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Netherlands – Goede Dag!
A small country on the Continent with lots of charm and interesting architecture is the Netherlands. Amsterdam in particular is a fun destination with its narrow gabled buildings, and romantic canal-side bistros serving quality food and beers (image at right). The 18th century design of narrow townhouses stemmed from taxation that was based on frontage…these narrow plans imposed narrow staircases. French doors (image at left) centered on second and third floors allow furniture to be hoisted up and create an appealing architectural composition. The stepped gabled roofs (images at right) also add interesting architectural detail to basic rectangular buildings. For culturally minded travelers, there’s the famous Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank Museum…and the flower market makes a good outing for gardeners. Color palettes are inspiring. A small fishing village, Markt, started as a Calvinist community; all houses are painted a deep green with white trim and contrasting red-tiled roofs. As a cluster, they create a cohesive and surprisingly cheerful streetscape (image at left). An old Guild building (image at right) in Gouda illustrates how intense-red shutters against a neutral masonry background can brighten a town square. The Dutch are keen on green transportation and ride their bikes everywhere. Even family transportation is by a bicycle-powered wagon with benches and no seatbelts (image at left). For the luxury-minded, a black lacquered vehicle with chrome fenders (image at right) and a canvas cover are proudly displayed by a father with his two children in The Hague.
Travel tip: If you’re not ready to give up your automobile, consider transporting your bikes on a rack to a nearby vacation destination.Published: September 2010