From Holland with Love, day 26: below sea level

Peter, Ellen and we explore the newest part of Holland: the land regained from the sea. These lands are called the polders. We visit Lelystad Haven, a village that was in the 1960s the most remote village of Holland, at the far Western end of these reclaimed lands, Oostelijk Flevoland. My sisters and I grew up here, leaving us with invaluable memories, above anything a feeling of freedom and the sense that everything is possible. Very nice to share this special part of Holland with Liz and Peter.
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The water in this lock rises and lowers over 5 meters each time a ship passes.

The water in this lock rises and lowers over 5 meters each time a ship passes.

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Lunch in Lelystad

Lunch in Lelystad

Lunch in Lelystad

Lunch in Lelystad

Lunch in Lelystad

Lunch in Lelystad

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From Holland with Love, day 25: Culture (with a capital C)

Two days of culture, exploring the city of Amsterdam’s architecture and the paintings of The Rijks Museum. The other second day to The Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague: more painting by Dutch and Flemish masters of the Golden Age. The second day our friend Peter Kuttner from Tamborine Mountain joins us.

Electric car charger at the  17th century canal 'Herengracht'

Electric car charger at the 17th century canal ‘Herengracht’

Tourists enjoy a sculpture of the Night Watch at Rembrandt Square

Tourists enjoy a sculpture of the Night Watch at Rembrandt Square

Peter joins us here in Amsterdam

Peter joins us here in Amsterdam

Cute window

Cute window

Dinner at the 'The Blue Dutchman', a restaurant with Dutch cuisine.

Dinner at the ‘The Blue Dutchman’, a restaurant with Dutch cuisine.

We enjoy a boat tour through the canals

We enjoy a boat tour through the canals

Peter studies Dr Tulp's anatomy lesson by Rembrandt

Peter studies Dr Tulp’s anatomy lesson by Rembrandt

Selfie by Rembrandt

Selfie by Rembrandt

The bull bu Paulus Potter

The bull by Paulus Potter

Vermeer: the girl with the pearl

Vermeer: the girl with the pearl

Vermeers view on Delft

Vermeers view on Delft

Ellen studies Maarten and Oopjen, two paintings recently bought for 80 million euros.

Ellen studies Maarten and Oopjen, two paintings recently bought for 80 million euros by France and Holland.

Rembrandt's most famous work: night watch

Rembrandt’s most famous work: Night Watch

The mill of Ruijsdael

The mill of Ruijsdael

Selfie by Vincent van Gogh

Selfie by Vincent van Gogh

From Holland with Love, day 23: mills and mussels

We visit the famous Delta works in the South, an enormous engineering project which protects The Netherlands against flooding in case of king tides. More relaxing is our visit, with both my sisters, to the old wind mills of Kinderdijk and the fishing town of Zierikzee, famous for its mussels.

The Dam over the inlet called Oosterschelde, protecting Holland against the North Sea.

The Dam over the inlet called Oosterschelde, protecting Holland against the North Sea.

Liz, Ellen and Irma in Kinderdijk

Liz, Ellen and Irma in Kinderdijk

Mimicking the mills

Mimicking the mills

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Yummie, fresh mussles

Yummie, fresh mussles

The Oosterschelde dam

The Oosterschelde dam

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Beer

Beer

Sangria

Sangria

From Holland with Love, day 22: Amsterdam

During our first day in Amsterdam we experience all the major features which make the Dutch capital famous all over the world: extraordinary architecture with beautiful canals, a liberal sex and dope atmosphere, and tourists, lots and lots of tourists

The Skinny Bridge

The Skinny Bridge

Brouwersgracht

Brouwersgracht

Canal in the Red Light District

Canal in the Red Light District

Window-undressing.....

Window-undressing…..

Window dressing not required

Window dressing not required

Cannabis starters kit, 3.5 euros

Cannabis starters kit, 3.50 euros

Follow the leader

Follow the leader

Souvenirs

Souvenirs

From Holland with Love, day 19: wet

A wonderfully sunny day. Warm and pleasant. An afternoon on the water with Coby and Henri, my former neighbours in Almere. They gave us a nice boat tour with enough drinks….. and a nice, thoughtful meal. In the evening we enjoyed the beautiful sauna of Almere, Lamer. Very big, very warm, very wet and very relaxing.
Another great day.

The boat

The boat

He's the cap'n.

He’s the cap’n.

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The town freak was also on board

The town freak was also on board

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New suburb along the water

New suburb along the water

My former house (right) and Henri and Cobi's house in the middle.

My former house (right) and Henri and Cobi’s house in the middle.

Ketel, Henri's favorite Dutch gin

Ketel, Henri’s favorite Dutch gin

Sauna Almere

From Holland with Love, day 18: fortified

Heusden is one of the five fortified towns in Holland. Built around 1300 it served the residents to be protected against invaders coming from the Maas River. The town is still in its original condition. Ron and Tak guide us around. It was so good to see them again, long term friends from well over thirty years.

Heusden Harbour

Heusden Harbour

Ron, Tak and Liz

Ron, Tak and Liz

Drawbridge in Heusden

Drawbridge in Heusden

Mills, of Belgian, not Dutch, design

Mills, of Belgian, not Dutch, design

The Maas River

The Maas River

The cheese stall

The cheese stall

The variety of Dutch cheeses is enormous

The variety of Dutch cheeses is enormous

Market square Heusden

Market square Heusden

Enjoying a thing called 'Bossche Bol'.

Enjoying a thing called ‘Bossche Bol’.

From Holland with Love, day 17: phoenix

On the 14th of May 1940 the Germans bombed the heart out of the old city of Rotterdam. In most of the following decades Rotterdam was known for being rather boring: the city was rebuilt as a patchwork of rather ugly buildings in the open spaces.
The last thirty or so years, have made a major change. A massive plan has been implemented to turn the bad into something good: the old buildings have gone, but the recently built buildings are extremely interesting from an architectural point of view. Joke and Anton guide us through the city and show us an incredible variety of very contemporary and beautiful buildings.

The bridge over the harbour

The bridge over the harbour

Liz with our local guides

Liz with our local guides

The market hall

The market hall

Inside the market hall

Inside the market hall

Cubic houses

Cubic houses

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The Paulus-church

The Paulus-church

Central station

Central station

From Holland with Love, day 16: vintage

Wijk bij Duurstede, a town along the river Rhine is very old and also very pretty. Vintage galore. I hadn’t seen my long term friends who live here for a long time, a too long time (sort of vintage as well!), but catching up was like continuing as if we last met last week. Wonderful to share this reconnection with Liz, and also to see their son and his friend. As well as Dokus, their lovely labrador.
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From Holland with Love, day 15: friends

So far I’ve had a really great time, meeting so many friends, including Betty, Rietje, Karin, aunt Gerda, Inge, Jan-Jaap, Jeroen, Han, Cor, my scouting friends and, of course, relatives. It’s an ongoing sequence of lovely meetings at beautiful locations all over the country. Today we met my long term friend Maus in Arnhem, and we practised ‘sjoelen’ (shuffleboard) in the restaurant of the former Honig soup factory in Nijmegen.
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From Holland with Love, day 14: moving house

A group of friends and relatives helped my sister Irma to move house today. It was a good day, and the goal was achieved. In lovely weather of 24 degrees and sun!

Ellen and Maaike driving to Lelystad

Ellen and Maaike driving to Lelystad

So did I

So did I

Packing up in Lelystad

Packing up in Lelystad

Our truck in front if Irma's new home

Our truck in front if Irma’s new home

Unpacking in Utrecht

Unpacking in Utrecht

Arend and Irma assemble the book case

Arend and Irma assemble the book case

Ellen and Irma's cat Loday

Ellen and Irma’s cat Loday

From Holland with Love, day 13: Young people are marvelous

Apart from simply the fun of the flight (of yesterday) I also liked to see two special places. The first is one of the Wind mill parks established in the North Sea; Holland is planning many more of these, finally enough to provide power for about one million people in The Netherlands.
The main goal of the trip was the prototype of Ocean Clean Up, a business established five years ago by a very young Dutch entrepreneur, Boyan Slat. Now 24 years old, he is preparing the clean up of all major oceans on the planet with respect to plastic rubbish. It will finally be a billion dollar enterprise, and this device in the North Sea is a test site only created there two weeks ago. If you are not excited about this great project yet, then watch his presentation about this prototype. It is marvelous: young people caring for the future. Wow!

Flying is fun, fun, fun

Flying is fun, fun, fun

A wind mill park in the North Sea, about 20 kilometers off the coast

A wind mill park in the North Sea, about 20 kilometers off the coast

Ocean Clean Up prototype test site 23 kilometers into the North Sea for the coast of The Hague

Ocean Clean Up prototype test site 23 kilometers into the North Sea for the coast of The Hague

From Holland with Love, day 12: Flight with Jeroen

My own passion for flying, for about 15 years just before moving to Down Under, most certainly infected my friend Jeroen as well. He bought his own plane and still flies a lot. Today he took me for a flight over Holland in his twin seater. The weather was not perfect, but that makes it even better. I loved every second of it and thank Jeroen profoundly for this great trip.

Jeroen pulls his airplane from the hangar

Jeroen pulls his airplane from the hangar

Better take some fuel as well

Better take some fuel as well

This wetland was the first polder ever in Holland, established around 1550.

This wetland was the first polder ever in Holland, established around 1550.

How Dutch can it get?

How Dutch can it get?

This landscape is the rule, not the exception in the Western half of the country

This landscape is the rule, not the exception in the Western half of the country

Landscape art called the Green Cathedral. The cathedral-shape 'taken out' of the forest is planted next to (above of) it in the paddock.

Landscape art called the Green Cathedral. The cathedral-shape ‘taken out’ of the forest is planted next to (above of) it in the paddock.

The CBD of the city of Utrecht with Central Railway Station and the Town Hall (white building)

The CBD of the city of Utrecht with Central Railway Station and the Town Hall (white building)

The house of my sister Ellen in Utrecht, left of the house with the two green awnings

The house of my sister Ellen in Utrecht, left of the house with the two green awnings

The house in the middle of the middle island was mine, just before moving to Tamborine Mountain

The house in the middle of the middle island was mine, just before moving to Tamborine Mountain

On final approach of Hilversum Airport

On final approach of Hilversum Airport

From Holland with Love, day 11: wind mills

Despite huge numbers of windmills in certain parts of the country, the contribution of wind energy to the total energy supply in The Netherlands is very limited. Holland uses 119 billion kWh per annum, wind power produces only 5 billion kWh. That is about 4%, in a country notorious for its wind and wind mill history. Holland is not really an example of a future oriented economy with respect to renewables: in the EU only Malta and Luxembourg have lower percentages.
Whether windmills are beautiful or ugly is a matter of taste. Personally I get a great feeling of seeing new ways in which energy is created; I prefer this over deforestation and smoking chimneys of power plants and prefer to teach myself to appreciate it. Similar to the ‘ugly’ solar paneled roofs.
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From Holland with Love, day 9: indulging

With a Bols dutch gin and  Gouda cheese in Ellen's yard.

With a Bols dutch gin and Gouda cheese in Ellen’s yard.


IMG_6051a (Custom)Today was the first, and hopefully not ONLY, day of Summer. With a gin (‘borrel’) enjoying the evening sun. An earlier visit to the city gave us a varied of Dutch food experiences. In one shot, a stall with french fries (‘frite’) and another one with dutch mini-pancakes (‘poffertjes’).
Cappuchino with bitterballen

Cappuchino with bitterballen

In one of many pubs a cappuchino with ‘bitterballen’, a typical dutch snack of ball shaped mini croquettes. On the way back a more foreign experience: a billboard announcing the upcoming establishment of an Australian restaurant in Utrecht. They are looking for an Australian chef!
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From Holland with Love, day 8: Hi tech touring

The route - linked to gps - on the phone

The route – linked to gps – on the phone

After an arts dinner in Beaudesert, addressing possible new tourism routes in the Scenic Rim, I wondered whether it really had to be signs in the landscape with texts or square bar codes to inform the visitors about the specific local features. Signs are vulnerable to weather and vandals, cannot be adjusted to changes in information and are often intrusive. Why not a digital route? A tailor made tour for walking, riding or driving showing you where to go on your mobile phone (GPS) and informing you about features in the landscape?
I found one project in Australia, luckily at the Gold Coast, but it failed in every aspect.
My sister learning about the Dom Tower in Utrecht

My sister learning about the Dom Tower in Utrecht

On the internet I searched for similar projects world wide and I ended up in Holland: www.beleefroutes.nl (in English: http://www.hollandhighlights.com/). Now I’m here I took my chance to check it out. Guess what: it’s perfect.
The user installs an app on a gps device (mobile phone or mobile tablet) for free, you download the route you like to do (we did a canal-walk through the old city of Utrecht) when you have WiFi and then you hit the road. Switch on the GPS and the phone/tablet guides you with a map through the town, and bleeps every time something interested is encountered: a bit if written info, a picture and video.
I never realised this Town castle in Utrecht before.... the earl fought for decades with the earl opposite the canal about ..... a woman (what has changed???)

I never realised this Town castle in Utrecht before…. the earl fought for decades with the earl opposite the canal about ….. a woman (what has changed???)

My sister has lived most of her life here, but learned lots of novelties about her old Town! And about her new Tech!
And it is all dummy proof. Implementing and using it was piece of cake, even for two dummies like my sister and me! It was great fun and very educational.
It’s suitable for a long car-tour of 100 kms, but also for a park walk of 2 kms to identify trees. It’s fantastic.
Council, Chamber, Tourism-bodies…. think about this: the Scenic Rim could lead the country.
I’ve checked with the developers and the application is available in English and can be used world wide. A range of business models comes with different price tags and commercial options. I think it’s worth investigating, especially with the Commonwealth games coming up and the ease to deliver the information in many languages. Also think of the tree-projects…..

From Holland with Love, day 7: electric cars

Charge point in Utrecht

Charge point in Utrecht

Early 2015 45,000 electric cars drove over the Dutch roads, in May 2016 that was more than doubled to 96,000. The number of charge points increased from 6,200 to well over 16,000 (see map).
We are walking in Utrecht today and see those charge points everywhere. Hey, possums, wake up there in Down Under. The real world is moving on towards a new energy future. Time to hop on board…. or get even further behind.
Number of charge points in The Netherlands

Number of charge points in The Netherlands