Rotterdam

We’ve come to Rotterdam to visit Mum’s cousin P and her family, including my great aunt and great uncle. We stay with P and her husband M, who have given up their room for us. My great aunt E and great uncle C prepare feasts for us to eat at their house near P’s home.…

De Haar Castle

De Haar Castle sits like a fairy tale between green grass, canals and dairy cows. A castle has existed on this site since 1391. As is the story with many castles, fire and war damaged the castle over the centuries. It passed from family to family and generation to generation until, finally, in the late 1800s…

Leeuwarden

Leo from Couch Surfing has kindly invited us to stay with him for a couple of nights while we’re in The Netherlands. He lives in Leeuwarden so that’s how we come to spend a day exploring the capital of Friesland. We arrive after our day in Westerbork and feel instantly welcome. And it’s also a…

Westerbork Transit Camp Memorial

The Westerbork Transit Camp was originally a refugee camp for Jews fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, the Nazis took the camp over and transformed the once safe-haven into part of their regime of reign of terror. Gypsies and Jews from all over The Netherlands were rounded up and sent to Westerbork for transportation to…

Coevorden

We arrive in Coevorden just in time to walk from my godparents’ house to my cousin’s house for the start of the New Year’s Eve party. My cousin’s wife is cranking out the fresh home made ollie bollen like a champion. They taste as delicious as I remember from last year. My cousin’s kids and their…

Biddinghuizen

My cousin suggests ice skating at the 3km (2 mile) long artificial outdoor skating track at Biddinghuizen. How can I say “no”? I love ice skating and want to catch up with my cousin so, despite the two hour drive each way, we drive across Holland to Velonice at Biddinghuizen. I’ve only skated two or three…

Loeverstein Castle

Loeverstein Castle is part of a network of protection that extended down the Rivers Meuse and Waal for centuries. Originally built as a private home using stolen river taxes, the castle was quickly commandeered by the government of the day while the owner was away. The waterways that surround the castle are more than a mere…