Posts tagged “Dutch Rivers & Canals

Urban Canals.105

You’ve seen almost this exact same view under very different light conditions in an earlier post. Neal will recognize the Scheepvaartmuseum (aka National Maritime Museum), and one of the tall ships which are (I believe?) a living part of its collection.

City Views.145

Nearly all the remaining photos from my 24 hours in Maastricht a couple weeks ago. I’ve shown some of the city from above and afar in an earlier post, where I also shared a bit of history. These are all from walks with my friend Steve around the city, plus some photos of the paintings people have made over the past century or so on the walls of the extensive underground tunnel network beneath Maastricht and extending as well to the Belgian side of the border.  (Yes, the tunnel system has been used over the centuries both for commercial smuggling and for resistance or escape during WWII.) These were formerly underground limestone mines or quarries, but are now a tourist attraction. In that earlier post I showed you a lot of Ft Sint Pieter, which sits above some portions of the tunnel system. During one French invasion, they tried to destroy the fort by setting an explosion under it, but they got the wrong location and only collapsed the cave on themselves, according to our tour guide.

Also tucked into the gallery above is an image from inside that lovely hotel which we also showed you in another earlier Maastricht post, showing the stairs up to the restaurant from the lobby, all of which are within the soaring hall of the old cloister’s church. Remarkable place to have breakfast or a drink (the bar is at the back on the ground floor as you look at it) – thanks for the treat, Steve :-). Below: photo exhibit on my walk back to the train station about people on the move in the world, and I decided to photograph the one that shows one of MSF’s search and rescue boats at work. Below that, those city walks I keep mentioning :-), as seen from the foot and bike bridge over the Maas.


Urban Canals.104

Urban Garden.113

All these photos come from what’s now a natural parkland that’s slowly reclaiming what I believe was once the first cement quarry in NL. It’s all on the hill and below the hill further to the west of Fort Sint Pieter. Look closely and you’ll see a strip of the Maas (Meuse) behind the factor in the upper middle part of this photo above.


Urban Canals.103


Urban Canals.101

Urban Canals.100


Behold one of the largest moving structures in the world: the maeslantkering. I figured this would make a suitable entry for the 100th time I’ve posted this city / urban canal series. (Turns out when I first started, just after moving here in July ’21, I was calling it City Canals, to counterbalance a series I hoped to start that I still call Country Canals….and then at some point without noticing I just morphed it into Urban Canals. Sorry…) Anyhoo: this is, I think, technically within the municipality of Rotterdam but as you see it’s heavily industrial, not residential or commercial. For more on those parts of Rotterdam, check out for example this post.) We’re within a kilometer or so of the Hook of Holland, where the largest channel of the Rhine Delta meets the North Sea, and this large white structure is a movable storm-surge barrier intended to protect the city and inner port of Rotterdam. The outer port, where the hugest container ships dock, is behind the windmills you see in the panoramic photo just above, on south side of the river, in the Europoort Rotterdam and the Maasvlakte Rotterdam. I’ve bothered to learn all this partly because I’m just a geek and it fascinates me what the Dutch do with water and rivers, and partly because I read Neal Stephenson’s latest speculative-fiction novel during my multi-week visit to Myanmar, so when I landed back in NL and the guy I’m currently stepping out with suggested we drive the beach somewhere, I said “let’s go see the Maeslantkering!” (He has a car, I don’t, and really the best way to get there from A’dam is in fact by car, although there are public transit and bike methods, this being NL, after all…) And just to give you more sense of the general surroundings (good example of Dutch urban planning, what with artificial mountain-bike courses e.g. the small part below where I saw classes of kids being taught, canals, bike paths, etc. all snugged up against one of the largest ports and busiest shipping channels in the world), a bunch of other photos from the Hook of Holland and the immediate surroundings of the maeslanterking, below. (Yes, wiki has a nice piece about this structure for you fellow geeks out there. And yes, I finally donated today, recognizing that I’d be lost without wiki by this point.)

Urban Garden.110

Last Monday evening after I biked home from work was one of those glorious “last day of summer” type evenings where the sunlight angled in and lit up everything beautifully, so that I simply had to get out for a walk. These are canals & gardens in one :-). Happy almost-equinox, all.


Urban Canals.97

Village Views.26

It’s my blog so I get to define what’s a “village” and what’s not. This is one of those uniquely Dutch views: railroad overpass covered-bridge which is mostly used by bikers, specifically small and large classes of kids taking mountain-biking classes on the natural and enhanced (since almost everything that touches upon elevation above or below sea level, flow of water and so on in NL are very much human-enhanced) hills and dunes and canals surrounding … the Maeslantkering, one of the world’s largest movable structures whose northern half sits perhaps 300 meters behind me as I took this photo on my first full day back from Myanmar. Photos of the Maeslantkering and other Hook-of-Holland area sites to come.

Urban Canals.96

Urban Canals.94

Compare the river traffic in yesterday’s post and today’s. This is the Nederrijn (“lower Rhine”) at Arnhem, just some 15km north of Nijmegen. My working hypothesis is the Dutch generally channel passenger boats and river cruises into this branch of the Rhine, versus commercial freight traffic onto the much larger Waal.

Fun-sad fact: in late 1944, the allies held (most of?) Belgium and areas of NL to the south of the Waal, at least this far east. Meaning allies held Nijmegen; Germans still held Arnhem, with no-one’s-land between. The rounded building with windows on the left is a fine museum commemorating and documenting a (individually) valiant but (tactically) disastrous effort in September 1944 to liberate Arnhem and free the road for an earlier advance on Berlin. One outcome of this failed operation was the premature exposure of many Dutch resistance fighters. Another was the (German-)forced mass evacuation of Arnhem – in winter – and the destruction of the bridge here, which is now named in commemoration of the British commander who tried valiantly but without success to hold the bridge for the allies.

Urban Canals.93

The Waal at Nijmegen, which carries more than half the water which enters NL when the Rhine comes in from Germany. I’ve heard the Rhine in DE is now at dangerously low levels for commerce, and I’m sure the Rhine’s various branches are also lower than normal in NL The Dutch being the engineers of water that they are, though, I somehow assume they’re opening and closing flow controls to sustain volume in the various branches at viable levels for as long as possible.

Fun fact: what you see right here was the northernmost edge of the Roman empire for some few hundred years, after they gave up trying to take even more territory away from the Germanic tribes still resisting on the other side of the Rhine.


Urban Canals.92

Urban Canals.91

Arnhem again, as evidenced by the tower of Eusebiuskerk 🙂

Country Canals.21

This is the dike about which my brother Steve asked me in a recent post. To the right is an inland (country) canal, to the left what I believe can already be called the Wattenmeer or Wadden Sea here, although most folks think of it as being much further east. Texel is the westernmost of the many Frisian islands which collectively – I believe? – form the outer boundary of the Wattenmeer. Correct me in a comment if I’m wrong, someone, please. This dike runs most of the length of the eastern edge of Texel, where natural dunes aren’t as prevalent as they are on the western (much windier!) side. The road – also named Lancasterdijk – runs up nearly to de Cocksdorp, which you’ll see again from this vantage point in our next post :-).


Country Canals.20


Urban Canals.90


Urban Canals.89


Country Canals.19

Village Views.19


Country Canals.18


Urban Canals.88

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