Going Dutch

The first time we went to the Netherlands was to the Holland region. It was quite recently, 2011, and was just somewhere we wanted to experience on our way home from our main holiday down in Luxembourg. We spent only the weekend there and stayed just outside Amsterdam, in Volendam.

Once we arrived in Volendam, we started exploring straight away, and drove to Alkmaar for the first time. We enjoyed Alkmaar so much that we centred future visits around the city. I would love to go back there now, it should be possible but when I think of it, I just think faff – I haven’t even travelled to London since…

Alkmaar

The second day, we took advantage of the Netherlands’ decent public transport system and took the bus into the centre of Amsterdam. As far as I am concerned, the most must do thing in Amsterdam is to visit Ann Frank’s house. No objections from the family. We spent the rest of the visit discovering that central area.

And that was it. Next day, we drove home via Belgium and Dover.

We enjoyed our taster so much, that we went back the next year. My daughter was at a Summer Camp up in Yorkshire, so my wife and I made plans to return. This time, we stayed close to the coast, but still quite near to Alkmaar, at a beautiful seaside hamlet called Camperduin. I gave up on my Dutch when I realised that even this simple name was just not pronounced as it should be (to this dozy Englander)!

But from Camperduin, my wife and I had the week to explore north Holland. Another day in Amsterdam, by train this time, fish’n’chips just up the coast at Callantsoog – we learned to ask for kibbeling, basically cod bites, but not cooked in the same way as in Britain. The beautiful island of Texel, a real step back to a more relaxing time. And lots of cycling – hundred km rides hither and thither across north Holland, I learned to appreciate both the flatness of the landscape – and the wind! In a week full of new experiences, we ended with a visit to the beautiful city of Utrecht, en route to the ferry at Rotterdam.

Callantsoog
Texel, Vuurtoren Lighthouse

Our appetites whetted, we returned the next year as well. By that time, daughter liked to be on her own, but the promise of wi-fi at the holiday cottage did the trick. Again, not far from Alkmaar, again the obligatory visits to Amsterdam and to Texel. A festival we had found, quite by accident, the previous year was on again this year (in Schagen). All told, a very successful break.

Our last trip, to date, was to a different part of the Netherlands, the Limburg province, right on the border with Germany. In fact, there were big tank battles here around the start of 1945, and I visited a museum specifically commemorating these battles. This holiday was to a Centerparcs (a very overpriced modern-day holiday camp) and is probably the holiday where we saw the least of the Netherlands, because we stayed mostly on-site, although we did visit the cities of Venlo and Nijmegen.

The Rhijn (Rhein) at Nijmegen

Enjoying some memories.

Author: Stroke Survivor UK

Designed and developed IT systems for banks, but had a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Returned to developing from home, and have since released a couple of apps. I split my time between this and voluntary work. I am married, with a grown-up, left-home child.

17 thoughts on “Going Dutch”

    1. It’s funny around Europe because all these countries are quite small but very different from each other. How much do you find that in the US, from state to state? Certainly, the Netherlands was the most similar to the UK, so we slotted in straight away. France was another place we liked – I wish I could post a photo of my daughter’s face when I introduced her to snails!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You refer to the country as Holland, I’ve always referred to it as the Netherlands. I believe the country is The Netherlands and Holland is actually two provinces (North Holland and South Holland). But in either case, it is a lovely country, although I’ve only visited it twice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that’s my understanding too. I could probably have chosen my words more carefully. As it happens, that whole peninsula north of Amsterdam is the North Holland region, although the Limburg isn’t. In the UK, the words can be used interchangably, because we are too dumb to know otherwise! but I think the media tends to refer correctly to the Netherlands these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I went to Holland for a week for work almost 30 years ago. I brought Mary with me and had a wonderful time there. It’s really a beautiful place. A bit disturbing when you go to a town on Sunday and everything’s open but the churches, but still, we had a good time.

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  3. The Dutch can be fun, they are more straighforward than their neighbours. Beautiful pictures! But the places you visited are worth visiting although I haven’t been to all of them. I really love the sea and their beach, there is so much space and the beach is so clean. You are right about Centerparks, way too expensive!

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    1. My wife went to Centerparcs in September, just the one near to our home (45mn) – it was ideal for her because she did not leave the site for the duration, so, quite relaxing. I did not like them when I saw the way they inflated their prices in school holidays. Shameless money-grabbing. although we had three holidays in the French camps when daughter was young – Sologne, south of Orleans, and in Normandie. France is where we know best. With my young daughter, it was useful to be on a site with the pool.

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      1. I understand and everybody does as they please! I was once in a very big hotel in Greece, with breakfast and dinner. There was also bigno, a Greek evening (??) and some folkdancing! You chose what suits you in the moment. I was just saying that they dare to over-price what they offer. But many others with them. Having a good time is the most imortant, doesn’t matter where it is!

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