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and Breda, Zundert and Zeeland
and farewell to The Netherlands and friends

My last touring day in The Netherlands was a busy one. In fact my head is still reeling from it. We stopped at so many places, I hope, I can get it right here. Our first stop was the Great Church, the Begijnhof - Breda and the Castle.


The name Breda descends from a contraction of the Brede (wide) Aa. This is the point where two rivers, the Mark and the Aa, flow together. In the year 1252 Breda obtained its municipal rights, and at the beginning of the 14th century Breda was walled in. All the streets surrounding the city were laid in an oval shape, which is a noticeable sign for old fortified cities.
Apart from its history and its culture Breda is, above all, known for its kindhearted, friendly atmosphere which is characteristic for all of the older, southern cities, where people know how to enjoy life. It is also home to the largest casino in Europe.

De Grote Kerk (The Big Church)

This beautiful church from the 15th century can be admired from almost every point in Breda. Between 1995 and 1997 the beauty of the church was hidden from the public, it took almost 3 years to restore the inside and the outside of the church. It is so big I couldn't get it in one shot. This is a spliced image.

The steeple from the front

Willem III in the park

Another Irish Pub

Now, where did I leave the car?


These show parts of the Breda Castle walls and the river, In the photo on the right the dark area is an entrance by water.
The so-called "Spanjaardsgat" (Spaniard Gate on the left) flanked by two heptagonal towers reminds visitors of the time Breda was in hands of the Spaniards. The Castle of Breda shows the historical relation between Breda and the home of Oranje Nassau. In 1198 the castle was a fortress. During the centuries many changes have been made to the castle. Since 1828 the Royal Military Academy (KMA) has used the castle as it's home.


The Beguinage is the quiet place where unmarried women lived together within a safe secluded space. Their way of living originated from the need to withdraw from the outside world and devote themselves to God. The name "Beguine" derives form the beige colored clothes they wore.
The first thing, you'll see is the lovely little church followed by a nice garden surrounded by little houses. The sisters grew spices and used the proceeds to survive and do works of charity. The spices are still grown and sold.
It's a lovely place. An oasis of calm. The beguinage was the only catholic institution that survived in Breda after the Reformation, thanks to its protection by the Princes of Orange. The court was inhabited by beguines until 1990.
There is also a museum located here.


The church

Inside the church

A sculpture of the sisters near the garden

This is one of the Sister's quarters from inside the museum. The church shown is across the street. Th entrance to the Hof is the arch right of center above the garden.


Zundert is a small municipality of about twenty thousand and the birthplace of the famous painter Vincent van Gogh. It is also one of the most agricultural municipalities of the Netherlands. Zundert also boasts the oldest and most technical advanced flowerparade in europe, held every first sunday in September.

The Town Hall

The birthhouse of Vincent van Gogh

The commemorating plaques
"Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on earth to do. With such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling."
~ Vincent Van Gogh
NOTE: Trees must have known that Van Gogh is a favorite of mine. She made sure we got here. There will be some photos of his works, which I saw at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.


Zeeland consists of the various former river delta islands located in the Scheldt estuary with its two arms, Western Scheldt, and the Ooster Scheldt, together with a strip of mainland called Zeeland-Flanders. The history of these islands is in every case one of varying loss and gain in the struggle with the sea. Lying for the most part below sea-level, the islands are protected by a continuous line of artificial dikes, which hide them from view on the seaward side. The province was badly damaged by flooding in 1953, when a break in the sea walls and dikes in the Netherlands killed 1,835 people, forced the evacuation of seventy thousand people, caused ten thousand animals to drown, destroyed 4500 buildings, and flooded one-sixth of The Netherlands. To prevent such a tragedy in the future, a prestigious project was conceived, called the Delta Works (Deltawerken).

What would the Netherlands be without windmills? These three were photographed near Zeeland on the way to Rotterdam. One time there were over 10,000 windmills in The Netherlands. They were primarily used to drain the marsh lands so that people could live there. About 1000 remain for our enjoyment today. They have been replaced by the modern windfarm turbines to provide power to the country. This form of energy has become efficient, reliable, and cost effective. Perhaps our President should take a look at the Dutch.
In the center photo you can see John talking to some picnickers at the mill.

The old

And the new

Another Wind Farm

A fishing boat heading out

The dock for our tour boat

"Excuse me, I have a message for you."



The four photos above were taken from the top of the dike. The first two show the dunes looking toward the North Sea. The bottom are looking back toward Neeltje-Jans and show part of the waterpark and part of the museum displaying equipment used to build the barrier.

Silver waters from our tour boat

Part of the Storm Surge Barrier
You can see some vehicles on the road in the right photo to give an idea of the size of this barrier.

Storm Surge Barrier: Oosterscheldedam. These doors are normally open, but can be closed under adverse weather conditions. In this way the saltwater marinelife behind the dam is preserved and fishing can continue, while the land behind the dam is safe from the water. It has been declared one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers and was featured on the Discovery Channel. It was the biggest, most difficult to build and the most expensive part of the Delta works. Work on this dam started in April of 1976, and was completed in June of 1986. The road was completed in June of 1987. To facilitate the building of the barrier an artificial island Neeltje-Jans (on the left) was first created in the middle of the estuary. Located on this island is the waterpark and the Tour Boat we took.



Rotterdam is the most modern of cities in the Netherlands. It was heavily bombed during the Second World War, so most buildings date after that.

A portion of Rotterdam's skyline

A square

A church

A Rotterdam street

These apartments literally made me dizzy looking at them. Can you imagine living in one, and wondering if a wall will fall off?

A glass building reflects the late afternoon sky

World War II Memorial depicting fear of the bombings

One of Rotterdam's modern bridges

Rotterdam by night


I was finding it harder and harder to say goodbye to my friends as I left for another port of call, particularly to those I knew beforehand. But in Breda I arrived with one online friend, and left with seven real friends. I will be forever grateful to Trees and her family for the hospitality they showed me.

The family

Goodbye to great friends
Top left and clockwise: George, Samuel, Alicia, Jozua, John and Trees (pronounced Trays}. Ronah was not there. You see John standing with his hands in his packets and wearing the now "famous" hat. All the tour guides I encountered on my trip held some brightly colored item, like an umbrella or colored paper. Well, John wore the hat, and as we walked around the various places we all said, "Just follow the hat."

Small town, Netherlands

The church always dominates the village.

A Dutch farm

And another

Crossing the IJssel River

Boats on the IJssel River

Nearing Deventer

Another Dutch farm

My last stop in The Netherlands

Waiting for the train to Berlin

Music is "Your Embrace"
by Hans van den Bos

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