Thursday, June 23, 2016

Zuidlaren, NL, and It's Famous Statues

In conjunction with my happy birthday last week, Astrid and I drove on an overnight trip to Zuidlaren and Groningen over the weekend, 230 km north of us to the provinces of Drenthe and Groningen.  Actually, in the coming and going, we traveled through 6 of the 12 Dutch provinces (South Holland, Gelderland, Overijssel, Drenthe, Groningen and Utrecht)!  Gorinchem, where we live, is in South Holland province.

[Groningen is another post, where we went to see a Jan van Haasteren exhibit celebrating his 80th birthday.  He's the jigsaw puzzle man, remember?  We also had an unexpected stop on the way in Westerbork where 102,000 Jews were "assembled" for transport to Nazi concentration camps during WWII.  That, too, is another post.]

This happy post is about the village of Zuidlaren where we spent the night.  What a delightful, cozy, clean, charming village of ca. 10,000 people.  I fell in love with it.

But long before we got to Zuidlaren (at 4:30 p.m.), we stopped late morning for our koffie break.
It's the treat we give to ourselves when we make these road trips.
Latte macchiatos always seem to call out to us!

Now insert on your back burner at least 6 km of walking in the afternoon before reaching Zuidlaren.

As we drove into the village on its main street, we saw two of its famous statues.
This one was the first and is called the Berend Botje statue.
It's a nursery rhyme depiction of Berend Botje who sailed out with his boat from Zuidlaren...
and eventually went to America, supposedly, since he was never found again.
Astrid was repeating the nursery rhyme throughout the trip!  :)

The second statue, a block from our hotel, is this horse-market sculpture.
Every October in Zuidlaren is Europe's largest horse market with 350 market stalls 
extending 2.3 miles from the center of the village.
Horsetraders come from Germany and Belgium, as well as the Netherlands.
The statue depicts the time when buying-and-selling deals were "closed" with a simple handshake.

ADDENDUM:  I've added this YouTube after publishing this post.
At around 1.5 minutes, you can see the famous handshake!

It wasn't surprising, then, as we walked around town, to see many references to horses...
and that famous handshake!

But we were hungry...and had seen an Italian restaurant while driving into town!
Remember that 6 km walk on your back burner?
I guess carbs were what we needed because that's all we wanted,
accompanying our very nice Warsteiner German beer.
We both have a weak spot for spaghetti carbonara and lasagna, a rare chance to eat for us.

And then we walked some more, finding the village synagogue
where you can read the 15 names of residents sent to Nazi concentration camps.
After our earlier time in Westerbork (another post), this was additionally sobering.

Zuidlaren is also known for its many village greens, called brinken (middle-right),
with their stands of trees.

The next morning, Sunday, before driving to Groningen (another post),
we drove to Zuidlaren's only windmill, De Wachter (The Guard), from 1851, now a museum.
It's where the original Berend Botje resides, which we had arrived too late to see that Saturday.

And just outside the windmill, along the canal, is De Jonge Wachter (The Young Guard), 
a paddle steamboat built in 2000.  Both mill and steamer were at rest/closed that Sunday.

But we had seen enough to make us very happy campers,
along with the many weathervanes throughout the trip, several in Zuidlaren itself.
The turkey (middle-right) is the first we've seen, in the Westerbork area.

Happy Birthday to me, right?  It really doesn't get more fun than this.
Growing older and better, that is!


  1. I love that as we age we appreciate and enjoy more and more than ever! Thanks again for sharing another beautiful area of your country! That Italian food looks delicious!!!

    1. Getting older and better is one of the best things that's ever happened to me, Robin. I highly recommend it! :)

  2. Oh dear, all I can see (almost smell) is the carbonara and lasagna! :D

    1. Isn't it funny, Ruth, how our bodies know when we need something like that. HA!

  3. Another wonderful trip. Can't wait to see the rest.

    1. Thank you, Marie. When I think of how much we saw in those two days, I'm still amazed.

  4. We had such a great weekend. Quite un-expected but that makes it even more joyful. I was impressed with Zuidlaren... so much to see and the food was great. The hotel too.
    Berend Botje is something I grew up with... and yes he vanished to America and is not seen again... HA... who knew I ended up with you from America...
    Great post, wonderful memories to keep. I am so glad I spotted that Turkey in a split second.... IHVJ.

    1. I learned so much in those two days...stuff I had never heard you talk about before. It makes me wonder how much more still awaits me here in this incredible country!!! :)

  5. I’d love to visit Zuidlaren in October and look at all the horses gathered for the market. What a great photo opportunity and also blog fodder. Spaghetti carbonera is also one of my favorites – yours look so tempting! But the coffee break looks great too. Happy to see you have such fun.

    1. We'd love to see the horse market, Vagabonde, but I'm afrad the crowds would do us in. It's be fun to see it in a YouTube: In fact, I may add this to my post.

  6. What a nice trip to celebrate a birthday. This is right up my alley actually. If I get lucky to find my way to Europe again, I'll have to put NL in the itinerary. So many charming little villages and towns you have shown here that captivated me.

    Hoped you had a birthday blast.

    1. How can you resist coming to the Netherlands, Maria! HA! The thing is, you can see so much of it because it's a state in the USA. But it is packed with goodies, which I'm still finding out.

  7. The guy shaking hands looks like Honest Abe to me! And the carbonara, yeah, mmmm, jealous. However, the last time I ate it (in Denmark) I got quite sick. I'm guessing it contained raw eggs, which I have cut out of my diet! Too much gastric distress.

    1. Honest Abe! HA! That's what it used to be like...the handshake to seal the deal and be upright about it from beginning to end. I like that, Susan. But too bad about the carbonara! If I can have it once or twice a year, I'm a happy camper. :)

  8. This is an excellent miscellany that leaves unsure where to begin or what to say. Appreciated knowing the provinces names and think you would be howling to hear how I pronounced each one. Anyone who believes the geezer made it to America might also believe there’s a presidential candidate who will bring us utopia. The highlight, for me, was the horse statue and a society that can make deals on a simple hand shake. Would have been the meal, but I couldn’t taste it. Very sad looking little steamboat. Isn’t Sunday when people want such rides?

    1. "Miscellany" is a good word for these excursions, Ted. I'll have to remember it for future use. HA!

      You'd be surprised how MANY places around this wee country are closed on Sunday, especially away from the handful of BIG cities, like Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The Dutch take their Sunday breaks very seriously!

    2. Life here never has a break - the country that never sleeps. Even on my dirt road there is regular traffic most of the day. However, we do have places of near quiet here. The deck on the edge of the woods behind our house is one, and with my lousy ears, what noise there is, I don’t hear. However, until the bear mauled our bird feeder last week, we had relatively constant bird song and we could hear the flittering sound of the hummingbirds’ wings.