The Netherlands

Honey, I Shrunk The Netherlands!

WARNING: Seeing these photos is like seeing The Netherlands in the flesh! Have fun!

Fast Facts About the Dutch
>The average height for all adults for the Netherlands is 6′ 1″ (1.85 m). WiseGeek.
>In the last 150 years, the Dutch have become the tallest people on Earth. USA Today, 2006.
>The president of the Dutch Tall People’s Club is 6′ 11″, Paul van Sprundel. ABC News.
>The current minimum required height for doorways to homes and businesses is 7′ 8″. WiseGeek.
>A Dutch guy, Berger, stayed with us in Gent, Belgium for a couple of days and he was taller than Yoann who is already 6′ 1″ in height. Once Berger and I were walking and I realized how tall he really was because I couldn’t hear what he was saying and his voice sounded so faraway!
>The Dutch loves the color orange. Don’t ask why!

Be a Giant for a Day!
So wouldn’t it be nice to be a giant in the land of giants for a change? If you think so, too, visit Madurodam. It holds miniature versions of places around The Netherlands (NL), such as the Schiphol airport, the International Peace Palace, the Cube building in Rotterdam, Royal palaces, castles, the wonderful Dutch bridges and canals, iconic windmills, old buildings, theatres, museums, churches, and a lot more. The replicas look SO real and so beautiful. NL is truly a wonderful mix of the old and the new. I went and was treated by my cousin Mark back in 2011 (some good experiences in great places last!). It was a mere 20-minute tram ride from my student dormitory and had no idea the place existed. Thanks for taking me to this wonderful place and for these wonderful photos, kuya!


Warning: Beautiful Tulips Ahead

Tulips were originally wild flowers found and eventually cultivated as early as 1,000 A.D. in Turkey (during the Ottoman Empire period). Named after the Turkish word for turban, tulips were introduced in Western Europe and the Netherlands by a botanist from Vienna, Austria in the 17th century. Carolus Clusius was a medicinal plants researcher at the University of Leiden when he “got some bulbs from Turkey from his friend Ogier Ghiselain de Busbecq, the ambassador of Constantinople (now Istanbul)” and planted them on his garden.

The first major book on tulips written by Clusius himself in 1592 became popular that his garden was often raided and bulbs were regularly stolen. This flower was so popular in the mid-17th century that it’s known to have caused the first economic bubble aptly called “Tulip Mania” (tulipomania) – because of the high demand, they became more and more expensive that bulbs were used as money until the market in them crashed.

Fast forward to the 21st century, human beings don’t have to sneak into Clusiu’s garden and/or be wrapped up in an economic turmoil. I for one was able to see the beauty of: more than 7 million tulips plus daffodils and hyacinths in over 32 hectares of wonderland. Welkom bij Keukenhof!