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Travel Tuesday: Day Trippin' Through The Netherlands Countryside

This was a full day of learning and soaking in all the sights. We started our day in Amsterdam to meet with our tour guide. We loaded our coach bus with commentary along the way. Our first stop was Zaanse Schans, a neighborhood in the Dutch town of Zaandam, near Amsterdam. Historic windmills and distinctive green wooden houses were relocated here to recreate the look of an 18th/19th-century village. It’s the cutest area to take a walk or ride the trails in the fields . We have been to Amsterdam before but never made the trip here. This was quite the learning experience going inside and on top of the windmills to understand the different types.

Our next stop was the Wooden Shoe Factory in Marken to experienced how clogs are made and better understand their significance within the Dutch culture. We got to try on the many different types of wooden styles. Review some facts we learned:

•A clog is a shoe made from wood. Clogs are frequently connected with whole feet style clogs in the Netherlands (Holland).

•Traditional clogs were frequently worn in heavy labor. Today they continue to be being used as protective clothing in agriculture as well as in some industrial facilities and mines.

•Although clogs are occasionally adversely connected with cheap and folkloric shoes of maqui berry farmers and also the working class, some kinds of clogs are thought as fashion forward today.

After making clogs, we took a walk through the small town of Marken to the port to board our ferry over to Volendam . We traveled on the Lake IJssel (IJsselmeer), the largest lake in the Netherlands. Over the centuries, the lake banks crumbled away due to flooding and wave action and the lake grew considerably. During the 12th and 13th centuries, storm surges and rising sea levels flooded large areas of land between the lake and the North Sea, turning the lake into a bay of the North Sea, called the Zuiderzee. The Zuiderzee continued to be a threat to the Dutch, especially when northwesterly storms funnel North Sea waters towards the English Channel, creating very high tides along the Dutch coast. During the 17th century, Zuiderzee dikes collapsed several times and plans were drawn up to eliminate the threat by draining the bay. Later drainage plans focused on creating fertile farmland. But it never got beyond the planning stage. It was only after the flood of 1916 that the legislature approved the Zuiderzee Works, a major hydraulic engineering project that involved building dikes, draining parts of the Zuiderzee and constructing the Afsluitdijk to keep tides and high water out. The Zuiderzee was no longer a sea inlet and was renamed IJsselmeer (Lake IJssel). The continued flow of river water flushed out the saltwater.

Volendam & Marken Fisherman's Warf

Volendam is a glimpse into the past. Here, colorful wooden houses surround a boat-filled harbor, and locals wear traditional Dutch clogs, aprons, and bonnets. Once a favorite inspiration spot for artists such as Picasso and Renoir, the village now draws visitors for its cheese, seafood, and historic atmosphere.

 We visited a nearby cheese farm for a demonstration and a sampling of its dairy production. The process to make mature cheese takes approximately 16-18 weeks to age appropriately and believe me, the taste is worth the wait! You can find this brand all over Amsterdam & The Netherlands. We highly recommend the Aged Smoked Gouda.

It was a jammed packed day from start to finish and well worth it! Our experience was very organized and informative. We highly recommend partaking in this day trip from Amsterdam. Contact us for booking this tour.


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