Tag 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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Filed under Holland, travel photography

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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Filed under Architecture, Cycling, Holland

LOVE YOUR WORK, TOM – though shooting that dog was wrong

Tom Otterness's sculptures take pride of place by the esplanade in Scheveningen, near The Hague in the Netherlands.

Tom Otterness’s sculptures take pride of place on the esplanade in Scheveningen, near The Hague in the Netherlands.

We’re very sorry to be missing the always wonderful Sculpture by the Sea event in Sydney this year, but the Dutch have sculpture by the North Sea too.

Googling the American sculptor Tom Otterness, after seeing his work by the beach in Scheveningen, I read that he once filmed himself shooting a dog, for an art film. It cost him some lucrative commissions. He apologised. Not good enough, say some of his critics. He killed the dog in 1977, when he was 25. Is all forgiven? Is it okay to enjoy his work now? Continue reading

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WHERE DUTCH ARCHITECTURE IS A JOKE

The gable of the Zaandam Stadhuis (Town Hall) enters into the playful spirit of things.

The gable of the Zaandam Stadhuis (Town Hall) enters into the playful spirit of things.



Dutch architects have been hard at work in and around Amsterdam, inserting colourful humour into some very public buildings, and it’s remarkable that, in the Zaanstreek, local planning authorities have been happily going along with the joke.
Continue reading

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Filed under Architecture, Cycling, Holland

A TOP CITY FOR EXPATS – who don’t need friends

Millions want to visit, so why wouldn't you want to live here?

Millions want to visit; why wouldn’t you want to live here?


According to an article on the BBC website, I’m living in the one of the best places in the world to be a foreign resident.

But on delving further into an HSBC survey comparing countries’ liveability for expats, I was disconcerted to see that while the Netherlands scored well on things like job opportunities, health services, ease of transport, culture, language (meaning widely-spoken English) and good schools for expat children, it was near the bottom of the list on various social criteria.

The country rated very low for expats in ‘making local friends’, ‘social life’ and ‘integrating into the community’. China and Germany scored much higher in these categories. Continue reading

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BIKES ON DYKES – planning a Dutch cycling tour

Cycling in Holland is a family affair.

Cycling in Holland is a family affair.



We’ll be back cycling in The Netherlands in less than a fortnight, so we’re planning some interesting routes.

Coincidentally, my correspondent Lianne just sent me a few questions (with attached compliments – flattery will get you everywhere!) about how to arrange a cycling holiday there.

So here it is – info on bike hire, route planning, weather, all the essentials to get started on planning a bike trip through Nederland. Continue reading

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Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Holland

HENRY MOORE IN AMSTERDAM – Rijksmuseum

Why is everyone ignoring me?

Why is everyone ignoring me?

To celebrate the reopening of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, the surrounding gardens are hosting a fabulous exhibition of Henry Moore’s sculpture.

We don’t expect to see a better collection of the work of the great British artist, not anywhere, not ever. And certainly not for free. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Holland