|Reflections at the Kinderdijk Windmill Complex in The Netherlands. All content property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
When you think of Holland, what are the first impressions that come to mind? Windmills? Tulips? Clogs? Perhaps it's cheese? Personally, fanciful windmills and fields of vibrant tulips evoke Holland but all of that changed upon my voyage to the Netherlands with Viking River Cruises.
|Amsterdam Film Museum|
While I saw plenty of windmills, I was not fortunate enough to see my tulips for alas, it was a wee bit early in the year. But what I did see changed forever my impressions of this picturesque country in northern Europe. From its inspiring pastoral countryside, to its charming seaside villages spilling with coastal charm, to its vibrant cities where futuristic architecture juxtaposes with classic Dutch designs—an aesthetic combination thoughtfully planned and pleasing to the eye, in most cases. And on one misty morning, the most magical yet; for I awoke to a horizon filled with whimsical windmills whose blades yielded ever so gently to the wind. One sublime moment after the next and I savored each one—pictorial souvenirs of my unforgettable impressions. I hope you enjoy my impressions of Holland as much as I do!
|Modern meets traditional Dutch architecture in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Unilever wasn't permitted to tear down the traditional Dutch architecture so they built up and over it.|
It is my hope that by the end of this visual journey, you'll have a vast new collection to add your library so the next time you hear "Holland," your imagination runs wild! By the way, this post is also my contribution to the October edition of the European Carnival hosted by DJ Yabis at Dream Euro Trip—a collection of posts from fellow travel bloggers from all over the world.
|Amsterdam's Opera House.|
Capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is world renowned for its enchanting canals, fabled architecture, inspiring artists, Anne Frank, and of course the infamous “Red Light District” and coffee houses. A canal tour rewards visitors with unencumbered views of this charming Dutch city, its historical past and vibrant present pulsing through its streets and waterways.
|Picturesque house boats like this charming red Amsterdam home line most of the canals, and many of them feature gardens on the top decks!|
|Quintessentially Dutch, these storied gables have become icons in their own right, from triangle and step gables pictured above to ornamental bell-neck gables with magnificent statuary.|
The picturesque Dutch countryside of Edam with its cobbled streets, storied architecture and canals spanned by centuries-old drawbridges—offer up idyllic settings that beckon to the artist armed with palette, brush and canvas, or perhaps a poet.
|A painting waiting for its canvas. Idyllic scenes like this presented themselves to me throughout my tour of Edam.|
|The Dam Hotel in Edam, The Netherlands.|
The charming town of Marken nestled on the shores of the Markermeer—a picturesque fishing village steeped in Dutch traditions with quaint architecture that perfectly preserves its time-honored past. For me, it was love at first sight of this littoral village by the sea.
|The seaside village architecture of Marken preserves its Dutch heritage dating back hundreds of years.|
|The green and black clapboard siding decorates most of the shops and homes in Marken.|
While Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands, The Hague is the seat of Parliament and home to the government offices including the office of Queen Beatrix and the Prime Minister. The Netherlands' third largest city after Amsterdam and Rotterdam, The Hague also is home to one of my new all-time favorite museums—the Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery.
|The skyline of The Hague is composed of strikingly modern architecture including the Hoftoren building in the background completed in 2003.|
|Completed in the 13th century, the Knight's Hall or "Ridderzaal" is part of the Binnenhof Parliament buildings in The Hague.|
|Among the multiple Parliament buildings in The Hague, this edifice is home to the office of the Prime Minister.|
|One of the many European River Cruise ships you'll see plying the waters throughout the Netherlands and all of Europe for that matter.|
|Modern times have transformed Rotterdam's skyline with stunning 21st-century architecture.|
|A traditional Viking ship in the making is being erected in Rotterdam.|
Steeped in Dutch traditions dating back to the 17th century, Volendam continues to thrive today on its cheese and fishing industries which first put Volendam on the map so many centuries ago.
|The seaside village of Volendam is spilling with coastal charm.|
I couldn’t help but fall in love with the quaint architecture of this harbor town, its narrow streets lined with charming Dutch shops, and most of all the people! But what really charmed me and awakened a sleeping artist within was my visit to the Hotel Spaander. Its fabled past regales a time when this amiable cozy inn was a major draw for artists visiting the Netherlands who exchanged their etchings, sketches and paintings, many of which remain today, for room and board. And yes, Van Gogh was among the frequent guests however, you won't find his work here any longer.
|The Hotel Spandaar in Volendam continues to draw visitors and artists to this day.|
|Volendam's quaint streets and drawbridges lure you into the central village for a stroll along its cobbled streets.|
|The charming Kroeg or pub in the village of Volendam.|
And so I will leave you with this tasty morsel of many of the delectable delights, edible and visual, I had the pleasure of indulging throughout my journey of Holland. I hope you enjoyed this postcard journey through the Netherlands!
|Before our "Viking Odin" was scheduled to sail away, we toured the town of Volendam for some lasting impressions and to our surprise, quite tasty impressions at that!|