Cruising in Drenthe

Peg writes:

On the Hoogvart, between Hoogeveen and Nieuw Amsterdam, we are in the deep countryside of eastern Netherlands, passing through a very prosperous-looking area with many large farms. In the first photo, you will see a very large roof. This is because the barn is attached to the house, as is the custom in rural areas. In the second picture, a good example of how well the farmers seem to be doing here, you’ll see on the left a large Palladian-style double door. It is the carriage/wagon entrance to the barn.


There are 20 bridges on this canal, most of them about two feet above the water level. We have our very own bridge master, who opens each bridge as we arrive, closes it after us, then speeds past us along the road in his car to the next bridge. Makes one feel important!

A brugemesiter (bridge tender) stays with you as you proceed through the sequence of bridges assigned to them. The boaters try to go through together, meeting on the docks to make arrangements. They try to limit the amount of time the bridges stay open, as vehicles use the bridges. On major canals, several bridges are managed from a central location with cameras at each bridge, so the brugmeister sees when he needs to open a bridge. There is a phone number or VHF radio frequency the skipper can use to request an opening. At every bridge there is a red/green light. Red means nobody knows you are there or that a barge is coming from the other side and will smash you to smitherines if you are in the way) red WITH green (like in this photo) means the bridge is getting ready for you (so you know somebody somewhere has seen you), and green means OK to go NOW. Out of courtesy boaters try to move through as quickly as they safely can.

peg loops bollard


July 7, 2019
Here’s another charming Dutch town, dating from the 13th century, important historically as well as being to this day the home of technological R&D in the Nederlands emanating from Delft’s University of Technology.  It is also famous for Delft pottery, porcelain made using Chinese techniques developed in the 14th century and much prized in Europe from the moment of its arrival.  Delft pottery came to be in the 16th century.  It remains popular.  Sales last year were in the $36M range.
Delft is a popular tourist destination, for its charming architecture and the excellent Delft porcelain museum, as well as shops galore.  There are weekly street markets, at least in summer, like in many Dutch towns of this size.


One of several remaining gates of the walled city

Delft’s city hall

Willem the Silent, the first of the House of Orange to reign in the country, is buried at the Nieuwe Kerk in 1584, where there is a monument to him.  The succeeding members of the royal family are also buried there, the latest being Queen Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard.  The church, dating from the 14th century, has a magnificent spire. 

Source: Wikipedia

The Oude Kerk dates from 1246.  It has a noticeable lean that builders tried to correct as it rose, without success.  Its most massive bell dates from 1570.  Due to its nine tons and the resultant vibrations, the ring it only on special occasions, such as the burial of a Dutch royal family. 
We toured Prinsenhof, Willem’s residence during the revolt from Spain.  Aside from some excellent portraits, it is also the interesting as the location of his assassination, ordered by the Duke of Alba, King Phillip’s representative.  You can still see the bullet holes on the staircase, enlarged by probing fingers before it was protected by a plastic cover.
Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) was born in this city.   Delft streets and home interiors were the subject of his fabulous paintings.  We visited the Vermeer Center.  There are no original paintings, while the reproductions are of modest quality.  The narrative is excellent, however, and all the explanations and the short video are in English.
The Dutch East India Company was founded in 1602.  Delft then became a trading center, producing its wealth of architecture.