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Netherlands

Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, April 20, 2014 at 16:59:03 :: Netherlands

The Royal Palace in AmsterdamBeatrix (Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard, born 31 January 1938) is the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands comprising the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and Aruba.

Beatrix was born in Baarn, the Netherlands. She is the eldest daughter of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. In 1948, she became heiress presumptive to the throne of the Netherlands. When her mother Juliana abdicated on 30 April 1980, Beatrix succeeded her as Queen of the Netherlands.

In domestic matters, she has little political say; however, in international relations, the queen has much more latitude. In 1994, the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced in the States-General that a Dutch embassy in Jordan had been opened at her request.

Her appearance on the political scene was almost immediately marked by controversy. In 1965, Princess Beatrix became engaged to the German aristocrat Claus von Amsberg, a diplomat working for the German Foreign Office. Their marriage caused a massive protest during the wedding day in Amsterdam on 10 March 1966.

Prince Claus had served in the Hitler Youth and the Wehrmacht and was, therefore, associated by a part of the Dutch population with German Nazism. Protests included such memorable slogans as "Claus 'raus!" (Claus out!) and "Mijn fiets terug" (Give me back my bike), a reference to the memory of occupying German soldiers confiscating Dutch bicycles. A smoke bomb was thrown at the wedding carriage by a group of Provos causing a violent street battle with the police. As time went on, however, Prince Claus became one of the most popular members of the Dutch monarchy and his 2002 death was widely mourned.

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Amsterdam and the Red Light District

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 06, 2007 at 15:00:13 :: Netherlands

Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands, located in the south of the province North Holland. The name Amsterdam literally means Amstel dam. The city was founded in the late 12th century as a small fishing village. The historical centre with its concentric canals was largely built during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. As of January 1, 2006 the city of Amsterdam has a population of 743,027 inhabitants and is by population size the largest city in the Netherlands. The urban area has a population of 1,209,419 inhabitants and is part of the conglomerate metropolitan area Randstad, with a population of 6,659,300 inhabitants.

Canal in Amsterdam


Amsterdam is renowned for its canals (grachten), of which many exist within the city centre. The principal canals are three similar waterways, with their ends resting on the IJ, extending in the form of crescents nearly parallel to each other and to the outer canal. Each of these canals marks the line of the city walls and moat at different periods.

The Red Light District

From brothels to sex shops to museums, the Red Light District leaves nothing to the imagination. The Rossebuurt, as the locals know it, is unlike any other place. Certainly, the Red Light District that everyone knows about is the one where women, of all nationalities, parade their wares in red-fringed window parlours, many ready to offer more than a school boy peep-show in a private cabin.

Red-light district, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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Ever been to Amsterdam?

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 22, 2006 at 11:18:02 :: Netherlands

Have you ever been to Amsterdam?

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View of Amsterdam, river, architecture


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In The News

Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout, Netherlands

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, February 07, 2008 at 10:35:31

Windmills, KinderdijkThe Netherlands is famous for its windmills. There were nearly 10,000 of them in 1860. Today, just 900 remain. Nowhere in the world you will find as many windmills as near Kinderdijk, at the confluence of the Lek and Noord rivers, unique for it 19 windmills dating from the 1500s. Kinderdijk is a small village, partly in the municipality Nieuw-Lekkerland, partly in the municipality of Alblasserdam, in the province South Holland, at a distance of only 15 kms of Rotterdam.

The Alblasserwaard is a polder, piece of land below sea level surrounded by a dike, bordered by rivers, the windmills are what keep the diked land habitable. To the north is the Lek, to the west runs the Noord, to the south runs the river Merwede, and to the east the Merwede-Kanaal, the Linge and the Zederik together form the boundary with Vijfheerenlanden. Every polder used to have its own windmill which pumped the water one level up, into the boezem.

Kinderdijk houses and windmill, South Holland, NetherlandsThe boezem water is collected at Kinderdijk where it will be pumped up another level by each of the 16 windmills. The water is pumped up into a reservoir. The water stays in the reservoir until the level meets the average high tide of the river, then the water is discarded onto the river lek which takes it via Rotterdam to the sea.

Construction of hydraulic works for the drainage of land for agriculture and settlement began in the Middle Ages and have continued uninterruptedly to the present day. The windmills of Kinderdijk are one of the best known Dutch tourist sites. They were placed on the list of UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997. The foundation "Wereld Erfgoed Kinderdijk" maintains and preserves the windmills in Kinderdijk.

"God created the world, but the Dutch created Holland". By René Descartes.

UNESCO World Heritage

Netherlands, Seventeenth-Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 06, 2014 at 04:36:37

Location Amsterdam, Netherlands
Coordinates N52 21 54 E4 53 16
Property 198 ha
Date of Inscription 2010

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1349 )

The historic urban ensemble of the canal district of Amsterdam was a project for a new ‘port city’ built at the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries. It comprises a network of canals to the west and south of the historic old town and the medieval port that encircled the old town and was accompanied by the repositioning inland of the city’s fortified boundaries, the Singelgracht. This was a long-term programme that involved extending the city by draining the swampland, using a system of canals in concentric arcs and filling in the intermediate spaces. These spaces allowed the development of a homogeneous urban ensemble including gabled houses and numerous monuments. This urban extension was the largest and most homogeneous of its time. It was a model of large-scale town planning, and served as a reference throughout the world until the 19th century.

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Prinsengracht, Canals of Amsterdam Canals of Amsterdam

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Germany, Netherlands, The Wadden Sea

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 06, 2014 at 04:20:15

Location Germany, Netherlands
Coordinates N53 31 43 E8 33 22
Property 982,004 ha
Date of Inscription 2009

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1314 )

The Wadden Sea comprises the Dutch Wadden Sea Conservation Area and the German Wadden Sea National Parks of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. It is a large temperate, relatively flat coastal wetland environment, formed by the intricate interactions between physical and biological factors that have given rise to a multitude of transitional habitats with tidal channels, sandy shoals, sea-grass meadows, mussel beds, sandbars, mudflats, salt marshes, estuaries, beaches and dunes. The inscribed site represents over 66% of the whole Wadden Sea and is home to numerous plant and animal species, including marine mammals such as the harbour seal, grey seal and harbour porpoise. It is also a breeding and wintering area for up to 12 millions birds per annum and it supports more than 10 percent of 29 species. The site is one of the last remaining natural, large-scale, intertidal ecosystems where natural processes continue to function largely undisturbed.

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Wadden Sea, Blue mussels, Pacific oysters and cockles Mudflats, Wadden Sea

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Netherlands, Rietveld Schröderhuis (Rietveld Schröder House)

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 05, 2014 at 05:19:11

Location City and Province of Utrecht, Netherlands
Coordinates N52 5 7 E5 8 50
Date of Inscription 2000

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/965 )

The Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht was commissioned by Ms Truus Schröder-Schräder, designed by the architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, and built in 1924. This small family house, with its interior, the flexible spatial arrangement, and the visual and formal qualities, was a manifesto of the ideals of the De Stijl group of artists and architects in the Netherlands in the 1920s, and has since been considered one of the icons of the Modern Movement in architecture.

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Rietveld Schroder House

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Netherlands, Droogmakerij de Beemster (Beemster Polder)

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 05, 2014 at 05:12:04

Location Province of Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Coordinates N52 32 56 E4 54 40
Date of Inscription 1999

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/899 )

The Beemster Polder, dating from the early 17th century, is is an exceptional example of reclaimed land in the Netherlands. It has preserved intact its well-ordered landscape of fields, roads, canals, dykes and settlements, laid out in accordance with classical and Renaissance planning principles.

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Beemster Polder

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Netherlands, Ir.D.F. Woudagemaal (D.F. Wouda Steam Pumping Station)

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 05, 2014 at 04:53:17

Location Lemmer, Lemsterland Municipality, Province of Friesland, Netherlands
Coordinates N52 50 44.988 E5 40 44.004
Property 7.32 ha
Date of Inscription 1998

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/867 )

The Wouda Pumping Station at Lemmer in the province of Friesland opened in 1920. It is the largest steam-pumping station ever built and is still in operation. It represents the high point of the contribution made by Netherlands engineers and architects in protecting their people and land against the natural forces of water.

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Ir.D.F. Woudagemaal

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Netherlands, Defence Line of Amsterdam

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 04, 2014 at 04:53:19

Location Provinces of Noord-Holland (NH), Utrecht (UT), Netherlands
Coordinates N52 22 28 E4 53 35
Property 14,953 ha
Date of Inscription 1996

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/759 )

Extending 135 km around the city of Amsterdam, this defence line (built between 1883 and 1920) is the only example of a fortification based on the principle of controlling the waters. Since the 16th century, the people of the Netherlands have used their expert knowledge of hydraulic engineering for defence purposes. The centre of the country was protected by a network of 45 armed forts, acting in concert with temporary flooding from polders and an intricate system of canals and locks.

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Muiden Fortress, Defense line of Amsterdam Fort along Den Ham, Defense line of Amsterdam
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Netherlands, Schokland and Surroundings

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 04, 2014 at 04:34:18

Location Noordoostpolder, Province of Flevoland, Netherlands
Coordinates N52 38 19 E5 46 18
Property 1,306 ha
Date of Inscription 1995

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/739 )

Schokland was a peninsula that by the 15th century had become an island. Occupied and then abandoned as the sea encroached, it had to be evacuated in 1859. But following the draining of the Zuider Zee, it has, since the 1940s, formed part of the land reclaimed from the sea. Schokland has vestiges of human habitation going back to prehistoric times. It symbolizes the heroic, age-old struggle of the people of the Netherlands against the encroachment of the waters.

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Church of Schokland Glacial erratic, Schokland

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Netherlands, Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curacao

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, August 23, 2012 at 11:44:34

Location Willemstad, Island Territory of Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles
Coordinates N12 6 6.984 W68 54 7.992
Property 86 ha
Date of Inscription 1997

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/819 )

The people of the Netherlands established a trading settlement at a fine natural harbour on the Caribbean island of Curaçao in 1634. The town developed continuously over the following centuries. The modern town consists of several distinct historic districts whose architecture reflects not only European urban-planning concepts but also styles from the Netherlands and from the Spanish and Portuguese colonial towns with which Willemstad engaged in trade.

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Harbor, Willemstad

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Netherlands, Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 10, 2009 at 17:00:37

Location Municipalities of Alblasserdam and Nieuw-Lekkerland, Province of Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Coordinates N51 52 57 E4 38 58
Type Cultural
Date of Inscription 1997

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/818 )

The outstanding contribution made by the people of the Netherlands to the technology of handling water is admirably demonstrated by the installations in the Kinderdijk-Elshout area. Construction of hydraulic works for the drainage of land for agriculture and settlement began in the Middle Ages and have continued uninterruptedly to the present day. The site illustrates all the typical features associated with this technology – dykes, reservoirs, pumping stations, administrative buildings and a series of beautifully preserved windmills.

Photos from Landolia

Windmills, Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout

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