Saturday, June 30, 2007

Grave Statue

Final shot in this week's cemetery series. I have to say that I find this monument more than a little creepy. Aside from looking like a giant stone Pez dispenser, the expression is just a little too smug for my taste.

From the Dorpskerk in Wassenaar. PS, there is a faded inscription on the side that I couldn't read enough of to translate.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Garden Cemetery

You might think that you're looking at a garden, but these are actually grave plots at the Dorpskerk cemetery in Wassenaar. Most of the plots are very well tended, with various plants and decorative items placed at the site.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Resting place

The older section of the Jewish cemetery Persijnhof in Wassenaar. This section is left very natural, with high grasses and no carefully gardened plots.
We'll stay on the theme tomorrow, as part of an unintentional cemetery series. We find cemeteries to be quite interesting ... sometimes you can learn quite a bit about an area from a quick visit to the local cemetery. And often they are beautiful and peaceful places.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

War Reminders

The Persijnhof is a Jewish cemetery in the Wassenaar neighborhood of Kerkehout. Separated from the main road by an access road, it's not something you'd find unless you lived in the area or were specifically seeking it out. We found it on one of our evening bike rides.

Many WWII vicitims are buried in the cemetery. According to the gravestone, Bernhard Kahn died in Auschwitz. I'm not very good with dutch translations, but the gravestone loosely translates as "a reminder," so I'm not sure if Mr. Kahn was moved here or if this marker is put here in his memory.
Knowing the horrible fate of the people interred in Auschwitz, my guess would be the latter.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mine Sweeper Mercuur

The HMS Mercuur is a naval museum in the neighboring harbor of Scheveningen. We didn't have a chance to visit (but plan to in the future). According to this website, it was originally transferred from the U.S. to The Netherlands as part of the Marshall Plan; the ship's original mission was to sweep the dutch harbors for post-war mines.

I know I've said it a million times, but I must say again that it is amazing how ever-present war reminders are here in Europe. Perhaps it is on my mind because we were in France last weekend (will post to our personal travel blog next week). Tomorrow, another reminder from here in Wassenaar.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Gefeliciteerd (Congrats)!

Students in the Netherlands have a tradition of hanging their backpacks on flagpoles/out of windows when they have passed their finals. We're starting to see them all over town. Congratulations to the successful students!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Beach tracks

Continuing on the bird theme (kinda), we liked the pattern of these bird tracks in the sand at the Wassenaar beach.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Birds of Wassenaar

An occasional series on the birds we see here. This little guy is a vink in dutch or chaffinch in english. Evidently he's a very common bird, but I have to say that we never see them around our house. In fact, we rarely actually see them in the trees & meadows where we hear them all the time.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Photos of photos

Around the Westerkerk in Amsterdam, an outdoor display of Spirit of the Wild by photographer Steve Bloom. An amazing group of wildlife photography designed to build awareness of our fragile ecosystem.
There were more people taking in the exhibit than you would think from this of those times when people were a bit shy about having their photo taken.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More Amsterdam Gardens

A courtyard garden from the open garden tour, with a spectacular hydrangea display in the center.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Amsterdam Gardens

Most of the homes in Amsterdam have very small (if any) gardens, so many of the spaces on the Open Garden Tour were examples of creativity with small spaces. This garden had an intricate hedge design filled with many flowering plants. The outbuildings are also interesting; the one you see here at the back of the garden is an artist's studio.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Guard Bunny?

Last weekend we went to Amsterdam for the annual Open Garden days. 29 city gardens were opened to the public; we'll share a few photos throughout the week.
We noticed a crowd of people staring into a window ... expecting maybe a dog, a cat, or an unusual piece of art, this is what we saw. This guy must have the run of the house.

Monday, June 18, 2007


The Ridderzaal (Knights Hall or Great Hall) dates from the 13th century. It stands in The Hague in the Binnenhof (where the dutch parliament sits). This is where the Queen delivers her annual speech to parliament. Most evenings this square is a quiet place in the city.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


This relief was over a building in the southern town of Middleburg. We liked the scene, but unfortunately we don't know what the building was or what the scene means!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Public art

There's a lot of public art around town. This statue graces the beginning of the Langstraat, Wassenaar's main shopping street.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Wassenaar nature

A peaceful scene from the nature area that separates the town of Wassenaar from the dunes and the north sea. We were quite surprised the first time we saw Canada Geese here ... they were so common (sometimes considered a pest) in the states and we didn't know their range extended to Europe. There seem to be more variety in geese here and the Canada Geese are not nearly as populous as in the states.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

To the Sea

It's been pretty dull and gray here for most of the week, so here's one from the archive. Every once in a while you can get an idea of what the dutch landscape (waterscape?) might have looked like in an earlier century, like in this view from the Muiderslot castle, located just outside of Amsterdam.
The blurriness (is that a word?) of the above (unaltered) photo seemed slightly reminiscent of a painting, so below is a "fun with photoshop" moment.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Australia in Holland

Behind the Hotel de Gouden Leeuw (the golden lion) in the neighboring town of Voorschoten is a set of bird enclosures. We have no idea why they are there ... an attraction for the hotel, or a personal collection, perhaps? In any event the emus were very curious. Love the Trump hairdo.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Japan in Holland

The Japanese Garden at the nearby Clingendael estate is only open for one month of the year. It was created in the early part of the 20th century and the layout has been preserved. The fragile plants are the reason for the limited access. Even though it was fairly crowded when we visited, this shot portrays the tranquility that the garden is intended to inspire.

Study in Pink

This is one of the more interesting home decorations we've seen here, to say the least. We're not sure if there's some secret meaning to this, or if it's just someone's sense of humor.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Dog's Life II

Same park, same day as yesterday's photo, but these guys didn't need the water to have fun.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Dog's Life

No real explanation needed, this dog was having a great time in the park area on the border of Wassenaar & The Hague.

Friday, June 8, 2007

An interesting building in the nearby town of Leiden. I think that foreigners tend to romanticize old buildings (at least I do). What was the original purpose of this building ... a castle, a rich person's house, a university? What happened in the lovely courtyard ... did maidens dance and children play?

In reality, the Gravensteen had a much more sinister purpose. Luckily there is a plaque on the site that explains the building's history. Pictured below, it's printed in dutch and english; here's a shot of the english portion. According to the Leiden website (in dutch), the last sentence was carried out in 1853. (Click either pic to enlarge)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Water Lily

The town of Giethoorn borders the nature area of De Wieden. The little electric boat we rented is just powerful enough to tour the lake as well as the canal and nature areas. Luckily the water was still enough that we were able to capture this water lily from the boat.

Also, in regards to A.L.'s comment on Tuesday's post, here's a different shot where I adjusted the contrast and converted it to b/w (click to enlarge). It is true, the silhouette "disappears" and you can see the white underside of the stork's wings. Thanks for writing!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Giethoorn cottage

The village of Giethoorn is a really wonderful little town in the Overijssel province. It's about two hours drive from Wassenaar. It is remarkably well-kept; there are no modern buildings and the only way you can get around in the village is by boat or walking. Although a popular tourist attraction (it is known as the "Venice of the North"), it manages to avoid being as kitschy as some of the other "preserved" towns in The Netherlands. This is a typical village house with a beautiful garden as seen from the canal boat.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Stork Silhouette

The silhouette of a stork, one of a pair that was circling the sky over the nature area near Giethoorn.

Monday, June 4, 2007

View to Scheveningen

From the dunes, looking down the beach on the North Sea to the town of Scheveningen. During the summer this is a very busy beach town; in this view you can see lots of tall apartment buildings. The structure on the pier to the right is a bungee jumping tower. The first point under "trivia" in wiki's Scheveningen entry is something we hear about over and over.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Dune Bunnies

These rabbits have a nice home (a big hole right behind the middle rabbit) in the Meijendel dunes.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Dutch Dunes

Another view that you wouldn't normally associate with The Netherlands. The Meijendel dunes sit between the town of Wassenaar and the North Sea. (You can see an overview of the terrain here). A great place for a hike or a bike ride. This is the view back onto the dunes from the hill just before the beach.
Thanks to all who commented on yesterday's post ... it was my first theme day and I'm still looking through the participating sites. Looking forward to next month!

Friday, June 1, 2007

From our window...

One of the reasons we chose our house in Wassenaar was the view onto the Molenplein (roughly translated: windmill square). In this composite photo, you can see the Windlust windmill to the left. In the center of the plein are two large trees (in spring the ground is filled with daffodils; in late spring the trees flower). Right in front of our window is a large tree, from which we can hear the blackbirds and chickadees.

This collage is my first attempt at a "photomerge" ... you can probably tell that I am a photoshop novice. I probably should have adjusted the exposure of each image so that they made a cleaner composite, but I kind of like the "prism" effect and decided to keep it as is.

Check out the other cities participating in June's theme day of "a view from my room:"

Seattle (WA), USA - Manila, Philippines - Albuquerque (NM), USA - Singapore, Singapore - Toruń, Poland - Baton Rouge (LA), USA - Seoul, Korea - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Vantaa, Finland - Madison (WI), USA - Saarbrücken, Germany - Cleveland (OH), USA - Chicago (IL), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Omaha (NE), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Melbourne, Australia - Stockholm, Sweden - Grenoble, France - Lubbock (TX), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Arradon, France - Hyde, UK - Joplin (MO), USA - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Kansas City (MO), USA - Naples (FL), USA - Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Manila, Philippines - Sydney, Australia - Stavanger, Norway - Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia - London, UK - Chandler (AZ), USA - Nelson, New Zealand - Singapore, Singapore - Hamburg, Germany - Sydney, Australia - Tenerife, Spain - Moscow, Russia - Lyon, France - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Villigen, Switzerland - Anderson (SC), USA - Oslo, Norway - Evry, France - Hayle, UK - Mumbai, India - Kitakami, Japan - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Los Angeles (CA), USA - Cypress (TX), USA - La Antigua, Guatemala - Paderborn, Germany - San Diego (CA), USA - Ampang (Selangor), Malaysia - Madrid, Spain - Lyon, France - Selma (AL), USA - Shanghai, China - Baziège, France - Cologne (NRW), Germany - North Bay (ON), Canada - Rotterdam, Netherlands - Stayton (OR), USA - Sharon (CT), USA - Austin (TX), USA - Hong Kong, China - Trier, Germany - Joensuu, Finland - Paris, France - Greenville (SC), USA - Wailea (HI), USA - Budapest, Hungary - Cork, Ireland - Bastia, France - Vancouver, Canada - Brookville (OH), USA - Jakarta, Indonesia - Mainz, Germany