0454 Exploring the Dutch countryside (Neth 003—new)

Heemstede Travel Blog

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I continue south through a large forest park to the village of Heemstede where I’m greeted by large houses with docks in their backyards facing a narrow canal…

 

I continue on down a rather uneventful stretch and just when I’m about to give up on finding the heart of Heempstede, I head two blocks to the east where I come upon one of the most cheerful Main Streets I’ve ever seen…

 

This is not a pedestrian street and there are no sidewalk--   but you can tell it was designed this way on purpose.  Here pedestrians, cars and bicycle all get along in harmony, each one respecting and looking out for the other.

  Here schoolkids head home from school, mothers take their toddlers out for a ride using special uniquely Dutch bicycles with a wooden box in the back or front for the child… Here neighbors mingle and greet each other as they stop by the butcher, the baker and the fruit vendor--  just as they have for centuries… Except that nowadays everybody is prosperous and they live this way by choice…

 

I’m sorry, as I learned in anthropology class, I know I shouldn’t say one culture is superior to the others… but I do have to say that, all around, I think the Dutch culture has got to be one of the coolest in the world… I’m just inspired by what I observe--  I see the honesty, good work ethic, cleanliness and efficiency of a First World country with the cheerfulness, friendliness, freedom, unpretentiousness and simplicity of a Third World Country… Holland seems to have figured out how to strike that balance…

 

That’s, of course, after just one day of observation… I’m sure if I stuck around I’d see that this place is far from perfect… But based on what I’ve seen, this country is truly a model for the rest of the world…

 

I am aware that there are some racism issues going on under the surface in this country, and like in most of Western Europe there’s still a bit of confusion as to what it really means to be “Dutch”.

  But here I’ve seen more positive interaction between native Dutch and ethnic minorities than anywhere else in Europe (except maybe Portugal).  I see kids of African, Arab and Asian descent going to the same schools and mingling freely with their blond classmates…

 

In a way the simple, plain village of Heemstede is my favourite of them all… Here’s where I got a glimpse into “real” Holland… not the stereotypical Holland comedians always crack jokes about…

 

And I love this place…

polvandenwirre says:
Thanks for the positive story of my home town. Indeed I'm very happy to live here.
I just started a blog about Heemstede with plenty of pictures. I keep on taking photo's and will publish them in that blog!
Posted on: Oct 18, 2012
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Heemstede
photo by: polvandenwirre