Category archives for: History

Travel feature: Bourtange

Photo: Kashif Pathan

  Dating to the late 16th century and located in Westerwolde in the northern Dutch province of Groningen, Fort Bourtange was built by William of Orange in order to guard the only road between Germany and Groningen during the Eighty Years’ War (1568- 1648). Centuries later, the fort lost its function and became a village. […]

Place: De Haar Castle

Photo: Albert Dros

  De Haar Castle (Kasteel de Haar) in the province of Utrecht is ‘undutch’ in its extreme opulence. Until 2000, the castle was owned by the baronial Van Zuylen van Nijevelt de Haar family. It had been owned by ancestors of these last aristocratic owners of the vast property since at least the late 14th […]

Topography: Of peat, bogs and fens


In an incidental series of articles we have been examining how the topography of The Netherlands has been influenced by the requirement of the Dutch to actively manage the water in their environment. As part of an ongoing battle between the people of the country and the water surrounding them on all sides – and […]

Place: Nes aan de Amstel


  About a mile south of Nes aan de Amstel lies Nessersluis, (the sluice at Nes). Nessersluis is on the other, eastern, shore of the Amstel river and to get there would take about a ten mile drive from Nes, across the nearest bridge at Uithoorn. Fortunately there’s a ferry at Nessersluis that will transport, […]

Travel Feature: Groningen, vibrant city of the north


Because of its renowned universities, richly intellectual atmosphere and bustling nightlife, the city of Groningen attracts a large number of national and international students and has the youngest average population in the country. It is no wonder that a visit to the northern Dutch city always feels like a breath of fresh air. Like tonic […]

Arts Feature: Better than Rembrandt, at least for a while

Jan Lievens, Self Portrait

Though today he is nowhere nearly as legendary as Rembrandt, child prodigy Jan Lievens was, for a time, a much bigger deal. Lievens, who was slightly younger than Rembrandt, was already a celebrity artist by the time Rembrandt picked up a paint brush. According to Bob Haak, author of Rembrandt: Life and Work, the two […]

Feature: Dutch New Year celebrations in 18th and 19th century America

Kniepertjes (Foto: Marianne van Erker)

Seventeenth-century Dutch settlers who founded the Dutch colony of New Netherland, a huge area wedged between New England and Virginia, brought with them not only seeds, tree stock and cattle, but also their well-established food ways and customs. One Old World and New World Dutch custom was visiting relatives, neighbors and friends on holidays such […]

Feature: The Final Year of the War through the eyes of two Dutch women

Tiny's ID-Card, the hated 'persoonsbewijs'.

Seventy years ago World War II entered its final phase. We will follow events in The Netherlands during those last grueling months through the eyes of two Dutch sisters, my grandmother Clasina and great-aunt Tiny Wisman, whose wartime diaries I recently discovered. They had been separated by the front after Operation Market Garden started on […]

Letter: looking for Dutch War Brides

Canadian war bride Hendrika Lukkien (Image: Bev Tosh).

Dear Publisher, My name is Olga Rains, and I am a Dutch War Bride. You did a story about my husband Lloyd; he passed away in March 2013. I am one of the two thousand Dutch girls who married Canadian soldiers after WWII and came to Canada to start a new life. In 1984, I […]

Travel Feature: Valkenburg


A drive to the southernmost tip of The Netherlands on a warm summer’s day this past June almost fooled me into thinking I had taken a wrong turn and ended up in another country. France perhaps. At a certain point, probably somewhere past Geleen, the scenery suddenly changed. From typical Dutch flatlands it transformed into […]