Reflections on The Netherlands

God made the Earth, but the Dutch made Holland – Descartes This quote by philosopher Rene Descartes speaks to the ingenuity of the Dutch people as they developed intricate irrigation and damming techniques to turn  swampy low lying land into a region with thriving agriculture and beautifully designed cities.  During our field studies excursion to…

Early Musings

Arriving in Amsterdam slightly disheveled and confused from a long overnight flight we boarded a train from the airport into the city.  Immediate observations of the physical geography of the Netherlands indicated that the countryside and highways were very similar to North America, with flat fields and farmland slowly turning into office buildings and residential…

The Great Outdoors: Hoge Veluwe National Park and Wageningen.

Not just Renaissance architecture, canals, ports, and cafes,  the Netherlands has natural beauty just an hour away from Amsterdam.   I decided to combine the excursion to Hoge Veluwe National Park and Wageneningen University into one post, since they were both activities that focused on the unique geomorphology of the land. Our Wageningen tour guides…

Kinderdijk: A Baby, a Cat, and a Flood.

Kinderdijk is a UNESCO Heritage site located just a short ferry boat ride away from Rotterdam.  Kinderdijk, or Child’s dike,  received its name from the 1421 flood that devastated the surrounding villages causing property damage and loss of life.  After the flood a basket was spotted floating through the flood plains containing a cat.  Upon…

Waffles, Cheese, and Beer: a Taste of the Netherlands

One of the best things about traveling to a different part of the world is the chance to sample some of the local cuisine.  The Netherlands is known for its cheese, but there is so much more to Amsterdam eats than Edam.   Even the pickiest of eaters will find something to enjoy in Holland…

Kattinkabinet: A Museum for Cats!

Cats are a familiar sight in Amsterdam.  Lounging in windowsills, prowling along the narrow streets, and even perched on houseboats and in cafes.   For the cat lover visiting Amsterdam Kattinkabinet is a must see attraction that is dedicated to cats and cat inspired art over the centuries.   Works by Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt, and…

A Running Tour of Rotterdam Part Two : Het Park

Feeling a little tired and ready for some refueling, I turned south and headed back towards the hostel.  I decided to make one last detour before my much awaited snack and shower; Het Park, or The Park.  The Park features walking trails,  ponds, and extensive green space .   The Park is also home to the…

Dam Tot Damloop; Dam to Dam

Dam Tot Damloop, or Dam to Dam, is a weekend long event that sees over 65,000 participants take part in running,walking, and cycling loops of varying distances across the city.   The Netherlands is an active country with infrastructure that supports events such as this.  On Sunday, September 18th when I was out for my…

Running In Amsterdam: Suburbs

  One of the benefits of cities designed for cyclists is the advantages it offers pedestrians and runners as well.   Although running in bike lanes is definitely not recommended, paved pedestrian paths are often adjacent to the lanes and provide those seeking to explore Amsterdam and Rotterdam on foot a safe and convenient way to…

Living off the Land, Literally; Houseboats and Floating Homes.

The houseboat culture of Amsterdam was one of the most interesting ways that the Dutch have used their unique geography to their advantage.  In Toronto there are houseboat communities near the Scarborough Bluffs and the Toronto Islands.  I have always dreamed of living on a houseboat ( as impractical as it may seem) and seeing…