A Late One

Happy Festive Season

Happy Festive Season

This postcard comes from Tirza from The Netherlands. It arrived slightly late, i.e. almost a month late but I am always happy to receive my postcards, regardless of how long they take. The Prettige Feestdagen on the postcard pretty much translates to “Happy Festive Season.” But for those of you who like to message me to dispute my translations with direct, yet linguistically incorrect translations in English, it directly translates to “Fun Festive Days.” Thank you so much Tirza! It really is a cute postcard.

Huh?

Huh?

Huh?

This postcard comes from Lucine, who lives in The Netherlands. I love the pretty dog and his party eyes but I cannot say that I understand (as we say in Afrikaans) head or arse of this postcard. Now, the words, I get. It’s Dutch and it means: “I’m going to tell you something in smells and colours.” My first instinct was to smell the postcard, but nope, no smell. Anyway, it’s pretty, so I like it!

The Dutch Flag

Flag of The Netherlands

Flag of The Netherlands

This postcard comes from Laurz who lives in Nijmegen in The Netherlands. Variants of the flag have been in use since 1572 but in 1937 this tricolour flag was formalised as the national flag of The Netherlands. It’s also the oldest tricolour flag that’s still in national use. The previous flag was the Prince’s Flag, which was exactly the same, except that the red band was orange. The unstable dye at the time tended to turn red after a bit of use and that explains how the red came about. Red was made the official colour in the mid-17th century. The problem for my people is that they had left The Netherlands by then and had perpetuated the orange coloured one. The tricolour with the orange, that is. The Prince’s Flag was known as the “Oranje, Blanje, Blou” in South Africa. A variant of the Prince’s Flag was used for both the Boer Republics and again in Apartheid South Africa until 1994. It’s very cool to know why the Dutch went red instead of orange. Love it!

Tulip Town

Noordwijkerhout, Zuid-Holland, Nederland

Noordwijkerhout, Zuid-Holland, Nederland

This postcard, written in Dutch, comes from Patty who lives in Noordwijkerhout, a small town in the province of South Holland in The Netherlands. Small is actually an understatement, since this tiny town is only 23.42 square kilometers and is home to just under 16 000 people. Almost a square kilometer of this is water. The town is famous for growing tulips and archaeological data suggests that the area has been inhabited since before the birth of Christ. Quite interesting to get to know the small places in the world too. Thank you so much Patty!

Holland’s New Coat of Arms

Dutch Coat of Arms

Dutch Coat of Arms

This postcard comes from Thea who lives in Frisia (Friesland) in The Netherlands. She says that she could not find me a Dutch coat of arms but that the new coat of arms will look like this. She is of course joking. It looks almost something like the current coat of arms but with the marijuana leaves added, of course. The slogan on the coat of arms, Je Maintiendrai, is French and means “I will maintain.” Let us hope you do maintain your current coat of arms and don’t get this one! Thank you Thea!

Dutch Reserve

Dutch Reserve

Natuurpark Lelystad

This postcard comes to me from Roi via Postcrossing. The nature park in Lelystad was founded in 1970, when the zoo in Amsterdam needed more space for its larger, hoofed-animals. The total area of the park is 400 hectares. The park specialises both in the breeding of animals and reintroduction programmes, which sees many animals being reintroduced into their natural environment, either because they are extinct in an area or as part of strengthening an existing population. The park is home to a number of animals, including the stork, the European otter, the beaver, the small-clawed otter, wild boars, wild swan and a few other creatures of note. Very interesting, thanks Roi.

Gotta Catch ’em All!

Charizard

Charizard

A few weeks ago I went to the local Pokémon Centre and the ever-so-helpful Nurse Joy helped me get in touch with a Dutch trainer named Patrick. So, we connected and he traded me this powerful Charizard for some silly leopard postcard. Viridian Forest should be like a dream now! Those Caterpie, Weedle, Metapod and Kakuna should be child’s play with this fine monster I have here. Well, it depends whether I am going through Blue, Red or Green here. I think a Metal Claw or two should help me defeat Brock but how on earth am I going to control this high-level Charizard without my cascade badge from Misty? Hope he doesn’t singe my hair off. Darn, I’ve barely become a trainer and my headaches have already started. Maybe I should just quit while I am ahead!

Boy how I miss my childhood and my favourite TV show back then. The imagination I had about being a Pokémon Trainer. Singing to the theme song on my Pokémon CD. Scary thing? I can still do the PokéRap!

Churches of Amsterdam

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This postcard of the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, came from Auke. I notice an interesting spelling mistake on the front of the postcard, which is very common for Dutch and Afrikaans people to make. In both languages the word “photos” is spelled foto’s and thus, this postcard also says “photo’s”. That apostrophe being added in English irritates the living daylights out of me but oh well. On the left once can see the Basilica of St. Nicholas. It was completed in 1886 and was known as St. Nicholas Church until it was elevated to basilica minor on 8 December 2012. In the middle is Zuidekerk, literally “Southern Church.” It was built in 1611 and was the first specifically protestant church built in Amsterdam. It closed in 1970 because it was on the verge of collapse. It reopened after renovations in 1988 and has since been a municipal information centre that regularly holds exhibitions. As of 2006 it also has a wall of fame that pays homage to Dutch celebrities that have made positive contributions to society. Finally, on the right is Oude Kerk or “Old Church.” This is the oldest church in Amsterdam. It was originally built in 1213 as a wooden chapel and its main stone structure was consecrated in 1306. In 1578 it became a Calvinist church, as it still is today. Calvinism is the main christian denomination in The Netherlands, Scotland and among Afrikaners in South Africa. Dank je Auke!

Greetings from Holland

Greetings from Holland

Greetings from Holland

Inge from The Netherlands sent me this postcard depicting a number of things her country is known for. She says that it’s nice to know that she’s sending this postcard so far away and that she can write it to me in Dutch. I love them postcards written in Dutch! This progressive nation is located in the North-West of Europe. Its name literally means “The low countries.” Holland, as many people call it, is actually only 2 of its constituent provinces, being Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. This tiny nation of only 41,543 km really punched above its weight during the 17th century when it became one of the great seafaring and economic powers of the world. It is also during this period that the Dutch set up the Cape Colony in 1652, which forms part of modern day South Africa and where the story of my family in South Africa begins. Thank you Inge!

De Wadden

De Wadden

De Wadden

Jessica from Sleeuwijk in the Netherlands sent me this postcard of another World Heritage Site, the Wadden Sea, which is located in the North of the Netherlands. . As can be seen from this postcard, people apparently love walking these wadden or mudflats. Now that I think about it, it does look rather fun to do.  The Wadden Sea spans 10,000 km² from the Northern part of the Netherlands, through Germany and then ends in Denmark. Thanks Jessica!