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" Holland -2- Zaandam "

Date & start time:      16th June 2022 and the following day.

Location of Start :     Haarlem in the Netherlands.

Places visited :          Haarlem, Zandvoort, Zaandam.

Walk details :              On holiday, not counting !

Highest point :           Revisiting old places and a family get together.

Walked with :              Loes and Myself (Dylan and Dougal stayed in the UK).

Weather :                     Sunshine and blue skies.

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'Day three' of the holidays and there's an evening planned to celebrate Eddie's birthday.

Before that, Loes and I take the chance to head to the coast, travelling by public transport to the one place in Holland I remember visiting previously.

We started from the Haarlem suburbs where we were staying and first caught a bus to Central Station . . .

It seems everyone else is travelling by train . . . and they've all arrived on bikes !

The purple child carrier must make it easier to find your bike later . . . even if you don't have a child.

In there too are two scooters that you can pick up and use provided you've signed into the App.

Talking bikes . . . there were all sorts around.

In this nation of flat lands and cycle routes, travelling by bike is easy.  But what if you have a load to carry, a dog or young children ?

This stretched limo is the answer.

The front wheel steers from the handlebars and you pile what you want in the front.

[ Back home I found an e-bike like this in a cycle shop in Workington, for approximately £4,500.]

As toddlers grow up, the rear seat can be abandoned in preference to watching mum from in front.

This executive model is electric powered and has a toddler seat in front of the cyclist as well.

- - - o o o - - -


But I digress . . .


We are on the way to Zandvoort on the coast

so Loes has purchased two pre-paid travel cards

(Dutch style Oyster cards to any Londoners viewing)

which give us unrestricted access to trams, busses and trains.


Each time we climb aboard the card is scanned,

each time you leave you re-scan to define the end of the journey

and the cost is deducted from the balance.


Simplicity itself, even on the busses.


- - - o o o - - -

Haarlem Station heading west for the seaside.

There are quite a lot of folk planning a day on the beach.

A short distance later we've ridden through the sand dunes and arrived at Zandvoort.

It's early and the place is quiet, but the matron  is there patrolling the toilets and collecting money for their use.

The beach seafront is just part of an extensive sandy coastline that extends

more or less from the Hook of Holland all the way up the west coast . . . this is a mere fraction.

"The seaside is the place to promenade"

The high rise flats behind would not have been here when I was last here.

They've replaced the old children's home that Loes worked at, which must have been at or around this area of town.

Sunshades or wind shelters  . . . they will do for either.

The tidal rise and fall here varies between 0.5m and 2.5m on normal tides as it It falls under the influence of the north sea tidal currents.

Consequently there's no great sea wall or tidal defences and the restaurants are built right on the back of the beach.

Having seen the foreshore we wander into town.

This is the central square where a fine array of bricks replace the normal road tarmac.

There's one distinct advantage in the hot weather this summer . . . at least they won't melt in the heat.

The Town Hall at Zandvoort.

It was here my brother married a Dutch girl some fifty years ago . . . I remember the steps up to the Town Hall.

Zandvoort used to have a racing circuit at that time but I had heard that it had closed.

Mid morning now and time for a coffee, or at least refreshments of some sort.

We found a race-themed cafe in town . . . apparently the circuit has re-opened and is now an up to date 'Formula One' track.

Inside the cafe I wait in the queue for drinks (not really).
Outside we are served iced coffee and croissants this fine morning.

- - - o o o - - -


Back at the station just after midday

and time to hop back on the train to Haarlem.


After being an "au pair" (what we would term a 'nanny')

for a while in London, she returned to Holland

to work here in Zandvoort as a children's nurse

in the post-war local orphanage.


It wasn't a good job so this station was how she "escaped"

from the home and started her journey which eventually led

to being an au pair in Leeds.


The Lake District had not even entered her mind at this time!


- - - o o o - - -

By the time we were looking for a train back to Haarlem,

people were flocking to the coast, leaving plenty of space on the train for our return trip.

- - - o o o - - -


As we are staying in Haarlem, courtesy of a friend of Loes's,

we aught really take time to look around this old town.

From the station we walked around the streets

unhampered by virtue of not having a car today.


- - - o o o - - -

The central church also has a tuneful Dutch Carillon (peel of bells).

It was the Church of St. Bavokerk in Haarlem.

The Stadhuis (Town Hall) with its ornate facade and fine bell tower.

In the main square was the Frans Hals Museum with a strange sculpture in front,

but fortunately there were several nice cafe's from which to contemplate it over a beer.

Here in The Lakes, I think of Texels as a breed of sheep, but it appears Texel is an island of the north of Holland, after which they've named the beer.

We walk back to the Central Station where the busses leave for our part of town.

In Haarlem they have eased the bike parking problem with a multi-story bike rack system !

- - - o o o - - -

Tonight is Eddie's birthday party, postponed from a few days ago due to covid.

so we head out, this time in the car to drive to Zaandam, about thirty kilometers and thirty minutes away.

Make that thirty two minutes as we have to wait for a canal bridge to open and close !

- - - o o o - - -



On the way we call in to see Loes's friend

and one-time neighbour.


Leny now lives in Purmerend to the north east of Zaandam.


She entertained us in her town house

and we chatted the rest of the afternoon away

in her lovely garden.



- - - o o o - - -

Loes and her brother Eddie dressed for an evening out . . . casual but smart.

The family have booked a restaurant in Zaandam so we can walk there and back.

- - - o o o - - -


On the way we passed this old house

which featured in one of Claude Monet's favourite paintings.

[ Only the new building to this side spoils the effect.]

Scan the QR floor tile with your phone camera to view the painting.

If not then click here for the same site.

A translation of the tourist sign reads :

This merchant house from 1724 was painted by the impressionist Claude Monet in 1871 with a fresh blue side wall. The choice of subject is illustrative of the painter's enthusiasm for Zaandam.

On June 17, 1871 he wrote: 'Houses of all colours, mills by the hundreds and delightful boats...'. The Blue House considered the painter one of his most cherished works. Perhaps because his wife Camille and their 4-year-old son Jean figure on that canvas?

Scan QR code or visit to see the original painting.

Visit for info and a book

about all 25 paintings Monet made in Zaandam.

The quiet streets we visited last time have come to life.

The family had organised a place at the Japanese Sushi Restaurant on the banks of the river.

This was the view through the picture windows of the canal and the lock gates . . . the sign is for a mooring . . . not playing chess !

Here we go . . . five returns (courses) and four portions of Sushi each course.

Courses could include soup, sashimi, ice cream deserts and cakes, so we didn't go hungry !

This table includes Loes, Eddie, Daan (in white), Olivier and Andreas.

The youngsters held sway on the other table.

Clockwise: Yaro, Petra, Karin, Edith, Tom and his girlfriend.

Olivier has undertaken the task of taking the birthday presents home.

I seem to remember numerous packs of coffee for a new coffee machine !

Andreas and his boys (and girlfriend) as they leave the restaurant.

Zaandam nightlife, the restaurants here are full too.

A "locals" pub . . . they chose not to join the rabble in the main square.

It just remained for us to ensure Eddie got home safely by crossing back over the causeway to the island.

After that we headed back to Haarlem ourselves, to prepare for a visit to Amsterdam in the morning.

- - - o o o - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with my Panasonic Lumix Gx8 Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

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