Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Traipsing wildly round the world


"What nonsense!" The Panda gave an enormous yawn. "Traipsing wildly round the world when you could stay here with me." (Mary Poppins by P.L.Travers) 

But it was an oh so lovely week in the Netherlands! From Bavaria to Berlin, from Berlin to the Netherlands - and back to Bavaria now. 

Typical (and not only a cliché) for The Netherlands are:

- The Sea, as seen above


- a constitutional Monarchy (here the famous portrait of Queen Beatrix, mother of the now reigning King Willem-Alexander with his adorable wife Queen Máxima)

                 
  and my favourite Queen, her grandmother Queen Wilhelmina (1880 - 1962) 


                                                   - world trade (and colonies)
       (as you know: they founded New York - formerly Nieuw Amsterdam


             - lots and lots of water and the knowledge how to make that land under water habitable 





                                            - Grachten and beautiful houses 
 



                                 - and, as you see here: many, many bicycles 



                                                           - the famous Appeltaart  


                                                    - and beautiful restaurants at the seaside 




























   






18 comments:

  1. A civilised country that gets a lot of things right.

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    1. True, Tasker, they keep often calm & collected, and that's what I admire (and try to learn).

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  2. I did a lot of Dutch history and art history at university, and was really ready for my first trip after getting married and leaving home. We have been back a number of times since, but the first trip was the most amazing - architecture, canals, art galleries, religious buildings, food *sighs happily*

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    1. Wow, that is interesting, Helen: so you know a lot about their architecture. Their old city houses are built in the same style as in Bremen, Northern Germany, where I come from: beautiful, but high and steep - also in the very best bourgeois house it might become impossible at a certain age to go up the steeple stairs. Friends of mine in Groningen own such a beautiful house - now they build a new modern one because the climbing to the beautiful roof terrace became tedious, even if you are just over fifty.

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  3. The Netherlands is beautiful. The lakes, rivers and canals show just how impressive their water management continues to be. Enjoy your time in the Netherlands. The Dutch know how to live well.

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    1. I fully agree, Susan. They taught their knowledge to others - and I am always impressed about their system of dyke protection and those huge water locks at the IJsselmeer. And knowing to live well: I see that they are enjoying food and meals (and beer and wine) very much. When I come back, sometimes I have added one kilo - but that melts easily away, till I go again :-)

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  4. My German friends often compare the Dutch royal family with the U.K. one and laugh to think of our Queen riding around on a bicycle.

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    1. Hahaha, Tom - I cannot imagine that!
      Cyclists in the Netherlands are utterly protected - a driver in a car is very, very cautious when meeting one on the road - at Court the cyclist always wins. (In Berlin he can't go to Court, because he's dead - and that is no joke - we have every year some deplorable cyclist's death).
      The Dutch have lots of cycle tracks - wonderful!

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    2. @tomstephenson your queen is the most amazing queen in the world and certainly the most amazing 95 year old female on earth.
      And why riding a bicycle if you have a horse?

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  5. Replies
    1. Thank you! In the Netherlands there are so many lovely things to see.

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  6. A strange country right now (is Rutte still in power?) that has historically got things right maybe but not so much now. They have had cycle lanes for many decades, I remember seeing them over 40 years ago when I travelled through Holland to Germany and ultimately to Berlin and watching Dutch school children cycling to school beside the railway and the dykes. Thank you for sharing everything here today Britta. xxxx

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    1. Dear Rachel - "Ein skandalumtoster Premier, ein ausgebranntes Kabinett, ein Hoffnungsträger auf der hintersten Bank" - writes the serious newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung end of September: "A Premier buffet by scandal, a raddled cabinet, a bearer of hope on the rearmost bank" - or the cover of the last "Spiegel" where Frau Antje (advertising character for cheese in traditional costume look) stood with the subtitle: "Käse, Koks und Killer" -" cheese, coke and killer", with a joint between her lips, a Kalashnikov in one hand, a big Gouda cheese in the other.
      So, no - not everything is shining - but: also not as bad as the Spiegel describes it. xxxx

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  7. Hey Britta globetrotter, good to hear you had a good time in my home country. I must admit there are worse places in the world as far as living is concerned.
    But were you maybe perhaps wearing pink glasses sometimes?
    We still have a caretaker cabinet for God knows how many months and our Belastingdienst verdient geen schoonheidsprijs (sorry don't know how you say that in English or German). But you know what I mean, and for the rest ......everything allright.
    Oh yes the tropical paradise in Germany was ......Sinzig. We had a beautiful Ferienwohnung with a swimmingpool and palm trees and beautiful weather. We really enjoyed being there for a week. Not far from Bad Neuenahr and Ahrweiler and yes we saw the flood damage, really devastating.
    Since the pandemic we have been 4 times in your country. But haven't been to the Uk for over 2 years.

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    1. Dear Guusje, thank you for reminding me to take off the pink glasses sometimes - I do not wear them when I read the "NRC Handelsblad" or the "Volkskrant" - but being on a holiday trip I indulge beauty and craftsmanship and history.
      The Flying Dutchman and I listen to Mr. Rutte's announcements on TV, and of course "All that glitters is not gold" - yet there still is a lot of metaphorical gold in your country, I think.
      You have been in Sinzig? Funny - back in very old days I had been there to visit my sister who was teaching there for a while.
      As to Covid: it was a strange feeling for me to enter an Albert Hein without a mask - or sit in a full bioscoop without one - but now we look a bit anxious at the development of new Covid-measurements, as Homeoffice would touch the work of the Flying Dutchman very much. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

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  8. Divine photos, dear Britta! You are lucky to have a foot in the door of such an interesting country. The Dutch monarchy is always on my radar for I do love them so. And three generations of Queens with another yet to come!

    Quite by an off-beat coincidence, I was only this morning reading an interesting article about the fascine mattresses the Dutch used to reinforce their dykes and harbours up until recently. Very eco-friendly and ingenious in their utility and longevity.

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    1. Dear Pipistrello, thank you! Monarchy: yes, it is fun when The Netherlands celebrate their "koningsdag" - Day of the King - now it is April 27th - birthday of Willem-Alexander. When I was there two years ago, the streets of Den Haag were orange - people wear hats and flowers and t-shirts in "their" colour, orange (not very becoming for me, I am the pink-type - but as I was only a guest, for that day I took off my pink-rose-tinted glasses and wore sunglasses with a subtle orange rim :-)

      I must confess that I had to google "fascine mattresses", but now I know a bit more. I was impressed by the cold beauty of the sort of huge, huge armour-plated "doors" to protect the polders against water when the sea rises - I took many fascinating photos - but oh: chaos in my lumber room for photos on my MacBook - I need armour plated doors to keep that flood in check and thus be able to find what I am looking for. I am the orderly type - but photos are my weak point, I fear.

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