Holland = tulips and other vegetables ;-)
There is a gigantic floral exhibition held near den Haag every 10 years. That one was in the spring 2002 so the next one you can see in.. :-) the counting do yourself.
A huge area with lakes, ponds, hills, bushes, little forests.. and a lot to see.. floral and not only floral shows - multimedia and of traditional kind.. some incredible constructions, modern computer-operated greenhouses and first of all.. all those beautiful flowers…Related to:
- Theme Park Trips
the whole country in 1 hour..
There is an unusual museum-exhibition in den Haag called Madurodam. This place was built by a father who lost his beloved son in the Second World War. There are miniatures of many important buildings and places in Holland. The canal houses of Amsterdam, the Alkmaar cheese market and parts of the Delta Works, all replicated in minute detail on a 1:25 scale. It's like a while spent in the kingdom of dwarfs.. And those miniatures are not just the doll-houses.. those little places and cities are full of life. The trains, ships and cars run all the time, some people move, the carps in the ponds substitute for the whales and the starlings probably for some unusual pterodactyls ;-)
But everything is so tiny and so well done and all set in a nice garden.
I consider this place generally a great idea.. Sightseeing, people easily forget things and places.. that's why we take photos. People forget things they saw the day before (I'm like that) but not in Holland. In that exhibition I could recognize some places I'd already seen and could get to know those I was looking forward to see. And maybe that's why.. although I've already forgotten the proper names I can still describe those places pretty well. I believe... :-)
Marken: loop walk to the lighthouse
Till 1957 the small fishing village of Marken was an island in the IJsselmeer (the former Zuiderzee). From that moment on it was connected by the mainland of the Province of Noord-Holland by a dike. The village is situated rather close to Amsterdam and part of the municipality of Waterland. About 2.000 people are living on the peninsula. Marken (together with Volendam) is one of the most well-known tourist destinations in the Netherlands; it has its own charm with the quaint green colored wooden houses on poles and the very colorful traditional costumes.
Especially during the holidays it can be rather overcrowded in the narrow streets between the car park and the harbour. To avoid the crowds and to explore the ‘other part’ of the peninsula I can recommend making a loop walk to the lighthouse. We made it in December on a sunny winter day and it was amazing: just a couple of other people, a little bit of ice on the ditches, lots of geese in the polder, fresh air, cows and sheep around and a kink of sea breeze.
The lighthouse is called ‘Het Paard van Marken' (Horse of Marken), due to its shape. It is located on the most eastern point of the ‘island’ on a small peninsula. Nowadays it can not be visited by public. The lighthouse is still in use. There is no lighthouse-keeper on site, but the house does have residents.
From the car park we took the ‘Oosterpad’ straight to the lighthouse. It also possible to take a longer walk along to ‘Rozewerf’ (one of the small villages of Marken built on a man made hill to protect the houses for the sea) and further along the dike. We went back – anti clockwise – along the dike to Marken; once in the village walk to the tower of the church and a couple of minutes later you will reach the harbour for a well-earned drink or lunch.
This walk takes about 1 hour; the longer one about 30 minutes more.
(for a map of Marken see: http://www.plattegronden.nl/marken)Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Visit the many parks! Spectacular Scenery!
The greatest impression of Europe has always been the supreme dedication to creating lovely public "green" areas... There seems to be a greater appreciation and connection with nature as I remember it. Perhaps it is because there seems to be more leisure time to enjoy nature as opposed to the USA. Many workers in European countries have 6 to 8 weeks of vacation (holidays) per year and I feel lucky to have my measly 2 weeks here! Still, the Europeans seem truly dedicated to nature and enjoy a simple walk in the park or in the forest... I can't say that of Americans in general... we're far too busy!
This is an example of a lovely park in Holland.
Sea of Red
It was truly amazing to a young man from Hickory, North Carolina who before only viewed hay fields, wheat fields, corn fields, and pastures to see the stunning beauty of a flat land in such a vivid array of color! One field might be red, the next yellow, the next one orange with purple in between! A feast for the eyes!
not far from den Haag
Although a bit windy this place I consider very pleasant indeed.. ;-)
But I can't remember the name of it. It's not far from the capitol of Holland, and it's said that during the WW2 the name of this place was given to people suspected of being German LOL. It's supposed to be difficult to pronounce for them due to some "h" sounds. Of course, for us Poles nothing can be difficult LOL Have you ever heard Polish spoken? ;-) (question for those who are not Polish)Related to:
Laren - a different way of shopping
Laren is a small village in the area ‘Gooi’, about 30 km’s from Amsterdam and has about 11.500 inhabitants. Its history goes back 8.000 years. Many historic farmhouses in Laren remind of the traditional building techniques former inhabitants introduced. The village has been built around a small wading place, where the cattle (mainly sheep) of the local farmers came for drenching. This pool is called ’Coeswaerde’ and with the fountain in the middle, it is still the place where the local people meet on important days.
In these days the area ‘Gooi’ is one of the wealthiest in the Netherlands, housing business men from Amsterdam, TV and radio celebrities and expats. Despite the village is rather small, it has an excellent shopping centre. Not the nowadays common big store chains, but many smaller brand stores mixed with local ones. You will find all kind of fashion and shoe shops, next to gift, book and craft shops. Laren has also a couple of art- and antique galleries. But there is also still place for a flower stall on the Brink, the central square with the ‘Coeswaerde’.
Of course Laren offers a couple of café’s and restaurants for your cup of tea/coffee or for a lunch after or during your shopping trip.
The main square I believe.. pity it's not well visible but behind that tall building with a cone roof there is an interesting "twisted house" (I forgot the proper name of it). It was built in a strange manner. Looks as if it was knocked over, and everything inside was knocked over as well. Of course it's just a modern art sort of statue, nobody lives there nor works. But through the big windows you can see the complete well designed interior with furniture and so on..Related to:
Rotterdam - the viewpoint tower
Rotterdam it is a completely modern city. It was all damaged in the WW2 and the citizens decided not to rebuild it. They built a completely different city instead in the same location. All the buildings look very fresh and modern.. The oldest I could estimate maybe 20 years...Related to:
By command from our leader, we are to form a triangular attack position... drive the human invaders from our beautiful and scenic home... and retake this place in the name of NatureHood!
Uhhh... remember guys... a triangular attack! No, not that way... THIS WAY! Oh well... ATTACK to the REAR! Watch out for that kid with the sling-shot!
A Lovely Park in Holland... Don't ask me where...
I'm not sure why most of my pictures were taken on cloudy days... do you suppose there is some greater meaning for this? I wonder... Hmmm...
Still, this was a very beautiful, well-designed and well-kept park... simply stunning even under grey skies!
Fields of colour
Instead of going to the well-known Keukenhof to see the flowers bloom (where you can indeed see many, many different types of flowers!!) in early spring (depending on the weather, around April\May) you can also see colourful fields of tulips and other beautiful flowers next to the roads. They are taken care of by farmers and are private lands. Sometimes however it is possible to come really close. You can always ask if you're allowed to walk into the fields, between the lengthly rows of tulips, and take some pictures. There are certain regions where there are lots of these fields, such as the area between Egmond and Bergen, but this is not the only one. Just drive around while you're there anyway and focus on colour. You won't be able to miss it when you're close by!!!Related to:
- Road Trip
Texel – made for biking
The island of Texel seems to be made for bike trips (as many parts of the Netherlands). It is as flat as a pancake, although there are some ‘hilly’ parts with the dunes and an area called ‘De Hooge Berg’ (the High Mountain) southeast of Den Burg. Texel has more than 135 km’s bike paths and many of the country roads are very quiet and another option for a bike trip. The whole island isn’t too big and you always find a café for a rest and a drink.
We made a lovely trip with Den Burg as a starting point and heading to the small village of Den Hoorn through polder scenery with typical farmhouses and with lots and lots of crocus flowers along the road. Den Hoorn is ‘famous’ for its white church, dating back to 1425 (open in summer on Thursdays from 2.00 to 4.00 pm). After visiting the viewing point on top of Loodmansduin - with great views of the dunes and the polders - we biked through the dunes and the pine forests of ‘De Dennen’ to the beach at ‘Westerslag’.
Along dune valleys, heathland and meadows we reached our last (coffee)stop in the village of De Koog, before going back to our hotel in Den Burg.
This bike trip was about 30 km’s long and we made it in an easy pace in an afternoon, exploring both parts of Texel: the dunes and the polders. Visit the Tourist Information Centre and asked for cycling routes on the island or just buy a map and make your own choice.
You can bring your own bike or just rent one at your accommodation or in one of the many bike rental shops on the island. Also possible as a daytrip from the mainland: just park your car in Den Helder, take the ferry, rent a bike at the ferry harbour and enjoy the special feeling of being on the island of Texel.Related to:
Go to Zandvoort - a beautiful seaside resort
We went to Zandvoort on a half-day trip from Amsterdam. The journey by train from Central Station ( a return ticket 10 Euro) took about half an hour and soon we were walking along the wide clean beach. The average width of the beach is 100 metres, which means a lot of space for relaxing, doesn't it?
Behind the beach stretch the dunes - a part of nature reserve. It's possible to enter the area with a ticket. The entrance to the dunes is near the De Duinrand restaurant, where you can also buy the ticket. The other option is the Tourist Information Office in the town centre.
The town of Zandvoort is tiny. There are a couple of streets (some cobblestone), lined mainly with shops, restaurants and hotels.
The town is also known for unusual constructions made of sand. For a couple of years it has been hosting the European Championships of Sand Sculpting. The World Sand Sculpting Academy based in the Hague invites as many as 600 professional artists to build their works of sand. The top sculptors are chosen then to compete in Zandvoort.
In 2014 Harleem and Zandvoort have become initiators of of the first sand Sculpture Route in Europe.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Broek in Waterland, walking a picturesque village
'Broek in Waterland' is one of the places we do like very much and is one of the ‘must do’s’ when having relatives from abroad. It is almost unbelievable to find such an authentic and picturesque place less than ten kilometres from Amsterdam without the crowds in other more touristy places around.
Broek in Waterland is surrounded by ditches and meadows and the ‘centre’ of the village is the Havenrak, a widening of the Ee rivulet, which flows through Broek. The village has a couple of narrow streets, all lined with the traditional ‘Broeker houses’: having just one floor, due to the weak ground, constructed with a timber frame and walls and most of them are painted in the famous ‘Broeker grey’. Some of them do have stunning decorated entrance doors.
During our last visit (mid July) the whole village seemed to be full with flowering hydrangeas, which provided some extra charm.
Best way exploring the beauty of Broek in Waterland is by walking around. Start your walk at the Dorpsstraat, you will pass the ‘De Witte Swaen’ (a very cosy and typical Dutch pancake house - open from 12.00 pm for a drink, lunch or pancake) and arrive at the Havenrak with lovely views over the water. Continue to the St. Nicolaas Kerk and if the church is open take a look inside (sermon chair, ceiling with frescos, pulpit, organ, floor crypts), cross the bridge over the River Ee and continue along Roomeinde - nice ‘Broeker houses’ and an art gallery. Turn right at the Kerkhofbrug and walk along the small river back to the church and the Dorpsstraat.
This walk is about 1,5 km’s long; it is also possible to make longer walks. Ask for a map at ‘De Witte Swaen’.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
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