Windmills, Flowers & Amsterdam

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The Iconic Dutch Windmills

The Netherlands does not have iconic buildings, remembered around the world, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Pyramids, the Sidney Opera House, the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge. There are many special buildings and some remarkable architecture in Holland, but it is more known nationally than internationally.

What Holland does have that is known internationally are windmills. They have existed for centuries and they kept Holland above water. Much of Holland is below sea level and the dikes plus the dunes protect the lowlands from the sea. There is a problem called rain. When rain falls on land below sea level it stays there. You will see thousands of canals in Holland that all work from very small canals to increasingly larger canals that eventually feed into the huge delta of the Rhine river. Historically what pumped all that water was the job of thousands of windmills found everywhere in the Netherlands.

Today many windmills still exists - some are still functional - and attract tourists from around the world. Water still needs to be pumped, but modern technology handles the job. The bottom-right picture shows three gigantic "Archimedes Screws" with an amazing pumping capacity. At full speed the three screws shown can pump enough water to fill an olympic swimming pool in an incredible 7 seconds.

The Netherlands Is A country Of Flowers

Holland is also known for its flowers and many tourists visit the "Keukenhof" flower gardens every spring. It is the largest flower garden in the world. Nearby Amsterdam "Schiphol" airport has two flower auction locations which ships 50 million flowers a day around the world.

Flowers are not restricted to a special garden. You will see them on all the apartment balconies, in the small yards attached to homes and everywhere you look. The bottom picture shows a typical backyard of a small home.

Amsterdam, The Venice Of The North

Amsterdam as a city is known world-wide. It is called the "Venice Of The North" and this name is well-deserved as there are four times as many canals in Amsterdam than in Venice. Thousands of 17th century homes remain from Holland's "Golden Age" and can be viewed from a leisurely canal ride. Amsterdam also has a very large variety of museums that not only show the Dutch Masters, like Rembrand and Van Gogh, but also artists from around the world.

The bottom picture shows the "Rijks Museum", which is the largest museum in The Netherlands and has the largest collection of Rembrand paintings in the world. People, who have not seen any of the original works by Rembrand, may be amazed at the size of the paintings. The bottom-right painting is Rembrand's "Night Watch" which is Rembrand's most famous painting. The painting is around 12 feet high.

Information and some pictures acquired from Dutch Tourism & Information Bureau.
The majority of the pictures are taken personally by Leon Schram.