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Eenrum church in Groningen province

Churches of Groningen province (part 1)

When I first arrived in the Netherlands back in 1997, one of the first bits of sightseeing I did, besides exploring my new hometown of Groningen itself, was to go on a driving tour of village churches in Groningen province. The idea came from my favorite guidebook: the Michelin green guide to the Netherlands. The…

This view looks out of the entrance gate to Bourtange. The earthen embankments on either side are the walls of the fortress.

Bourtange: a Living Fortress

I recently wrote about Fraeylemaborg as one of the local off-the-beaten-path sights I like to show overseas visitors. The other sight that’s high on my list is the fortress village of Bourtange. History of Bourtange Did you know that much of what is now the Netherlands was once ruled by Spain? The “Eighty Years’ War” (1566-1648)…

somewhere on my commute between Groningen and Leeuwarden after a dusting of snow

The Beauty of a Dutch Commute

A couple of times a week, I commute to my part-time job in Leeuwarden, in Friesland province. Sometimes I drive, but as much as possible, I like to take the train. I start by bicycling to the train station in the center of Groningen, parking the bike and boarding the train. The train trip takes about 35…

The Martinitoren rises above the clutter of market stalls on the Grote Markt in Groningen.

The Martinitoren: a Groningen Landmark

About a year ago I wrote a post about Groningen, the small city where I live. I mapped out a route that started at the train station and wound its way through the city, ending at the landmark Martinitoren. The Martinitoren Today, for the first time in several years, I climbed the Martinitoren, and it…

Fraeylemaborg as seen from the garden behind, in Slochteren, the Netherlands

Fraeylemaborg: the “ancestral home”

Whenever I refer jokingly to Fraeylemaborg, a small castle in Slochteren, as “the ancestral home,” my husband rolls his eyes, but he’s given up on correcting me. You see, one branch of his family occupied Fraeylemaborg for several generations. Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for everyone else, the house (I think the British would call…

Notice the rings on the ends of the sides. from the Brilmuseum in Amsterdam.

The Brilmuseum in Amsterdam

This entry is part 9 of 21 in the series Amsterdam Museums

I mentioned in an earlier post that I allowed my daughter, visiting from the US, to choose which small museums we would visit together on our day in Amsterdam. She chose the Huis Marseille Museum for Photography and the Brilmuseum (Spectacles Museum). Disclosure: While admission normally costs €4.50, I was admitted for free, but the opinions…

a bridge in Amsterdam

Exploring Amsterdam’s Undiscovered North

The following is a sponsored guest post, originally published by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on December 10, 2015. Once overlooked by travelers, the borough of Amsterdam Noord has developed into a thriving artistic community, a spot for dance and music festivals, and an escape from Amsterdam’s chaotic and touristy center. The borough was once the industrial site of one…

I love how colorful Roemers photography is, and the contrast between the moving elements and still elements.

Huis Marseille photography museum in Amsterdam

This entry is part 10 of 21 in the series Amsterdam Museums

I was very happy when my daughter, visiting from the US, wanted to spend the day in Amsterdam, sightseeing with me. I gave her a list of museums I’d like to visit for my series on the smaller, less well-known museums in Amsterdam, and told her to choose two. My daughter, a graphic designer, chose…

These postcards are free for visitors to the Dutch Resistance Museum

The Dutch Resistance Museum

This entry is part 11 of 21 in the series Amsterdam Museums

“That was pretty interesting” is high praise indeed, when it comes from my 17-year-old son after a visit to a museum. The Verzetsmuseum—Dutch Resistance Museum—in Amsterdam is one of very few that have earned a “pretty interesting” from him. Documenting not just the resistance movement during World War II, but also the whole history of…