Thursday, May 14, 2009

Holland: Part Two

Day 2 of our trip to Holland took us to Haarlem and Corrie Ten Boom's house. Located in northern Holland, we accessed Haarlem from Sneek via an 18-mile long highway that spanned the sea. Stunning drive and absolutely beautiful weather! Upon arriving in Haarlem, Alex snapped a photo of De Adriann Windmill, located near the heart of the old city.

Okay, I know it's a door but I became fascinated with the charm of the houses, particularly the doors.

Inside Corrie Ten Boom's home are many plaques and awards given to her for her extraordinary sacrifice during WWII hiding Jewish refugees. Corrie and her family were eventually betrayed and sent to concentration camps, with Corrie the only survivor.

If you've not read her book or seen the movie, The Hiding Place, it is well worth your time to watch. Only be sure to have a box of Kleenex nearby because it's a tear jerker!

The Ten Boom family placed this sign in the window to signal fleeing Jews that their home was a safe house. After the family was arrested, Corrie tried to remove it from the window but was prevented from doing so. The Nazis left the signal in the window as a way of trapping others hoping to hide.

The parlor

A hiding place was built into the wall of Corrie's bedroom, using a clock weight to act as a counterbalance behind the built in shelves in order to swing them open. The night the family was arrested, six Jews were hiding inside this small room, which has been cut open for visitors to view. You can see just how small the space is! Nazi soldiers tore apart the house looking for the refugees, coming so close as the floor directly in front of the hiding place. Eventually the six inside the hiding place were rescued.

Another view of the hiding place

Located near the Corrie Ten Boom museum is the Grote Markt, with the statue of Laurens Janszoon Coster, an early European printer born in Haarlem who died shortly before the invention of Johannes Gutenberg's printing press. It is said that Gutenberg's partner, Johann Fust, stole the type and presses from Laurens Coster before fleeing to Mainz and starting a partership with Gutenberg. Eventually he also cheated Gutenberg out of his invention and made it a financially successful venture. (Sorry...Alex's National History Day project was on Gutenberg's printing press and some of the info rubbed off!)

Sint-Bavokerk cathedral, right off the Grote Markt

A view of the square around the Grote Markt, with the Haarlem City Hall in the background.

Doesn't Jordan look so happy?! His look says, "Please tell me we're on the way to the car: my feet are killing me!"

I love the details of the homes in Holland, especially the brightly colored shutters and intriguing door designs.

Alex showing off her new 5 euro sunglasses. You get what you pay for...they broke four days after we bought them!

Another charming alleyway. You'll notice all the bikes: most folks in Holland get around on bicycles and I have to say from experience that you give bicyclists the same right of way as a car or risk getting run over. (I got a nasty bruise on my hand and wrist from getting nailed with the handlebars of an oncoming bike!)
We've been to The Netherlands several times but this trip was particularly enjoyable: traveling with the group from church, enjoying time with the kids, and the beautiful weather all made it a special time. We are definitely blessed to live overseas and experience the culture and history of Europe. I hope you enjoyed the pictures of our latest trip!

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