dawn in the netherlandsToday i’d like to share with you two batches of photos, both taken in The Netherlands in the middle of winter. Obviously with Michiel being Dutch, we go to visit his family fairly often. These aren’t touristy type photos – they could easily have been taken here in the UK – but they do show the beauty of nature in the middle of winter, i think.

dawn in the netherlands The first batch (including the one above) are from our most recent visit over the New Year holiday (and if you ever get the chance to celebrate New Year with a Dutch family, grab it with both hands – all i will say is that the Dutch know how to parttayyy!) when we spent 2 dawn in the netherlandsweeks with Michiel’s Mom and Dad. Michiel’s Dad happens to be rather fond of an English Breakfast, and i offered to cook them one (or as best as i could do, given that its sometimes difficult to find similar foods in the Netherlands as in the UK)… which involved getting up at the crack of dawn. I tippytoed down the stairs just after 7.30am, and went to work in their wonderful kitchen, but not before i took these photos of the dawn breaking. 🙂 the breakfast turned out well too!!

frosty morningThe second batch were taken almost exactly two years earlier, when we went over to stay with his parents for Christmas. It turned very very cold – as you can see from the frost on the ground – and it was this i was taking photos of. If i recall correctly this happened just before we went back to the UK – this was either our last morning, or frosty morningthe last-but-one morning. Michiel’s parents live in a small village in the countryside in the middle of the southern part of The Netherlands, and as such there are many small canals, draining the water from the land. Technically they’re below sea level – i think sea level is the point between the ground and first floor, so if flooding occurs, its bad news for them (see here and here for more info on flood control in The Netherlands and the geography of the country).

frosty morningIts a lovely little village – the architecture is quite different to the UK. Bigger windows seems to be the predominant difference, they go up to the ceiling in the downstairs room, instead of stopping a bit before the ceiling as they do in many UK homes. At the bottom of the back garden is a public path, then a length of grass and a few trees, and then a small canal. Its very pleasant to sit out in (the back garden) in summer – the one summer visit we made, the first time i met them, we spent a lot of time out there – but in winter, the canal freezes up and looks beautiful.

frosty morningif you follow the canal for a couple hundred yards you eventually come to a windmill. These, of course, the Dutch are famous for – only they don’t use them to grind corn in the same way that the Brits did, in years past. The windmills in The Netherlands are for water management, and the one in the distance in the photo is at the convergence of three canals, so it does an important job.

I’ll be posting more pictures of my visits to The Netherlands in other ~ photo a day ~ entries. its a beautiful country and well worth an extended visit.