Nationale Rouwdag

Today is the official mourning day in the Netherlands for those lost on the MH17 flight. At 4PM there was a moment of silence (stores had up signs letting customers know). Even the church bells in town were still.

Four in the afternoon was the designated time because that is the arrival time for the first flight bringing  home those who were lost. This evening at 8PM there will be a vigil march in Dam Square.

My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones.

Photo by Mike Crassweller
Photo by Mike Crassweller

Zaanse Schans

Last Friday, I visited the Zaanse Schans which is a typisch Nederlands place. It has windmills, cheese, wooden shoes, boats, and of course water.

Zaans Schans

Originally, during the 18th and 19th century, the Zaanse Schans was an industrial area with around 600 windmills. Windmills were used more than for just milling grain. The Dutch also ground pigments for paint, oil (or extracted it rather), spices, cocoa, and even sawed wood.

Oliemolen or Oil Mill
Oliemolen or Oil Mill
De Kat is a mill that made pigments for paints.
De Kat is a mill that made pigments for paints.

De Kat

Later, old houses were moved to the Zaanse Schans to be preserved.

Oud huis
Oud huis met brug
Tuin met oude huizen

Now there are museums too. I visited the Klompenmakerij and a kaasboerderij.

Kaasboerderij or dairy
Klompenmakerij: where they make wooden clogs or klompen
Klompenmaker making wooden clogs.
Klompenmaker making wooden clogs.

I took lots more pictures which you can check out here if you are interested.

Outdoor Living

Outside. The outdoors or in Dutch buiten or het buitenleven. Buitenleven literally means outside living. The Dutch love the outdoors. No matter what the weather you will see the Dutch spending time outside (granted in cooler weather that means slightly less people outside). So “buitenleven” is an accurate descriptor for the Dutch. In warmer weather sidewalks and streets are crammed with people: walking, biking, and sitting in cafes. Actually if the weather is nice no one* sits indoors at cafes.¬†This is one of my favorite things about the Dutch.

Through the Dutch ardor for the outdoors I have rediscovered my own enjoyment of being outside. Feeling the breeze on my face, stopping to admire the hue of flowers, or just enjoying the smell of the outdoors. This summer I have enjoyed het buitenleven: walking, gardening (ok so I enjoy the end result), boating, or otherwise relaxing. And I intend to enjoy a lot more.

gracht Kortenhof

*Slight exaggeration but not too far from the truth.