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Impressions of the Southern Netherlands

There is so much to explore in the Southern half of the Netherlands which we cover in this report. Cities like Den Haag, Rotterdam, Breda and Maastricht reveal the diversity of culture crafted by the twists of history and living on in the fast moving complexity of today. Embracing the land made fertile by the Meuse and Scheldt Rivers as they flow towards the North Sea, the 'South' has played an important role for the Dutch in shaking off Spanish rule and acquiring independence. It's definitely not all about Amsterdam! Den Haag and Breda in particular have played a decisive role in consolidating Orange-Nassau leadership over the rebellion against Spain and over the governance of the new country afterwards. Today, Den Haag is still the administrative capital of the Netherlands, a bit austere but pleasant with all the green spaces around its historical centre; Rotterdam, sparkling with dynamism, the only non-Asian port in the list of the top ten largest ports of the world; and Maastricht? Well, in 1992 it has given its name to one of the very most crucial treaties ever signed on European soil, giving shape to the European Union and its ambition to unite the continent beyond commercial cooperation. And furthermore, Maastricht and Breda are just very nice and cosy places to wander about, to enjoy the unassuming and spontaneous atmosphere of provincial city life. Let's add a bit of countryside exploration near the North Sea, along the maze of canals carved into the flat landscapes of polders and nature reserves, and the picture is complete. Will be complete, that is, when the windmills of Kinderdijk, the dunes of Cadzand and the quaint marinas of Walcheren will soon be part of this report as well...

Before visiting the place of your choice:

The first pier was constructed in wood in 1901. It was lost in World War Two, and only in 1961 the construction of a new pier was undertaken, apparently not with the best possible omens, because bankruptcy, fire and more bankruptcy plagued the operation. In 2015 yet another re-start was given to the pier's operation. Farther down the beach the cast-iron lighthouse was inaugurated in 1875 by King William III, as a plaque indicates. At the foot of the tower some low houses are at the disposal of the lighthouse keepers.

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