Date: Sabbath, July 12, 2014 (for Thursday, July 10, 2014)
Time: 7:43 pm local time (1:43 pm EST)
Place: Leiden, the Netherlands
We left Paris by about 8:30 on Thursday morning, heading for our hotel in Leiden. It was about a 3 hour train ride, going through many recognizable cities in both Belgium and the Netherlands. I spent most of the time on the train writing the blogs that you’ve been enjoying over the past few days.
We arrived a little before noon and were able to check into our rooms at the Hotel Mayflower. We were given time to go get food, and so I went down to the McDonalds which is about two doors down from the hotel.
Later in the afternoon we walked a little ways and arrived at the Windmill Museum. I was kind of dreading that it would be a big museum all about the history of windmills but it wasn’t. They showed us a video that was a few minutes long, then we were free to explore the building. I even climbed most of the way to the top. I knew that the building was secure and strong, but I got nervous because it looked and felt a lot like our Campmeeting cabin. But I survived.
Dr. Wohlers then took us to a stairway by a museum, where we sat down for a while and heard a lecture about the Netherlands, which was quite well done and I enjoyed it a lot.
For a long time the Netherlands really just weren’t important, though they fell under the rule of one of the most powerful people in Europe: the Duke of Burgundy, who, at one point, was more powerful than the king of France. The Hapsburg family arranged to have their son Maximillian marry in to that part of European royalty.
Maximillian and his wife Mary had a son named Philip the Handsome, and then his son, Charles V got to rule all the Hapsburg lands and became the Holy Roman Emperor. He later retired and split the kingdoms: his son got Spain and her colonies, with his nephew getting the title of Holy Roman Emperor.
The Netherlands were content under the Hapsburgs until about the 17th century, when they decided that they wanted to have their own rights. The Thirty Years’ War ended in 1648 with the treaty of Westphalia, which made the Netherlands its own, independent country.
It is ruled by the House of Orange, which, at one point, was run by William and Mary, who were also asked to come and be the king and queen of England, though when this happened the two countries did not merge.
The Netherlands is connected to the Ocean, and so they made a lot of their fortune as seafarers and traders. They colonized and ruled in South Africa (Dutch and the native language of South Africa, Afrikaans, are closely related), and in Indonesia, forming the East India Company.
They became very good bankers and were involved in finance all around the world, and still are. They are not very industrial, but are quite agricultural, growing many of the world’s flowers.
They were neutral during the First World War, but they were invaded during the Second. Queen Wilhelmina got on the radio one night and said that the pact with German would keep them from being invaded, but the next day it was invaded. She took her government in exile to England where she continued to help her people.
Leiden was the home of the Puritans (Pilgrims) between the time they were kicked out of England and when they decided to go to the New World. The Netherlands has a reputation of being very accepting, so they fit in very nicely. They also had Anabaptist roots, which say that the church shouldn’t be based on a creed, but on the belief and understanding of its members, and that only adults should be members of the church. There should be a conscious decision to be a Christian, not just being baptized into the Church.
Dr. Wohlers released those of us who didn’t want to go with him to our next destination, and most of the group stayed home. Those of us who went with him, however, got to go see a very nice art museum called Mauritshuis (Maurit’s House) in The Hague (Den Haag). It is a 17th or 18th century house which was donated to the country and turned into a nice art museum. Featured in the museum are works by artists from the Low Countries (Belgium, Flanders, the Netherlands, etc.). I got to see wonderful paintings by Rubens, van Dyck, van Goyen, Rembrandt, and Vermeer (along with many, many others). It was not very crowded, so it was a nice place to go for an afternoon.
On the way back to the hotel Kathy and I stopped and ordered a pizza from Dominos. It was quite yummy!
Love to all!
I'm a Classical musician, a growing Christian, and a world traveler. I'm learning, exploring, and trying to understand this wonderful world I live in.