Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March Showers in Monnickendam

This past weekend I went to visit Monnickendam, a town in Noord-Holland that got its city rights in 1355. It was raining off and on, but not too cold so it was nice. My friend Rob is from there, so he showed us around.

If you look on Wikipedia, I have a similar photo of the main spot:

This is a restaurant and museum now, and the clock tower is on the left.

The clock tower is from the year 1591

That's an angel above little horses that move when the clock strikes.

This is the main... sluice or floodgate or lock.  I'm not sure of the correct terminology.

A shop from the year 1611

This building was first rennovated in 1638, approximately a hundred years after it was built - that's when the date was added.  It's incredible to see and touch history.  America wasn't a country yet when this building had been around already for two hundred years.

The weigh house.

More modern - Anno 1681

A very modern flower/plant shop.  Everybody knows I have a thing for flowers, right?

A couple of the main streets throughout town.

Many of the buildings, particularly older structures,  lean forward at the top and have hooks like these.  For both businesses and residences, many places have stairs that are too steep and small to get large things (like furniture or appliances) up and down.  There are no screens in windows, and the windows open completely so that you can hoist large things up and down.

The main canal - this looks like most of the villages and towns I've been in around Noord-Holland.

A typical block - no sidewalks.  Houses often sit directly on the street, and the Dutch are known for not using much in the way of window coverings.  You can walk by many homes and look straight through into the back garden.

Just down this street is a house where Jews were hidden during The War.

This is the house.

A closeup of the plaque.  Rough translation:
Courage    Leo Hordijk (the home owner)    Loyalty
1943 - 1945 (the time he hid the Jews)
"From Nazi power and human hunt, five found here their hiding place"

The details on some of these buildings are amazing.
I've mentioned before that the Dutch name a lot of their buildings/homes.

An alley.  No cars allowed.

A REAL gutter. 

A REAL rain barrel.

Tiny klompen by someone's front door.  For a Kabouter, I think.

St. Jacob's Bridge - manually opens and closes.

Almost time to go...

...To a pannenkoekenhuis "The White Swan" in Broek in Waterland.
Absolutely delicious, and the building itself has a great history and ambiance, dating from 1596.
If you have the opportunity, go and enjoy! 
Monnickendam is part of the municipality of Waterland, so you can visit both places easily.

This fine day and delicious meal was a gift from my friend Rob.  He's the nicest guy, and a People Whisperer.  Don't know what that is?  His website is:
In a few years we're going to the Academy Awards together... I just have to figure out how I'm going to get there without flying! 
And thank you, my friend, for sharing your village with me.