Sunday, August 22, 2010

die Nederlands

Much of the Netherlands still resembles the landscapes of Late Gothic paintings from centuries ago.

This is a view from a commuter train about ten minutes outside of Amsterdam. New Yorkers, Bostonians, Angelinos, imagine gazing at this idyllic pasture with your morning coffee on the ride to work! (Oh, L.A., sorry about your public transit system.)
It is so soothing to see flocks of sheep dotting these emerald expanses, and the dairy products taste like the cows are enjoying themselves.

These two were walking along the seaside on the dike between Noord- Holland and Fryslân (Thanks, Fokke!) Fryslân is a distinct part of the Netherlands, with a different language as well. North and South Holland are regions within the Netherlands, hence referring to the whole country as "Holland" doesn't make so much sense. Unfortunately, this misinformation is perpetuated by the Nederlands Tourist Board.

The Waag (the weigh station) is the oldest building in Amsterdam, started in 1488. When people were suspected of witchcraft, they were weighed here to determine if they should be put to death (always a lose- lose situation.) The surgeons' guild that occupied the top floor of the building commissioned Rembrandt to paint the surgeons at work. Amsterdam's Fab Lab is now housed here. Frustratingly, it is not yet wheelchair- accessible.

The Netherlands is especially famous for bicycles and cheese. Gouda, Edam- those are towns here. Imagine a bicycle with wheels of cheese, but not like in the configuration above.

Bicycles rule and car parking is scarce in Amsterdam so this tiny car is popular among those with four wheels.

Free bike parking is everywhere, even on barges that serve as massive, floating bicycle parking lots.

Drivers regard cyclists with respect and caution; families can ride about safely. I noticed that car drivers seems more patient at stoplights because the light cycles are quick.

This is a statue in Amsterdam that a lot of people can probably relate to. I believe the sculpture is based on literary characters of Bredero, a Dutch poet and playwright.

In Utrecht, this is the squatter's version of "Punk's not dead." "Kraken gaat door," means, "Squatting continues."

We were surprised to find this "ambulance" in front of an apartment in Utrecht. Keren told us that's what doctors use to make house calls!

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