Tag Archives: Netherlands

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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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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TULIPS IN AMSTERDAM

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The Museumplein, with the Rijksmuseum just visible about the thousands of tourists making selfies with the I amsterdam sign.

Who wouldn’t be happy to be back in Amsterdam, working off a 24-hour flight by gently pedalling a bike around the parks on a sunny spring Sunday?  Continue reading

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COMPUTER PROBLEMS? – dial a Dutch genius

We often feel much like the monk in the above, rightly-famous Norwegian comedy sketch, summoning the mediaeval help desk. (If you haven’t watched it before, do so now.)

The source of all IT wisdom in the family is our son, but he’s inconveniently living in LA at the moment.

So it’s wonderful that, having not long ago acquired a Smart TV that’s far smarter than we are, we’ve discovered Student Aan Huis (‘Student at Home’) 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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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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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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