I have a special relationship to Holland because Mulder is my surname and I  spent four months near Arnhem in 1947 staying with my supposed father’s sister, Auntie Non. I’ve described that sojourn here

In 2012 we took a break to Holland to celebrate our anniversary and her birthday. The other day I looked for the blog post about it and discovered there wasn’t one, though I’ve written about other places we’ve been to like  Paris, Brussels, Costa del Sol, Lisbon, Jamaica, Dublin, Wales and the Isle of Wight. All that remains is a set of pictures. . . .

We’d booked ourselves into the Van de Valk hotel, Volendam. If you’re planning to visit Amsterdam, or live there as an expat, Volendam is the place to lay your hat and call it home. Buses to the city are every 15 minutes, and get you there in half an hour. This is a pic from their brochure, the others below are mine, even the ones with embedded captions (an experiment at the time).

Taking a walk along a rural cycle path, you can see wildlife, on the move or still:

Holland is a place of inventive architecture, wherever you look:

but retains a respect for traditional styles. Note the carefully-preserved windmill in the background:
We went to look more closely, saw how it’s been converted into a dwelling:

A van seemed to be unloading materials for refurbishment. We wondered if there had recently been a change of owner. We asked someone a question, I don’t recall what, and got an unhospitable answer. Well, would you want foreign tourists gawking at your house, as if it were a public museum?

It’s been lovingly restored in every detail:

Here’s an everyday scene in this part of Holland, its olden days proudly kept alive by its residents for all the world to see:

This is one of my favourite pictures:

Holland = bicycles. We saw this one outside a shop in Edam’s main street:
A bicycle made for two—for the wedding couple?

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do,
I’m half crazy, All for the love of you,
It won’t be a stylish marriage,
I haven’t got a carriage,
But you’ll look sweet, upon the seat
Of a bicycle made for two!

Holland is the land of the liberated bicycle. As far as I know, there’s no bitterness in Amsterdam between motor- or pedal-power; whereas London’s cyclists are often said to be

a) selfish in their use of the road
b) opaque in their intentions
c) badly served by the city’s streets
d) convinced they are above the law.

From one of the canal bridges in central Amsterdam

The shopkeeper told me off for photographing in her shop
I wish we had heeded the warning, but I owed it to my Australian roots


1 thought on “Amsterdam”

  1. Lovely to be virtually there in Volendam! I think it must be half a century since I was in the Netherlands, though I often dream of it when looking at paintings.

    That might also be the first time I’ve seen the real words of Daisy Daisy. Family memory didn’t recall the word “bicycle”, so our renditions substituted a taxicab, minibus, elephant, or just an indistinct mumble.


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