A freedom-oriented lifestyle blog

Tag: canals

De Haar Castle and Utrecht with bubb.la

De Haar Castle was another recommendation we got and our contacts brought us to Utrecht in the Netherlands so we decided to pay this castle a visit. It was on one of the hottest days here in the Netherlands so being inside a cold castle was perfect for us.
De Haar Castle had gradually turned into ruins since 1641 when the heir of the castle ruins, Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt, in 1887 married Hélène de Rothschild, of the Rothschild family.  Hélène’s family, the Rothschilds, decided to rebuild the castle from its ruins. They hired the famous Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers and he would work on the project for 20 years. De Haar Castle has 200 rooms and 30 bathrooms, and a few rooms on the ground floor have been opened to be viewed by the public, so we went in and took a look at them.

Slottet De Haar var en annan rekommendation vi fått och våra kontakter förde oss till Utrecht i Nederländerna så vi beslutade att besöka platsen. Det var en av de hetaste dagarna här i Nederländerna så att vara inne i ett stort, kallt slott var perfekt för oss.
De Haar-slottet hade gradvis förvandlats till ruiner sedan 1641 när arvingen till slottets ruiner, Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt, 1887 gifte sig med Hélène de Rothschild. Hélènes familj, Rothschildsfamiljen, beslutade att återuppbygga slottet från dess ruiner. De anlitade den berömda holländska arkitekten Pierre Cuypers och han skulle arbeta med detta projekt i 20 år. De Haar-slottet har 200 rum och 30 badrum, och några få rum på bottenvåningen har öppnats för att beskådas av allmänheten, så vi gick in och tittade på dem.

Welcome to De Haar Castle!

Better be in the shadows while walking around the castle!

Walking inside the castle over the draw bridge

First thing you see when you walk in to the main hall!

The main hall felt like it was taken from the land of the Maharajahs (Rajasthan in India) and sure thing, the newlywed couple loved travel and they even invited Maharaja friends to the castle.

The family tree of the van Zuylen/Rothschild family can be found here.

A few things from the Etienne/Helene van Zuylen era are on display in the different rooms.

Like their hygiene/make up boxes they couldn’t travel without.

A few of the suitcases that the family used during their travels.

The dining hall. A lot of prominent people have been dining around this table.

Collections of different things bought during their travels far away.

A few bedrooms are open for display. This room was Baronnesse Gabrielle van Zuylen during a few decades when she was married to Thierry van Zuylen van Nyevelt.

The library/cigar room!

The kitchen in the cellar. Highly modern for its time. Even though the castle has been built to resemble the old castle, the family was keen to modernize the castle so they would have proper bathrooms and kitchen, electrical sockets, heat and ventilation.

We couldn’t resist to buy a bunny to Othilia when we walked out through the museum shop. She was so happy to see it and she wouldn’t let go of the bunny.
More pictures from the castle will be displayed in the slider below.

We took a short walk in the park as well before we left for Utrecht.

We found deers in the park and Othilia got excited.

They were also staying in the shadows.

We found a swan family as well. We couldn’t stay longer, the heat was getting to us even though we were staying in the shadows most of the time.

Our original plan was to take a walk around Utrecht after our visit to De Haar Castle, but the heat forced us to find a place for us and Othilia to swim. The Evening came and we had arranged a bubb.la meet up in Utrecht so we had to leave the lake and head into the city – our only request was to sit indoors with an air-condition on full speed.

Vår ursprungliga plan var att ta en promenad genom Utrecht efter vårt besök i De Haar-slottet, men värmen tvingade oss att hitta en plats för oss och Othilia att simma. Kvällen kom och vi hade ordnat ett bubb.la möte i Utrecht så vi var tvungna att lämna sjön och åka in till staden – vår enda begäran var att sitta inomhus med luftkonditionering på full hastighet.

We found a lake near the De Haar castle so we went there to spend our afternoon waiting for our bubb.la member meet up.

Othilia and dad in the water.

We were not the only ones escaping the city during the heat wave.

Early evening and we were in the city of Utrecht.

We ate dinner here and then took an evening walk in the city center of Utrecht.

The city once had a much higher water level, that is why you find a lower ground level next to the canal today and both restaurants and tenants take advantage of that.

The canals are also used for kayaking and swimming in.

The sun was going down and we had to say good bye to our new friends. We didn’t have so many days left here in the Netherlands and we wanted to go on one more adventure before leaving the Netherlands. More about that in our next blog post.

A walk through the city of Amsterdam

The name of the city Amsterdam comes from that the city’s origin starts with a dam in the river Amstel in the 12th century. Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world in the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century. Today, many of the world’s largest companies are based in Amsterdam or established their European headquarters in the city, such as Uber, Netflix and Tesla.

We went to Amsterdam with no goal in mind except for just walking around in the city centre and get a feeling of the atmosphere of the city. We found a city filled with tourists and not so much local people. We could barely hear any people speaking Dutch, just a variety of other languages.
We also encountered a lot of coffee shops and here Marijuana is legal so the number of people on this drug is quite high here. They are friendly though so we don’t mind them and they are much less obnoxious and aggressive as a lot of drunk people. It can feel quite funny though when your waiter starts to giggle while taking your order and the cashier at the supermarket returns the money you just gave him for payment as the exchange (could have gotten it for free!) . This happened to us during our day in Amsterdam.

For Othilia’s part, her first tooth has now appeared and she also runs so our bet on which one will come first seems to end in a draw.

Stadens namn kommer från att Amsterdams ursprung börjar med en dam i floden Amstel på 1100-talet. Amsterdam blev en av de viktigaste hamnarna i världen under den nederländska guldåldern på 1600-talet. Idag är många av världens största företag baserade i Amsterdam eller har sitt europeiska huvudkontor i staden, till exempel Uber, Netflix och Tesla.

Vi åkte till Amsterdam utan något speciellt mål i åtanke förutom att bara vandra runt i stadens centrum och få en känsla av stämningen i staden. Vi hittade en stad fylld med turister och inte så mycket lokalbefolkning. Vi kunde knappt höra några människor som talade holländska, bara en mängd andra språk.
Vi stötte också på många “coffee shops” och här är Marijuana lagligt så antalet människor på denna drog är ganska hög här. De är dock vänliga så vi bryr oss inte om dem och de är mycket mindre motbjudande och aggressiva än vad många berusade människor kan vara. Det kan vara ganska lustigt när din servitör börjar fnissa när han tar din beställning och kassören i snabbköpet returnerar pengarna du just gav honom för betalning som växel (kunde ha fått det gratis!). Detta hände oss ​​under vår dag i Amsterdam.

För Othilias del så har nu hennes första tand dykt upp och hon springer även, så vårt vad om vilket som kommer först verkar sluta i oavgjort.

Just walking around in Amsterdam was enough for us. It is beautiful here with all the canals.

The day before our visit to Amsterdam, we finally felt a tooth (lower right) in Othilia’s mouth. Later we realized that it was actually two teeth coming out so now both lower front teethes are showing.

We found a windmill on our way into the city center. We had parked 2 kilometers outside of the city center to get a cheap parking (0.5 Euro/hour) while we were exploring Amsterdam.

We had nice weather in the morning, but darker clouds would soon arrive. The weather has been quite cold for being in July and it is not until this week it has become warmer.

Picture of a bicycle shop in Amsterdam. In Amsterdam cars isn’t a problem, we had to pay a lot more attention to people on bicycles. They were quite reckless.

We found a lot of small house boats on the canals. We wouldn’t mind having a place like this!

Another house boat!

House boat!


The number of canals intensifies when you reach the city center, as do the number of tourists.

The royal palace of Amsterdam. The palace was originally built for the purpose of being a city hall in the 17th century.

Othilia was more interested in chasing the doves at Dam square.

She barely needs our support any longer. She often runs while only holding one finger or we holding her hand. So we would say it is a tie between Othilia starting to run and getting her first tooth.

More buildings in Amsterdam. We like to just walk around and look at the architecture in a city.

We don’t think we have seen more leaning houses anywhere else we have been. Houses on the same street can lean in different directions.

Westerkerk is the biggest church in Amsterdam and it was built between 1620 and 1631.

The house where Anne Frank and her family was in hiding from the Nazis.

While we parents stood and watched Anne Franks house, Othilia went in full mode of trying to jump into the canal.

Really upset after we denied her the chance of taking a bath.

More boats on canals. This is what we did all day, walking around looking at houses, canals and boats.

And flowers!

House decorated with flowers. We were about to go back to the car and drive back home when we entered one of the more famous districts in Amsterdam.

We accidentally ended up in the red light district. Due to the respect of the sex workers we didn’t want to take any pictures of them. They were selling their services at the front window so we took a picture on the museum that we found there. We did not go in there though.

Harlingen – the fishing and shipping city of Friesland

“You must go to Harlingen!” was the first tip we got from our host family. “it is the most beautiful town in the Netherlands!”, they continued, and we followed their advice and took an afternoon exploring trip to this coastal city.
Our host family was right, it is a beautiful town and it is one of the nearest towns to our small village. We were hoping to find a sports bar that would broadcast the semi-final between Sweden and Netherlands in the women’s soccer world cup.

Harlingen, or in West Frisian, “Harns”, is an old fishing and shipping town that got its city rights in 1234. City rights is an interesting phenomena dating back to 1000 AD in this part of Europe. When feudal landlords got into  financial problems (and usually did), they were often forced to  offer sale privileges to settlements, and these sale privileges comprises the city rights. The feudal lords could often get a cut of money in exchange for the loss of power by doing this, and over time, the landlords had to sell more and more sale privileges. The result was  a shift of power within the counties and some of the towns that got city rights even developed into city-states. You can read more about this on wikipedia.

We strolled around in Harlingen on the look out for a bar that would show the football game, but we also managed to take a few lovely pictures that shows the small town as we saw it. It is lovely here!

“Ni måste åka till Harlingen!” var det första tipset vi fick från vår värdfamilj. “Det är den vackraste staden i Nederländerna!” fortsatte de, så vi följde deras råd och tog en eftermiddagsutforskningstur till denna kuststad.
Vår värdfamilj hade rätt, det är en vacker stad och är en av de städer som ligger närmast från vår lilla by. Vi hoppades även  på att hitta en sportbar som skulle sända semifinalen mellan Sverige och Nederländerna i damernas fotbolls-VM.

Harlingen, eller på västfrisiska, “Harns”, är ett gammalt fiske- och sjöfartsställe som fick sina stadsrättigheter år 1234. Stadsrättigheter är ett intressant fenomen som går tillbaka till 1000-talet i denna del av Europa. När feodalherrar fick ekonomiska problem (och oftast fick de det), var de ofta tvungna att erbjuda handelsrättigheter till olika bosättningar, och dessa handelslicenser består stadsrättigheterna av. Feudalherrarna kunde ofta få en andel av vinsten (vinstskatt) i utbyte mot förlust av makt genom att göra detta, och över tid behövde dessa  feudalherrar ge ut fler och fler stadsrättigheter. Resultatet blev en maktförskjutning inom landet och några av de städer som fick stadsrättigheter utvecklades även till stadstater. Du kan läsa mer om detta system på wikipedia.

Vi promenerade runt i Harlingen och höll utkik efter en bar som skulle visa fotbollsmatchen och vi lyckades också ta några fina bilder som visar hur den lilla staden som vi såg ser ut. Det är vackert här!

Othilia on the porch covering the canal (that she really wanted to take a bath in).

There are a lot of canals in Harlingen and both small and large boats explore Friesland by water by entering through Harlingen.

Othilia gets to ride her father’s shoulders a lot (when she is not tired). The sling is only used nowadays for napping. All other times we as parents need to be on stand by if she wants to be at ground level, to walk herself.

The stone houses are everywhere, not just in Harlingen. But it is amazing how different they can look in just one city. Here is a specially nice stone house.

Canals and stone houses are Netherlands to us now.

Sluices make the car, boat, bicycle and pedestrian traffic co-exist in the Netherlands.

Lots of boats.


We ate dinner in Harlingen at a really beautiful restaurant.

Ulrika and Othilia waiting for food.

We found a pub that were in preparations for the game later this evening. We said hello to the owners and promised them to come back for the game. We took a short walk to entertain Othilia and explore Harlingen a bit more.

We let Othilia walk, but she needs to ride Dad’s shoulders when we are close to the canals or else she will fight us for not letting her jump in.

A few random pictures from our walk in Harlingen will be shown now. It is so beautiful here.

We have seen many house boats here in the Netherlands.

It was time for the semi-final between Sweden and Netherlands and we were the only Swedes at the pub. We could only stay the first half an hour of the game before we had to leave to get Othilia home. The Swedish team played well the part that we saw, but we heard that they had collapsed, and in the end the Netherlands stood as winners and a finalist team.

© 2020 Ankor på vift

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑