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...... and only one too, nowadays ;)


400 years ago we had many and Holland was one of the 4 most powerful, international nations in the world. Together with England, Portugal and Spain they divided the world into 'colonies'.


Today we have a few frigates, 2 or 3 subs and a great Marine Corps that celebrates its 345th (!!) anniversary in December 2010


( Well, a 'few' is not really true, SEE HERE )


Anyway, I decided I had enough of virus cleaning and the sun was still out for a few hours... time to take the wraps off the RT and head north.


The green is as green as ever......




Here is one of the new(-ish) pumping stations. These large facilities have taken the place of the hundreds of wind mills that initially dried our lands....




Looking out towards the Big Dike (the white locks can be seen in the background)....





The funny thing is that part of this land used to be islands back in the 14th century. So there are some strangely winding roads still to be found, indicating where the old islands were. Even the land is slightly raised at places.








The masts of a navy ship are vaguely visible, and this sea gull doesn't care a bit....




One of the pilots ships heads back to port. Here we are looking out over the Wadden Zee, the stretch of water between mainland Netherlands and the row of islands off the northern coast.




A reminder of times long ago, when this was all we had to defend our ports...




This picture reminded me of the legend of the Flying Dutchman......




And here is the modern day Flying Dutchman, a navy lynx on exercise....




... and one of our modern navy ships hidden in the background. Couldn't get too close for obvious reasons..




No, I didn't faint over my tank, although it looks like it..




On my way out of town (Den Helder), I passed the Navy Air Base (De Kooy) and found this lady determined to ignore the noise behind her and make that all important putt !!




Back home after a nice afternoon out.





Well, folks, the NEXT installment of Navman's Ride Tales should come from somewhere in the US ! We're leaving tomorrow !


Don't forget to check out my blog :)

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Thanks for the tour Francois. A couple years ago we made connection flights twice in Amsterdam and we were so pleased to see the countryside on our approach. Although we know about the extensive drainage system and reclaimed lands it just doesn't register until one sees it first hand. Ditto for the windmill farms.


Just north of Toronto here in Ontario we have an area called Holland Marsh. It was converted into farm lands by hard working Dutch immigrants after the second war and now feeds countless thousands of people - so we have a 'little Holland' right here.


Have a great trip and we look forward to your reports.

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Very nice, Francois! I've only been to Den Helder once. I think it was on some school trip. Am I correct that the port uses the 'American' 110V/60Hz instead of the dutch 220V/50Hz? That has always intrigued me... :)


Have fun in the States! (I think you must be in the plane by now...)



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Great report and photos.


Is it possible to ride the offshore islands - are any of them connected to mainland or each other by bridges?


Yes, you can ride there, but they are very small.

No bridges, you'll have to take one of the ferries.


Texel, the largest island.


Don't know about the voltage though :-)

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