Local Heart, Global Soul

December 27, 2012

It’s a Zilverstad Surprise, But on This Occasion Sadly Not in Silver…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My workplace has a social budget which allows for a small gift for employees and this is how at the end of last year everyone in our unit got a gift card that could be used in various places throughout the Netherlands.

Himself and I looked at the internet site of the company offering the gift cards and there were all sorts of options, such as a balloon ride for one, but not many at first sight that really fit in as a family activity with kids our age.

Then later Himself looked again and found something on the site that he came and told me about with a huge grin on his face.

The result of this discovery is how one in the morning one summer Saturday we found ourselves driving around an hour out of The Hague to the Dutch city of Schoonhoven.

Schoonhoven is a medieval city that’s earned the nickname of “Zilverstad” (Silver City) because for centuries it’s the place where silversmiths worked, but we didn’t think it would be too interesting for our kids to be dragged around silversmith establishments (although to be honest I wouldn’t have minded at all) so sadly silver isn’t why we are here on this occasion.

We haven’t told the kids where they are going or why either and their questions have been halted by the appearance of our Nintendo’s. These electronic games are in our household reserved for aeroplane flights and longer car journey’s only so the novelty value is very large indeed when they are produced.

I actually think that kids being kids and the tangible being far better than the integrable that the excitement of the Nintendo’s even overrode the knowledge of an impending surprise. Yes, I am  being mean making you wait for the surprise too… Let’s start by taking a look at the journey and by taking note of the houses on the right hand side of the next photo…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

…just around the next corner we get to see what the land looks like on the back side of the houses (note therefore the difference in height of the canal and the surrounding land).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We drove along a long narrow canal where the “fields” to the right are typical Dutch narrow strips of land with smaller canals in between. The little house-like sheds evenly spaced along the entire length (several kilometres) are most unusual and we first guessed they might be pumping stations, but there’s also some kind of pipe in the ground at appears to connect it all so maybe something to do with methane gas production?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Little Mr. insisted on the next two… (even Nintendo doesn’t stand a chance when these come along)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

8 Comments »

  1. That is awesome photography there. I like the traditional countryside themes of farms, windmills and quaint looking villages. Land use patterns as a geographer and the son of an environmental planner fascinate me. Given your native country is about the size of Canterbury, albeit much more densely populated I am interested to see how it develops in the future.

    Comment by robglennie000 — December 27, 2012 @ 7:52 am | Reply

    • robglennie000 ,
      yes, the Netherlands is roughly the size of Canterbury but with 19 million people in it… condensed hardly starts to cover it. You get used to some aspects but Himself and I love nothing better than travelling to places less crowded whenever we can.

      Comment by kiwidutch — January 6, 2013 @ 11:58 pm | Reply

  2. The photographs were very interesting, especially seeing the old windmills and the modern windmills. The quaint tower was amazing to me. We have nothing like that here in south Texas. Truly beautiful.

    Comment by mairedubhtx — December 27, 2012 @ 2:42 pm | Reply

    • mairedubhtx,
      the electricity in my home is generated by one of those modern windmills… apparently the Netherlands has an average of 360 windy days a year (probably because the county is so flat) so no shortage of wind. The old mills were used for grinding flour, making oils from seeds, cutting timber and pumping water and I’m sure there are many more uses I haven’t thought of at the moment too. The tower is beautiful isn’t it? 🙂

      Comment by kiwidutch — January 6, 2013 @ 11:54 pm | Reply

  3. What a thoughtful and generous way to encourage people to see the country. I like what you chose.

    Comment by lulu — December 27, 2012 @ 6:55 pm | Reply

    • Lulu,
      I have a whole host of new destinations to surprise your with coming up very soon!

      Comment by kiwidutch — January 6, 2013 @ 11:50 pm | Reply

  4. Ack! I feel like one of your kids! Where’re we going where’re we going?!?

    Comment by Luddy's Lens — December 28, 2012 @ 1:18 am | Reply

    • Luddy,
      I’m still sick so waaaay behind on comment replies… you already know this destiniation but I’m going to keep you guessing many times in posts coming up VERY soon 🙂

      Comment by kiwidutch — January 6, 2013 @ 11:42 pm | Reply


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