Category Archives: Holland

LEFTOVER LOWLAND LANDSCAPES – my favourite shots

Behind the town of Zaandam is the area known as De Gouw, 'The Shire'. It's not large and there's not a lot there. I can see why shires appealed to J.R.R. Tolkien.

Behind the town of Zaandam is the area known as De Gouw, ‘The Shire’. It’s not large and there’s not a lot there. I can see why shires appealed to J.R.R.Tolkien.


We’re entering ‘Year in Review’ mode, so it’s time to publish photos that didn’t quite fit into any other stories.

Landscape photography suits me well. Unlike friends and relatives, birds and bikes, landscapes stay relatively still while you fiddle with the camera settings. I’m coming to appreciate Dutch scenery more and more. There are no spectacular snow-capped mountains, towering waterfalls or breathtaking desert canyons. Instead everything in little Nederland is on a small and manageable scale.

The English word ‘landscape’ is derived from the Dutch word ‘landschap’. Remember that! Now you can say you learned something by visiting this blog. Continue reading

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ONE AMSTERDAM CANAL – FIVE SHOTS

I was rather pleased with this early morning shot. It got me thinking about how our lovely canal changes according to the light.

I was rather pleased with this early morning shot.

The balcony is our favourite part of our apartment, overlooking the Schinkel, Amsterdam’s busy working canal.

Taking the photo above reminded me of how extraordinarily different the Schinkel looks depending on the time of day, the season, the activity and the light. Continue reading

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IS BLACK PIET STILL FUN?

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet. Photo: Wikicommons.

Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet. Photo: Wikicommons.

The Netherlands’ favourite topic of dinner party/water cooler conversation around December 5th is “Is Zwarte Piet racisme?” (Is Black Pete racism?)

It took me some time to make up my mind on this one. Continue reading

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AMSTERDAM AUTUMN – splashes of colour and colourful splashes

We'll be sorry to say 'Tot ziens'.

We’ll be sorry to say ‘Tot ziens’ to our Vondelpark.

We’re coming to the end of our European stay for the year. The days are getting shorter and chillier. Usually we’re well back in the swelter of a Sydney summer by now, so it’s been a bonus to be here to see the autumn in.

Amsterdam isn’t New England or Canada. There are few maple trees turning glorious red, so the prevailing autumn colours here are those of the elms, poplars and plane trees – yellow and brown, the prevailing Dutch drizzle soon turning fallen leaves to grey sludge on the paths.

But this year’s weather has been unusually mild, so taking the camera for a stroll through the Vondelpark is rewarded with a few colourful snaps… Continue reading

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SIX BEAUTIFUL BRIDGES – for bikes

Melkweg ('Milky Way') Bike and pedestrian bridge, Purmerend. Architects: Next. Photo: Velo City, published Prestel 2014.

Melkweg (‘Milky Way’) Bike and pedestrian bridge, Purmerend. Architects: Next. Photo: Velo City, published Prestel 2014.

I’ve been on a quest to find the best-looking examples of Dutch bike bridges.

My inspiration has been Gavin Blyth’s book Velo City, with its collection of great photos of impressive cycling infrastructure around the world, including the photo above of the bridge over the North Holland Canal. It was a thoughtful present from the Dutch children’s book SCBWI group – thanks!

Mr Blyth’s book concentrates on the newest and hippest. I like some of the old cycle path bridges too. I’ve been trying to do them justice with the camera. Continue reading

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THE SOLAR CYCLE PATH – one very dumb idea?

Krommenie's car-free cycle way, generating electricity. What's not to like?

Krommenie’s car-free cycle way, generating electricity whenever the sun shines. What’s not to like?

Am I in favour of cycleways? Absolutely! Do I applaud schemes to generate power from renewable energy sources? Who wouldn’t?(apart from our peculiarly short-sighted and shamefully irresponsible Australian government)

So laying a bike path that generates electricity through solar cells embedded in its surface should be a brilliant win-win. I’ve now pedalled across the 70 metres of experimental ‘solar road’, opened last week to some fanfare at Krommenie, a Dutch village north west of Amsterdam. I’ve also done some reading.

Sorry, but it strikes me as a very silly project. Continue reading

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RIDING NORTH – from Amsterdam to Hoorn

A car-free road, a sunny day and a tailwind!

A car-free road, a sunny day and a tailwind!


A cool but fine autumn day. Indian summer in Nederland. Surely it can’t last much longer. Must make the most of it. Drop everything. Get out on the bike.

There’s a stiff southerly blowing, adding a wind chill factor to the 10 degree temperature. I decide to ride with it for once, heading north out of Amsterdam, without any particular destination in mind. It doesn’t matter. This is classic North Holland countryside; fields cut by drainage canals, flocks of geese and families of swans, sheep and cows grazing…and a few one-off surprises. Continue reading

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