We are ten days into living in the Netherlands and we are liking the place!
We have been quite busy with visits to the Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam as well as some of the logistical issues that come with shifting to a new country. Our visit to the immigration department was very enlightening and encouraging with a couple of points that may take a little working out. Firstly in order for me to get residency Kate needs a job and if I wish to apply for Dutch citizenship I need to pass a Civic Integration exam. I’m sure both of these things will be sorted in time 🙂
In keeping with the travel nature of this blog I’ll focus on our travels within the country. We are staying in Leiden which is a lovely town about 25 minutes train ride from Amsterdam. The train system within the Netherlands is awesome and you can get to most major towns quite easily. The other mode of transport here is the fiet (bike) and the cycle network is even better than the rail network. We tend to cycle most places within Leiden and it’s surrounds but if we are going between cities we will take the train.
The Hague was a beautiful city with a lot of old buildings intermingled with the latest and greatest in architecture. I’m afraid I didn’t take my camera with me so you have to take my word for it. I think the Municipal building alone is worth the visit. I’ll go back at some stage and take a few pictures.
The visit to Amsterdam was primarily about visiting the immigration office but we did a couple of the tourist attractions while we were there. The immigration office is about 50 metres away from the Heineken Experience so we decided to go in and have a look. In my mind any tourist attraction that serves you beer as part of the tour is a good one! The tasting was actually very educational so it wasn’t all about the drinking.
The next place we visited was Anne Franks House (we really should have done these in the opposite order). Coming from New Zealand I don’t think we grasp the horror and hardship that the Dutch (or any occupied country for that matter) had to suffer during World War 2. It was a very moving experience and added to my continuing education in European history.
Our day in Amsterdam ended with a wander through the Flower Market and we caught the train back to Leiden.
Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and it is massive!! We went up the Rotterdam Tower and as far as you could see in a westerly direction was port. We also visited a couple of museums while we were there. The War and Resistance Museum added to my knowledge and understand of what the Dutch went through during the Second World War. If a city has a photography museum it is a compulsory stop for me so we went to the Netherlands Photo Museum. It is very cool with display structure like a darkroom that gave you a video presentation when you place a card into a developing bath. I recommend a visit if you are in Rotterdam.
We have plans for a few more cities in the Netherlands over the next few weeks.