I found this watermill in a little village, called Neer, in the province of Limburg. Just following the road signs after a cup of coffee on the terrace of ‘Boothuis De Troost’, which has a wonderful view over the river Maas.
The watermill is situated along the Neerbeek, a small stream which ends in the Maas. The mill is renovated in 2002 after being out of use for more than 50 years. The mill has been built in the year of 1717 and the mill house has the same age.
The watermill is now (again) a flour mill and is open for visitors during summertime (May till September) on Sunday afternoons from 1.00 till 5.00 pm.
Neer offers more for an interesting day: a monumental church and a brewery (De Lindeboom) with a ‘Beershop’, which is open Wednesday till Friday 2.00 – 6.00 pm and Saturday 10.00 am – 2.00 pm.
The church square is starting point for two signposted walking routes around Neer.
Neer is located along the Maas, between Roermond and Venlo (see: www.viamichelin.com)
When visiting Elburg I highly recommend a side trip to the ‘Zwaluwenburg’. This is a castle/mansion located nearby the city in a very beautiful setting.
The estate offers several ways of exploring its beauty.
If in a hurry you could visit the ‘care farm’ Westbroek (Zorgboerderij Westbroek), where you can get a tea or coffee and can do some shopping in the small shop. You can get some homeopathic treatments of dr. A.Vogel, which are made in Elburg.
If you have more time, make a signposted walk around the estate of Zwaluwenburg. First the path is meandering in the “A. Vogel Gardens” (A. Vogel Tuinen), where you can get an impression of the plants, flowers and herbs which are used in their production. The walk continues through woodland and meadows.
‘Klein Zwitserland’ (Little Switzerland) is an area with narrow paths. In late spring this area offers a spectacular number of flowering rhododendrons and azaleas in different colours.
Nearby castle/mansion Zwaluwenburg is private property and can only be visited during art exhibitions.
After about 4,5 km’s you will return at Westbroek.
Westbroek, open all year Mondays till Fridays from 10.00 am – 5.00 pm; May up to October also on Saturdays.
Zwaluwenburg, open during art exhibitions (http://www.zwaluwenburg.blogspot.nl/)
A. Vogel Tuinen: open all year
Direction: located along the N309 between Elburg and 't Harde (signposted)
Elburg is a very old fortified city, already built in the 14th century. The city has not changed a bit since then. It is situated between its walls in a square outline with straight narrow streets; the old houses, churches and other buildings are crammed together.
We have been several times in Elburg and it is always a pleasure to stroll through the cobble stoned streets, along all the monuments. Besides the city offers some nice shops and side walk café’s for a cup of coffee or a lunch.
If you are first time visitor I highly recommend going to the Visitor Information Centre (VVV) in the city. They do have a brochure (€ 1,75) with a very interesting walk. So you won’t miss any of the most important monuments.
If possible try to ascend the tower of the “St. Nicolaaskerk”. From the top there is a lovely view over the city and the neighbourhood.
Attention: the stairs are very steep, winding and narrow !!!
On your walk you will see the “Vischpoort”; behind this city gate is the harbour. In the former days Elburg was also a fishing village. Nowadays there are just pleasure yachts and some old restored fishing boats.
(If you have some spare time I recommend visiting the Zwaluwenburg, nearby Elburg.)
Information: VVV - Visitor Information Centre, located in the 'Museum Elburg', Jufferenstraat 6-8
DROPSTYLE-Grote Oost 3-Hoorn
GOOD TIMES-Wageweg 74-Alkmaar
DE TWEEDE RONDE-Laat 54a-Alkmaar
VELVET (Pop_Eye)-Boterstr 10-Alkmaar
YESTERDAY AND TODAY-Wandelweg 104-Wormerveer
DE MUZIEK FREAK-Raadhuisstr.41-Koog aan de Zaan
DE PLATENKELDER-Zuiddijk 107-Zaandam
DE JONG JUKEBOX SINGLES-Kaasmarkt 11-Purmerend
TONI MUSIC-Heereweg 212A-Lisse
DISCOUNT-Oostermeent West 15-Huizen
KING KONG RECORDS-Voorstreek 11-Leeuwarden
MINSTREL MUSIC - Assendorpstr.95-1-Zwolle
PLAY IT AGAIN-Zwanenstr.17-Arnhem
WAAGHALS-Achter de Hoofdwacht 7-Nijmegen
VELVET (De Nootzaak)-Havik 7A-Amersfoort
PANDORA's BOX-Veldweg 4-Soest
DE GRAMMOPHOON WINKEL-Oude Gracht 26-Utrecht
DE PLAATBOEF-Oude Gracht 306-Utrecht
VELVET-Nieuwe Rijn 34-Leiden
VELVET Outlet-Zijlsingel 2D-Leiden
THE LONELY HUNTER-Burgsteeg 9-Leiden
DE WINKEL-Weimarstr.171-Den Haag
EMPIRE-Korte Houtstr.14/C-Den Haag
DE PLAATBOEF-Korte Houtstr.13-Den Haag
ANY RECORD-Amsterdamse Veerkade 17/B-Den Haag
SPUI RECORDS-Spui 43/E-Den Haag
VINYL GROOVE-Boekhorstr.97c-Den Haag
PLEXUS/'T PLATENMANNEKE-Voldersgracht 11a-Delft
FREJO MUSIC-Abrikozengaarde 8-Schiedam
DE PLAATBOEF-Nieuwe Binnenweg 81A-Rotterdam
DEMONFUZZ RECORDS-Nieuwe Binnenweg 86-Rotterdam
VELVET-Oude Binnenweh 121A-Rotterdam
TUNES VILLE - Haagdijk 15 - Breda
PLAY IT AGAIN-Nieuwstr.10-Breda
DE WATERPUT-Bosstr.36-Bergen op Zoom
'T HOEKSKE-De Hoek 15-Eethen
PSYCHO RECORDS-Parallelweg 69-Heerlen
ZOOM RECORDS-Grote Gracht 38-Maastricht
More music shops
and even more
no time take the tourist bus, want an overall view of the city to decide which ones to hit in detail ,there is the tourist bus. Useful, handy, available, let others drive for you. And you are above ground to see it all.
nice way for a family to take it and decide what to come back later on.
An ecocathedral can be defined as a stacked structure of residual materials from pavers, such as paving stones, clinker bricks, concrete bollards and curbs. This kind of material is arranged from the year of 1982 into a complex structure, in which nature has an equal share. There are no construction drawings, but the shape of the structures depend on the supplied building material.
The project was started by Louis Le Roy - a famous Dutch architect. After Le Roy deceased in 2012 the project will be continued by a foundation and volunteers still stack the rough material. The work will continue as there is no end time to capture. The importance of the time factor in spatial processes and working with complex, dynamic systems is the significance of Le Roy’s ideas behind the project.
It was quite difficult to find the ecocathedral near Mildam; as it is not considered a touristic attraction by the foundation and its volunteers, there are no signs or so. We had the small map from their website but couldn’t find the more or less official parking places. When driving on the Yntzelaan we saw a pile of bricks along the road and having seen pictures of the ecocathedral we supposed it should be our ‘destination’.
Again: there are no signs or an entrance and we walked into the woodlands, following a narrow meandering path. We saw right and left ingenious structures of old building material without using cement. Some of them were stacked till real towers, while others were just some curbs around a thin tree. Walls and ‘buildings’ sometimes were almost completely overgrown by moss, ferns and other plants. It did look if we found the traces of an ancient civilization.
Our visit of this ecocathedral was an intriguing experience. Be aware it is not an attraction, but a ‘green workshop’, so there are no facilities (parking places, toilets) for visitors and you will have to find your own way through the structures. The ecocathedral is ‘open’ all year round and the re is no admission fee.
Address: Yntzelaan, Mildam; see for map http://ecocathedral.org/nl/ecokathedralen
Mildam is located 4 km's southeast of Heerenveen. From the railway station there is a bus (line 16 to Assen) to Mildam or you could rent a bike.
Guided tour: for a guided tour ask for information at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The ir. D.F. Woudagemaal in Lemmer, opened in 1920 by Queen Wilhelmina, is the largest steam-driven pumping station in the world still in use. Even today the monumental pumping station ensures that the people of Friesland keep their feet dry during high water. When that happens, the ‘cathedral of steam’ pumps up over four million litres of water per minute from the Frisian ‘boezem’ (drainage pool) into the IJsselmeer.
I really have to admit that our visit to the Woudagemaal was not what we planned to do. We were rather late and there were no guided tours (visits are only possible as part of a guided tour), also because the huge steam cathedral had to be prepared for a function.
We had to be satisfied with a view of the outside of the impressive building, built in the typical Amsterdam School architecture of architect Berlage, with its sober ornamentation. We walked around the building and the high chimney towards the IJsselmeer and headed afterwards to the so called boiler room.
We were allowed to take a look inside and could make a picture of the four mighty oil boilers.
We gathered some information at the visitor information centre for a next visit. Hopefully we can make it when the pumping station is put into operation at extremely high water levels (as it was a couple of time during early winter 2013). We saw pictures and a coverage on TV and these were really stunning !!
Opening hours visitor centre: Tuesday - Saturday 10.00 am - 5.00 pm, Sunday an holidays 1.00 pm - 5.00 pm.
(January closed). There are regularly guided tours from the centre.
Admission fee (2013): adults € 7,50
Address: Gemaalweg 1a, Lemmer, Friesland (Just north of Lemmer, along the road from Lemmer to Balk)
Douwe Egberts is the most well known and famous Dutch coffee roaste. Already in 1753 Egbert Douwes opened a shop in Joure, named "De Witte Os’’, selling a large variety of goods: coffee, tobacco and tea were their main products, but they also sold sweets, sugar, rice, vermicelli, chicory, cinnamon, saffron, syrup, vinegar, chocolate and dried fruit.
His son Douwe Egberts was also in ‘coffee business’ and joined his parents. Although his father was well known in Joure, it was Douwe Egberts who was responsible for the expansion of the company and still has the name ‘Douwe Egberts’.
Joure calls itself a ‘vlecke’ (a Frisian word), indicating a place larger than a village, but smaller than a town. Yet it is very pleasant to walk around enjoying the quiet Frisian way of life.
Everywhere in the village one can feel and smell the history of Douwe Egberts. When arriving in Joure you can not miss the huge coffee cup nearby the entrance to the centre. The town/village still has a huge Douwe Egberts factory.
Joure also has a so called "Douwe Egberts Café", including a (gift) shop. Dutch housewife’s, who have saved points from DE-coffee or tea packets, are changing these points into presents. It is also possible to buy tea or coffe with these points (http://www.de.nl/dekoffiecafe/dekoffiecafes/pages/douweegberts-joure.aspx).
"De Witte Os" (The White Ox) is located in the main shopping street. This is where Egbert Douwes started trading colonial wares in 1753. It now looks if time has stood still and gives an excellent idea of the past. The shop is part of Museum Joure and sells old fashioned Dutch sweets and unpacked coffee and tea. I bought some of my favourite cinnamon sticks.
Next to the shop is the entrance to the museum, a cluster of buildings focusing on old Frisian trades from the 19th century. For us the most interesting building was the "Johannes Hessel Warehouse" (next to the entrance building), which was the first factory of the Douwe Egberts company, built in 1898. It offers objects concerning coffee, tea and tobacco. The museum now houses also Egbert Douwes birth house.
For opening hours, fees and directions see website www.museumjoure.nl > Bezoekers > Algemeen.
After all these sightseeing we had a nice cup of coffee on one of the sidewalk cafés and ‘of course’ it was a cup of Douwe Egberts coffee. I think you will not find any other brand in Joure !!
Eise Eisinga - a local wool carder – built between 1774 and 1781 an accurate scale model of the solar system in the living room of his house. An upcoming planetary conjunction - that some people said would mean the end of the world - launched him into this activity. Eisinga wanted to use his model to show how the solar system really worked.
During our visit of the city of Franeker the Eise Eisinga Planetarium was an absolute ‘must see’ sight for us. We were just in time to join a guided tour in our own Dutch language. We went with a couple of other visitors into the living room of Eise Eisinga, where we got an extensive explanation of the construction and functioning of his planetarium in the ceiling of this marvelous room.
It is absolutely stunning that this model is still working and showing the accurate and actual position of the planets, stars and our moon for about 225 years.
Depending on the number of question by visitors this guided tour takes about 30 minutes.
Afterwards we climbed a steep and narrow staircase to the first floor. Behind glass walls we had a view of the impressive gear mechanism. Eisinga used wooden hoops and 10.000 hand-forged nails as teeth. Controlling this mechanism are a pendulum clock and nine weights. It is amazing seeing the constant movement of the wheels and hearing the soft sound of the tacking of the teeth.
For us it was almost unbelievable that this self educated man was able to build such an ingenious device.
In a couple of other rooms is a small museum with an exhibition of historical astronomical instruments, other planetariums and modern astronomy. To be honest: nice to see, but by far not as interesting as the actual planetarium of Eisinga.
We were really impressed by our visit and it is absolutely well worth the entrance fee.
Next to the ‘museum’ is the Planetariumcafe, a cozy café/shop for a drink and/or lunch.
!!Be aware: the actual planetarium can only be visited by a guided tour. As far as I know they are in Dutch, English, German and French (??).
It is not allowed to take pictures inside the building. !!
Being interested in the heritage of Eisinga we also visited the small village of Dronrijp, less than 10 km’s east from Franeker. Around the village church we saw more reminders of him like his birthplace, a statue and a plaque against the church.
Opening hours: All year round Tuesday through Saturday 10.00 am - 5.00 pm, Sunday 1.00 pm - 5.00 pm Between 1 April and 31 October, also: Monday 1.00 pm - 5.00 pm.
Entrance fee: adults € 4,50 (2013)
See also website.
Addres: Eise Eisingastraat 3, Franeker (signposted)
The province of Friesland has 11 cities, world famous for its ‘Elfstedentocht’; a (speed) skating tour and competition, conducted on frozen canals, streams and lakes and along these 11 cities.
Sloten was founded in the 13th century on a crossing of a road and the river Ee and became an important trade centre. On August 30 of the year of 1426 it first was mentioned as a city and at the end of the 16th century Sloten became a fortified town with four gates and a wall and moat around the town.
The history of the city is reflected in its centre with its protected views in a pedestrian area.
Nowadays Sloten is a pleasant town, popular by people who love watersports (as everywhere in Friesland), biking or hiking. A visit to Sloten means walking along the canal ‘Het Diep’, which divides the town in two parts, with several historic merchants houses from the 17th and 18th century. Looking to the two remaining water gates, the flourmill from 1755 (since 2005 named De Kaai) with an old canon on the grounds; another canon stands at the other end of ‘Het Diep’.
And why not visiting the interior of the Reformed Church, built in 1647 or the town hall from 1759, now used as a museum with a good impression of Sloten’s history. It contains also a collection of magic lanterns.
Sloten offers a couple of nice shops and ‘of course’ some cafés and restaurants. Sitting on one of the terraces with a drink is a perfect end of a visit of this smallest of the eleven Frisian cities.
As said Sloten is a pedestrian area and you have to park you car on one of the (free) car parks around the city.
When having holidays in the Netherlands and you are somewhere around Alkmaar/Amsterdam on a Friday (April till September) you really should consider visiting the most famous cheesemarket of the Netherlands.
For us it was a ‘new’ visit after about 30 years and we enjoyed it very much.
Of course it is quite a touristy site and during our visit with splendid weather there were crowds in the city and especially on the Waagplein. There were rows of spectators, but with a little bit patience - perhaps 5 or 10 minutes - we got a place at the fence.
We arrived at 10.45 am and the square in front of the beautiful weighing house had still a lot of cheeses (the later you come, the less cheeses are left !!). White dressed cheese carriers pick up 8 cheeses on a wooden barrow and are (almost) running - the cheese carriers dribble - with this rather heavy load of about 125 kilos to the Waag, where it is weighed on a special cheese scale. Once it is weighed the carriers bring the cheese to a vintage cart and from there it is transported to a modern truck, waiting in one of the side roads.
If you do want to buy a (piece of) cheese it is possible from a cart on the square or in one of the stalls or shops around the cheese market. The Waaggebouw (Weighing House) houses also the Dutch Cheese Museum (www.kaasmuseum.nl).
The cheese market takes place from the first Friday in April until the first Friday in September: 10.00 am - 12.30 pm. There are two verbal presentations to visitors, in Dutch, German, English and French.
Alkmaar is situated about 45 km's north of Amsterdam and easy accessible by car but also by train as we did.
Once in the city center, follow the signs (or the crowds) to the cheesemarket, Waagplein, Alkmaar.
When visiting Bronkhorst almost nobody will say this village is a real city with 'city rights'. In a matter of fact this settlement became these rights already in the year of 1482. The little church at the square even dates from 1344 !!
But the 'city' did never increase and has almost the same size as it had in the middle ages. A lot of buildings are from this period and walking around on the cobble stoned streets we always feel if we are walking back in time.
Bronkhorst is situated on the eastern bank the river IJssel, between the towns of Zutphen and Doesburg. The most original way to come to Bronkhorst is by using the small ferry (pedestrians, bikes and cars) over the river from Brummen.
Just stroll along the narrow streets, take a look in one of the galleries, visit the Dickens Museum, do some shopping, walk to the old Jewish Cemetery or have a coffee or tea on one of the side walk cafe's.
On one of the coldest days of the year (2006) we went to the Netherlands Open Air Museum (Nederlands Openluchtmuseum) to experience ‘the Winter in the Museum’. Since a couple of years the museum is also open during the winter season, which means from early December till mid January (see for openinghours the website of the museum).
During this time there are special winter activities in the museum. The most remarkable is the outside skating ring, where one can enjoy ice skating and it is no problem if you don’t have your own skates, you can borrow them free of charge.
Every day there are different (winter) activities like demonstrations of old Dutch crafts, singing of a choir in a church, a procession with lanterns for children and baking bread on open fires. We saw also a movie with pictures of some real Dutch winters.
Of course a lot of the old buildings, farmhouses and mills are open and can be visited during the opening hours. And walking around we met some ‘inhabitants’ doing their daily jobs. The old grocery shop was open and in the bakery we had an ‘oliebol’, a Dutch delicacy during this time of the year.
!! Be aware on Boxing Day it can be overcrowded on some places !!
Nederlands Openluchtmuseum, Schelmseweg 89, Arnhem.
- by car - signposted from the motorway
- by public bus line 3 from the railway/bus station.
Opening hours and admission see website of the museum.
Volendam is a small village of 22,000 inhabitants located about 12 miles (18 kilometers) northeast of Amsterdam. It used to be primarily a fishing village, but nowadays the tourism industry has become the most important aspect of the town's economy. So now, in the summer many of the inhabitants dress in traditional costumes, which include tight bodices, winged lace caps, and striped aprons for the women; and baggy black pants with silver buttons, and short black jackets over striped shirts for the men. Unfortunately, all this has led to the town and harbor area being overrun with tourists and an abundance of souvenir shops.
Volendam was founded after 1357 when the nearby town of Edam built a short canal to the Zuiderzee. Access to the Zuiderzee made Edam's harbor on the IJsselmeer obsolete, and it was filled in as part of a land-reclamation project. A town was built on the reclaimed land and was called Vollendam, meaning "Filled Dam." The name of the town was later shortened to Volendam.
During the early part of the twentieth century, Volendam became something of an artists' retreat, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Pablo Picasso spent some time here.
Although quite an old city Amersfoort is less well known than a lot of other Dutch cities. I don’t just understand, because it is such a nice and pleasant town, which has a lot to offer to visitors.
Perhaps the best way (or at least one of the nicest ways of exploring is by a boat trip. We were very lucky catching one of these warm and sunny September days when we made our boat trip. It was absolutely relaxing on the water, no other traffic, trees with the first (yellow) signs of autumn and great views on the old monumental buildings along the moats and canals.
Quay-walls are full with plants and flowers; the guide told us there are 250 different species, among them several which are on the ‘red list’ of endangered Dutch plants. Must be a bonus when they are flowering !!
We did the so called ‘Westroute’ through a couple of canals around the inner city, passing bridges and water gates. About half way the trip we had to walk (‘klunen’ we say in Dutch) to change into another boat. During this short walk we passed the so called ‘muurhuizen’; these wall houses are typical for Amersfoort and built on the defence wall when it was no longer needed.
There is a volunteer organisation (Stichting Waterlijn) offering several different trips (if you like it you easy could do a couple of them in one day). Be aware they use smaller open boats; best thing is to make sure the weather is appropriate for such a trip. Every boat has two volunteers: one ‘captain’ and a guide who knows almost everything about Amersfoort, not overdone but very informative.
Season of the boat trips: from May1 till the end of October.
There are several different boat trips, some of them are not serviced every day.
Admission: € 4,- for adults for one trip.
Address: Krommestraat 5 - 3811 CA Amersfoort.
Directions: Signposted, in the heart of the town.
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