I love Holland with its canals town houses and beautiful cities. The people are just the friendliest and the lifestyle is so laid back it’s untrue. I’m so lucky to only live a four hour drive away from the Dutch coast so we recently took a short break and explored some of the gorgeous places the region had to offer. It boasts some of the cleanest beaches in Europe and Holland on the whole is so well kept, environmentally friendly with the cyclist being king and utterly beautiful if you love architecture or plants.
We’ve visited Amsterdam before and decided on a day trip to The Hague or Den Haag as it’s known in Dutch. Just like Amsterdam it’s a city of canals and quaint merchants houses which have been lovingly restored to look their absolute best. I have a thing about houses and spent ages taking endless photos of different styles of facade.
As we wandered round the streets, we happened to come across an antiques market in the old part of the city. It was a particularly hot day anyway and the shade of the trees was a welcome break so I didn’t have to try too hard to persuade my husband that a stop would be just what we needed. Who doesn’t like wandering through stalls of interesting artifacts and brick-a-brack I ask you? I certainly don’t need much excuse.
The market had everything from paintings and clothes to jewelery and nick nacks. This pair of traditional clogs caught my eye. I wished I could have bought them, I’m sure I could have given them house room.
I wonder who wore them and how comfortable or not they might have been?
Another more unusual stall had a collection of creepy crawlies. Not my cup of tea but interesting none the less. The colours on the bodies of some of them were so vivid and jewel like it gave me a few ideas for maybe having a go at sketching them and replicating the colours using some of my Tattered Angels paints and mists. Then there was the collection of surgical instroments which having just been in hospital for an operation I did find particularly fascinating and a little macabre at the same time.
I spent far too long going through this tray of ink pens and nibs. I have several already, one which I inherited from my mother in law but still I now regret not buying another.
You’ll have to forgive the glare from the glass but this case of antique seals and stamps was absolutely beautiful. The way they were displayed was just perfect. I wondered what official documents some of these were used on?
After a bit of lunch, we left the market and continued our wander round the old town coming across more than one windmill as we went. Some of them are also museums so you’re able to see exactly what it would have been like to live and work inside one of these things.
I know it’s a cliché but I did take lots of windmill photos too and plan to add a few to my sketchbook soon.
If you’re in Europe at all, I highly recommend visiting Holland and especially Den Haag. I found it to be a totally inspiring place to be and came away with so many ideas for future projects and sketches I’ve just got to find the time now. I’d love to go back in the spring and see the amazing fields of flowers which I imagine are simply stunning but for now I’ll have the memory of a fabulous Gypsy travel.