Naarden

Today Mike and I decided to explore a nearby town: Naarden, a fortress town dating from the 1300’s. From Google maps you can see the starburst outline of the town’s canals and fortifications. Obviously, this sounded amazing so we had to check it out.

Moat outside Naarden
Naarden’s outer canal/moat

As you approach the city, the fortifications are striking: angular high green berms rise from the ground beyond a beautiful moat. When you enter the fortifications, you can easily see the church spire. We followed the spire of Grote Kerk, past charming buildings in brick or the traditional Dutch green, to the heart of the city.

Grote of SintVitus Kerk
Grote of SintVitus Kerk

The church was open so we wandered in. There is a beautiful painted wooden ceiling with scenes from the Old and New Testaments. A nice gentleman offered us a couple mirrors to get a better look at the ceiling without neck strain. On the way out Mike stopped to admire some centuries old graffiti on one of the doors. Some of it looked like it was Latin or Greek letters.

Naarden Straat

sculpture in the garden of the Grote Kerk
sculpture in the garden of the Grote Kerk

I found poems and quotes painted on numerous buildings around the town.

gedicht

 

vesting

There are some cafes and wine shops along the main street but sadly most of them were closed. (Monday lots of businesses close or open later.) I think we may go back to check out the wine shops at some point. We did find a nice little place to have some coffee.

Our visit to Naarden was a low key day trip and we loved the architecture and fortifications. I’m really glad we finally got to see it.

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
Schapen

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

Kaasboerderij
Kaasboerderij or dairy
Klompenmakerij
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.

Den Haag

Last month, Mike and I went to Den Haag (native English speakers will know it has The Hague). We visited many of the must-see sights although we did not go on any tours. The morning started out rainy but the weather was soon warm and sunny. Our first stop was Het Binnenhof, built around the 13th century or so. Het Binnenhof was where the Dutch parliament used to meet but now it is just a historical site (and an impressive one as you can see below).

Het Binnenhof or the Inner Court
Het Binnenhof or the Inner Court
Detail of one of the towers in Het Binnenhof. Notice the lovely goldwork.
Detail of one of the towers in Het Binnenhof. Notice the lovely goldwork.
There was is a beautiful fountain, with gold-work, in the courtyard.
There was is a beautiful fountain, with gold-work, in the courtyard.
Goldsmith lodging (I believe I am translating that correctly. Dutch, friends please let me know if I have it wrong.)
Goldsmith lodging (I believe I am translating that correctly. Dutch friends, please let me know if I have it wrong.)

After Het Binnenhof, we headed downtown…

Mike loved how the brick on this store resembled Legos.
Mike loved how the brick on this store resembled Legos.
The Gouden Hoft
‘t Goude Hooft (no significance but I thought it looked cool)
Detail of the Golden Head the restaurant is named after
Detail of the Golden Head the restaurant is named after

Of course we visited the Vredespaleis, though we did not get to tour the inside.

Vredespaleis or Peace Palace
Vredespaleis or Peace Palace
This tree outside the Vredespaleis is where people put their hopes for peace.
This tree outside the Vredespaleis is where people put their hopes for peace.

We visited the Den Haag market – which is huge (so huge and packed it was hard to get a good picture)! Half the market has clothing stalls the other half has fish, fruits, vegetables, and bread stalls. However, we were slightly saddened by its lack of fry stands. We also had lunch at a lovely little cafe (I forget the name) a short walk from the Vredespaleis.

Haarlem

Recently, I visited Haarlem which is home to the Ten Boom clock shop, Kenau Simonsdochter Hasselaer*, several museums, and lots of lovely architecture.

As I travel around the Netherlands, I am noticing that each train station looks different and many of them have lovely architecture and artwork. The Haarlem Station is no exception.

Art in the Haarlem Train Station
Art in the Haarlem Train Station

Stained glass window at the Haarlem Train Station
Stained glass window at the Haarlem Train Station
More art in the Haarlem Train Station
More art in the Haarlem Train Station
Third Class Waiting Room (apparently now these waiting rooms have been converted into a salsa club). Now there are only 1st and 2nd class train tickets.
Third Class Waiting Room (apparently now these waiting rooms have been converted into a salsa club). Now there are only 1st and 2nd class train tickets.

Cool Haarlem Building

I did not go inside the Ten Boom shop this visit but I plan to return in the future.

The Ten Boom Clock Shop where Corrie Ten Boom and her family hid Jews during WWII.
The Ten Boom Clock Shop where Corrie Ten Boom and her family hid Jews during WWII.

Historic Building with an apothecary head outside.
Historic Building with an apothecary head outside.
Hermes Foot statue by a canal in Haarlem
Hermes Foot statue by a canal in Haarlem
church in Haarlem
church in Haarlem

*I did visit the Frans Hals Museum exhibit on Kenau. She was a Dutch woman who fought against the Spanish in 1573.