Visiting with my Dutch Family

Before I get to this week’s post, I wanted to share a couple of pictures that I wasn’t able to include in my post Exploring with Friends: Delft. Elisabeth scanned the pictures for me and sent them in an e-mail to me. Enjoy!
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More than a week ago, now, David and I took the train to Hilversum to visit my Oma, Tante Marja, and Tante Ellen. We visited Soestdijk Palace together, too!

Oma and Tante Marja picked us up at the train station in Hilversum. We were so excited! The last time I saw them was in 2011! We had coffee and pie at Oma’s apartment before Tante Ellen arrived and we had cheese and hagelslag sandwiches. With, of course, Chocomel. Love.

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Yum! Lunch!
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Just a couple of Dutch men fishing with their bicycles perched behind them. Typical Dutch, right? This picture was taken just outside my Oma’s apartment. Apparently it’s a comment sight!

Afterwards I went out on Oma’s balcony and got this picture. I love how they’re just staring at the still water…

Soon enough we were off to Soestdijk Palace, which used to be the house of the Dutch Royal Family. You can learn more about it by visiting their website, linked above, or this Wikipedia article.

First we took a stroll through the gardens. They were really beautiful! I loved all the colourful flowers.

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I spent a good few minutes trying to get the shot above. I think it was worth the wait!

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Outside the main entrance.

We went inside and were able to take a tour! The tour guide was very nice, and David and I were pleased with ourselves that we could understand at a fair bit of what she was saying. Every now and then Tante Ellen translated for us.

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This picture was taken by my Tante Ellen. This is the largest and most decorative room in the palace.

One of the things that really struck me about this palace is how, well, quaint it was… for a palace. There were still several magnificent aspects to the palace, like the ceiling and some of the decorations. But these elements were limited to specific rooms. Queen Juliana, however, was a very different kind of queen.

She often appeared in public dressed like any ordinary Dutch woman, and preferred to be addressed as “Mevrouw” (Dutch for “Mrs.”) rather than her formal title of ‘majesty’. She also began riding a bicycle for exercise and fresh air.

On the night of 31 January 1953, the Netherlands was hit by the most destructive storm in more than five hundred years. Thirty breaches of dunes and dikes occurred and many towns were swept away by twelve-foot tidal waves. More than two thousand people drowned and tens of thousands were trapped by the floodwaters. Dressed in boots and an old coat, Queen Juliana waded through water and slopped through deep mud all over the devastated areas to bring desperate people food and clothing. Showing compassion and concern, reassuring the people, her tireless efforts would permanently endear her to the citizens of the Netherlands.

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Taken by Tante Ellen.
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Taken by Tante Ellen.
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Learning some facts about the Dutch Royal Family through the years. Tante Marja took this picture.

It was really interesting to walk through the palace and see where Princess Juliana once sat, watching the wedding of her oldest grandson, Willem-Alexander (who became king in 2013), to Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti (who would become the first Queen Consort in the Netherlands since 1890!).

After the tour was over we went outside for a walk around the gardens we had yet to explore!

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Oma and Tante Marja.

I love this picture of Oma and Tante Marja. That stayed by the benches while David, Tante Ellen, and myself walked around the pond.

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My camera died immediately following this picture. Oh well… at least I was able to get a few good pictures from the day! And I’m very thankful that both my aunts had their cameras, so they took some pictures of the rest of the day.

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Taken by Tante Ellen.

The leaves of this tree were painted in the pattern of the Dutch flag!

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Taken by Tante Marja.

My Tante Marja took this picture from the bench across the pond. Pretty awesome zoom! Wait til you see how far away she was!

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Picture taken by Tante Ellen.

See those people sitting on that bench above David’s head? That’s Oma and Tante Marja!

After our adventure visiting the Soestdijk Palace, we had planned to go out for supper. Instead, after having been visiting with my cousin Naomi for the first time in my life, and seeing my Uncle Louis (“Oom” means “Uncle” in Dutch, but I never used that word for “Uncle” growing up!), we decided to have an improvised meal at home. It was a great meal with family!

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It was a great day, and I’m so glad I was able to see so many of the family.

Looking forward to seeing everyone again soon!

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