Voyage to The Netherlands Part 1

Hello Gardening Friends!

I am back from my first trip to Europe. I went to The Netherlands to visit my extended family, and oh my goodness, it was such a wonderful trip!

My mother was born in The Netherlands and immigrated with her family, first to Ontario, Canada and then to the USA, where they finally settled in the Willamette valley. I've always been very proud of my Dutch heritage and it has been important to me to connect with my family living there and to retain my Dutch roots.

We were graciously hosted by my cousin Christien and her husband, Dirk. We visited historically rich cities, toured the Port of Rotterdam, walked along the heritage site of 19 windmills called Kinderdijke and traveled north to the island region called Ameland. It was a jam packed tour with family bbq's and sentimental visits to the childhood homes of my grandparents in the city of Nunspeet.

Today, let's look at some of the highlights of my amazing trip.

Windmill at Kinderdijke, Holland
Open Air Market in Nunspeet, Gelderland
One of the fascinating things to me, was not just how small the country was, but how it still retains distinctive regions inside the country. For example, here in the states, when we refer to The Netherlands, we often say 'Holland', but Holland is a region in The Netherlands. It happens to be the region where most of the tulip bulbs are produced and the famous windmills at Kinderdijke rest. But, it is a farming region, slightly to the north of Rotterdam.

These regions may only be 30+ mins apart from each other, traveling by freeway, but they have different dialects and customs, special to their area. My family hails from the region of Gelderland. The city of Nunspeet is a tourist destination for both the native Dutch and neighboring countries.

Port of Rotterdam
The Port of Rotterdam is the industrial core of The Netherlands. I was told the port was large, but I had no idea. It is bigger than the nearest large city to me, Portland, Oregon.

Kampen, Overijssel
We visited several cities, rich in history. Above is the entrance to the city of Kampen, located on the banks of the river IJssel. This entrance was used in medieval times.The city was walled and was an important trading post on the river. The city has one of the most 'intact' historic city centers in The Netherlands.

Dutch style parking lot, Kampen, Overijssel
Yes, the Dutch drive cars, lot's of cute compact cars that get excellent gas mileage, as the price per gallon there is near $9.50. But, the Dutch, famous for the bikes, do tend to make journeys about town by bike. Above is a bike parking center used by those taking the train.

Gardens at Kijktuinen, Nunspeet
I also toured gardens designed by Dutch garden and landscaping firm, L.J. Goedegebuure, located in my families hometown of Nunspeet.

I'll explore these topics in more detail in future blog posts. I had such an incredible time. The best part was visiting and getting to know better, my family in The Netherlands. I am so blessed to have such amazing people in my life. I hope you'll enjoy my posts about this important journey for me to further explore my Dutch roots.

Cheers, Jenni

Find Part 2 of my Voyage here and Part 3 here


  1. So do you speak Dutch too? I've only really passed through the Netherlands on my way to other parts of Europe.

    1. Does it count if I know how to swear in Dutch? lol! I need to learn more Dutch. My family was so nice to speak English to us and said they enjoyed practicing their English but next I see them, I'd like to be able to participate in Dutch conversations better :)

  2. Just beautiful! How lucky you are to be able to take such a wonderful trip abroad. The farthest I've ever been away from the NW was Missouri, LOL!

  3. What a great trip, Jenni! I followed a lot of it on Facebook, but I'm really looking forward to reading about it and seeing it in more detail. I've actually spent a couple of days in The Netherlands, but it was many years ago, back in the 70s when I was in college. My mom was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and we still have relatives there, but I wouldn't have a clue how to contact them. I'd love to go to Scotland some day.

    1. Oh Alison, I hope you go to Scotland. My father's family is all Scottish, although most have been in the US for many generations. We are of the Buchanan Clan. I would love to go to Scotland too, but after our visit to The Netherlands, my husband and I decided for our next oversea's trip, we would go back, and bring our kids to stay connected to family.

  4. How wonderful to be able to explore your family roots like that! It's amazing how very different a country like Holland can be. We are only a short distance away, but their country and culture is "worlds apart".

  5. You are opening a door into a part of the world we seldom see. I, for one, am panting for more. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I always liked the NL, but it's been a long time since I was there. Bought my first cigar in Utrecht when I was a dumb-ass teenager. Thought I was really cool - hahaha! I also have fabulous, colorful memories of traveling through the blooming tulip fields by train one April long ago. Time for a repeat, methinks! Looking forward to future posts!

  7. I'm so happy for you that you got to take this trip and it all went so well. I can't wait to read (and see) more!

  8. Your posts will bring back wonderful memories. I used to visit a friend living in Flushing for weekends. Took the overnight ferry from Sheerness to Vlissingen . Great fun !

  9. Thanks for posting lovely photos and educational descriptions, I really enjoy reading some background about the things I see in the photos. Kudos!

  10. We just returned from Denmark. It was also a wonderful trip! I am looking forward to your photos.

  11. Thank you for sharing highlights of your wonderful trip & visit with family, Jenni! Looking forward to more!

  12. If you want to enjoy Tulip season then "Bulb-flower park" is in the town. Rows of colorful flowers line the park throughout siliceous plant season. many types of tulips are showcased within the Amsterdam siliceous plant repository.


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