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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Windmills, Marken and Volendam, Anne Frank House, The Netherlands

Today is going to be a very long day! Had to get up at 6:00 AM to be at breakfast for 6:30 AM. I am off on a tour of windmills, Marken and Volendam while Michael has to work at the trade show until 2:00 PM. We then will meet at the Anne Frank House. We have tickets for the 4 PM entrance. We then have an 8 PM flight to Zürich and finally a two hour train ride back to Interlaken.

First stop on the tour was to the cap winder sawmill on the Kalverringdijk, Zaanse Schans, Zannmdam, The Netherlands. That is hard to say. Of course, it was pouring rain when we arrived!!!!!! I am so tired of rain. I would love to have had some of my pictures have a blue sky instead of dark threatening skies. The rain would stop for a minute and then the heavens would open up and sheets of rain would come pouring down on us. It was difficult to keep me dry as well as the camera dry. No fun at all!! The light was wrong and all sorts of other problems. But...... it was fun never the less! Tours also keep you hopping and there usually isn't enough time to catch your breath and take your time photographing things you are interested in. It is walk, snap a shot and then hurry on.

When the bus driver said he was leaving at a certain time, he meant it. On two stops we had people running after the bus. Comical as long as it wasn't you.

Around 1920, there were only about 20 windmills left of the 1,000 that had made the Zaan district the oldest industrial area of the world.

On March 17, 1925, the De Zaansche Molen society was founded to preserve the mills for future generations. This society now owns 13 industrial windmills. It keeps them in excellent condition and operates them regularly.

First stop was the saw mill. The Het Jonge Scaap is a cap winder sawmill.

The most important and most obvious parts of a sawmill are the frame saws that move up and down. Approximately 1 mm is sawed for each sawing movement. Wood that is wet is also easier to cut, so they soak the logs for up to 2 months.

The Het Jonge Schaap windmill is the association's latest asset. This mill from the former Westzijderveld was demolished in 1942.

Reconstruction started on the basis of the drawings of mill connoisseur Anton Sipman (1906-1985) using the latest computer technology. The first pile was sunk into the ground on September 24, 2005 after years of preparation. The mill opened on September 27, 2007.

It was Cornelius Cornlisz from Uitgeest who discovered how to saw timber using wind power. He used a crankshaft for the first time for driving frame saws.

This very first sawmill, a small model, was named Het Juffertje (damselfly) and was transported to Zaandam on a raft.

There are two types of sawmills.

On the one hand the wainscot sawyers produced what is referred to as wainscot, a type of fine oak that was used for wall and ship paneling.

A sawyer of beams kept himself busy solely by sawing beams and planks, the coarser type of sawing work.

The Dutch are so proud of their small towns on the IJsselmeer.

When the rain did stop for 1 to 2 minutes, we did get a rainbow.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Volendam and Marken were bustling places with a flourishing fish trade. The numerous fisherman's dwellings are still standing. The authentic characters of these places have been remarkably well preserved.

Marken and Volendam will be forever fisherman's villages. They are symbols for so many small towns on the former Zuidersee. From 1932 the Netherlands accepted the challenge of the battle against the water. The Lowlands, which is not merely by coincidence another name for the Netherlands, were fed up with the devastating impact of the Spring tide and heavy storms, from floods and the deaths that derived from it for many. The battle against the water was won, by many large water barrier projects.

Let me give you the definition of a polder before you start reading.

A polder is a tract of low land, especially in the Netherlands, reclaimed from the sea or other body of water and protected by dikes.

The Netherlands is frequently associated with polders, as its engineers became noted for developing techniques to drain wetlands and make them usable for agriculture and other development. This is illustrated by the English saying: "God created the world but the Dutch created Holland".

The Dutch have a long history of reclamation of marshes and fenland, resulting in some 3,000 polders nationwide. About half the total surface area of polders in north-west Europe is in the Netherlands. The first embankments in Europe were constructed in Roman times. The first polders were constructed in the 11th century.

As a result of flooding disasters, water boards called waterschap (when situated more inland) or hoogheemraadschap (near the sea, mainly used in the Holland region) were set up to maintain the integrity of the water defenses around polders, maintain the waterways inside a polder, and control the various water levels inside and outside the polder. Water boards hold separate elections, levy taxes, and function independently from other government bodies. Their function is basically unchanged even today. As such they are the oldest democratic institution in the country. The necessary cooperation among all ranks to maintain polder integrity gave its name to the Dutch version of third way politics—the Polder Model.

The 1953 flood disaster prompted a new approach to the design of dikes and other water-retaining structures, based on an acceptable probability of overflowing. Risk is defined as the product of probability and consequences. The potential damage in lives, property and rebuilding costs is compared to the potential cost of water defenses. From these calculations follows an acceptable flood risk from the sea at one in 4,000–10,000 years, while it is one in 100–2,500 years for a river flood. The particular established policy guides the Dutch government to improve flood defenses as new data on threat levels becomes available.

The Zuidersee, literally, the southern sea, is a piece of water that carries with it both the pride and the pain of the Netherlands. Up until 1932, the Zuidersee was an inland sea and people referred to Amsterdam on sea, Volendam on sea and Marken on sea. Major floods and disasters prepared the Netherlands for the largest battle it has ever fought: the fight against the water.

Before 1916: Amsterdam, Marken and Volendam are located by the sea, the Zuidersee, which measures about 6,000 square kilometers. Fishing and trade communities emerge along the coast of the Zuidersee.

1916: Flood disasters lash the Netherlands. On the 13th and 14th of January, fate hits hard. A storm tide pushes up the water level of the Zuidersee at the same time that excessive melting water in the major rivers of the Netherlands puts pressure on the Zuidersee from further inland. As a consequence, the dykes along the Zuidersee give way in numerous locations. The number of casualties is limited, but fear has entered the minds of the local people.

1918: the Zuidersee law is accepted. Because of the consequences of the flood disaster two years prior, people in the Netherlands are prepared. They know the sea must be conquered, no matter the consequences for fisherman and sailors.

1932: The Netherlands enters into battle with the water, particularly with the tempestuous sea. The Afsluitdijk, the Closing Dyke, between the villages of Den Oever (North Holland province) and Zurich (Friesland province) is completed. The 32 kilometer long sea wall marks the end of the Zuidersee. The area south of the Afsluidijk is named IJsselmeer (IJssel Lake) from that time on. The water becomes brackish instead of salty. The has major consequences for fishing communities.

1940: a start is made on land reclamation and creating polders for the future 12th province of the Netherlands: Flevoland. Before 1940, almost the entire area was covered in water.

1953: This Year is synonymous in the Netherlands with the "Watersnooddramp" (flood disaster). A combination of a storm from the west and a springtide causes a catastrophe and n the southwest of the Netherlands during the night of January 31st and February 1st. The Afsluitdijk successfully passes its first major test. Where 1,836 people die, 100,000 people lose their homes and 200,000 acres of land are submerged in the southwest of the Netherlands, the damage in the area of the former Zuidersee is kept to a minimum.

1957: this is the year of the construction of the dyke near Marken. The island of Marken becomes a peninsula, connected with the mainland by the Zeedijk. Supply of food, etc. by ice sailors during the winter is no longer necessary. The close knit community on Marken becomes more accessible to outsiders.

1976: The Houtribdijk, between Enkhuiszen and Lelystad, is completed. Marken and Volendam are no longer located on the IJsselmeer but on the Markermeer. The plan is to reclaim more land in the Merkermeer. Thus, Marken will lose its status as an island and become part of a larger de-poldered area.

1986: The Netherlands officially welcomes its 12th province Flevoland, west of Marken, has been reclaimed from the water in its entirety. An ingenious polder project results in 1,500 square kilometers of extra ground space in the Netherlands.

2003: An official resolution is taken not to de-polder parts of the Markersee. Marken is to remain a peninsula.

We went to Marken which is a peninsula encircled by the Gouwzee (shire sea) and the Markermeer (Marker Lake). Today, it is possible to visit Marken over land, but until 1957, Marken was an isolated island. First, in the Zuidersee (southern sea) and later in the IJsselmeer (IJesel Lake). The island of Marken was inhabited for the first time in the 13th century by monks from Friesland. They lived and worked in husbandry and agriculture. However, the lowly elevated Marken frequently fell victim to the salt water of the Zuidersee. Hence, the inhabitants decided to build their houses on wharfs. A wharf is an artificial hill that should provide safety come high water.

Marken is known for its green and black houses. The fishermen were poor and could not afford colored paint. So, the used grasses and herbs for the green and tar for the black.

Also stopped at a clog shop. Wooden clogs are made from willow or poplar trees. The wood needs to be wet for the clog to be made. Clogs are waterproof and very good for your posture. Learned there are many different varieties of clogs. There is the farmer's clog which is broad and flat and there is even a smuggler's clog.

The lady giving the demonstration said it is best to wear woolen socks with the clogs and the clogs should not fit snugly. Would have liked to try on a pair but there were too many people and not enough time.

She started with a piece of poplar wood.

The machine forms the clog and even cuts out the center. The only thing she needs to cut off are the ends.

The cutout clogs are hung from the rafters for two weeks to dry out.

A klomp (plural klompen) are whole feet clogs from the Netherlands.

Approximately 3 million pairs of klompen are made each year. They are sold throughout the Netherlands. A large part of the market is for tourist souvenirs. However some Dutch people, particularly farmers, market gardeners, and gardeners still wear them for everyday use. Outside the tourist industry, klompen can be found in local tool shops and garden centers.

The traditional all-wooden Dutch clogs have been officially accredited as safety shoes with the CE mark and can withstand almost any penetration including sharp objects and concentrated acids. They are actually safer than steelcapped protective shoes in some circumstances, as the wood cracks rather than dents in extreme accidents, allowing easy removal of the clog and not continued pressure on the toes by the (edge of the) steel nose.

We took a ferry boat ride from Marken to Volendam.

Volendam was founded in the 14th century as Follendam. Soon the harbor town became a preferred place for fishermen and farmers to locate. At present, the harbor and the Dyke that runs along the harbor is still a tourist attraction. Yearly, thousands of visitors stroll through the cozy town, with one side buildings in the typical Volendam building style and on the other hand, the harbor with fishing boats.

The bus driver and our tour guides led us through the "Maze", a quarter with narrow meandering little streets, bridges and brooks. Between the narrow streets lined up one after the other and the little houses, narrow canals and drawbridges, I found the perfect location that revealed the Netherlands of yesteryear.

The "Volendammers" have their own view on tourists. They are in a habit of saying:"You are not a tourist in Volendam, you are our guest". I heard this during the cheese tour, at the restaurant and in a shop. It is this sense of hospitality that you experience when you walk through the town.

A man from Volendam once said: there are 16 million Dutchmen and 22,000 people from Volendam. The people are truly different from the average Dutchman. Volendam is a town full of truly hard workers, a close knit community and a rich history. Volendam is well known and world famous. Well known in the Netherlands as a top supplier of artists and artisans and famous throughout the world as a unique piece of Holland.

Traditional clothing is one of the most important features of Volendam and for which it is world famous, thanks to many artists who painted the scene on canvas around 1900. The main feature is the Volendammer hul- a lace cap that serves as a headpiece and the chains of red coral on which a boat or other fishing related items hang. The clothing includes an everyday costume, Sunday costume and mourning costume. Each has its own specific, unique characteristics and decorations.

Didn't see anyone in the traditional costume. We would have had to go to the old time photography place and get in costume. I learned that only 50 people are wearing the traditional clothing.

I did see Woltje's bakery. The story of this bakery starts on October 11, 1799. They are world famous for Dutch Stroopwafels. (Syrup Waffles). They also have chocolate ones filled with syrup and covered with caramel pieces and nutmeg. Both are tasty!!!

Of course, I needed to try the local fish so I had the kibbeling van kabeljauw. It was fried cod with french fries and a side salad. Fresh! Tasty! Delicious!!!

Fisherman taking the day's catch and selling it at a stand by the water.

We also went into the Volendam Cheese Factory. A woman talked about how they make their Volendam cheese. Of course, there was a tasting room. Excellent cheese and so different from Swiss cheese.

Took a picture from the bus of a water windmill.

When I got back to Amsterdam. I met up with Michael at the Anne Frank House. There was more than a 4 hour wait, if you do not have reservations, to get into the museum. After the tour I can see why people want to visit.

A group of 12 of us were taken into a room where we listened to a half hour presentation about what is written below.

Anne Frank was a Jewish girl who had to go into hiding during World War Two to escape from the Nazis. Together with seven others she hid in the secret annex at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam. After more than two years in hiding they were discovered and deported to concentration camps. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was the only one of the eight people to survive. After her death Anne became world famous because of the diary she wrote while in hiding.

Anne Frank was born on June 12, 1929 in the German city of Frankfurt am Main, where her father’s family had lived for generations. She had a sister, Margot, who was three and a half years older. The economic crisis, Hitler’s rise to power and growing antisemitism put an end to the family’s carefree life. Like many other Jews, Otto Frank and his wife, Edith, decided to leave Germany.

Otto set up a business in Amsterdam and the family found a home on the Merwedeplein. The children went to school, Otto worked hard at his business and Edith looked after the home. When the threat of war in Europe increased, Otto and his family try to emigrate to England or the USA but these attempts fail. On September 1, 1939 Germany invaded Poland. It was the beginning of the Second World War.

For a while there was hope that The Netherlands would not become involved in the war, but on May 10, 1940 German troops invaded the country. Five days later The Netherlands surrendered and was occupied. Anti-Jewish regulations soon follow. Jews were allowed into fewer and fewer places. Anne and Margot must attend a Jewish school and Otto los his business.

When a renewed attempt to emigrate to the U.S.A. failed, Otto and Edith decided to go into hiding. Otto set up a hiding place in the rear annex of his firm at Prinsengracht 263. He does this together with his Jewish business partner Hermann van Pels and with help from his associates Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kugler.

On July 5, 1942 Margot Frank receivesda call-up to report for a German work camp. The next day the Frank family went into hiding. The Van Pels family followed a week later and in November 1942 they were joined by an eighth person: the dentist Fritz Pfeffer. They remained in the secret annex for more than two years.

In hiding, they had to keep very quiet, were often frightened and passed the time together as well as they could. They were helped by the office workers, Johannes Kleiman, Victor Kugler, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl; by Miep’s husband, Jan Gies; and by the warehouse manager, Johannes Voskuijl, Bep’s father. These helpers not only arranged food, clothes and books, they were the group’s contact with the outside world.

Shortly before going into hiding Anne received a diary for her birthday. She started writing straightaway and during her time in hiding she wrote about events in the secret annex and about herself. Her diary was a great support to her. Anne also wrote short stories and collected quotations from other writers in her ‘book of beautiful sentences’.

When the Dutch minister of education in exile in London appealed on British radio for people to keep war diaries, Anne decided to edit her diary and create a novel called "The Secret Annex". She started to rewrite, but she and the others were discovered and arrested before she had finished.

On August 4, 1944 the people in hiding were arrested, along with their helpers Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kugler. They passed from the security service headquarters and prison to the transit camp Westerbork, from where they were deported to Auschwitz. The two helpers were sent to the Amersfoort camp. Johannes Kleiman was released shortly after his arrest and six months later Victor Kugler escaped. Immediately after the arrests Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl rescue Anne's diary and papers that had been left behind in the secret annex. Despite intensive investigations it had never been clear how the hiding place was discovered.

Otto Frank was the only one of the eight people in hiding to survive the war. During his long journey back to The Netherlands he learned that his wife, Edith, had died. He knew nothing about his daughters and still hoped to see them again. He arrived back in Amsterdam at the beginning of July. He goes straight to Miep and Jan Gies and remained with them for another seven years.

Otto Frank tried to find his daughters, but in July he received the news that they both died of disease and deprivation in Bergen-Belsen. Miep Gies then gave him Anne’s diary papers. Otto reads the diary and discovers a completely different Anne. He is very moved by her writing.

Anne wrote in her diary that she wanted to become a writer or a journalist in the future, and that she wanted to publish her diary as a novel. Friends convinced Otto Frank that the diary had great expressive power and on June 25, 1947 The Secret Annex was published in an edition of 3,000. Many more editions follow, also translations, a play and a film.

People from all over the world learn of Anne Frank's story. Over the years Otto Frank answered thousands of letters from people who had read his daughter's diary. In 1960 the Anne Frank House becomes a museum. Otto Frank remained involved with the Anne Frank House until his death in 1980 and campaigned for human rights and respect.

Then, with an audio guide, we were able to walk through the house at our leisure.

It is such an emotional place, people whispered. I just can't imagine living there in that house; under those conditions ; for that long of a time.

The only pictures you were allowed to take were in the room with the presentation.

Construction on the railroad tracks from Zürich to Bern made the trip back to Sunny Days longer but we finally arrived at 12:45 AM. A very long day but a very enjoyable and memorable one!!!!

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