the memory

In the deepest of space
and the strangest of thoughts
I surrender_
To what Poetry means
and the world cannot feel
I succumb_
The familiar places I’ve walked
the vast inlands
and coastlines
I cried for.
All those colorful
places in Time
What I fear I have lost
but have conquered_
And I stare out the window
alone,
to the vastness
outside of my window.
As the train is ready to depart,
I know now that my visit is over_

(Photo of the Leeuwarden train station back in 2015, Pentax P30)

 

Het Fries Museum: The pride of Friesland

Walking towards the Frisian Museum, its majestic building is prominent to the visitor’s eye. With its big glass windows and its modern form, the unique building stands out without deviating from the architecture of the rest of the Wilhelminaplein buildings. Located in the center of Leeuwarden, the capital of the Friesland province, the museum is considered to be the personification of real Frisian pride! In its three floors you can explore parts of the history, art and culture of Friesland.

When entering the first part of the museum, sounds of farming life dominate the space. Church bells, sheep, tractors, thunder. In combination with the enormous landscape pictures on the wall, the first impression is totally…Frisian! The first floor is dedicated to history, geography and the Frisian culture, while it offers detailed information over why Friesland is the way it is. You can learn more about the sword of the famous Frisian hero Grutte Pier or the mysterious life and death of the dancer Mata Hari and discover the creation and development of the dikes in Friesland for the last 2000 years, probably the most interesting section of this floor. Explore 19th century paintings, pottery items, costumes, ancient findings and even a replica of the famous Hindeloopen room where you can discover the multicultural decoration style of this iconic Frisian city. There is so much diversity in this section that sometimes the desirable balance is lost and you find yourself struggling with all this information. Perhaps a second visit would be necessary.

The second floor offers a detailed account of the impact the Second World War had in Friesland. From a video installation that shows shortly the course of the war in the Netherlands with archival footage to the fascinating room full of stories from people who survived, this section will cause mixed feelings and force you to spend a considerable time exploring the video interviews of the survivors. There is also a database of every Jewish Frisian who either was killed or survived the war. Other sections of this floor introduce you to the Leeuwarden resistance, but also to other war exhibits. Treated with respect and care, this part can stand on its own, while it takes some distance from the rest of the museum exhibitions.

The entire third floor is dedicated to the fascinating textile work of contemporary artist Claudy Jongstra. You can discover her process and inspiration, but also her newest work: square, carpet-looking textiles that hang prominently from the ceiling. This part of the museum changes frequently, so there is always something new to explore (Alma Tadema’s exhibition is available from the 1st of October).

The personal exhibition of photographer Tjibbe Hooghiemstra, who creates dreamy and poetic photographic sequences, offers more diversity to the museum. Till the 30th of next month you can observe his view on our world via extreme close-ups of nature and multiple photographs of our universe. Repetition and deep blue colors dominate this beautiful exhibition.

Modern and full of pride, this museum aims also for an international audience, not only Frisian or Dutch. Every exhibit is described in Dutch or in Frisian and the portable English catalogs available in every floor prove priceless for internationals. Perhaps a more elaborate section for the Frisian language is what is missing. However, this museum is already a valuable Frisian cultural experience.

(This article was written on September 2016. Repost from the ExoDutch blog. )

Meteora, Greece 2016

Meteora Monasteries, Thessaly, GR, 2016

Minolta Dynax 7000i, 35-105mm, Fuji Film Superia 200

A Day in The Hague

Visiting The Hague is probably one of my favorite things to do.

As a multinational city, it is sometimes rare even to find people speaking Dutch. There are many international companies that employ foreigners, and since all embassies are located there, you will find people from all around the world walking the streets of the city.

You will hear French, Italian, Asian languages and so much Spanish that you will wonder where exactly on the planet you are. Well, this is The Hague and this is why we love it!

Every time I visit The Hague, I enjoy this diversity. You might wonder, what is the difference with Amsterdam then? Well, Amsterdam consists of mostly tourists and the people living in the Hague always inspire a different vibe to me. The Hague has more class, – if I can say that – and is definitely less busy. Perhaps this vibe and this class I am talking about comes from the fact that all government facilities are there, plus the King’s Palace and the International Court of Justice. Don’t get me wrong! I love Amsterdam and its atmosphere. The Hague is just different.

I had the opportunity to visit the city since a friend of mine lives there. Every time I go there, I wish I could stay more than just a weekend. Hopefully I can explore more of the city in the future!

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Fountain at Buitenhof

The center of the city is in walking distance from the central train station and you have a great choice between trams and buses if you don’t want to walk or the weather is bad. Also, the OV fiets is a great option for people who want to explore this city the typical Dutch way, by biking through it!

The Hague offers great shopping options. Almost all famous brands and chain stores are located at a walking distance and you can visit shopping malls or even better, explore the local shops for house design, clothing and more. Check here for some extra information for shopping in The Hague.

You can also visit the Nordeinde Palace of the Dutch King, Willem-Alexander. It is the King’s working place, but also where the Dutch Royal family lives. From there, you can visit the Palace Garden which is open to the public every day. The Palace itself is not open for visits, but if you walk a little bit further, you will explore a fantastic little neighborhood with art galleries, small cafes and restaurants, fashion boutiques, jewelry and antique dealers. It is probably the only place I have visited so far that has Dutch flags hanging everywhere in its small streets! It is absolutely beautiful.

When it comes to food, there is always a great restaurant or lunch cafe that you can visit in every neighborhood. I had the pleasure of going to De Bakkerswinkel (Torenstraat 142), a great lunch cafe, where I enjoyed the great weather from their terrace, along with some bio jasmine tea and a fresh courgette soup. Very friendly personnel, decent food prices and a great atmosphere.

As a city, it is great for walking, even if in many parts of it there are constructions happening lately. This made the city a little unattractive to me, but it definitely did not ruin the walking experience.

Stay tuned for my next visit to this fascinating city, where I would like to discover more art, pubs and the famous seaside, Scheveningen!

 

(Photos: taken with my Samsung Galaxy A5, 2016)

Featured image: Willem Van Oranje statue at Buitenhof.