stephmodo: The Seaside Village of Marken + other Holland Highlights

The Seaside Village of Marken + other Holland Highlights

• 22 April 2011

Outside of a quick day trip to Holland in 2009, this was our first real foray to the land of tulips and bicycles. I really felt like we experienced the best of Holland in just a few days and it was wonderful. Seeing the tulip fields was a lifetime highlight and watching what appeared to be the entire population on bicycles made me want to pick up a bike...with a basket...and a little cart attached for my kiddos...and ship it home somehow. But alas a vacation with 4 little ones makes for more chaos than bike-shopping/shipping allows. Perhaps another time...

A few highlights and observations about Holland:

* It's interesting how socially unacceptable wearing helmets is in the Netherlands--luckily the bike paths are separate from the roads in most cases, but certainly not all. I kept praying the little children and babies on bicycles stayed protected somehow, despite the lack of protection.

* Everyone rides a bike. This one nuance must affect their culture considerably. I'd love to hear and learn more about it, should any of you have any light to shed on the subject.

* If I lived in a country that took the time to create a separate bike path from the busy road, I think I'd bike more too. Mr. President, forget the railroads (we will never be like Europe...what's done is done) and let's add more bike paths everywhere!

* The country manages to stay quite clean and you rarely see liter, even in urban settings. It really enhanced the natural beauty of the land.

* Holland is quite a flat country...perhaps the bike-riding is a result of the lay of the land?

* The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam was everything I hoped it would be! Added bonus: a Picasso exhibit showcasing his early paintings. His "Blue Period" was my favorite and it was a real treat to see so man of those paintings in one setting. They are hard to find/view.

Can't wait to go back!

Have a wonderful weekend dear readers and thank you, as always, for stopping by today. xoxo


  1. I'm from a very unique city in Georgia called Peachtree City. We are one of two cities in the US that have golf cart/bike paths running all around the city. Over 100 miles of them! You can drive with a parent at 12, alone at 15, and with other kids at 16. It's the best! I bet you would love it. There are golf cart parking lots at every store, school, etc. It's great. Check it out:

  2. My sister's best friend lived in Holland for a year while her parents were there in business. Apparently you can't even get a license until you're 18 so everyone has a bike and things are all accessible by bike. My sister visited her and took photos at school. Instead of a big parking lot there were rows and rows of bike racks. I think it helps that the city itself is more bike accessible there. Here it seems like to get anywhere you have to drive because it's all so far away across freeways and super-busy streets. I'd love to spend some time in Holland riding a bike around.

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  4. Albuquerque, my current home, doesn't have tons of virtues but it is a bike friendly city. Sometimes my husband bikes home from work, about 30 miles and is on a bike path the whole way and most of them are not right along side the roadway.

  5. Lifeofevrik, your town in Georgia sounds idyllic. I love it already! I feel like I had a roommate in college from Peachtree...

    Hairyshoefairy, would you like me to send you some Labello? Also, I think teenagers might handle some of their angst better if they rode bikes all the time :)

    Erin, that is a wonderful quality about Albequerque! How wonderful!

  6. A friend of mine served an LDS mission in the Netherlands & once explained that if you wear a bike helmet, everyone assumes that you are mentally incapacitated in some capacity. Ironically, she was in a biking accident and sustained a head injury which has had some minor residual effects (headaches, memory issues, etc) several years later.

  7. Love your photo's so beautiful, for some reason it calms my spirit!! Thank you so happy I found your blog! Keep it coming! From California, Shirley Slee

  8. That picture of the grey door is fantastic. Did you notice all the Dutch doors too? (Open in half..) That's always my favorite part.

    They take biking seriously! It's amazing to me that they have a biking system that runs throughout the entire country- with paths and their very own traffic lights. There are serious biking rules which are so respected by cars and pedestrians that it just runs almost flawlessly. Yes, so silly to not wear helmets, but even then, they do it SO much better than us.

    (My mom did bring her Dutch bike back with her, which I rode the whole time we lived in Midway. I would DIE for a great bike like that now..)

  9. It looks like heaven! Glad you are having a great time.

  10. Holland is really beautiful, Was there last year. Really liked the countryside.
    Menaka Indrani

  11. I lived in Holland for almost 2 years and have been back to visit nearly 10 times. I have a love affair with the country and it's people! I've savored your posts and photos about it lately, and they're giving me strong urges to pack up my bags and children and jump on the next flight. When I was visiting 5 years ago, we made a bike tour to Marken... truly one of the highlights of that trip. My dear friends from Haarlem take a bike tour there every year. What a treat for you to experience that part of the country! Wishing I was riding your bike achterop... :)

  12. I love that country. The food, the neatness, the style, the canals, the linguistic ability of the people, the bicycles! It was hard to find good whole grain bread in France, but it's all over the Netherlands. Same goes for peanut butter. Anyways, most American cities just aren't set up to be bike friendly, which is too bad. I loved seeing mothers coming back from the grocery store with their children and purchases all balanced with apparent ease on their bike.

  13. Holland has always been on my :must visit places" list, and seeing your photos jsut moved it up a few spots. Looks idyllic! Thanks for the glimpse.


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