The Netherlands and Holland
Tulips of Lisse-Holland
Looking for Color
In late Winter I begin to long for Spring. I begin to think on colorful flowers and on wonderful cities visited associated with flowers. Two of those cities is Lisse, The Netherlands and Holland, Michigan.
In the Spring
It was in the Spring when I had opportunity to visit Keukenhof in Lisse, Holland. This is the tulip capital of the world. It was the time of year for the scarlet Amaryllis, white Freesia and smokey blue Hyacinth. The tulips were up, but not in full bloom during my visit.
Field of Tulips
The Prestigious Flower
Tulips were brought to Holland from Turkey. When they arrived in Holland it was discovered they did well in its climate. Then during the “Dutch Golden Age” (1568 to 1648). The tulip became a “status symbol” costing 10 times the annual income of the skilled craftsman of that era. The tulip is a slow growing bulb taking 7-12 years to grow from a seed to a flowering bulb. You can look for its blooms in April and May.
Keukenhof Brochure 1993
Keukenhof - Lisse, Holland
This park is 70 acres with 6 million flower bulbs. There are beautiful theme gardens and 160 year old trees. There are flower shows and flower arrangements for your enjoyment. Pavilions and restaurants for viewing in comfort. Located on the grounds is a Groningen corn mill dating from 1892. The brochure states, that the best time to visit for tulips and Iris' is April 7 to April 19. It was a refreshing visit, for outside of red clay roofs, there had been little color for months. The photo of the field of tulips all yellow with one misplaced red bulb is my favorite picture from Keukenhof. The picture has become quite famous and has been made into a postcard.
Keukenhof, Tulip Capital of the World
As I write about the Amaryllis’ my peach Amaryllis is in bloom. I moved it this fall to a new window. I was looking for my blooms over Christmas this year and they never came, but come February and I have a window full of peach blooms. An inspiration of Spring to come.
Small Green Wooden Shoes
The Ligneous Klomp
The wooden shoe is know as the Klomp in The Netherlands (Holland)
They are associated with the clog and considered a whole foot clog.
These shoes are made from white popular or willow. Originally they were made high platform to keep the feet dry. Used in the muddy fields by the farmers and market gardeners, because they are easy to remove and clean. Most wooden shoe, of this age, are worn by dancers or cloggers for dances such as; the Candy Dance, tap or Jump hakken.
Postcard from Holland 1994
While in The Netherlands I had opportunity to visit the Ratterman shoe factory. We watched as they made a wooden shoe from a block of wood. Wooden shoemaker Herman Ratterman's has been in the business of making wooden shoes for over 150 years. It is located in Amstelveen-Zuid, Holland. With 150 years of experience in making shoes who could resist purchasing a pair of red wooden shoes. The most sought after wooden shoe as souvenirs is the wedding wooden shoes. The wedding shoes have a lot of etched hand work and are natural in color or white. They are the ones on the far right in the picture.
Protective Clothing in Agriculture
Klomp or clog is accredited as a safety shoe because they are durable. If a heavy object should fall on the foot it will reflect the object or split preserving the foot and toes.
When buying a wooden shoe it should not fit tightly. After you insert your foot, there should be a gap the width of your thumb between your heel and the back of the wooden shoe. You should also wear a heavy pair of wool socks for comfort. If your wooden shoes are a bit too large, you can add a second or third pair of socks to tighten up the fit. When they are worn out you can re-purpose them by using them as firewood.
There is folklore about origin of the wooden shoe and Holland. www.compassrose.org/.../dutch/Legend-of-the-Wooden-Shoe.HTML. When I read over this story I thought of the American Folklore story of “The Shoemaker and the Elves.”
It was in the Spring nine years later when I headed to Holland, Michigan. I was in search once again for color after a long winter. In Holland, Michigan there is a Dutch village with a museum of artifacts brought to the New World from The Netherlands. A windmill and, if I had not rushed my visit, there would have been tulips. The tulip festival is around May 2 to May 9. They presented a show of Klomp dancers, who were exchange students from The Netherlands. I purchase a miniature pair of wooden shoes in green as a souvenir. These high quality wooden shoes are made in The Netherlands and shipped to Holland, Michigan.
Little Holland in America - Holland Michigan
Seeking Sunshine and Color
Winters seem really long to me. I miss the sunlight and color. So in March and April I start searching for color especially in flowers. I have searched in Lisse, Holland and Holland, Michigan. I would love to visit these places just one month later and see the tulips. For that reason I would visit either place again. I enjoyed my visit even if I was rushing things a bit. There was plenty of culture, lovely smells, shiny colors, and fun things to do.