Our travels from Domburg to Queen’s Day in Amsterdam
During our last few days in Holland, we headed towards the North Sea coast in the Dutch province of Zeeland. Once there, we stayed in Zeeland’s oldest seaside resort village of Domburg.
With my raincoat on, I was all set for the off and on rain in Domburg, which is just a given in Holland in the springtime.
Walking along the beach was a delight for the senses…fresh, salty air, warm sunshine on my face, and the sound of millions of razor clam shells crunching beneath my shoes.
Bob checks out a distant shoreline where he identified a number of fishermen and fisherwomen trying for a catch of the day.
Fishing is very popular along this part of the North Sea coast at Domburg, where everything from cod to haddock, mackerel, and even herring are caught on a regular basis.
As we walked along the stony shore, it was interesting to watch the fishermen work their lines and bait their hooks.
With the permission of the fisherman in yellow, Bob held up one of the small fish that was being used as bait. I am not really sure what type of fish this is, but it sure seemed to work when it came time to lure in the bigger fish.
A little fish head on a rock.
Looking back towards Domburg, we could make out the town’s water tower. The tower was built in 1933, and it is one of the few structures, along with the home we stayed in, that withstood the massive bombing that took place there in 1944. That bombing laid the way for the invasion by Canadian, British and other Allied Forces into the area in the spring of 1944, and put an end to the German occupation of Domburg, and Zeeland.
Today, the water tower is being used as a modern mini-apartment building.
Making our way from the coastline into the downtown section of Domburg, we arrived at the bottom of a small hill that just begged to be climbed.
With such a good vantage point, an artist used the lookout at the top of the hill for a great view of his subject matter – a painting of the surrounding countryside.
Domburg has played host to many famous artists throughout history. As explained by Francisca van Vloten in this lecture, “The Sparkling of The light”, it is the light of Zeeland that brought the world’s most famous artists to this small town.
One such artist, Piet Mondrian, is considered the founder of Holland’s Dutch modern art movement.
Mondrian painted this oil on canvas titled, “Dune Study”, in 1909, here at Domburg.
This is one of Mondrian’s most famous modernist works of art titled, “Pier and Ocean” . It, along with many other works of art, were painted at Domburg.
One of America’s greatest painters, James McNeill Whistler who painted “Whistler’s Mother”, also visited and painted at Domburg. He, like many others, painted the village’s shoreline complete with breaking waves, sand dunes, and piers. In the summer of 1900, Whistler described Domburg as “a wonderful little place, just beginning to be known but not yet exploited”.
Even 100 years later, we found Whistler’s description still to be true.
With time running out on this trip, it was necessary for us to leave the village of Domburg and make our way back to Amsterdam.
Back in Amsterdam, the national celebrations of Queen’s Day were in full swing.
Queen Beatrix was the Queen of The Netherlands when we visited Holland. Since 1949, the Dutch people had always observed April 30 as Queen’s Day. It was on that date in 1949 that Queen Juliana ascended the throne of Holland. When Queen Beatrix succeeded Juliana in 1980, she decided to keep Queen’s Day on April 30th rather than change it to her birth month, January, when the weather wouldn’t be as favorable for outdoor celebrations.
One trait that Bob and I soon noticed about the Dutch people is their collective love of the color ORANGE. As we saw on Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day), everyone shows their patriotic spirit by wearing orange clothing or dying their hair orange. This is to both celebrate the Queen’s birthday, and to celebrate the House of Orange-Nassau, which is the Dutch Royal Family that has ruled over the Netherlands throughout time.
A young Dutch girl sports her Nation’s color and traditional clothing.
Wherever we went on Queen’s Day, orange-mania reigned. Whether it was t-shirts or traditional clothing of their culture such as this lady wears, cheerful orange brightened the day.
Businesses and houses, pastries and people, even streets were decked out in orange regalia.
We were very surprised to learn that the Dutch government only allows its residents to hold lawn sales on one day per year, and that is on Queen’s Day. Similarly, on the same day, people are allowed to sell merchandise on the street. Needless to say, flea markets are everywhere on Queen’s Day. We joined in the fun and bought a few keepsakes to bring back to Canada.
My nod to the Orange came courtesy of the Heineken Factory Brewery as Bob and I toured the premises and were primed to sample some of the golden elixir.
Bob got very serious in his orange hat as he attempted a toast with a rather massive can of beer.
And then it was time to raise a few pints of beer in honour of Queen Beatrix’s belated birthday.
With the day moving along quickly, we left the brewery behind and joined the crowds heading to the city’s main square.
Close to one million people were gathered there for an outdoor concert.
Sporting the Red, White and Blue of Holland, we were still moving along quite well after a very long day.