Amersfoort – A Journey To The Centre of the Netherlands

In 1661, around 400 people wander out to the Soest moor where a 10-tonne glacial boulder lies. They put ropes around it, and use sticks to dislodge it. They then […]

Amersfoort – Where Johan, Jacob And Piet Once Lived

In 1619, a 71-year-old prominent Dutch lawyer is led to the gallows in the Hague. During his 8 months under arrest, he isn’t allowed to defend himself. A kangaroo court […]

Dordrecht – The Revenge of the Royalists

Cornelis de Witt is released from prison. He has been tortured so badly (see my Hague blog) that he cannot walk. He sends for his brother Johan. But its a […]

Kinderdijk – A Brief History of a Dutch Polder

Everyone knows that much of the Netherlands lies below sea level. After all, “Nether” means the lowlands. But was it always below sea level? And should I be nervous knowing […]

Dordrecht – How an Island Was Made, How a Country Was Formed

It’s the 18th of November 1421. A heavy storm from the North Sea lashes Holland. Dykes collapse all around. Hamlets and villages surrounding Dordrecht disappear under water for good. When […]

Delft – What Happens after the 80 Years War

The pace of history thus far in Delft (my previous Delft blog) has been not short of intense. So where did I get up to? William of Orange has been […]

The Hague – From an Ancient Forest to the Heart of the Dutch Government

There is a forest in the Hague. In the 16th century, a leisure walker like me, may have bumped into men carrying executed bodies to the gallows fields on the […]

What I did in the Afternoon in Mechelen, Belgium

After my busy morning in Mechelen (Morning in Mechelen blog), I hit the streets again. After learning about the terrible pillage of Mechelen, I have a feeling that more legends […]

What I did in the Morning in Mechelen, Belgium

For a little city, Mechelen has more than its fair share of Unesco Sites. But lurking amongst these is a darker Mechelen of revolutions squashed, Spanish fury unleashed, torture on […]

The Hague – Arriving by Train at the Seaside Town of Scheveningen

Little do I know as I board the Antwerp – Den Haag intercity train, that by sunset, thanks to an artist’s legacy, the 20th century transition of a fishing village […]