The Netherlands Pt. 10: Zaanse Schans

Willem and Mirjam Jackson, Son Ian with Brenda

After church on Sunday Brenda’s friends Willem and Mirjam¬†took us to Zaanse¬†Schans. This is the Dutch equivalent of Plymouth Plantation, or Old Sturbridge Village. The houses are about the same time period but people actually still live in them! I am not sure I would pay top dollar to live in a neighborhood that attracts thousands of tourists a yearn unless of course I was operating a shop nearby that benefitted from thousands of said tourists! ūüôā

A little windmill, Zaanse Schans

Apartments in the Zaanse Schans neighborhood

Brenda and the Windmill

The Lowlands

This would make a great VanGough painting

Apartments on the islands

I hope you have enjoyed my tour of the Netherlands. This is the last in this series. But if you would like to see more of my pictures you can follow me on Facebook!

The Netherlands Pt. 9: The ZaanHopper

I know it has been a while since I posted pictures of my trip to The Netherlands but I just had to finish the “Ferocious” study and “Get Up and Glow”. I’ve put a lot of things on the back burner these last couple of weeks but hopefully for good reason. Now I want to share a journey down the Zaan¬†River and the beautiful city of Zaandam ( which is currently under construction but once the canal is done it will be BEAUTIFUL YOU BETCHA!)

My sister lives in Womerveer along the banks of the Zaan River. The Zaan Hooper Ferry is a perfect way to explore the waterway!

The top of a factory along the Zaan

Zaanse Schans in the distance

Dutch church along the Zaan

A house Monet painted when he lived in Zaandam

Dutch house with three “good end year” additions

The old gatehouses at the locks have been converted to apartments

The Intel Hotel, Zaandam

A street in Zaandam lined with sycamores

Brenda and I finished our excursion to Zaandam by having coffee with missionary Judy Mensch! It was a perfect day!

Coffee at Judy’s



The Netherlands Pt 8: St. Bavo’s Haarlem

After touring the Ten Boom museum (which if you did not see go back to Netherlands Pt. 7 for a look-see) Brenda and I had lunch with Mona at one of the street-side cafes. Christian camaraderie is such a sweet gift from the Holy Spirit!

When at last we had to say good-bye or as they say it in Dutch “Dooey!” Brenda and I decided our time in Haarlem was not over. We wanted to tour Corrie’s home church, St.Bavo’s (pronounced Boffo’s).

St. Bavo’s sits in the center of Haarlem Square.

Admission to the church was 2 Euro as there was no service going on.

The sanctuary of St. Bavo’s

the facade of the pipe organ, Mozart played a service here…but not while we were visiting ūüôā

The ceilings of St. Bavo’s

Ancient cathedral sanctuaries were built in the shape of crosses. This is the ceiling at the center of the cross.

A view along the North side of the sanctuary, St. Bavo’s. The floor is made of gravestones from the 1500’s. The inside of the church is also a cemetery.

A grave marker in the floor of St. Bavo’s

Brenda in the choir loft. St. Bavo’s

While Brenda was busy pretending to pray, I found this little cross- shaped hole in the wall.

Since the adjoining doors were bolted, I stuck my arm through the cross-shaped hole and snapped this picture. So glad my arm didn’t get stuck!

This window was given to St. Bavo’s by Queen Beatrix.

There is so much to see in this little city. After we left St. Bavo’s we walked through the square just enjoying the sights and sounds.

the statue outside of St. Bavo’s. Mona could only tell us it wasn’t St. Bavo.

Street cafe, Haarlem Square

Street performers, Haarlem Square

Haarlem truly is one of the most beautiful little cities I have been too. Don’t pass this little gem by if you are in the area!

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. 6: More Museums

Museum Street!

You might get the idea I like museums.

The Nemo. Didn’t make it here but it looks llike a cool museum to visit!

You would be right.

A still life at the Rijks

I love to wonder at the talent it takes to make something like this look like a photograph with nothing but paints made from plants and bugs.


Brenda at The Hermitage, Amsterdam

The Cheese Museum Alkmaar

A Stained glass window at The Hermitage, Amsterdam

It is interesting to look at what others have collected. It speaks of what they valued of what they thought was important.

A rich lady’s doll house. To expensive to ever be played with. The Rijks museum

Sometimes what I see speaks of how easily we are distracted from the important things in life.

The Ten Boom Museum a home and family dedicated to rescuing Jews during the Holocaust

Then sometimes what I see restores my faith that not everyone has lost touch with the truly important things in life.

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. 4: The Many Faces of Brenda

Of course I love to travel. Seeing new places is one of my great joys. But my trip to Holland was not primarily about Holland. I never would have thought to travel there had my sister not moved. Brenda is in Holland assisting missionary Judy Mensch with a theater project. You see, my sister is both a Rev. and a professional stage manager; So she certainly fits the bill for this calling. If you would like more info on Judy and Brenda’s project go to

Life’s a play. And it’s a comedy!

Brenda by” Fishing For Souls”

I thought it fitting to get a picture of Brenda by this picture since it is her purpose in Holland. From here however our museum journey quickly devolved into madness!

Brenda by “Portrait of a Dead Bunny”

Brenda saying “Don’t eat fruit that looks like this.”

Bugs on fruit

Brenda and the “Angry Swan”

Brenda has made many new friends in the church.

Brenda and Judy Mensch

Brenda and friends Willem and Mirjam Jackson with son Ian

Brenda and Friend Mona Lichtenveldt at a cafe in Haarlem

Brenda and friend The Dutch Leprechaun

So as you can see, Brenda is adjusting well and meeting many new and wonderful people. Still no one can quite replace her big brother.

Brenda saying good-bye


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!

The Netherlands Part 2: Market Day

In Holland every town has market day. Vendors set up in the square selling their¬†wares. Wormerveer’s market day is Wednesday. So on my first full day in The Netherlands Brenda

The open air market in Womerveer

and I went grocery shopping!

Brenda at the green grocer

I did notice that Brenda’s fruits and vegetables do not last as long as the veggies and fruits I buy in the States. It makes me wonder what’s in the food I eat.

The cheese vendor

Cheese is a major part of Dutch society. The cheese and potato vendors seemed to be among the busiest booths.

The Potato Vendors

When we finished our shopping for the week Brenda treated me to Freits with Freitsaus (French Fries with a mayonnaissy like sauce on them).

A lady carrying Freits from the Freit vendor.

Walking back from market I got some shots of Brenda’s neighborhood!

the canal behind Brenda’s home.

Brenda’s dream home on the Zaan

A funky car

The church garden next door

Brenda’s box garden before I took shears to it.

Brenda’s box garden after I took shears to it.

In case¬†you are wondering I did make it out of Wormerveer. On Friday we will explore Amsterdam together. Check in tomorrow because PAstor Wrinkles will be back with more chapter charts….


The Netherlands Part 1

Well I am finally back. I am, slowly getting caught up on all my reading of fellow bloggers. I will be responding to all your comments soon. In the meantime, here for your viewing pleasure are pictures of what I have been up to!

Vacation began on June 18th with a flight out of Boston at 9:30 P.M.

By 6:30 A.M. on the 19th ( which I suppose was sometime around 2 A.M. EST) I was arriving in Iceland. This is a place I would just love to explore someday if God permits!By 7:30 I was back in the air heading for Schipol, The Netherlands. I arrived at 1 P.M. after a three-hour flight (I know time change in the air is really confusing).

My sister greeted me with grapes and soda for the train ride to Wormerveer.

We were about an hour on the train and the bus¬†which dropped us off almost on Brenda’s front step. Her home is called¬†“The Young Prince” by the people of Womerveer and is a converted bed and breakfast. That’s it on the right next to the river.¬†Here is what Brenda sees from her front porch every day.

A houseboat across the river.

The city of Wormeveer upon the Zaan River.

Longboat racers practice on the Zaan

Well dear readers, there will be more tomorrow!