Japanese English
Part1 Amsterdam Part4 Antwerp, Brugge
Part2 Keukenhof, Haag Part5 Gent, Gaasbeek
Part3 Kröller-Müller, Kinderdijk Part6 Brussels
Part7 Luxembourg
Schiphol Airport
Anne Frank House
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Van Gogh Museum
Canal Cruising
Museum The Hague
Kröller-Müller Mueum
Kinderdijk Windmills
Church in Gent
Gaasbeek Castle
Photo Album
"Benelux Countries 2013"
Our couple traveled around Benelux countries in Europe for 9 days from May 6, 2013, as a tour member of Hankyu Trapix. Benelux is a generic term of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

We, mainly myself, took nearly 1800 photos during the trip.
The next day after returning home, I decided to put them in order as follows.

1. to move the enormous photos from the memory tips to the outer hard disc of my PC.
2. to classify them in the order of date and each place visited
3. to leave out the ones out of focus or without distinction
4. to select the appropriate ones.
5. to process the survived photos by trimming them, adjusting the brightness, etc.

Although one week was spent for the above job, 1486 photos are left alive. In this situation, the next stage of "the travel essay" is too far.

I changed my way of thinking into making a photo album first.

To line up the pictures in the order of date and each tourist spot, to which to add explanations as many as possible so as to help the next step of the essay.

After this work, I will begin the travel essay, which might be open on the Internet as of the 75th story in the essay section possibly at the end of June. (Sorry, I have to postpone this job to someday in the future.)

- - - - - - - - - -
On our departure day, May 6, "Monday makeup holiday" of Children's Day, we took advantage of the goodwill of our elder daughter's couple. They drove us from home in Urayasu to Narita Airport by their station wagon.

Our KLM plane took off at 10:30 am from Narita Airport, and landed at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, at 3:00 pm local time. The flight time was 11 hours and 30 minutes.

I already adjusted my watch to the local time in the plane. This country has been on daylight saving time since the last Sunday of March. The time difference is 7 hours behind Japan.
We directly went to the hotel near the airport and relaxed.

Tour members : 36, average age : 70 (?).
Most of us are married couples, families, female traveling companions....

With this and that, the first day of our travel was spent in the plane the whole day. Therefore, May 7, the second day of the trip, is to be the first day of our sightseeing in Benelux countries.

The First Sightseeing day,May 7
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
I had awaken at 4:00 am, which is the same way for me at home. Breakfast at 6:00.
We started from the hotel at 7:30 for the city tour in Amsterdam.
The sky is not clear but fine. 13℃. What about the weather in Tokyo?

Ms. H, the tour conductor, and Mr. W, the guide, are leading us today.
Mr W's introduction talk in the bus helped us to realize "We are in the Netherlands".

Country Name : The Netherlands
Population : 17 million, in the small land, one fourth of which is under the sea level.

Amsterdam is the city of canals. Population : 820 thousand (as of 2012). The meaning of the city's name is the embarkment for the river of Amster. Citizens have fought historically against pests, fire and flood.

Mr. W continues his talk.
The Netherlands is a bicycle kingdom. Be careful of the bicycle roads. You can see violent driving here and there. It will be your fault if you run into any accident.

"Thank you" in Dutch is "Dunk u". Let's use this phrase as often as possible.
There are consirerable numbers of words which are "go together by German and English, and devided by 2".
The temperature here will go up to 23℃ at noon.

Anne Frank House

The House was opened at 9:00 am, when the bells rang of the neighboring West Church (Westerkerk). It took 30 minutes until we entered the House as a member of the long procession.

Anne Frank House is where Anne Frank, a Jewish girl, hid and lived with her family for 2 years after they escaped from Frankfurt, Germany, in 1942, right in the middle of World War 2. Anne's Diary was written in its attic room.

We went up the narrow, steep stairs in the four-storied house, which was rather difficult even for a sound body. Then we saw the way they lived those days, such as the movable bookcase hides the annex (back house), and Anne's breadth-holding room gets only mere light through a tiny window. The toilet, bathroom, desks, pictures of the family..... Still, human endeavor could live through.

No camera here. Even if permitted, I would not have wanted it.

Canal Cruising

Amsterdam has 165 canals and more than 1300 bridges. That's why this city is called Northern Venice, needless to say the country's name "Nederland" means "a low land".

Speaking of this low-land country, it is said "the world was created by God, while the Netherlands (Nederlands) was created by the Dutch people" ; Isn't it one of the proofs of a lot of canals in Amsterdam!

We enjoyed the canal cruising from the wharf near Central Station. Our couple took a gondola in Venice sometime back, while we boarded here on a pleasure boat of 50 people. Many boats were coming and going.

A parking lot for bicycles are seen
behind the pleasure boat.

The coastlines looked chic with fresh green leaves, and the canal houses were well proportioned to be heartwarming. People on the bridge railings were cheerfully waving their hands to us.

National Museum (Rijksmuseum)

We entered it after lunch.
This was opened in 1885, and is the largest museum in the Netherlands with the abundant art collections of Dutch artists. The designer was P.J.H. Cuypers, architect, who also designed Amsterdam Central Station.
The museum had been closed for 10 years and re-opened in the middle of last month. Lucky!

Each tour member walks around for the limited one hour. My wife and I went up to the 2nd floor and saw mainly the Dutch arts, following the advice of the tour magazine.

Many works of Dutch artists during the 15-17 centuries like Frans Hals, Jan Steen, etc., not to mension "The Night Watch" by Rembrandt and "The milkmaid" by Vermeer.
Please see the link page "National Museum, Amsterdam".

Vincent van Gogh Museum

This museum re-opened on the first day of this month, after the restoration for 7 months since September last year. What a lucky tour!
It is located within a stone's throw from the National Museum.

Mr. W, the guide, said, "Besides Gogh, there are pictures and sketches of such artists in the same era as Gauguin, Lautrec, who influenced Gogh much."

These Gogh's works had firstly been managed by the family of the bereaved of the younger brother Theo, however, following their wish not to scatter nor to lose the precious works, this museum was opened in 1973. They say there are even 200 oil paintings and more than 550 sketches of Gogh only.

We had free time for one hour here, too. So two of us went up to the 2nd floor and looked around at the standing works of Gogh. I was busy taking pictures rather than that.
Please see the link page "Vincent van Gogh Museum".
As far as Gogh is concerned, many many sketches, prints, reproductions of both ukiyoe woodblock prints and works of Jean-Francois Millet.

Even these kinds of terrific works might not have been recognized by the public without the devotion of the people around him and some very rare chance.
Gogh wrote letters so often to his brother Theo, in which he explained each of his works in detail. After his death, Theo's wife opened those letters to the public and appealed the works.....

The following pictures are "The Yellow House", "Bedroom in Arles" and "Vase with Twelve Sunflowers".

Central Station (Centraal Station)

This building is said to have been under the influence of Gothic architecture, designed by P.J.H. Cuypers, as I mentioned above.
What a gorgeous, stylish and dignified appearance! I stared at it in round-eyed wonder for a while.

Though it is also said to be the model of the Tokyo Station, no comparison! ; I honestly felt so at that time.
(I may have to withdrow my words. The following picture (lower) is the Tokyo Station I took after coming home. How do you feel?)

I wonder how is the inside of Centraal Station, compared with that of Tokyo Station? It's a pity that I didn't enter it.

Amsterdam Centraal Station ↑↓ Tokyo Station

We enjoyed the canal within our walking distance from here. Therefore, we saw the station to and from the canal.

Dam Square

 Dam is just in the middle of Central Station and the canal Singel. There, in the same place, used to be an embarkment to dam up Amster River. Since then this square has been the center of Amsterdam both historically and geographically.

The building on the westside is the Palace (Koninklijk Paleis) which is used as the State Guesthouse.
The building on its rightside is the New Church (Nieuwekerk) in the latter Gothic style.

Last April 30, Dutch Queen Beatrix abdicated in favor of her eldest son Prince Willem-Alexander in the New Church.
From Japan, the Crown Prince and Princess attended the ceremony, as all Japanese know.

As there was left a lingering sound around, every Dutch smilingly shook hands with me when I said "I came here to celebrate your new King".

We had dinner at De Nissen near the canal, and drove back to Crowne Plaza Schiphol after 7:00 pm. It was not dark at all.
We will leave the hotel early tomorrow morning, in order to see the tulip-blossam sights of Keukenhof as long as possible.

《 Not to change the subuject...... 》
As Dutch people are said to be simple and sturdy, they have been maintaining their traditional appearance of both climate and structures. History is alive here and traceable.
On the other hand, I hear they may be plain and thrifty.
"Let's go Dutch!" "Dutch Account" is my favorite stock phrase, though the expression might be Japanese-English.
Around Anne Frank House
Canal Cruising, Amsterdam
National Museum, Amsterdam
Vincent van Gogh Museum
Around Dam Square
Other Pictures, the First Sightseeing Day
Part 1 Reading 20:15
Sorry, some PC systems do not support
my sound-transmission software.
Part 1 (present location) Part 2 >
Part1 Amsterdam Part4 Antwerp, Brugge
Part2 Keukenhof, Haag Part5 Gent, Gaasbeek
Part3 Kröller-Müller, Kinderdijk Part6 Brussels
Part7 Luxembourg