Where tulips reign, windmills go round and round and bicycling is common, Holland is where nature smiles and people laugh. This is why it’s on my wish list!
Words: Ambica Gulati
She smiled and said, ‘I am Korean brought up by Dutch parents.’ She had come all the way from Holland to find her biological family in South Korea and to know why she had been given up for adoption. A journalist, she lived a good life in Amsterdam but the human quest for the search for the womb from where it has come is always turmoil. But she smiled and started talking about Amsterdam, her home now. And out popped some interesting facts about a country little known to most Indians.
- People bicycle around. For an affluent Indian, this is an unthinkable activity but it’s common in Holland. The country boasts of many bicycling tours and you can opt for a short duration or long duration ride around the cities and the countryside. And see the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Leiden, Alkmaar, The Hague, Delft, Dordrecht and Haarlem.
- Long coastal dunes prevent the low land from sinking into the sea. There is a polder landscape lying below sea level behind the dunes. The lowest point is a polder near Rotterdam, about seven meters below sea level. As continuous drainage is necessary to keep Holland from flooding, windmills were used. And now they are icons of this land!
- A country which has roots in farming and fishing, the cuisine is simple. But cheese is the mainstay here. And what surprised me was that the Dutch like to eat on biscuit with their cup of tea or coffee. And fish is part of street food, so that would be an experience to remember or a dish to savour!
The famous clogs are made of wood and used traditionally as protective footwear in agriculture, factories and mines. And they are used in tap dance a lot.
And then of course there are Vincent Van Gogh artworks to see, ride in the tram and enjoy the architecture and the ambience, drink lots of beer and have fun.
She stayed on in South Korea, even as we all retuned to our homelands. But she gave me a new wish list!