Did you know that Windmill ‘De Wachter’ in Zuidlaren is more than a windmill? The Windmill Museum comprises also a clog workshop, bakery and grocery shop, smithy and you can take a cruise on a steam-powered boat.
The museum is entirely run by some 200 volunteers. All year round they make sure to preserve the cultural history and craftmanship of ‘De Wachter’ for current and future generations.
The 19th century windmill is part of the Molenmuseum ‘De Wachter’. It was built in 1851 and has three functions: flour mill, oil mill and spice mill.
You can see the entire process of grinding grain into flour by using the power of wind. The oil mill presses oil from linseed. The spice mill has four grinding stones for cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and cloves.
Enjoy a beautiful view of the surroundings from the top floor of the windmill.
photo: Molenmuseum De Wachter
Steam museum and steam-powered boat
‘De Wachter’ owns a collection of nine steam engines and steam boilers. Most of them are still working. In addition, there are a steam locomobile, a steam tractor and a steam-powered boat.
If the steam-powered boat is ‘under steam’ you can cruise to polder windmill Boezemvriend or to the southern tip of the Zuidlaarder Lake. During a cruise on ‘De Jonge Wachter’ the operation of the steam engine is demonstrated. The boat is 10 meters in length and carries up to 12 passengers.
Bakery and grocery shop
Bread is baked in the traditional way. See the baker knead, divide and prepare the dough before it goes into the oven. Enjoy the delicious smells when the freshly baked bread, cookies, currant bread and sausage rolls come out of the oven.
The ancient grocery shop features brands and items which are often no longer for sale. The shop does sell spices and old fashioned Dutch sweets and candy.
The old nursery rhyme goes ‘Berend Botje ging uit varen
met zijn scheepje naar Zuidlaren. De weg was recht, de weg was krom, nooit kwam Berend Botje weerom’.
Free translation: ‘Berend Botje went out sailing with his ship to Zuidlaren. The road was straight, the road was bent, Berend Botje never came back again.”
There are several stories about who would have been a model for Berend Botje; from a nobleman to a farmer to a shipowner. A fountain with a replica of the Berend Botje statue is located at the Stationsweg in Zuidlaren in the province of Drenthe. The original statue of Berend Botje can be found at ‘De Wachter’.
After retiring local clog maker Roelof Westerhof donated his entire clog factory to the museum. He continued as a volunteer to demonstrate clog making at the museum. Roeloef Westerhof was one of the last artisan wooden shoe makers in Drenthe. He passed away in 2017 at the age of 83.
For over 100 years blacksmith Bruininkmeijer was located at the Koningstraat in Zuidlaren. After the death of the last family member, the smithy was demolished and built up again at the museum. Volunteer blacksmiths demonstrate this heavy profession in the smithy.
Mechanical music instruments
Although music instruments may seem a bit out of place, ‘De Wachter’ has a collection of four historical mechanical instruments: pianola, orchestrion, tingeltangel barrel piano and a small barrel organ. Kids can play the barrel organ and earn a barrel organ certificate.
photo: Molenmuseum De Wachter
Extra activities in 2018
Saturday 9 June
Steam Day: all steam engines will be in operation
Saturday 23 June
Swinging honey and braiding baskets
Saturday 14 July
Blacksmith Day: blacksmiths show what they can do with fire
Saturday 11 August
Wood Day: everything about working with wood and making clogs
Wednesday 25 August
Drenthe Windmill Day: games for kids and their (grand)parents
Saturday 22 September
Steam Day: all steam engines will be in operation
Saturday 29 September
Linseed Oil and Flax Day: how linseed oil is made from flax
Saturday 6 October and Saturday 20 October
Kids Month: baking cookies and games
Saturday 27 October
Season Closing Day: baking competition ‘Heel Zuidlaren Bakt’
Saturday 3 November
Special evening opening from 17.00
photo: Molenmuseum De Wachter
Windmill Museum ‘De Wachter’ is open from the last Saturday of April to the last Saturday of October.
Wednesday 13.30-16.30 Saturday 10.00-16.30
Op zaterdag werkt alles, op woensdagmiddag alles behalve de stoommachines
Did you know that over 900 of the Dutch windmills and watermills open their doors to the public on the National Mill Days this Saturday 12 May and Sunday 13 May? Millers go out of their way to decorate their mills with flags. Go on a tour with the miller and enjoy extra activities such as fairs and live demos.
There are around 1,050 windmills and 150 watermills left in the Netherlands. Most mills are operated by voluntary millers. An increasing number of people visit a windmill during the National Mill Days or on regional mill days.
Click here for more info about participating mills and opening hours. The search tool is available in Dutch language only but it is quite easy to use.
Fill in either the name of a mill (‘Naam molen‘) or the location (‘Plaats‘), select a distance (‘Afstand‘) and tick the box which day(s) you would like to visit. Ticking boxes for activities is optional. Hit the red search bar (‘Zoeken‘) to get a list of windmills. When you see the search results and you click on the blue bar ‘op de kaart‘, a map of the listed mills will appear.
National Mill Days in short
Some mills are open on Saturday 12 May, some on Sunday 13 May and some on both days.
This is a free event, donations are appreciated.
National Mill Day(s) = Nationale Molendag(en) in Dutch
The National Mill Days always take place during the second weekend of May. Next National Mill Days: 11 and 12 May 2019.
Did you know that the Wadden Islands are not the only place in the Netherlands where you can go mudflat walking? The Sophia Polder is a relatively new nature reserve near Dordrecht in South Holland. At low tide the polder is dry and is perfect for rugged mudflat hiking trips.
Sophia Island has 77 hectares of land and floods regularly because of the low dikes.
Sophia Polder guided hiking trips
Mudflat walking is only allowed with a forester. Nature conservation organisation Zuid-Hollands Landschap offers guided mudwalking excursions for adults and kids from 9 years old.
Nobody lives here and the island in the middle of the busy tidal river Noord can only be reached by pedestrian ferry. Walk across ramps and paths and experience the isolated island feeling.
The viewpoint on the south side of the island offers a beautiful view of the riverfront of the historic city of Dordrecht. From the east side of the island you can see many ships pass by enroute to Rotterdam or Antwerp.
The freshwater tidal flats are full of birds. Bird lovers can spot around 25 bird species including Canadian geese, seagulls and wadering birds like spoonbills, godwits, avocets and redshanks. From the birdwatching hut in the middle of the island you can see the incoming and outgoing water.
The free ferry to Sophia Island can take up to 11 passengers and leaves from Veersedijk 301 in Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht. The crossing takes 5 to 10 minutes. The ferry does not sail in case of dense fog or thunderstorms. The ferry is operated by volunteer skippers.
Ferry times March to October
• Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 12.00-17.00
• Extra services on Thursday 10 May (Ascension Day) 12.00-17.00
• Extra service on Monday 21 May (Whit Monday) 12.00-17.00
• Sophia Island is free accessible
• Don’t forget to bring your own lunch or snacks as there are no restaurants or cafetarias
• There is no toilet on the island
• Dogs and bicycles are not allowed
• Take your binoculars
Fun fact Did you know that freight trains run 25 meters below Sophia Island? The Sophia Railway Tunnel is over 8km long and part of the Betuweroute between Rotterdam and Germany.
Madame Tussauds is one of Amsterdam’s major tourist attraction and offers a fully interactive experience. It is nothing like a conventional museum where you are not allowed to touch the exhibits. As a visitor of Madame Tussauds you are highly encouraged to touch the life-size wax figures and take selfies with them.
In addition to Dutch icons like Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh and Anne Frank, you can also rub shoulders with international celebrities, sports heroes and world leaders. Admire them from up close and be amazed at how big or how small they actually are.
Some of the Dutch and international A-list personalities that are featured include George Clooney, Charlie Chaplin, Adele, Bob Marley, Rafael van der Vaart, Ed Sheeran, Herman Brood, YouTube star Enzo Knol, ET, Lady Gaga, Angela Merkel and Obama.
Besides Kings Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson you can also hang out with the Dutch King, Willem-Alexander, and his wife Queen Máxima and his mom Princess Beatrix. The latest addition to Madame Tussauds is Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer, displayed in his unique skating position.
Play music with Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Afrojack and Hardwell in front of a wild crowd in the DJ room. Walk the catwalk with Dutch top model Doutzen Kroes. Create beautiful artwork with famous artists and photograph yourself in the Mona Lisa. Try your hand at becoming a pop star and sing a song with Adele. Play a game of football with Messi.
In between striking poses with celebrities and sports stars, don’t forget to look out of the large round window for a stunning view of Dam Square, the Royal Palace and surroundings. You can see all the way along Damrak, one of Europe’s busiest streets. Damrak runs from Amsterdam central station to Dam Square.
Buy your tickets at the door, mention that you are a Heavenly Holland fan and get €10 off your ticket price. This offer is valid from Saturday 28 April to Sunday 13 May 2018. Only valid for tickets bought at the Madame Tussauds Amsterdam ticket office.
The history of Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam
Madame Tussauds has been displaying wax figures for over 200 years. Josephine Tussaud (1900-1985), great-great-granddaughter of founder Marie Tussaud, initiated the Amsterdam branche of Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam. This was the first location to open outside the United Kingdom. At the time of opening in 1971 it was located on the Kalverstraat shopping street. In 1991 the venue moved to its current location, the upper floors of the monumental Peek & Cloppenburg building overlooking Dam Square. Since its modernization in 2012 the wax museum includes interactive experiences for all ages.
• Did you know that Madame Tussauds is not like a convential museum? You are highly encouraged to touch the wax figures!
• Did you know that the Amsterdam branche was the second Madame Tussauds attraction in the world to open?
• Did you know that all wax figures are made at the Tussauds Studios in London? They are brought to Amsterdam by car and by ferry.
• Did you know that it takes an average of three months and 20 studio artists to create a wax figure?
• Did you know that of each celebrity a plaster model of their teeth is made, often done by the celebrity’s own dentist?
• Did you know that real hair is literally inserted into the wax figure’s head hair by hair?
• Did you know that all wax figures have their hair washed with shampoo and their clothes taken to the dry cleaners regularly?
photo: Instagram/Guus Meeuwis
Madame Tussauds in located in the heart of Amsterdam, right on the famous Dam Square. It is just a 800-meter walk from Amsterdam Central Station. When you exit the station, walk straight ahead along the bustling Damrak. When you arrive at the Dam Square, Madame Tussauds is right in front of you.
Queuing during the peak season may take up to 20 minutes. You can avoid the wait and save money by purchasing your tickets online. If you book online at least one day in advance you save up to 20% on your ticket price. These tickets allow you to enter via the VIP Fast Track. Click here to book your tickets on the Madame Tussauds website.
Opening hours Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam is open all year round from 10.00 to 20.00. Different opening times apply during public holidays. During the spring, summer, autumn and winter holidays Madame Tussauds is open from 09.30 to 21.30.
Standard opening times: daily from 10.00 to 20.00 (7 days a week)
Opening times exceptions in 2018
Fri. 27 April (King’s Day): 10.00-16.30 (last admission at 15.00)
Fri. 4 May (Remembrance Day): last admission at 16.30
Sat. 28 April – Sun. 6 May: 09.30-21.30 (last admission at 20.00)
Sat. 7 July – Sun. 2 September: 09.30-21.30 (last admission at 20.00)
Sat. 13 October – Sun. 28 October: 09.30-21.30 (last admission at 20.00)
Sat. 22 December 2018 – Sun. 6 January 2019: 09.30-21.30 (last admission at 20.00) Mon. 24 December: 09.30-19.30 (last admission at 18.00) Tue. 25 and Wed. 26 December: 09.30-20.00 Mon. 31 December: 09.30-18.00 (last admission at 16.30)
The Hortus Bulborum is the only bulb garden in the world with more than 4,000 different varieties of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and other colorful spring flowers. Every spring the outdoor garden of Hortus Bulborum is a feast for the eyes and a pleasure for the nose.
Bulbous plants which are hardly commercially interesting anymore are preserved in this garden for posterity. Many varieties date back to before 1900 and can only be found in historical collections of bulbous plants. Growers and breeders come to Hortus Bulborum to find interesting genetic material to breed new varieties.
The collection of Hortus Bulborum includes more than 4,00 different species, including 2,600 tulips, 1,100 daffodils, 130 hyacinths and 110 crocus varieties.
The oldest species of tulips in Hortus Bulborum
The oldest tulip in the extensive collection of Hortus Bulborum dates back to 1595. This tulip is named ‘Duc van Tol Red and Yellow’. The petals of this red tulip has yellow margins.
If you have any questions, you can address one of the volunteers in the garden. Many of them used to work in the bulb trade and have a lot of knowledge about bulb cultivation in general the the history of Hortus Bulborum in particular. Some tour guides speak one or more foreign languages like English, German, French and Italian. Groups of 10 people or more can book a tour guide in advance.
Adopt a tulip
To support the work of Hortus Bulborum you can sponsor a tulip species, or another bulb plant. Around 100 species have been adopted already. The cost for sponsoring is €70 per year, with a minimum of 3 years. This includes unlimited free admission for two people, and a sign with your name and location are added to the information display of your tulip species.
Take a train to Castricum in North Holland (about 30 minutes from Amsterdam central station). From Castricum station take bus 167 in the direction of Alkmaar. This bus takes 14 minutes but only departs once or twice an hour. Get off at Limmen at the Limmerbuurt bus stop. From there you walk 80 meter southbound along the main road. Enter the first street on your left hand side, the Zuidkerkenlaan. From there Hortus Bulborum is signposted and only a few minutes on foot.
Take a train to Castricum. From Castricum station take bus 79 in the direction of Castricum Soomerwegh. This bus line doesn’t have a frequent schedule either. Get off at the last stop Castricum Soomerwegh. From there it is about a 2km walk to Hortus Bulborum. Walk northbound along Soomerwegh and turn right on Zeeweg. Continue walking on Zeeweg and turn left on Rijksweg N203. Turn right on Zuidkerkenlaan. You will find the entrance to Hortus Bulborum on your left hand side.
After my last blog, I noticed there was a question about the wearing of helmets when traveling by bike. It was specifically mentioned that in London all the cyclists wear helmets when they cycle as opposed to the cyclists in Netherlands. During the last two years I studied in the UK and now I continue my studies in the Netherlands. Even though I did not cycle in the UK I noticed the differences in cycling between these two countries.
The cycling in UK, specifically Boston where I lived, seemed very dangerous to me. There were some cycling paths, however they were all just a different colored parts of main roads where ordinary traffic passed through, including buses and trucks. There was not much space between them and the cyclists and they were quite narrow.
The most dangerous thing that I witnessed was the roundabouts, which in the UK are many of. When a cyclist did not want to go straight, he had to actually get to the inner line in between all the cars. Also, there were no traffic lights for cyclists. They simply had to follow the same lights as cars. This obviously means that when the green light came on everyone including cyclists passed through the crossroad.
I did not see many cyclists in the UK and the few that I saw were always wearing helmets. I absolutely understand why. I found it very dangerous for people to ride there.
When I was moving to the Netherlands my mom told me to buy a helmet and wear it all the time when travelling on my bike.
It is similar in my country and when I was moving here my mom told me to buy a helmet and wear it all the time when travelling on my bike. I admit, because of my UK experience I was scared to ride in the traffic here. But when I came here I saw that it is adapted in such a way that it safe to do so.
I did not see a single person in Netherlands wearing a helmet since I came. Yes, helmets protect you not only from cars but also when you fall, but when addressing the traffic safety there is no need for one in the Netherlands.
I enjoy every ride on my bike and feel safe all the time, without wearing any helmet.
Speaking about roundabouts that I already mentioned, there is an extra outside roundabout around the regular one, which is solely for cyclists. At the crossroads, there are separate lights for cyclists and when they have a green light there is no other vehicle passing through. There is a minimal contact between the cyclists and the rest of the traffic.
I find cycling in Netherlands very safe. I would be scared to go on my bike through the city center in the UK. Here, I do not have any problem at all. I enjoy every ride on my bike and feel safe all the time, without wearing any helmet.
Guest blogger Rebeka Zanechalova
“I am an international student from Slovakia. I study applied mathematics in Enschede and I moved to the Netherlands in August 2017. I enjoy spending time outside in the nature, usually playing Geocaching.”
Heavenly Holland is inviting international students to share their stories, experiences, adventures and opinions. It doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced blogger or you have zero experience. We are looking for personal stories, not necessary journalistic masterpieces. This is an opportunity to expand or test your writing ambitions and work on your portfolio. >> Read more <<
They look like flowers but every single part of this tulip is edible: cherry tomatoes with tasty cream cheese filling and chives for the tulip stems. They make a pretty appetizer or edible table decoration. For Easter, for Mother’s Day or simply to celebrate this tulip season. You can make these tomato tulips in just under 30 minutes.
Ingredients for 16 tomato tulips
• 21 stalks of chives
• 150 grams of cream cheese
• 16 cherry tomatoes
• grilling skewer(s)
Three easy steps to make tomato tulips
1) Finely mince four chives and mix with the cream cheese. Slice the tomato top to slightly above the middle making a x-shaped cut. Use a skewer to poke a hole in the bottom of the tomato.
2) Scoop out the tomato seeds with a teaspoon. Fill the tomato with the cream cheese mixture. Plug a chive stalk into the hole at the bottom.
3) Arrange the tomatoes on a white serving platter in the shape of a bunch of tulips. Wrap the bunch together with a chive.
Keep them refridgerated until ready to serve. These tomato tulips are best served the same day they are made.
Tip: Stick a skewer in each tomato and put them in a glass vase like a bouquet of tulips.
Every single part of this tulip is edible: cherry tomatoes with tasty cream cheese filling and chives for the tulip stems | photo: Allerhande
Use a skewer to poke a hole in the bottom of the tomato | photo: Allerhande
Fill the tomato with the cream cheese mixture | photo: Allerhande
Plug a chive stalk into the hole at the bottom | photo: Allerhande
Arrange the tomatoes on a white serving platter in the shape of a bunch of tulips | photo: Allerhande
Designated driver? In the Netherlands we call them BOB (‘Bewust Onbeschonken Bestuurder’ which translates into ‘consciously sober driver’). BOB is a person who sets a good example by staying sober and driving home his friends or family members (who did consume alcohol).
The BOB concept was introduced by the Belgian government and picked up in 2001 in the Netherlands to encourage people to select a designated driver and to influence drivers not to drive while being intoxicated. The Dutch version was launched with the slogan ‘Bob jij of Bob ik?'(Do you Bob or do I Bob?). This phrase became so popular that it was added to the best-known Dutch dictionary, the Dikke van Dale.
photo: ANP/Lex van Lieshout
The campaign is repeated at least once a year, for example for the occassion of carnival or New Year’s Eve, with commercials on radio and tv and billboards along roads. During breath tests by the police the BOBs are sometimes rewarded with a BOB key chain or another goodie.
The campaign in the Netherlands has been very effective over the years. Just after the start of the campaign 4% of all motorists checked had drank too much alcohol, the number dropped down to 1.7% in 2015. Public opinion polls show that two-thirds of the Dutch say they make arrangements who stays sober and is the designated driver.