Just this week I finished my two-week journey around the Netherlands. It wasn’t a holiday, as some people tend to think, but a trip I undertook deliberately to write about. After spending the last six months of 2017 visiting and interviewing museum directors, some celebrities, professionals and other experts throughout the country, I revisited all these destinations again to make the reports and interviews part of a travel story. The result is a stunning and interesting story about this small kingdom, told from many angles, but unfortunately, the book is in Dutch. On the bright side: I took hundreds of photos, and what follows below is a selection of the twenty best pictures taken during the trip.
0: A Map Of The Trip
Actually, there are 21 pictures. Here’s a map of the Netherlands with the route drawn on it (starting in Amsterdam):
Okay, with the route introduced and out of the way, let’s get started!
1: To The North Cape
On my third day, I took a train to the northernmost station of the Netherlands and then had to walk 19 kilometres (return) to reach the “North Cape,” as the local tourist agency has named the northernmost point on the Dutch mainland. It was a windy, cloudy day. It drizzled every now and then. This picture was taken on the way:
2: The North Cape
Upon reaching the northernmost point of the Dutch mainland, there’s some rusty monument that looks like it’s made of chocolate:
3: David and Goliath
The world-famous Dutch windmills have just reached new heights. Here are Goliath (from 1897, the northernmost windmill in the Netherlands) and his new cousin David (from 2017, the highest mill in the country, reaching 200m!). Pretty cool to see old and new together:
4: At The Easternmost Railway Station
This train is coming into the Netherlands from Germany. You can tell by the red endings of the whips. This picture is taken at the easternmost railway station of the Netherlands, Bad Nieuweschans.
5: The Bourtange Fortress
Bourtange, a fortress, has been renovated to look exactly the way it did back in 1742. It’s quaint, but it needed more tourists (yes, says me, the guy who hates to be among tourists!) – being on your own in this place is just incredibly boring.
6: Into The Hills
From the flat lands below sea level down to the hills near the German and Belgian borders. Scroll up to see the difference with picture number one. Yet, it’s the same, small country!
7: Tripoint Vaalserberg
Only a fifteen minute walk from the village in picture 6 (Vaals) is the Vaalserberg, a tripoint where Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands meet – as evidenced by the flags, of course.
Maastricht is truly one of the most beautiful cities in the Netherlands. It’s old, monumental, has great restaurants and a pleasant atmosphere. I love going there, but not too often – got to keep it special!
9: The Laundrette
It’s hard to be a traveller in this country! Many hostels and hotels don’t have washing machines, and since I was carrying nothing more than my laptop backpack, I needed, midway into the trip, a laundrette – urgently. Luckily, in the laidback town of Breda, I found one!
10: Sunset Above The Forest
That night I slept at the Stayokay hostel in Bergen op Zoom. Before dinner I took leisurely walk in the forest opposite the hostel.
11: The Westernmost and Smallest City In The Netherlands
In the province of Zeeland, about fifteen kilometres north of Bruges, is Sint Anna ter Muiden – which claims to be the smallest city in the country, but is most definitely the westernmost hamlet. Funnily enough, there’s no sign at the border pole that says: “You have reached the westernmost point of the Netherlands! Congrats!” But then you have…
12: One of the coolest hostels!
That evening I slept in this castle, which is a hostel. I had a room to myself – great value for money!
13: The Delta Plan
After the 1953 floodings, the Dutch government and people said, “Never again!” And so they built a series of dams throughout the provinces of Zeeland and South Holland. This is a picture of one dam, taken from the bus.
14: Sleeping In A Cube
The strange cube houses in Rotterdam also contain a hostel, where I stayed for the night. This is my dorm room (which, again, I had to myself – yay!).
15: Expo Of Realistic Statues
Let me tell you a little secret. The writing process took about nine months, and consist of more than forty visits which are making up one story. Therefore, there’s no date in the book – I just describe the weather, either rainy or cloudy or sunny, but no temperatures – and no events that took place on a certain date. My visit to this expo is not in the story, but I can still share it here.
16: The Scheveningen Pier
My only visit to a beach was on this windy day in Scheveningen (suburb of The Hague). The food promenade inside the pier was open, but it was a bad day for bungee jumping.
17: The Highest Church Tower In The Netherlands
This really became a journey of extremities. This is the Dom Tower, in the city of Utrecht, the highest church tower in the country at 112 metres and 32 centimetres.
18: Geese In The Oostvaardersplassen
No further comment needed.
19: Stunning Little Town: Enkhuizen
Only fifteen minutes by car from where I live (Hoorn), there’s the small city of Enkhuizen, which is visually and monumentally quite a stunning place.
20: Two Men On The Roof
This one was the result of a funny coincidence, when a construction worker (left) sat down to roll a cigarette and happened to be dressed in the same colours as the statue laying on that other roof. I took this photo after I’d reached the end of my trip in my favourite harbour pub in Hoorn.
That’s all, folks!
News In Brief…
The next travel project is going to be something entirely different. I’m going to walk the length of the United Kingdom from Bognor Regis in the south to Cape Wrath in the north. The book I’ll be writing about that walk will be in English. The route is based on “The Bryson Line” out of Bill Bryson’s The Road To Little Dribbling.
Although the book on the Netherlands is written in Dutch, the books about Australia and Vietnam are not! These will come out toward the end of April.
To sustain yourselves until then, there are two more books I wrote in English (see below). By purchasing your copy (either Kindle or printed, or check out your local Kobo e-book store) you are helping me a great deal with the funding of future projects! Thank you!