Friday, August 22, 2008

A typical Dutch landscape?

I have been pondering this question and so far I haven't really been able to say with any certainty that such and such a landscape is a typical Dutch landscape. I suppose if I asked a foreigner what comes to mind when they think of the Netherlands they could tell me what such a landscape is and in a sense that cliché of Holland is true. Yes it's a country that is very much below sea-level, flat, has dykes and windmills, filled with tulips and tall blond people. And yes all of that is true to some degree. However there is so much more to the Netherlands than just the picture perfect postcard images of the country. Take Arnhem where I live which has a countryside with a lot more to offer. Not far, in fact on the edge of the national parks the Veluwe and Veluwezoom which has a range of landscapes within a relatively small area. Built next to the river Rhine which has something completely different to offer. There you will find the flat pastures surrounded by dykes (called polders) with cows and land reclaimed from the (once) mighty river which by the way is fast becoming a landscape of the past. The trend nowadays is to allow the river some lee-way allowing certain areas to be flooded which in true Dutch style means that people will learn to adapt to the circumstances. In the coming years Arnhem will develop floating houses which will rise with water levels and this trend will be seen throughot the whole country. Climate change and rising sea-levels will have to be taken into consideration if the nation is to survive the worst.

So what is it I want to share today? Well I want to share a few winter scenes I took last December when I spent x-mas at my mom's in Doetinchem. Ths part of the country is known as "de Achterhoek" has what is known as a "coulissen" or hedgerow landscape where wooded areas make way for fields and lanes that are surrounded by trees. And yes even there you'll find a windmill.

More info on dikes and polders and how the Dutch created their country can be found here