30 november 2014

Sinterklaas tradition

If you´re in the Netherlands at the moment, you won't be able to miss Sinterklaas and his 'Zwarte Pieten' assistents! Even though all the towns and cities are getting ready for Christmas with all kinds of decorations, the celebration of Sinterklaas and the giving of gifts on 5 December comes first.

We happened to "catch" Sinterklaas alone with one of his Zwarte Pieten preparing for a parade through the streets of Den Burg on the island of Texel, 2 weeks ago. They were slowly walking several rounds on the parking lot; apparently Sinterklaas had to get used to riding the white horse...  Earlier that day they arrived by boat in the small harbour of Oudeschild.
The three of them were happy to be photographed on this private moment, even the horse -called 'Amerigo' according to the tradition- seemed to look in the camera ;)

If you would like to read more about this tradition in our country click HERE.

29 november 2014

From the archives #42

Finland (2009)
In March 2009 we made a 5-day huskytrip in northern Finland, with a group of 8 people and a guide. We each had our own sleigh with 5 dogs to take care of, and spent the nights in wooden cabins in the forests without electricity and running water. A real adventure and without doubt one of the best weeks we ever had.
This photo was taken in the afternoon, during a short stop while crossing a lake.

28 november 2014

27 november 2014


This mural inside the lighthouse of Texel shows the highest and lowest point in the Netherlands, compared to the zero level of NAP. 'Normaal Amsterdams Peil' (NAP) or 'Amsterdam Ordnance Datum' is used as the reference water level since the end of the 19th century. Originally the zero level of NAP was the average summer flood water level in the IJ just north of the centre of Amsterdam, then still connected with the open sea. Nowadays zero meter NAP is about the same as sea level. NAP is an official and very important measurement system for our country, and its data are used for protection against floods, water management and all kind of studies.

The mural shows the Texel lighthouse on the left, where we were standing on 33,6m above NAP. The lowest point is the village of Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel (6,76m below NAP), and the Vaalserberg (322,2m above NAP) is the highest point.

Watching the NAP levels while climbing the stairs inside the lighthouse.

26 november 2014


This sign was shown in an interior design store in the village of Den Burg on the island of Texel. It (the sign) was for sale, as well as hundreds of other small and big, and cheap and expensive (and normal and funny) things for your kitchen, hallway, livingroom, bedroom etc.etc..   A shop where I could easily spend hours looking around! ;)

Linking to Lesley's signs, signs.

25 november 2014


..photo taken in the centre of Laren (NH), last weekend.

24 november 2014

Laren village green

This is a view of the village green and puddle in the centre of Laren, a village in the province of North Holland and the oldest town of the region called 't Gooi. In the past, this puddle was used for drinking water for cattle and has the old Dutch name 'Coeswaerde'.

23 november 2014

Lighthouse light bulb

Each floor inside the 150 years old Texel lighthouse had information panels with photos and/or a small showcase telling about its history. Interesting was this exhibition of huge light bulbs -having a size of about 60 cm- that were once used.

22 november 2014

From the archives #41

Athens, Greece (2010)
Most likely visiting the Temple of Olympian Zeus (also known as the Olympieion) on her own, this lady took her time to make a selfie with the ruins in the background.

21 november 2014

Marga Weimans exhibition

These photos taken in the Groninger Museum are from the first major solo exhibition of the work of Dutch fashion designer Marga Weimans (1970). She graduated from the Royal Academy for Fine Art in Antwerp in 2005, and is seen as one of the most striking designers of this moment. This creation 'Wonderland' was made of colourful felt, and was inspired by the contrast between dream and reality.

Characteristic for Weimans work are the richly contrasting graphic patterns, by means of which she refers to her Surinamese background. The theme of the collection of this last photo is 'Citylife'.

I visited the Groninger Museum yesterday, and just managed to view this wonderful exhibition as it ends this Sunday.

20 november 2014

Take a book, return a book

From what I´ve read there are many Little Free Libraries in the Netherlands already, but this one in the Texel island village of Den Burg was actually the first one that I have seen here. I must say I love the idea and hope a lot of Dutch people agree with me :)  As the text on it is in English I guess this little library was imported, in Dutch they are called ´straatbieb´.
If you're new to it and would like to read more, click HERE for their official website.

19 november 2014

A sign of love

Never mind that it was a grey and rainy Sunday, love was clearly in the air! We took this 'bird's eye view' photo of the Texel beach from the top of the lighthouse.

For more signs around the world visit Lesley's signs, signs,

18 november 2014

A street in Den Burg

We enjoyed a short break at the North Sea coast on Texel, one of the Dutch Wadden islands. This photo was taken in Den Burg, the main village.

13 november 2014


An exhibition of colourful glass in Museum Het Valkhof in Nijmegen. In the background you can see just a glimpse of the Waalbrug, an arch bridge over the Waal River.

12 november 2014


This is called a 'TOP', short for (in Dutch) 'Toeristisch OverstapPunt', something like 'Tourist Transfer Point'. A TOP is a kind of landmark where tourists 'arrive' and can start a marked cycle or hiking route, or any kind of activity. These signs can be found in various regions of the Netherlands. Here in the province of Groningen it's a cone filled with stones, other places have a steal key, or a large stalk for instance.

This particular one is located near the train station in Stadskanaal.

Linking to signs, signs.

10 november 2014

Peanut man

It is getting colder now, and it won´t be long before we will be feeding the birds in our garden again. This 'peanut man' was for sale at one of the Autumn fairs we visited.

9 november 2014


In Keramiekmuseum Het Princesshof in Leeuwarden I photographed this piece of earthenware art by Dutch sculptor and ceramist Adriaan Rees (1957), named 'Ascanius 1'. When I googled on the name I found that in Greek and Roman mythology, Ascanius was the son of a Trojan prince. I have no idea though about its connection with this image or why it is blowing air so intensely!

8 november 2014

From the archives #40

Iceland (2008)

This is the harbour of Husavik, a town on the north coast of Iceland on the shores of Skjalfandi bay. As different species of whales frequently visit the bay, whale watching has become very popular here. Boat tours are made with small fishing boats, and take about 3 hours. We were lucky to spot several 9 meters long Northern Bottlenose whales (in Dutch: Noordelijke Butskoppen) and dolphins.

7 november 2014


..with love from the sky!

Foto taken from our home early this morning. Linking to Skywatch Friday.

6 november 2014

The 'gaper'

Another image of a 'gaper', or 'someone who yawns', above the entrance of a (former) chemist. By seeing this head people knew where to go if they needed a medicine to cure a cold, etc. I have posted them before on this blog, they are a sign from the past and a tradition I like to see.
Photo taken in the city of Nijmegen.

5 november 2014


A sign almost as big as a bus! ;)  Seen in the village of Richmond, Yorkshire, last Summer.

For more signs around the world go to signs, signs.

4 november 2014

Woudagemaal and IJsselmeer

This is my last post (for now) from the Woudagemaal, showing the backside of the pumping station building and the 4 heavy doors that can regulate the waterflow to and from the IJsselmeer,

Taken from almost the same spot, but looking backwards to the IJsselmeer here. This shallow artificial lake of 1100 km2 borders the Dutch provinces of Flevoland, North Holland and Friesland. The IJsselmeer is the largest lake in Western Europe. If you would like to read more click HERE.

3 november 2014

Woudagemaal industrial heritage

I'm following up on last week's posts about the pumping station 'Woudagemaal' in Lemmer. The pumping station, a great example of industrial heritage in our country, is currently used to supplement the existing pumping capacity of the Hooglandgemaal (in the town of Stavoren) in case of exceptionally high water levels in the province of Friesland; this happens a few days per year.
When the Woudagemaal is started up, it takes about 6 hours to have the machines fully operating. After that, 4 people are needed during a day to keep the pumps running.

Both photos were taken inside the pumping station. The sign at the bottom photo saying 'WERKSPOOR N.V. AMSTERDAM' refers to the largest machine factory that existed in the Netherlands in the 19th century, employing over 1,000 people in the year 1850.

2 november 2014

Warm November day

A soft breeze, a bright sun and blue skies, birds chasing eachother through a bush, and neighbours who were mowing their lawns. This was our 1st of November, with record breaking high temperatures of about 21°C (69,8°F) in the south of the Netherlands!
But let's be realistic. In less than 1,5 months we'll be decorating our Christmas trees again.. ;)

I took this photo yesterday afternoon, zooming in on the cherry tree in our garden.

1 november 2014

From the archives #39

Vancouver Island, Canada (2012)

In the Inner Harbour of Victoria, on Vancouver Island (BC). It was a real joy to listen to this street artist!