Today’s Traveling Tuesdays episode for the Letter ‘N’ is heading to the Netherlands.
A country in northwestern Europe, the Netherlands is known for a flat landscape of canals, tulip fields, windmills and cycling routes. I have had the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam on a number of occasions. The first time we arrived by hovercraft from England and our Tour Company met us and we drove by bus to Amsterdam. Other times, I have flown into Schiphol Airport and either stayed near Amsterdam and had the opportunity to see some of the sights of Amsterdam.
The Anne Frank House located at 263 Prinsengracht is where Anne Frank lived in hiding with her family for more than two years during World War II. The family lived in the annex of the building where Anne’s father Otto Frank, also had his business. Now converted into a museum, it contains a sobering exhibition about the persecution of the Jews during the war.
A great way to see the city is to take a relaxing Boat Cruise along the canals. I have done this twice. Once on my first visit in 1977 and again 40 years later in 2017 when I took part in a European Hand Bell Festival.
Today, the Netherlands is divided into 12 provinces, two of which are called North Holland and South Holland. Amsterdam is in the province of North Holland.
In 2017, our Hand Bell Festival started in the city of Gouda [pronounced hooda] located in South Holland. Although probably best known for its Gouda Cheese, this historic city is 27 km north east of Rotterdam. We enjoyed exploring the old city on foot and by bicycle and playing our first concert in the beautiful old church of St. John which has many beautiful stained glass windows.
are all things that come to mind when thinking about the Netherlands.
When the Netherlands was invaded during the Second World War, the Dutch Princess Juliana and her family were forced to flee. Juliana and her two daughters set sail for Canada. Canada was a safe haven far from the conflict. The three were given a warm welcome in Ottawa, where they lived throughout the war.
In 1943, the bond between Canada and the Netherlands was made even stronger. The Princess’ third child, Margriet, was born at the Civic Hospital in Ottawa.
In 1945, the Allies advanced across the country. Canadians played a significant role in the liberation of the Netherlands.
After the war, the Dutch people and Princess Juliana expressed their thanks to Canada by sending thousands of tulip bulbs to the Capital. The Gift of Tulips became a yearly tradition. Every year, the Dutch Royal Family and the people of the Netherlands each send 10,000 bulbs to Ottawa.
Be sure and come back next week as we visit a place starting with the letter ‘O’. I shared about my visit to Oman in the First Round of the Traveling Tuesdays stories. Oman is the only country in the world starting with the letter ‘O’ so I am going to get a bit creative and tell you more about the tulips that the Netherlands sends to Canada each year.