Category Archives: Holland

EISE EISINGA’S INVENTION – a Friesian marvel

You may think this is just another old living room with a bed in a cupboard. You'd be wrong.

You may think this is just another 18th century room with a bed in a cupboard. You’d be wrong.

‘I know we’re a bit cramped for space, darling, what with the kids sleeping in a drawer under our bed, but I have a new hobby. I want to build a planetarium in our living room ceiling.’

Without the aid of a computer, electricity or an education past primary school level, Eise Eisinga did just that. It took him from 1774 till 1781 to build a wooden, clockwork-powered working model of the Solar System. It’s now World Heritage listed, and it’s easily the most extraordinary thing we’ve seen in Friesland, in the northern Netherlands. Continue reading

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ABOUT THESE UGLY, NOISY WINDMILLS…

A Dutch wind farm. 'Too noisy,' says Mr Abbott. He must have extremely acute hearing.

A Dutch wind farm. ‘Too noisy,’ says Mr Abbott, who must have extremely sensitive hearing.

Dear Mr Abbott (Prime Minister of Australia) and Mr Hockey (Australian Treasurer),

I’m following your pronouncements online while spending some time in Holland, and I understand that neither of you like windmills. They’re ‘visually appalling’ according to you, Mr Abbott, and ‘utterly offensive’ in your opinion, Mr Hockey.

I read that your government has gone so far as to order the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to cease funding new wind farms.

You may be surprised to hear that many people over this side of the world seem to enjoy them. Continue reading

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THE BIESBOSCH, HOLLAND – does this tale ring alarm bells?

Once upon a time, there was a place of fertile fields...

Once upon a time, there was a place of fertile fields…

Everybody knew the dykes were in poor repair. Extra taxes were raised to pay for urgent maintenance work.

But the dukes of Holland, the Hoeks and the Kabaljauws, were squabbling among themselves. They spent the tax money on weapons and armies and no doubt told their subjects it was essential for ‘security’. Fixing the dykes was important, just unaffordable right now. It could wait till the threat from the enemy subsided and the economy improved.

Then came St Elizabeth’s Night, November 19th, 1421. Continue reading

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FESTIVAL DER AA – Drente rocks!

Amarins. An eclectic collection of instruments, intelligent lyrics, engaging presentation.

Amarins. An eclectic collection of instruments, intelligent lyrics, engaging presentation.

This is the fifth edition of the annual arts festival in the nature area Drentsche Aa, in the northern Dutch province Drente.

It’s my first crack at photographing bands. Continue reading

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FOOD PHOTO TIPS – no, not from me, from a pro

Kyonne Leyser shows us how it's done.

Kyonne Leyser shows us how it’s done.

Put a plate of food in front of the modern diner and before the presentation is disturbed, out comes the smartphone and the meal is shared with the world. With a few simple changes, most of those shots could be a whole lot better.

At the fabulous Food Unplugged event in Ede*, Nederland’s ‘City of Taste’, a workshop on smartphone photography with professional food shooter Kyonne Leyser was possibly the most popular event.

I picked up some tips and tried to put them into practice immediately. Continue reading

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AMSTERDAM’S BEST PARKS – my top five

Cycling in the Amsterdamse Bos. There are over 50km of paths to choose from.

Cycling in the Amsterdamse Bos. There are over 50km of paths to choose from.

Most visitors to Amsterdam discover the beautiful Vondelpark. It’s already several metres below sea level and sinking all the time, possibly under the weight of the 20 million feet that tramp through it each year.

It’s not the only park in town, and those who have time shouldn’t overlook some of the city’s other leafy and lively open spaces. Continue reading

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DUTCH CYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE – NSW, you could do this too!

There's nothing special about this cycle way and the windmills in Holland. Elsewhere in the world it would be a marvel and a major tourist attraction.

There’s nothing special about this cycle way in Holland. Elsewhere in the world it would be a marvel and a major tourist attraction.

The Government of NSW (it’s a place in Australia) has just announced that it will rip up one of the few separated cycleways in central Sydney and not replace it until after a new light rail line has been installed – a process that is likely to take 2-3 years! Click here for a summary of the sad story.

They could learn a thing or two from how the Dutch have organised cycling infrastructure.

Today we had to travel from Amsterdam to Beverwijk for a family lunch. It’s about a 60km round trip, it was a fine day, so I decided to do it on the bike, carrying the camera and taking a few shots along the way. Continue reading

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