The North Sea

Dottie captured this photo with her iPhone of these Electric Windmills in the North Sea as we approached Amsterdam. We saw them last year from our Cruise around the British Isle and were particularly surprised as we approached the Netherlands. They were "milling" away just like an old friend making electricity.


Another iPhone photo as we approached Amsterdam. When I first looked out, I thought of the many strips of divided farmland we have in New Mexico. In the early years of our state and prevalent among the Spanish population, when the Father passed his property was divided equally to the next generation. To keep the division equal the strips ran from the river to the frontage road. So in a couple of generations you had these long narrow strips of farmland each owned by a different family member. What we observed from the air approaching Amsterdam, and being the Lowlands were first established by the Spaniards, my thoughts ran that this might be the same tradition as in New Mexico.


Little did we realize that the divisions were drainage canals. Then we discovered the land we were seeing is actually 6' below sea level. Ingenious, Ingenious and thus you have the history, the brilliance and the power of the Dutch people on display.

Amsterdam, Netherlands in the province of North Holland

WOW! We are off with our two daughters, their husbands and two of our Grandchildren for a few days in Amsterdam and then board the Holland America Cruise Lines on the Rotterdam and cruise the southern coast of Norway.

Meet our family: Lt to Rt: Raulin Harder, Dottie, James Hall, Garrett Harder, Kyle Harder, Renee Hall, Robin Harder and I.

Raulin has just graduated from UNM with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Business, Dottie is Unemployeed, James is a financial analyst with the Bayer Co., Garrett is a senior in the school of Architecture at UNM, Kyle is President of Harder Custom Homes, Renee has recently retired from her career with Anheuser-Busch, Robin is the New Mexico Manager for ICF Consultants, and I'm helping Dottie to stay unemployed.

Trips are trips, but when they are with your family then, they become diamonds blessed with an eternal sparkle.

Amsterdam is a world renowned city of a million residents and two million bicycles. Bicycles and bicycle paths are everywhere and too, they have the right of way. When walking one must really, Watch Out, and for gosh sakes pay attention, as those bicycles are moving at 25 to 30 mph. Remember the Lowlands are relatively flat and level, so the Amsterdam bikers haven't hills and mountains to negotiate.


Bicycle storage at the Metro and Train Center.


These photos were taken at the main train terminal, and here we have a couple of young women searching for their bicycles among thousands locked to stands. Talk about losing your automobile in the Mall parking lot, this is mayhem. There is an alternative however, and below is a parking structure that is located next to the Public Parking that runs a block or so long; but note the bikes are not jammed together, the difference I'm sure is just $$$$.


We toured Amsterdam on the Hop On Hop Off, and the recorded tour told us a couple interesting things on the bicycles in Amsterdam. First of all there are 60,000 bicycle thefts reported a year, and too some 15,000 a year are pulled out of the canals.

The Netherlands are a fascinating country of 18 million people squeezed into an area of 16,000 sq. miles. This is about the same size of the three states of Maryland, Delaware, and Rhode Island; but with twice the population. We only visited two of their cities, Amsterdam and Rotterdam; and next up will be a Travel Log on Rotterdam. These three cities are rather close, Amsterdam to The Hague, capital of the Netherlands, is 40 miles; and then only 17 more from The Hague to Rotterdam, and all located in either the provinces of North or South Holland.

It is easy to see why their Metro Rail complex coupled with the bicycle are the major transportation links in Amsterdam. Oh! and the Dutch seem to be in great physical condition with very little obesity.

When one mentions transportation in Amsterdam, immediately the Canal System comes into being. There are 60 miles of canals and some 1,753 numbered bridges and another 2,250 that are not numbered (??) in this complex.


Renee caught this photograph, and it gives us a terrific view of at least 5 bridges under this first. (Enlarge the photo to full screen to count the bridges) Too, from the bicycle locked and hanging on the bridge railing, it is little wonder that 15,000 end up in the drink each year.

Oh! yes there is an abundance of Houseboats, with an estimated 3,000 of them in Amsterdam.

This family was my favorite of those living on the Canals. Mr. and Mrs Swan and the kids. Like all kids they caused some worry to their parents when they went into the culvert that would not accommodate the grown ups'


But all ended well, after the scolding, and Momma and Papa were much happier.


The Swan kids are not the only ones who love to play; how about the Harders and Halls, all kids at heart. This is quite a contraption as each leg swings in and out and the whole apparatus rotates. I imagine that very adventurous kids could really get this thing a humming.


Too, one does not need to live on a Houseboat to enjoy the luxury of Canal Living.


Hey, we are in Holland province, and to we Yanks we just say Holland. You know that place where they wear wooden shoes. Yep, and they still wear them down on the farm.

The flowers seem to fit their shoe, but Renee yours are just a tad bit large.

Here are our Girls in their shoe. Momma and her two daughters.


If you need shoes, we have your size and what a quaint shopping area. The Netherlands at its best.


And yes, another Dutch obsession we have to share are the Windmills.

Windmills were the power source of the Dutch Golden Years in the 17th Century. At that time the Dutch were the most industrialized nation in the world, as they lead the Industrial Revolution with windmill power. I had always associated the Windmill, including Don Quixote, with harnessing wind to de-water the lowlands. We all remember the dikes and damns the Dutch engineered; and the small boy who saved Holland by sticking his finger in the leak in the dike to keep it from eroding.

Paul Harvey would say, "Now for the Rest of the Story".


These four windmills have been restored to keep the legend of the Dutch Golden Years, and each of them represent an additional use of Dutch Wind power. The mill we visited was a saw mill and opened a view of power way beyond even our fondest imagination. A Saw Mill? or how about a Grain Grinding Mill, or a De-watering pump all driven by Wind. At the height of the Dutch Golden Years, there were 9,000 windmills working in Holland and there are still 1,200 in existence today .


The logs floated into position and ready to be harvested to lumber.


The windmill powered log cutting operation. You'll note the extra cutting head on the left side, and an identical one sawing in the middle of the log. We saw the actual cutting in operation. Impressive, and this windmill makes a profit. Applaud!


Say Hi to our beautiful Daughter Robin and Granddaughter Raulin.


Now for the Second Dutch product we think of when saying Holland or the Netherlands. Heineken. The Brewery is still privately owned by the Heineken family, in its the fourth generation. The brewery dates back to 1592 and has it has been owned and know as Heineken for the last 146 years.

Yes, OH Yes! Beer

We had our choice of touring the Diamond Cutting Museum, the Red Light District or Heineken's Brewery. We couldn't afford the Diamond District, The Girls strongly discouraged us from the Red Light Tour, and then who could pass up a cold Heineken's.



Garrett and Kyle have entered the Heineken's distribution system and are pedaling their bicycles around the city selling beer. This was a cute video set, that had been set up; and the guys could act out the fondest dreams of biking around Amsterdam. They did well, as neither fell off their bicycles. They needed cash to pay for this trip, and beer is the greatest of cash cows.


Of course the reason for making a Brewery Tour is the tasting room. Heineken's did themselves proud, as the pitcher was generously and frequently refilled. Renee just retired from Anheuser-Busch, and for years her husband, James, was also an AB man. Maybe the reason we were treated so well was Heineken's professional courtesy extension to a couple of AB fellows. :)

When we landed in Amsterdam, I was wondering what makes this country tick economically. Two or three things came to mind, but nothing significant. Well first of all there is Royal Dutch Shell, which is a Dutch/British Oil Magnum and the 9th largest World Corporation. The Netherlands is second in the world in production of food and agricultural products.

You've got to be kidding me!!

Yep, the worlds second exporter of agriculture goods, just behind the USA. This amazed me as I compared the Netherlands to the State of Florida with each having 18 million residents, but the Netherlands has only 1/4 of the land area of Florida, and is second in world production of agricultural products. WOW!

Then common names of great giant corporations begin to come to light. Phillips Electronics. Tom Tom Navigation Systems, ING the great financial and insurance world power. Akzo-Nobel Paint products. And then to learn that the Worlds first Stock Exchange was and still is operating in Amsterdam. The Netherlands is and has been a world power for hundreds of years. They are very liberal, way to extreme for this ole country boy. Less than half of their 18 million people consider themselves to be religious, Drugs are an open commodity, and their Red Light District, is reported to be flourishing. But different from Heineken's there no free samples.

We enjoyed visiting the City for a couple of days enjoying the Hop On Hop Off bus, the canal tour and riding the Metro. Diemen Zuid was our station, but let me tell your reading the routes and dis-embarkments all written in Dutch was not easy. Thank goodness for our young travelers with good eyes, and many very friendly and helpfull Dutch people.

Lt to Rt: Kyle and Robin Harder, Dottie, Renee Hall, Garrett Harder, and James Hall.

Raulin and I join in this photo with Renee being the camera lady.


Oh yes, the Caramelized Waffle and it passed with gooiest of fingers. Yummy!

We missed the Tulip Season, but the Bulb market was alive and well. My father years ago had bulbs shipped home and grew a great flower garden. We thought of having some bulb shipped but discovered that the minimum lot was 100 bulbs, and this was 100 bulbs per variety. No wonder he had such a large garden.


At the Metro Station they have the movement of people by train down to a fine art. You might notice my walking stick. It is actually a mono pod to mount my cameras on. I pulled a No No on the first day we arrived in Amsterdam. We had gone to a deli and gathered enough for dinner, and not watching the uneven sidewalk. I stumbled and fell cracking a couple of ribs. Man oh Man that sure keeps one from coughing, and laughing and no rolling over at night. But now all is well!


Amsterdam, a Beautiful and Fantastic place to visit, but I'll keep my home in New Mexico and stay with Green Chili!

We'll be off to Rotterdam tomorrow to catch the Cruise Ship. We understand that Rotterdam is a unique modern city; so stay on board and we'll see you in Rotterdam.

Photo Credits: The majority were taken on my Canons 5Diii and the new "R", but many were taken with iPhones. Those iPhone photos are excellent, and that is a full concession from the ole Canon man.

And now as we do in New Mexico, when we pass .......................... I'll wave.

ADIOUS ~ Amigos


Remember to wisely use your QTR!

QTR - Quality Time Remaining



Come on Willie sing us another verse, and we’ll move on down the road.