Places Visited in the Netherlands
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Aalsmeer (Photos) (Slideshow) is just south of Amsterdam where there is one of largest auction houses dealing solely with flowers. (Photo on left shows part of auction floor.)  Buyers come from all over Europe to bid on flowers that come from greenhouses in the Netherlands.  There also is a Historic Garden Museum whose object is to describe the history of this Dutch town in horticulture. The town also has a large lake with man made islands on which lilac bushes are grown and on which there are many floating homes.
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Amsterdam (Photos)(Slideshow) is very special to us.  It has museums of all sorts, including one of the best in the world, the Rijksmuseum,  and places to walk or bicycle along with throngs of others, open-air markets and cafes where tired walkers can revive on delicious coffee.  There are the canals and bridges which give the city a special look, and trams that give it a special sound.  We felt very relaxed and comfortable everywhere we went.  Our discussion of Amsterdam describe all the things we liked best in and around this interesting place.
 
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Delft (Photos), a worthwhile day trip from Amsterdam by train. It is the city in which Prince William of Orange (William the Silent) was murdered in 1584 and is entombed, where the artist Johannes Vermeer worked, and where Delft blue tile and other ceramics were created and manufactured.
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Enkhuizen (Photos)(Slideshow) on the Zuider Zee about 40 miles north of Amsterdam, is home to the ZuiderZee Museum, a wonderful open air museum devoted to explaining the early industrial age way of  life in a fishing village.  There also is a maritime museum where you can examine really old Dutch boats of all kinds.
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Haarlem (Photos) is only 12 miles from Amsterdam, just a little more than the US Harlem is from Manhattan, formerly known as New Amsterdam.  It is a lovely town.  The museum devoted to Frans Hals, a consumate artist of the human face, is here, and he is interred in St. Bavo's Church.  The organ in this church has been played by Handel, Mozart and Mendelssohn. 
Keukenhof (Photos)(Slideshow, 21 miles southwest of Amsterdam is the famous open air museum devoted to the beauty of flowers in general but mostly the tulip which is a very important export.  It is open only during the tulip season, from the end of April to the end of May
Kinderdyck (Photos), about 57 miles south of Amsterdam is where you go to see windmills in action.  There are 19 of them, monuments to the process that kept sea water off the flatlands.  You can see an Archimedes screw lifting water there.
Leiden (Photos)(Slideshow) , 26 miles from Amsterdam is a beautiful and historic city.  This is the city that gave safe haven to those refugees from England seeking religious freedom, known as Pilgrims.  They lived here for a number of years before returning to England and sailing on the Mayflower from Plymouth to found the Plymouth Colony in the new world. The house in which their minister, John Robinson, lived is shown at left.
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Naarden (Photos) is a beautiful town reachable by city bus from Amsterdam. Its main attraction is a star-shaped fort with a double moat. (See Google Earth photo at right.) The fort has a museum and puts on demonstrations that illustrate how it protected Naarden from attack from the sea. The demonstration includes cannon loading and firing by uniformed militia.
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Overloon (Photos)  at 95 miles southeast of Amsterdam was visited by motorhome in an overnight stay.  It was the site of one of the bloodiest battles that took place in the Netherlands in WWII.  Today there are two modern, informative museums there incorporating many artifacts that were left on the battlefield after the battle ended. The strange-looking objects in the photo at the left are examples:  bomb shelters for individual soldiers. 
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Utrecht (Photos)(Slideshow) is a large city 25 miles from Amsterdam  We found it charming, with an old city section complete with canals, one of the handsomest art deco post offices you will ever see, a fine open-air market and an old and historic church, called the Dom, with a huge bell tower.
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Volundam (Photos) is 12 miles from Amsterdam.  Quote from the Holland Tourist office web site: "Volendam, the old fishing village on the IJsselmeer, boasts traditional costumes, sports, music and, of course, fish. The harbour backs onto numerous tiny cottages. Did you know that during holidays and on the Volendammerdijk large parts of the population still wear their traditional costumes?"
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Arnhem  is 98 miles southeast of Amsterdam.  It is the site of the movie "A Bridge Too Far"  about a failed attempt, code named Market Garden,  in WWII to capture and hold a bridge (photo at right) before the Nazi forces could blow it up. Today, Arnhem is the site of an open-air museum and park with antique houses, farms, and factories from different parts of the Netherlands.
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Back to Netherlands Introduction
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 Intrepid Traveler
 
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Molenslag (Slideshow) is a campground on the North Sea beach between the Hook of Holland and The Hague where we stayed while visiting a friend in The Hague.  A very nice adjacent town is  a short walk from the beach.