31 december 2013

Ontvangershuis Assen

The 'ontvangershuis' (lit: 'reception house') is the oldest private residence in Assen and can be found at the Brink. Once it was one of the buildings of the Maria in Campis Monastery and has most likely been the home of a priest. Many years later the local authoroties used it as an office as well as a guesthouse for important guests.
The province of Drenthe bought the house in 1955, and soon after that it became a part of the Drents Museum. It still is today.

Look at the pretty fence on both sides of the steps leading to the front door. The fence once belonged to a manor in Zuidlaren.

##    Gelukkig nieuwjaar!   Happy New Year everyone!!    ##

30 december 2013

Dead Sea Scrolls / Drents Museum

Entering the exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls, only there for a few more days in the Drents Museum in Assen so hurry if you happen to be around and want to go! The museum shows original Biblical manuscripts and objects from the 3rd century BC till the 1st century AD. Imagine that.

Part of the exhibition is a 'research lab', with lots of side information as well as translations of the texts on the scrolls. As you can see, I wasn't the only one there to see -what is called-  'one of the greatest archaeological discoveries from the 20th century'. 
The original historical fragments are kept in special conditions regarding light, humidity, temperature etc. It wasn't allowed to make photo's of the actual scrolls, however to see them and to realise how old they are, was quite impressive.

29 december 2013

28 december 2013

Leeuwarden train station

The central train station of Leeuwarden opened in 1863. See here how it looks inside the main building. Note the Art Nouveau tiles!

26 december 2013

Wijvebrug in Sellingen

When we were in Sellingen we passed this bridge, I thought the name -Wijvebrug is Dutch for Broad's Bridge- sounded rather negative and awkward so I googled it when we returned home again. 

I found an old folktale that tells about this place in dark nights with thunder and lightning, when wisps of fog came from a piece of low land nearby and went over the road near the bridge. In the past people thought they saw ghostly figures when it lightened. These images were known as 'witte wievn', or 'weird sisters' in English. Spooky!  

25 december 2013

winter walk in Westerwolde

A typical Dutch landscape in winter, without snow though, seen here last Sunday in the south of the province Groningen.

23 december 2013

open atelier

Meet Wynolt Visser, a Dutch artist that I found working on the 3rd floor of the Fries Museum last Friday. Amongst many other things, Wynolt makes wonderful creations combining photographs with textile and colorful yarn. He told me he enjoyed working on this special location very much, and kindly agreed with a photo and a blogpost here.

Each third week of the month the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden invites (local) artists to come and stay for several days. Visitors to the museum can watch them while they are working, ask questions if they like, and learn how their art is created.

22 december 2013


One of the current exhibitions in the Fries Museum is 'Oud Geld' (lit. 'Old Money', meaning inherited wealth), about the Friesian 'old boys network' in the Dutch Golden Age -the 17th century in
which Dutch trade, science, military and art were among the most acclaimed in the world.
'Oud Geld' shows old ánd new wannahaves..

21 december 2013

Serious Fruitmachine

Before and during this week's Serious Request fund raising event (see yesterday's blogpost), also a great many private initiatives are taken to collect money for the Red Cross. How about this one in the centre of Leeuwarden: a living fruitmachine! Just pull the large black and yellow handle on the right side, like a real fruit machine, and ..

.. when all 3 hold the same object high, you are a winner!!


20 december 2013

3FM Serious Request

"Serious Request" is a benefit event in the week before Christmas each year by Dutch radio station 3FM. The project collects money for Red Cross initiatives. During 6 days (it started last Wednesday) 3 dj's live in a glass house without food, they only drink juices. They broadcast on the radio 24 hours per day throughout the whole 6 days, and it is also being transmitted on tv. Each day Dutch celebrities visit the glass house. 

The dj's play songs requested by internet or visitors standing in front of the glass house. When requesting a song, you are expected to donate money to the project. This year's main theme for the campaign is 'let's clean this shit up' and the money will be used to stop children dying from diarrhea.

Serious Request as a benefit event is a huge succes: in 2012 more than 12 million euro's (!) was raised. Each year it is in different city, and this year it's all happening in Leeuwarden. I took this last picture looking out on the glass house from inside the Fries Museum this morning. As you can see it wasn't very crowded yet at that time. By the way, the units forming the glass house only have glass on the front side, so there's a bit of privacy left for the dj's.


19 december 2013

Warme Bakker

I found this mural of a baker on the side wall of a house at the Poststraat in Stadskanaal, so it's very likely that this was once a bakery. A search on the web brought up the name 'Wolthuis' (?). 

In my country the Netherlands we call a bakery that bakes it's own bread a "warme bakker", lit. "warm bakery".

18 december 2013

17 december 2013

a church made of sugar

The ingredients for the sugar (!) church in this bakery's show window were icing sugar, water and gelatine. But how much sugar was used, any idea? They decided to make a competition of that, and the winner will receive a Christmas cake.

So it is the Poststraat church in Stadskanaal in a miniature version. The details are impressive..

16 december 2013

a ride with the steam train

Taking the steam train was also part of the Dickens style-Christmas fair in Stadskanaal, yesterday afternoon.

A steam train leaving is spectacular for eyes and ears!

The Museum Stadskanaal Railway (S.T.A.R) rides on special days between the towns of Veendam and Musselkanaal. Stadskanaal is halfway.

15 december 2013

14 december 2013

info cube

This is the top of a cube showing a historical map of the north east region of the province Groningen, now known as the Reiderwolderpolder. The blue stone cube with the porcelain enamel top, mentioning the small villages Drieborg and Nieuwe Statenzijl, can be found at a parking place along the road to Drieborg.
It was created by sculptor Juul Sadée, and is one of the objects belonging to the art project "3-BORG UNPLUGGED" from 1996.

13 december 2013


View from the dike in the vast Reiderwolderpolder, in the far north east of the province Groningen. Fences divide the grounds for sheep.

Hikers are welcome, you cross the fence by stepping over it.

Linking to Friday's fences #109

12 december 2013

11 december 2013


A 'handy' sign pointing the way to small hamlets like Ten Arlo and Ten Heuvel, near Zuidwolde and Hoogeveen.

Linking to signs, signs.

10 december 2013

no nosy neighbors..

..just hundreds of tourists watching you and photographing you day in day out from passing ferries...

But, if you like being on your own, I guess this is your spot! The island with the house and lighthouse is located at the Swedish coast near Göteborg. The photo's are from last Summer.

9 december 2013


This guy in his "velomobile" came towards us with such speed that I had to hurry taking a photo -hoping the image wouldn't be too blurred.. These remarkable bicycles have a shell for comfort, weather protection and luggage space. The aerodynamic shape provides relatively high speed with low physical effort. I'm pretty certain it takes practise (and courage!) to ride them.

I remembered I photographed a 'velomobile' before so searched in my archive; this yellow one was parked in the centre of Leeuwarden.

8 december 2013

Christmas fair Bourtange

A traditional Dutch treat (and very nice to eat when you are on a Christmas fair and it's cold!) are 'poffertjes': small, fluffy pancakes with a light, spongy texture. They are served with powdered sugar and butter. In this stand the poffertjes are cooked in one of the special cast iron or copper pans that you see hanging in the back, the pans have shallow indentations in the bottom. So you get them fresh and hot!

Around the market square where the Christmas fair was hold are several small and beautifully decorated shops, always great to have a look in them as well..

This gentleman in black was entertaining us with his songs.

Bourtange, where these pictures were taken today, is a historical village in the province Groningen. Fort Bourtange was initially built during the Eighty Year's War (circa 1568-1648). In the 16th century it became part of the fortifications on the border between the north of the Netherlands and Germany. Nowadays part of the village is an open-air museum.

7 december 2013


Detail of a garden chair as part of a set of 4 chairs and a table, for sale and displayed outside an antique shop in Smeerling.

6 december 2013

roof top decoration

A typical kind of house found in the east of the Netherlands, where old buildings -like barns- are renovated and transformed into beautiful homes with a thatched roof.

Quite common as well are the roof top signs/decorations (called 'geveltoptekens' in Dutch). Sometimes it's an art expression, however they often refer to Christian symbolism. I'm not really sure about the origin of this one though..

Another name for the triangular part together with the roof top decoration is (in Dutch) 'uilenbord', lit. 'owl board'. The triangular part used to have a round opening for ventilation, and owls could fly in and out as well -helping to keep the barn free from mice.
(thanks s.c !)

5 december 2013

birdhouse art

birdhouses as art..   displayed next to Museum De Buitenplaats in Eelde

4 december 2013


Following up on the previous posts these are 2 more photo's from last Sunday's Midwinter horn stroll, showing 2 banners in local dialect that say it all. First: 'Mooi da'j d'r bint' which means 'It's wonderful that you're here',

and near the end: 'Onmeunig mooi da'j der wann' means 'It was really great that you were here'.

Linking to signs, signs.

3 december 2013

blowing the midwinter horn #2

Following up on yesterday's post: the hornblowers wait their turn, as it is 'not done' to blow simultaneously. The melody that is played depends on the ability of the blower, while the pitch depends on the horn that is used. 

A midwinter horn is not just 'a midwinter horn'. They can have different shapes and length, and can be made from differents types of wood like birch, alder, or willow. The mouth piece, like on the dark brown one, is called 'happe'.  

Most hornblowers were dressed for the occasion, and some even had a miniature midwinter horn on their hat, like this gentleman from a midwinter horn blower's group from Nieuw Schoonebeek.

If you would like to hear the sound of the midwinter horns, I found -THIS- on YouTube.