The Netherlands Pt. 7: The Hiding Place

Haarlem Train Station

One of the cities I was most excited to visit on my trip to Holland was Haarlem, home of world reknown evangelist Corrie TenBoom. For those who do not know of her, Corrie Tenboom lived her first fifty years of life as a watchmaker who served God faithfully. Her family held a weekly prayer meeting for the nation of Israel starting in 1840 (if you don’t think that is amazing consider that Israel did not become a nation again until 1948)!

When Hitler took over Holland the Tenboom family began hiding Jews and helping them flee the country. The entire story can be read in Corrie’s book 

On our day out to Haarlem we met with Brenda’s friend Mona. Since we were early for the tour we stopped for a capuccino!


The Ten Boom house was built in 1492 the year America was discovered!

Judy (Brenda’s boss) leads the English tours at the Ten Boom House.

Judy at the hiding place. a false wall in Corrie’s bedroom could hide up to seven people from the prying eyes of the Nazi’s

When the Nazi’s raided the Tenboom house Corrie and her family were hiding seven people. Corrie’s sister Betsie managed to ring the alarm which saved the seven fugitives, but the Nazi’s caught her trying to remove the safety sign from the window

and put it back in its place. As a result thirty people were arrested that evening as they came to pray for the nation of Israel. In the ensuing months Corrie lost her father and sister in the concentration camps. Upon her release from Ravensbruck Camp by “a clerical error” Corrie dedicated her life to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world. If the darkness of those war years can be felt as an under current running through the house then the grace of God is the jet stream controlling every dark eddy. As Corrie would have said “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

The Ten Boom family Bible, a guiding light through a dark time.

The Netherlands Pt. 5: Alkmaar

On this trip to The Netherlands I stayed well to the West of the country. I stayed in Womerveer which is northish of Amsterdam and travelled as far North as Alkmaar and as far west as Haarlem.

Until you have been to Holland it is hard to fully comprehend the national appreciation for two things: chocolate and cheese. So Brenda  planned in a day for us to see the cheese show and market in Alkmaar.  You may laugh a little but honestly how could a country with a city named Gouda ( pronounced howda with a guttural  at the front) not be fully dedicated to cheese?

Alkmaar is a beautiful old world city dedicated to cheese!

The most prominent building in the square is the cheese museum

I bet there were 500 people gathered for the cheese show

The man in the orange heart is “The Cheese Father”. Honorary leader of the cheese show!

We arrived a half hour early for the cheese show and it’s a good thing we did. By the time the show started (which by the way is translated from Dutch into English, German and French) people were standing 4 or 5 deep. Some lady used Brenda’s head as a tripod to take pictures!

The Cheese Maidens!

The Cheese Inspectors inspect the cheese to make sure it is mature. No really that is the job. That and giving out samples. So yummy!

The Cheese Racers load their cheese sleds with Gouda and take it to the weighing house.

The Cheese Judge weighs and records the cheese

The Cheese Racers then take the cheese off of the scale and run it wagons to be taken to market.

I am assuming that at the end of the race the team which clears the most cheese wins. But you cannot prove this by me. We left after 45 minutes of cheese racing. There was coffee to drink, shopping to shop and pictures to take.

An open air cafe on a cool and windy day

Back street shops, Alkmaar

Brenda on the canal bridge, Alkmaar
Cheese Museum in background



Alkmaar is reachable from Wormerveer by a forty-five minute train ride. If you go make sure you hit the city on market day. Take in the cheese show. Drink a capuccino.Take in a nice restaraunt and shop the artist’s  market which I thought kept pace with the art markets on Museumplein in Amsterdam. What a great day! Thanks Sis!

The Netherlands Pt 3: Amsterdam

I made it into Amsterdam three times while I was visiting my sister in Wormerveer. Brenda bought me a chipkart (The Netherlands version of a Charlie Card for you Bostonians except it gets you anywhere in the country or Europe as far as I can tell) and put 50 Euro on it for me. Love the little Sis!

So much to see! So much to see!

Amsterdam Centraal. Some train station huh?

The back-side of Amsterdam Centraal. Like many things in Holland what’s up front cleverly hides what’s in back!

The Netherlands has a Queen. Her name is Beatrix.

Portrait of Queen Beatrix by Andy Warhol

We rode past her house in Amsterdam on our way to the Hermitage.

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam

While in Amsterdam don’t miss the museums.

the Hermitage, Amsterdam used to be a poor house. Now it’s a world famous art gallery!

A wall sized reproduction in the Hermitage

“The Brazen Pan”, The Rijks Museum

You could certainly spend a week just visiting Amsterdam but if you only have a day do not miss the canal tour. It’s a great way to see the city. Oh and always, always buy the audio tour for every site that offers one. You won’t be disappointed!

St. Nicolas Church, Amsterdam

Silly Jack, Amsterdam’s Big Ben leans to the left and has never kept time.

“The Dancing Houses” so called because settling causes them to sway into each other over time.

Love the mauve shudders!

More tomorrow!