It's holiday season in The Netherlands. No, not the Christmas Holiday season. This is the time of year when The Netherlands has all of their bank holidays in the span of about four weeks. We start with King's Day on April 27 where we celebrate King Willem-Alexander's birthday. Other than providing a day off of work the most notable thing about King's Day this year was that the temperature was colder than it was at Christmas.
The next week was a two-for-one situation. The official bank holiday was Ascension Day. But this year it coincided with Rememberance Day, when we honor those who lost their life during the Nazi occupation.
|This War Memorial in Wassenaar.|
Just outside of Den Haag is a memorial honoring over 250 members of the Dutch resistance who were executed and buried there.
|The bell is rung for three hours during the Rememberance Day Service.|
The pictures above and below this text don't have anything to do with holidays except that they are from my bike ride to Den Haag to visit the memorial. The photo above is the bike path in Wassenaar. The shot below is an area known as the Dunes, a park that runs along the Dutch coast that is loaded with trails, bike paths and beaches. It's a great recreation area with very little commercial activity.
In keeping with the WWII theme, Grant and his friend, David, and I went the Overloon WWII Museum in eastern Holland. The museum is situated at the site of the largest tank battle fought on Dutch soil. The Allieds were trying to move north to Arnhem. The Nazis wanted to stop them. The battle lasted several days and the end result was that the village was leveled. Completely. It took them 10 years after the war to rebuild it.
|David and Grant can tell you the name of this (and every other) tank in the museum.|
This is the vehicle that spirited the Queen and her family away to safety when the Nazi's invaded. They left the palace in Den Haag, drove three hours to a waiting British destroyer and sailed to England.
|This may look like a lot of shells. There were 8 more display cases just like this one. All from one man's collection.|
Near this plane was a large red push button. No signage. No instructions. So after several minutes of debate by the three of us, I pushed it. It activated a sound track of planes dropping bombs, machine gun fire and other war noises. All at fairly high volume. It was great.
|The English War Cemetery outside of town.|
This week it's back to work for a full five days. Then next week we enjoy our final holiday -- Whit Monday, or Pentecost. Then that's it. No more holidays until Christmas.