Leeuwarden & St. Joseph Galerie, The Netherlands
Bicycling in The Netherlands: Please Scroll Down...
Following are pictures from the "New Crystalline
Glazes" exhibition, St. Joseph Galerie, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, April
22 to August 26, 2006, and some photos from my ten-day vacation in Leeuwarden
which coincided with the opening.
Prior to my trip, I knew virtually nothing about The Netherlands. Here's a little background information:
The entire Netherlands is about twice the size of New Jersey. Holland and The Netherlands are not the same thing. The Netherlands is comprised of twelve provinces. "Holland" consists of just two of these twelve provinces, North Holland and South Holland.
I visited the northernmost province, Friesland. Leeuwarden is Friesland's capitol and largest city.
Click on any image to enlarge.
My deepest apologies
to those artists whose work I inadvertently underrepresented or failed to document
altogether in my photos. Excellent photos of the artists that I missed are on
the St. Joseph Galerie's Virtual Tour of the Exhibit HERE.
Bicycling in The Netherlands: I hereby declare The Netherlands to be the best place in the world for bicycling. If you are visiting The Netherlands, The only way to get around that makes sense is by bicycle. There is a dedicated system of bike paths that go every where, and these are excellent, beautifully maintained paths, often completely segregated from the roads, and often leading to places that you simply can't get to by automobile.
Young or old, everyone bikes in The Netherlands. There are more bicycles than there are people (or cars).
There are rental facilities at every station where you can rent bikes for under $10 a day, or even less if you rent by the week, which I recommend, even if you don't intend to ride every day. Also, you can take your bike on any train. Forget about your American style Tour de France bike or your Olympic style mountain bike. Such bikes are nowhere to be seen in The Netherlands. Instead, you will get what we called an "English Racer" type bike when I was a kid. It will have full fenders, a huge padded seat, high handlebars that force you to ride completely upright, a built in key-lock so that you don't have to fumble with chains or cables, a completely encased chain so that it is impossible to ruin your pants, a pump, and a rack with built-in tie-down straps. You will have a choice of a single speed model with coaster brakes, or a three speed bike with hand breaks, in men's and women's styles. Be sure to ask to borrow a patch kit.
LEFT: Rush hour in central Leeuwarden. In the morning and evening, Leeuwarden was simply awash with cyclists. The riders are very courteous and they actually use hand signals. It seems as though bicycles have the right-of-way over cars, pedestrians, everyone. I was constantly disrupting the flow of traffic when I rode in the city because I was too cautious, yielding or stopping when I shouldn't have.
RIGHT: Country homes.
As an avid road and mountain biker, I was initially very skeptical of these bikes. But once I started going with the flow, embracing bicycling "the Friesan way" I learned to really appreciate these anachronistic bikes.
Friesland is WAY out in the country, and consists of nothing but farmland populated with sheep and cows. Like all of The Netherlands, it is flat as can be, which is why you don't need more than three gears on your bicycle. No matter how far away from Leeuwarden I rode, I could always see that skyscraper (red arrow). In this photo, I am about ten miles away from it.
Forget about your fancy cycling clothes, shoes, cleats, gloves, hats and helmets. No one wears any of this junk, you will look like an idiot if you do, and you will just be clogging up your suitcase for no good reason if you take it. Riders wear clothes appropriate to their destinations: business attire, evening wear, school clothes, etc. However, if you intend to cover really long distances daily, like I did, it would be a smart move to pack a pair of chamois-lined Lycra bike shorts to use as underwear. The over-padded seats are great for light cycling, but are not really ergonomically correct. ENJOY!