“I’m almost 90 years old, and you have knee trouble. I think it’s time we go back,” Piet said. We had just walked in the cold air from a parking lot all the way on a path and then on sand to view a Dutch innovation; The Sand Motor.
Piet and I stood on a new Dutch land, created by a huge project that began in 2011.
About 21.5 million cubic meters of sand through the use of ships, latest technological equipment was dredged up to protect the coast area near Kijkduin in South Holland.
But now it is nature’s turn to complete the rest. Through wind and waves and ocean currents the sand will be distributed along the coast to make room for more recreational activities.
As stated on a sign at the beginning of the site: “The shape of sand motor will change in the course of twenty years. Eventually, the sand will be completely dispersed across the new dunes and the beach.”
It was awesome to see how man and nature work together, and great to see the beginnings of such a project.
The Dutch works wonders with water distribution and dykes that open and close to accommodate rising water and boat traffic. And now, with engineering and innovational skills, they are working on the ocean and land.
But there I was admiring the magnificent project, and I couldn’t help but see the billions of tiny sea shells on the sand just waiting for my greedy hands and pockets.
“Isn’t it funny how particular you get when the shells are so plentiful?” I asked Piet, as I searched for the perfect and prettiest.
After we walked back off the sand and on to the path, into the cold wind, and back in the car, we found the restaurant, Haagshe Beek (beek means small stream). I had gebakje (cake), from the baking company, Maison Kelder, known for its hazel nut cake. It’s known in the area. The restaurant was a warm place that surprised us by being full of people. It seems out of the way, but people will find the most cozy corners in this country.
The next stop was the town, Maassluis, a small town with a seventeenth century harbor that was mainly used for fishing boats. Here we found old, brick buildings, walkways over bridges and nice shops along both sides of the canal, and dykes that open and close.
We were hungry by then and found the Frans Vouk’s Koffe Shop. I thought I was ordering a pancake with banana topping, but I didn’t complain when a pineapple laced pancake was delivered to me. I learned later I thought I ordered banana, but there again…my misinterpretation of the language afforded another learning situation, as ananas means pineapple and banana is banaan.
Onward we went over the highways and byways to Kasteel Van Rhoon. This castle, built in 1199, is now used as a cultural center, where various musical events take place and important art exhibits.
We were there to see the work of Germaine Sanders: www.germainesanders.nl.
Germaine’s work was displayed at the top room of the castle. Many works of hers were displayed along the walls. They are pen and ink drawings, with such detail that you have to stand and study each piece. What drives that kind of patience is a mystery to me.
This artist is one who uses both the left and right sides of her brain. She is an architect with emphasis on engineering, and has taught subjects in college, but now she sketches, sells her work, and has a school that emphasizes creativity.
“I take people outside to draw on what they see.” She explained that in the busy world, we don’t really stop to really look at what is before us. “I want people to really see for themselves, and then draw what they see.” She went further to say, it’s not the result of the art made by the student, but what the student experiences by seeing.
I found many pieces I could easily live with; but right now I don’t have four walls or a ceiling, but I’ll take back the memory with me.
After looking around at Kasteel Van Rhoon we traveled onward to Piet’s good friend, Lenie, and had dinner in her lovely apartment in Lisse, in the town of the famous Keukenhof garden.
When I said goodbye to Lenie, and later to Piet, I knew it would be for the last time during this journey. Piet was most generous with the long time he spent with me touring his beautiful country. I enjoyed all of it, and especially learning so much from him and loving his humor.