Local Heart, Global Soul

December 10, 2018

New Farm, When Urban Gardening Reaches New Heights…

There is a new revolution going on around the world, where people are trying to cut down on the “food miles”  generated by the food we eat. By this it is meant the number of miles/kilometres that are between where there food is produced and where it is consumed. This means things cutting down on food transport wherever possible. This has meant the development of Urban gardens, and The Hague is no different. An old office building has been partly converted to become a place where fresh vegetables are grown and the name of this enterprise is “The New Farm.” Amazingly the farm produces not just tomatoes and peppers but also herbs and fish! I went with friends to take a look two summers ago, and also, of course to buy some local vegetables.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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October 20, 2018

Is Friendliness Perhaps Just A Matter Of Space?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This post is as usual, a continuation of a series of posts as Family Kiwidutch journey around, on this occasion our December 2017-January 2018 trip where we visited several different parts of New Zealand.

So far we have spent time catching up with friends and family, been to Wellington and back from our base in Christchurch, Himself has passed out directly after getting out of a hot tub; “Drama Of The Sort I Could Do Without… “, we have come up to Hanmer Springs and almost immediately hit the road again on a spur of the moment side trip.

Himself managed to leave behind in Hanmer Springs the suitcase that contained his and my clothes, my medication, nebulizer and our toiletries, so an urgent shopping trip ensued:  Just The Clothes We Stood Up In… , and now the next thing we needed to get sorted in our Greymouth accommodation was food.

Stomachs were rumbling after our shopping spree, luckily the “South Of The Barber Hostel” has a large communal kitchen where we can not only cook up a feast, but also make acquaintance with other tourists stopping for the night here too. They come from all over the world, some have only a few short weeks to tick as many places as possible off their New Zealand places, experiences and sights bucket list, others have three months and are travelling at a more leisurely pace.

Their stories and experiences are amazing. Apart from a few tiny hiccups (food stolen from one of the fridges during their stay) their experiences have been overwhelmingly positive, their praise for the friendliness of New Zealanders abounding.

For me, as a New Zealand born and raised Kiwi, it is just “standard” good manners and upbringing/culture to lend a hand when I can, to give some local advice to help someone else out, tourist or fellow Kiwi, offer hospitality, food, lodging or skills when I can. It never fails to surprise me that visitors to New Zealand are shocked to find it so, What is so different in societies of their home counties that people find my “normal” so exceptional? Maybe the answer is in population sizes?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Netherlands has been my long term home for over twenty years now, and with 17 million people crammed into a space the size of the New Zealand Province of Canterbury, the way people live could not be more different from the country I was born in, so it should maybe be no surprise that people live in a less communal way.

People here are surprised if you say “good morning” to them on the street, cars force themselves into gaps in the traffic because they don’t expect that someone will take the time to let them in, If you are on a busy road and let someone in from a side street, it’s not unusual that someone behind you honks their horns in annoyance, even if the traffic light ahead is red.

Probably traffic manners are a bad example; nice, reasonable, kind people all over the world can turn into monsters when they get behind the wheel of their vehicles.

Maybe it’s a fact that when people are in a crowd and crowded society, they tend to look after No.1 more, there is more competition and they have to fight harder to be at the front of the queue for everything: roads, jobs, schools, leisure spots, flights, it probably even starts in nursery. I take to Wikipedia to compare the population of the Netherlands and the land area it fits into;

https://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/nz(.html
Provinces of New Zealand”
Province of Canterbury -Area in square kms: 44.508km², Population: 612.000, Population density:13.48

…in contrast you could easily fit all of the Netherlands into the New Zealand Province of Canterbury:
Area in square kms:  41,526 km², Population: 17,000,000, Population density: (August 2018:415 per km2),  making it thirty-first most densely populated  country in the world.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_Netherlands
“Wikipedia / Demography of the Netherlands”

Who knows what the real reason is, I’m just guessing here and putting out an idea. Either way these compliments about friendliness that Kiwi’s should be proud of but never complacent about.

January 10, 2018

A Small Tour Of The Four Winds…

Filed under: Historical,Monster,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Visiting the “de Vier Winden” (the Four Winds) in the small village south of The Hague, our visitors are delighted to find that the mill is open to visit.

The February weather was cold and very windy so getting inside was a welcome ideal too.

Inside however there is a ridiculously steep staircase, far too steep for me to attempt, and one of our visitors also looked at it and decided to stay on the ground floor with me.

There were a few words I the brochure that I could not translate and they even stumped Himself, apparently our knowledge of technical mill terms in somewhat lacking.

The brochure translates as” “stichting vrienden van de molen” Friends of the mill Foundation”Structure of the mill.
5th Zolder “ (5th attic) This is the pivot point for the windmills sails. This area is not open to the public.

4th Zolder “ (forth attic) this is the area for wheat / grain storage. The wheat is hoisted up through “luiwerk” (trapdoors??) and via a duct made of jute sacks it is bought down again.

3rd Zolder (third attic). This is the stone floor where there are three grinding stones. Two of these are still in use.
2nd Zolder .(Second attic). This is where the flour is milled to a fine powder. The wheat comes from the upper floors for this. There is also a “Praathuis” (??) for the miller. Outside are the controls for the sails and machinery. 1st Zolder . (First attic). Here there is a “de buil” (??) with a sieve, this area is not operational. Ground floor. Used to be the storage area for the wheat, now is is the exhibition area for the mill.History: in already in 1311 in exactly the same spot where the “de Vier Winden” stood a corn mill. The round stone Mill “ was in rebuilt in 1882 after the previous mill burnt down in 1881. The “de Vier Winden”  was in business until 1932 .

In 1957 the municipality of Moster Gemente Monster (city council).
Ownership of the mill: After restoration in the mill went back into business and from 1983 until today has been run by volunteers from the “Gilde van Virjwillige Molenaars” (Volunteer Millers Guild).

They grind the wheat into whole grain flour. After reorganisation of municipal boundaries from 2004 the mill ownership was transferred to the Gemente Westland (Westland City Council).

Exhibition: on the ground floor where the wheat used to be stored, there is now an exhibition area.
Here you can find old photos of the mill and a unique collection of mill tools from the past.

They sell pancake mix and whole wheat flour. Souvenirs such as postcards, a mill book, tiles and pen drawings are for also sale.

Various Mill sail positions.
“Vreugdestand” (C3lebration Position) The sails get tied , this happens on special occasions such as National holidays, weddings, births of important figures.
“ Rouwstand” (mourning position) The sails get tied into position to mark National mourning of an important figure.
“Korte rust” (short rest position) the sails are in a horizontal or vertical position, the sails look like a “+” sign.
“ Lange rust” (long rest position) the sails are at an angle of 45 degrees with the horizon.The sails look like an “X” because they are low there is less chance for lightening to hit. “

Himself, one of our visitors and Kiwi Daughter all braved the ladder-like staircase and took a look outside. I stayed and took photos of the exhibition area. The mill is small and whilst the exhibition was not large, it was interesting for us to see. Our guests were delighted to have seen inside an actual Dutch windmill. Of course when a place is run by volunteers and on a next to nothing budget, is it difficult to make brochures in languages other than Dutch, but aside from that this is a perfect place to bring visitors.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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January 9, 2018

A “Moster Mill”, A Misleading Name Of Sorts…

Filed under: Historical,Monster,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Seriously, you’d think I could have organised my WordPress Schedule better: I’ve made two posts with tomorrows date (again)… sincere apologies for my incompetence. Pain medication messes with your brain. … or in my case.. What brain???

Early in February 2017 Family Kiwidutch had some visitors from the United Kingdom, two ladies we know who are Kiribati nationals and friends of others from Kiribati we have already good contact with.

After extended times at home catching up, cooking and eating far more than we should have, from the moment they arrived on the Friday afternoon, until Saturday evening, we decided to go out for a small tour on the Sunday.

Since they are only over for the weekend we couldn’t go far, do drove up the coast, passing through the small village of Monster.

The name “Monster” comes from the name of a Monastery that was located here centuries ago and there is a windmill of the same age there.

Our family passed by this “molen” (mill) many times before but usually it’s closed, so when we saw that it was open to the public we found a parking spot and decided to take a closer look.

The mill is called “de Vier Winden” (the Four Winds) and according to a brochure I found inside (Dutch language only) there has been a mill on this spot since 1311. This latest edition is fairly recent: a rebuilding that took place in 1882 after a fire razed the previous one to the ground in 1881. Mill fires seem to have been a common occurrence since there was so much wood in the inner construction. The name of the mill is spelt out in the bricks around the base, and our visitors are enthusiastic to see inside…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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The weather gets decidedly stormy and the volunteers who look after the mill stop the sails from turning with special brakes and anchor them into a “resting” position so that the sails and machinery do not get damaged.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 8, 2018

An Easy Solution For An Irritating Problem…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My New Zealand Grandmother always said that: “someone was either a Cook, or a Baker”.

She meant that when you turned your hand to creating wonderful food in your kitchen, you either excelled naturally at making things like great roast dinners and beautiful stir fries or you were a wonder at making huge, light, airy cakes that would be the envy of many.

I think she was right, she was 1000% a Baker, and living during a time when few women worked and a “bought” lunch was unheard of, she would pack my Grandad an amazing lunch every working day.

She baked three to four times a week, more if guests were expected or  there were family Birthdays, Easter, Christmas and any other special occasion. There were always a minimum of four or five different cakes, slices (bars) or biscuits (cookies) in her baking tins, more on the aforementioned special occasions.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Scones were not even counted as “baking” they were almost standard in the house, like bread. There were metal tins in her kitchen cupboards of various sizes.

Long before the days of plastic containers, these metal tins with their tight fitting lids kept everything fresh and crisp. Very large ones were for cake, the medium sized ones were for slices and the smaller ones were for biscuits. There were even large tins that had recessed lids, similar to the sort found on paint tins today and my sister and I would squabble about who got to open these with the end of a spoon and discover first what was inside.

None of the tins were see-through of course so every opening was a surprise but as kids we all had our favourite biscuits so it was extra special if we discovered that one of our favourites was on offer.

My favourite was Grans Shortbread, and since sadly her cookbook went “missing” after her funeral I never got her amazing recipe.

Choosing one thing from the tins was allowed, you only ever got two biscuits if you were especially good but I discovered that if you were alone with Grandma in the kitchen, helped getting out the cups and saucers for tea, and dried up and put away any dishes that she had washed, then she would take a quick look around to make sure my mother wasn’t close by and then slip me a third as a special treat.

Often she would pass me a piece of shortbread that had broken in half saying with a smile: “Oh dear, a broken bit, quick, finish it up”. Sometimes there were no broken pieces of shortbread so she would break one in half and then do the “broken bit” joke and it was a little secret that we kept to ourselves.

At least as a kid I always thought that, but looking back she may have done did that with all the grandchildren.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If we were staying over and baking biscuits together then she would let me ice (glaze) them and I loved poking around making that I imagined to be intricate patterns in my decorations, but in reality they were probably a lot of messy squiggles.

Sometimes my own children have the “baking” urge but don’t really want to go to the effort of actually making something, they just want to decorate.

Actually the bit they really don’t want to do is the cleaning up afterwards, so I just take some plain shop bought biscuits and then mix up a small batch of icing so that they can decorate the tops.

The ingredients are: Icing (powder) sugar, melted butter if I’m feeling decedent, water if I’m not, and whatever colour food colouring the kids desire as their first choice.

Invariably they ask for five colours each, to these requests the answer is always “No”. Four or five colours for our Christmas Gingerbreads is the most I will ever do these days.

Life is too short to be giving in to the extraneous whims of children when I am the one doing all of the work making the icing and cleaning up. For biscuits they get one colour each with the advice that should they want more they are more than welcome, but they have to make it themselves.

To date they have never taken me up on this. I used to use plastic sandwich lunch bags as icing bags but they are too thin and the bags often split if squeezed too hard or if the icing mix is too warm. Cleaning up after split bags is way too much extra work (can you sense a theme of laziness here?) so I quickly found that commercial icing bags are worth the expense.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One thing is difficult though, the icing cools quickly and gets more and more solid as it does, so if piping with a very small hole then the hole can get stopped up after a short time. Since opening the bag and messing with the contents is again more work I started to look for quick and easy ways to fix these annoying little clumps of hardened powdered sugar.

If you have a daughter who has long hair then you will always have hair-ties on hand somewhere. I keep a stash of unused ones at home for the inevitable “Mama, I’ve run out of hair bands and I’m going out / doing sport/ the bus is coming for school in two minutes !”.

These are always dramatic howls and I have to have the “right” ones on hand. Just the right circumference and thickness, not just any old hair band will do. Needless to say I also therefor have a stash of “ew no, not those!” hair ties and now I also have an excellent use for them: Tying up icing bags.

There are hair bands that a joined with a small metal connecter, I can’t use those, but if you hunt around then you will also find some without the metal piece.

These are perfect. When your icing is getting too clogged up, a simple remedy of ten seconds in the microwave usually does the trick. Ergo the need for ties that have no metal connectors.

Rubber bands would also work of course but we use these so rarely that they get brittle and break as soon as you try and stretch them. Hair ties don’t break like this and being smaller they are easier to tie around the bags. It’s an easy solution for an irritating problem.

Decorating biscuits with icing always brings back fond memories of my Grandma, and the conversations that are special between kids and their grandparents. I hope that the times spent decorating biscuits with me will also one day be special memories for my children too.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 7, 2018

A Quiet Spot To Light A Candle…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Lastly, when leaving Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog for the last time, we come across what I first thought to be a Catholic Cemetery.

Instead it shows what appears to be the Stations of the Cross, each of the scenes in a small enclosed box to protected it from the elements.

An information board close by reads: “Kapel van Nijhoven” (Saint Salvator Chapel / St Salvadore of Nijhoven)
Nijhoven is a very old settlement. The name comes from “nieuwe hoven” which means “new farms”.

Excavations have shown that a wooden field chapel was here as early as the post-Carolingian monastery time. In the 14th century there was a stone field-chapel which burnt down in 1585.

In the 17th century the chapel was rebuilt as a cross-formed church which was of the same size as parish churches of that time. In 1648 Protestants tore down and destroyed the contents of the church.

Miraculously a large wooden crucifix was saved which is now in the Sint Remigius church of `Baarle-Hertog. In 1807 a large part of the church was demolished and in1926 the protestant community decided to demolish the entire building.

All of the architectural ornamental elements were used to restore the Reformed church on the market (in the town) of Ginneken. In 1930 the Catholics built the current chapel on the foundations of the previous “Priesterkoor“ (Kiwi’s note: sorry, I couldn’t translate this last word, the closest I could guess was “priest” “Choir” but I know for certain that that’s not correct).The architect is the Benedictine monk Van der Laan”.

A meditation garden surrounds the grotto, and as usual Himself and I lit candles for a friend of ours who is a Catholic nun. Even in the dead of winter this is a calm and serene place and we were pleased to have stopped here before our trip home and back to the rush and roar of family life.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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January 6, 2018

Buying Up Large At Cheaper Prices…


(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Before we head away from the centre of Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog, there is one other thing that we have seen in some of the side streets a little bit further along.

What we have seen are many signs advertising Tobacco and Fireworks. Each of the establishments selling these is located on the Baarle-Hertog (Belgian) side of the enclaves and they are taking advantage of the tight Dutch laws around tobacco and fireworks.

With Belgian regulations, taxes and prohibitions far more relaxed than the Dutch ones, these shops have sprung up in various parts of the Belgian enclaves so that Dutch customers can circumvent Dutch regulations.

For instance: in the Netherlands fireworks are only available for sale for the traditional New Year celebrations on the very last days of the year.

Fireworks may be ordered in special fireworks shops early in December but you pay for your order then and only pick up the actual goods between the 28th and 31st December.

The setting off of fireworks is strictly prohibited until around 6:00 p.m. on 31st December. Before then the police roam the streets playing a cat and mouse game with anyone letting off fireworks earlier and dish out heavy fines to people not complying with the bans. Belgium on the other hand has more relaxed laws on fireworks so Dutch rebels buy them in Baarle-Nassau and stockpile them, letting them off earlier and hoping not to get caught. Tobacco products in the Netherlands carry a higher tax rate than Baark-Hertog (Belgium) so there are no shortage of buyers coming to buy up large at the Belgian cheaper prices.


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 4, 2018

The Typical Tourist Pose…

Himself and I start fooling around with photographs of the unusual border that marks Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog so starkly. The street near the old “Stadhuis” (Town Hall) in Baarle-Hertog (Belgian territory) is a quiet one that branches out onto another small and fairly quiet street. I photograph him in the typical tourist pose: standing stride the border with one half of him in The Netherlands and the other half of him in Belgium. The silver domed disks in the road showing that the quirky borders are anything but logical.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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January 1, 2018

Opened Up Opportunities For Girls Who Passed Through These Doors…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself and I toured Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog during a weekend away for two at the beginning of 2017.

This intriguing place where enclaves and counter-enclaves boggle the mind and make you wonder continuously which country you are in, is also full of some very beautiful buildings.

This one, a “Klooster” (convent), is yet another example of this.

Located a short distance from the former “Stadhuis” (Town Hall) in Baarle-Hertog in Belgian territory. There is an information plaque which translated into English reads:

Convent. In 1879 the Franciscan nuns came from Herentals to Baarle-Hertog to provide Catholic education to girls. Until 1917 they taught girls from Baarle-Hertog and Baarle-Nassau. They are credited with founding the first convent in Baarle and they were also the last ones to leave in 1999. They were active in education until 1979 and Sister Damiana was the last actively working teacher.

So a century of teaching took place here. It’s certainly a very different architectural style of school to the ones I attended in New Zealand. If the teaching styles were different I will never know, but I think the Baarle-Hertog kids got the more beautiful buildings, even if they did not appreciate that at the time. They also began at a time when far fewer girls than boys got any sort of education at all, so who knows what opportunities they opened up for the girls who passed through these doors?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 31, 2017

Remembering Heroic Actions…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The former school alongside the former Stathuis (Town Hall) in Baarle-Hertog  has the war memorial located on the outside of one of it’s walls.

This memorial commemorates also the actions of Miet Verhoven, Gerardus Gerritsen and Adriaan van Gestel who made the ultimate sacrifice in their efforts to help downed pilots back to safe territory.

This is a beautiful, poignant statue that gives a lasting memory to ordinary people caught up in horrific events far beyond their own making but who stood up, stepped out and showed amazing acts of bravery.

They make the ultimate sacrifice and deserve nothing less something beautiful to remember them by.

My only regret is that this statue is not located on the Main Street of Baarle where it could be even more appreciated.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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“Monument for those Executed

This monument is made in 1949  by L. van Der Meer in memory of the three inhabitants of Baarle who were executed on 10th September 1944 : Maria Verhoeven, Gerardus Gerritsen and Adriaan van Gestel.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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