Category Archives: Holland

OLD (AND NEW) FACES IN AN OLD DUTCH STREET

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It’s a fun, folkloric event, but they take it very seriously.

We happened to be visiting Schagen, a small town just over 60km north of Amsterdam, on the day of a parade.

It was a busy market day, but suddenly the crowd was asked to make way as a group in traditional Dutch costume passed, riding on horse-drawn carts, pushing wicker prams, riding bicycles with baskets of poultry and playing accordions.

Unexpected, and spectacular, it made for excellent photo ops…

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AMBLING IN AMSTERDAM – de Jordaan

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Bikes, bells and Better Homes and Gardens.

It was Jordaan Open Gardens Day at the weekend. We strolled from one lovely oasis to the next, reminding ourselves why we can’t afford to live in this part of town. It’s too good for the likes of us.
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ZWOLLE, OVERIJSSEL – saved by a Canadian?

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Disneyland, Overijssel? No it’s real. The Sassenpoort gate to the city dates from the 14th century.

Mevrouw T and I have changed trains at Zwolle dozens of times in the past few years, on our way to see family and friends in the northern Dutch provinces. Not once have we ventured outside the station.

Our friend Hans had a significant birthday to celebrate, so with him as our guide we took the time to spend a day in the town where he went to school. He showed us an interesting art museum, quiet squares with cafes under the plane trees, and a bookshop which ranks with the world’s most spectacular.

According to slightly dubious story, Zwolle could have been a pile of rubble but for the heroism (or sheer craziness?) of a Canadian soldier in WWII.
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SIX QUIRKY DUTCH MUSEUMS

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Teylers Museum. Polished wood and creaky floors – the way a good museum used to be.

There are usually queues at Amsterdam’s wonderful Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House, and for good reason.

But The Netherlands has a plethora of other smaller, fascinating museums of things we never knew we were interested in…until now.

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DUTCH CANALS, RIVERS AND LAKES – cycling the Vecht

The Vecht at Loenen.

The Vecht at Loenen.

It’s our last week in Amsterdam for this year. Time for one more bike ride, this one with my friend and guide Hans, down the Rhine Canal to Loenen, between the lakes to Ankeveen, along the winding River Vecht to Weesp, and home again.

The wonderful thing about cycling here is that even after years of exploring the area around Amsterdam on two wheels, there are still new routes for us to discover, all of them with quiet, safe, all-but-car-free cycle paths. Continue reading

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CYCLING THE GREEN HEART – Holland’s most beautiful

The oldest town in the Netherlands. Not so many people know about it.

The oldest town in the Netherlands. Not so many people know about it.

‘This landscape always reminds me of Holland,’ said my mother, years ago, somewhere outside Melbourne, on a road between Springvale and Frankston.

She’d never seen Holland and neither had I, but we both knew what she meant. What I only discovered recently was that the image we had of classic Dutch landscape came from 19th century paintings. Even the word ‘landscape’ comes from the Dutch ‘landschap’. Continue reading

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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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