Monday, January 20, 2014

THORN, NL: The White Village

We're finally at the end of our two-day trip that took us to Valkenburg, NL (Christmas market), Lanaken, BE (Jo Myns sculptures), Maaseik, BE, and now Thorn, NL, the last week of November, 2013.

You know us.  We like to pack a wallop!

Thorn is known as "The White Village" in the Netherlands, with only 2K+ inhabitants.

See what I mean?!  It's brick painted white = whitewashed.

The "eyes" of the village watch over you everywhere you go.

BTW, the Dutch language does not have the "th" sound.
That means Thorn is pronounced TOR-en, with 2 syllables.
Does that confuse you as much as it does me?

When we first entered the village, we passed a doorway to what looked like a junkyard.
Wrong!  It was a huge haven full of antiques...about 35+ years worth, we found out.

Are you looking for something to add to your collection?
Surely the man who owns the place has it!

And if that isn't enough, he has an assortment of rare pigeons for you.
He's been collecting them for as long as the antiques, taking them over from his dad.

Some of them give new meaning to being "all puffed up!"

And on that note, we suddenly had an appetite for koffie and a bite of something.

I had the rice-pudding tart and Astrid had the apricot tart.
Usually we share but we both stuck to what was in front of us, with no complaints.  OMG!

It so happens our café was across from the Abbey Church, which was one of the main reasons why we chose to visit Thorn in the first place.

We had already seen it from where we had parked our Granny Towanda (green car)... well as elsewhere throughout the small village.

It's actually smack-dab in the middle of the village, with cemetery included.

BUT...even though it was open, you can't get in for free!  
What a disappointment until we discovered this particular abbey had been run by women.
So we HAD to go in...and quickly paid the €3/person entrance fee.

This abbey was founded in the 10th century as an imperial abbey for the Roman Empire,
led by an abbes and a convent of twenty noble ladies.

In Thorn, only women with the most impeccable pedigree were accepted.
They dwelled in luxury in the white houses, being attended by servants and owning property. 
If they married, they left.

 The village of Thorn exists because of this church.

 In the crypt under the chancel are tombs and the mummified remains of a a male and female cannon.

So many nooks and crannies.  So much history.

Don't you wish you could read all languages!

Some languages, like art, can be read by almost everyone.

And even though I was still on the wrong F-stop on my new camera (camera language), 
most of the images came out good enough to preserve for posterity.
[Once we got back home, I found out how to change the setting, remember?]

So, that does it...almost 2 months later!  
Hopefully some things are worth waiting for.


  1. another charming village, the architecture, the church, the shops, and now even birds. you are so lucky to have all these nearby.

    1. Oh, yes, Maria. We are definitely lucky!!!

  2. Beautiful church in a beautiful village. The local hardware store must have had a huge sale on white paint a couple of centuries ago.

    1. Thank you, Sham, and don't you just wonder what that was all about!!!

    2. Mt dad used to paint the outside of our garden retaining wall and coal house white, but he didn't use paint, he painted with quicklime that he mixed in a metal bucket. The old fashioned way. Perhaps that's what was used here. Don't know where one might buy quicklime these days.

    3. You may be right, Sham. I'm guessing there were more ways than one to make something white back then!

  3. Ginnie I love how you guide us on our tour with you! Of course I am drawn to the village, the church and that food. But the convent sounds be catered it!!

    1. Thank you, Donna. It was at the end of the day, so we couldn't spend a lot of time there, but we saw a lot and loved it all!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Robin. And yes, we know how lucky we are!

  5. Another grand tour that leaves me feeling as if I had visited Thorn (pronounced Toren) myself. As to admission fees, I'm much more resentful when they let me in, maybe charge me, and then don't let me use my camera. Love those old tower clocks. Thanks for the tour.

    1. Thanks, Ted. Trust me--we have each other's number! In churches where photography is forbidden, there is an sign/icon saying so before you enter. If there's an entrance fee, we won't go in. It's as simple as that! It's more the principle of it than anything. For one thing, we can see the images online when we get back home.

      As a rule, we won't pay to enter a church, unless we know there is something very important/special about it. We see so many churches here in Europe, we've decided we don't have to use the precious money we have to see those that charge. They snooze, they lose.

    2. I don't mind the admission, especially if I feel they have considerable upkeep costs, but often the prohibition is for them to sell there own pictures. Yet it is even worse when they don't allow pictures and have none for sale either. Alas, you seem to turn away without losing your composure. For me it is an irritant.

    3. You've raised an important point, Ted...when the churches expect to get revenue from their own photos. True. Also from the entrance fee. If it's a church/cathedral I really want to see, we'll definitely pay the fee. Otherwise, we'll move on.

  6. Sweet and charming, I love the curving streets. The Dutch are so tidy, aren't they? Even the guy with antiques has a neat touch with that clutter. Does he sell his stuff, or just collect it? It's crazy how many little villages there are that we've never heard of, but are as sweet as this!

    1. "Dutch cleaning" has had new meaning since I've lived here, Ruth, for sure! They do it all the time. HA! And yes, that man sells his stuff. We weren't the only ones there but we were just looking and taking pictures. Don't know how he felt about that!

      As far as "how many little villages there are," it still shocks me!!! And every one of them is as charming as the next!

  7. This is a fabulous post. I love the camera and I love the shots and video. These pictures are so wonderful. Sometimes I forget how beautiful things are that we see. After seeing the pictures, I realize how lucky we are and that we have to be thankful for all the beauty we are able to see.
    Thank you for taking the time, to make these fabulous memories. IHVJ.

    1. You're my biggest fan, MLMA, and I do it for you and a keepsake we can look back on over and over again. We have really seen a LOT in our 4 years here!!!

  8. That antique shop is right up my alley (I wish!). And I love how you Europeans have your afternoon koffie and pastries guilt free!!!!!!!!!! The English have their tea, what do we have, Chex Mix?

    1. It is so true, Susan, about the koffie and pastries here. Actually, around 10:30-11a is the koffie break and in the afternoon, around 2:30, is the tea break. I'm learning about these things. When we are out on our photo hunts, we almost always try to get in the morning koffie break, though it often ends up closer to noon...and then we eat lunch a bit later. The guilt-free part is just wonderful, isn't it. The Dutch do NOT see those tarts as dessert! That's what still blows my mind. :)

  9. I KNOW I commented on this earlier - must have lost it in cyber space from my iPhone. I am still thrilled with the amount of light the Abbey Church has - and I 'm quite intrigued by the abstract colorful crucifix image in the fourth collage from the bottom! Wow. I am not always a fan of abstract art (my art daughter is, though) but i like this one.

    1. Thank you for trying again to comment, dear Margaret. You amaze me! But yes, I was thrilled, too, by the like, even though it was late afternoon as the winter sun was setting. We were so lucky to see as much as we did...and capture it, in spite of my stupidity in not being able to figure out the f-stop. Now that I know, it's very simple. HA!

      I was quite surprised by that abstract piece, to be honest. And I recall even thinking of you! That happens a lot to me in especially the Catholic churches, since I didn't grow up with the iconography. You are helping me see things through your eyes, for which I thank you. Seriously.