for Harry Potter.

Aukje De Jong, Netherlands:
Thank you Sam, the google rating is made! I will do the tripadvisor rating while back home.

(I love kind visitors who do this for me, love love love!)

We enjoyed the tour so much! Today Pijka asked me what my favourite activity was this weekend and we both agreed on the tour you gave us. I didn't know much about J.K. Rowling, I just watched all the movies with my kids, but I appreciate Harry Potter and the stories a little more now.

Pijka, a young Dutch girl, gets sorted into a house on my Harry Potter tour
Pijka was excited to get the ravens armband, she said she is in Ravens always after filling in the online test.

Thank you very much!

Warm regards,
Pijka and Aukje

Book a Potter tour

Leuke jongen, weet heel veel achtergrond info over de boeken en films van Harry Potter en de schrijfster. Hij laat ook interessante bezienswaardigheden van Edinburgh zien met leuke creatieve verrassingen onderweg. Echt een aanrader!

Dutch head bangers

This video set Youtube's Potterdom ablaze...

London's Kings Cross Platform 9¾

Quite possibly the best thing to ever happen to a brick wall anywhere.

~ ½ DAY TOUR ~

Mount Your Broom!


NEW: Cycle tours of where JK Rowling has really lived with a sprinkle of Harry Potter inspirations.

The tall tenements & winding alleys of Edinburgh's medieval Old Town is Harry's nursery, but Rowling has written most & raised her kids in greater Edinburgh. This is a tour for Potter fans who want to see more. It touches on Rowling's struggles & triumphs, while the climbs reveal awe-inspiring panoramic city-scapes.


Harry Potter book covers by Ien van Laanen, commissioned by Dutch publisher De Harmonie.
Wonderful detailed painting of Fleur Delacour and besotted Ron by Skarlessa.

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