Wandering about the Netherlands east, part 2

We are east of Emmelord in Vollenhove. Vollenhove dates at least to 944 CE. Toutenburg Castle (see photo below) was the summer palace of the bishop of Utrecht, also the secular ruler of the area. The wealthy built residences in the town proper, unusual for the time, and as a result Vollenhove came to be called the City of Palaces.

The town is in a peat zone, thus shipping was central to the local economy. It was on the Zuiderzee. They started to drain the Zuiderzee in the 1930’s, then suspended the process when war started, resuming in 1942. Now this and other villages are no longer on the shore but on hard land. Well, a goodly amount of hard land, given how much waterway remains.

volenhofe castle
The ruins of Toutenburg Castle
Building near the church

The previous day we walked around Blokzijl, an even smaller fishing village than Vollenhofe. There we said goodbye to our Dutch friends with whom we spent some 12 days together as they took us to their favorite moorings and towns in the northeastern part of the country, their favorite.

Blokzijl is a Johnny come lateley, as it was founded only in the 1580’s. It arose out of the peat trade. A canon remains on the dike, used to warn of approaching flood waters of the Zuiderzee upon which it rested. The large houses around this gorgeous harbor date from the 17th century. 

harbor blokzijl 2
Renovated old barge in the harbor at Blokzijl
eet cafe
House facing the harbor in Blokzijl
blokzijl harbor
Blokzijl’s harbor

Kalenburg vies with Geithoorn as the most charming village in the country. The canal runs right through town, and it’s large enough for boats like ours, whereas in Geithoorn the canals are small so you canonly go through on small outboard craft. The houses there are overall more impressive and the canals are crossed by lovely, curved pedestrian bridges. However there are many lovely houses in Kalenburg and two restaurants on the canal. Here is our video of our passage through this one house wide village.

Video by Peg
Neaarby Ossenzijl is located on the canal that connects
the Weerribben and Kalenburg. Just 540 people live there but enough beauty for a large city.
osenzijl bridge
Friends pass through the bridge ahead of us

I will have more on the lovely sights of this area.

In Holland: a friendly generous gesture

I took the the first two photos in Friesland, which is in the north and most rural part of Holland.   We saw perhaps 6 of these older wind mills, some of them still at work.

We stopped for coffee. There were four older men playing cards and after we got our coffee, the waitress showed up with these appelgebak mit slagroom (apple pie with whipped cream), one of our favorites.   One of the gents treated us, and as we were waiting for the coffee he even paid that!  I have no idea why, other than perhaps we were the rare visitor to these parts.  They would have known we were speaking English, although none of them seemed to understand anything we said to them directly.  The waitress spoke it quite well however.   

This event has more meaning if you know something about the Dutch.   Some might call them stingy or tight.  For example in our airbnb in Dordrecht they had coffee in the guest room.  Very nice.  But there were two coffee creamers.  Not four, not six, just two.  In another, it states if you use a whole roll of toilet paper you have to pay 2 euros extra.  The generosity we experienced was quite the surprise for us, having spent almost a year in the country over the past 20. 

The little restaurant sits across the field from the restaurant.  Earlier we were in Dordrecht, in the southwest part of the country where we spent the night on in a small outbuilding.  Our friendly hostess showed us around her lovely property, sitting on water’s edge.  Across the way is an island hosting beavers, hawks and owls and more, as well as the usual ducks and coots.


Applegebak mit slagroom
Windmill in Friesland


Sculpture in Dordrecht