Put a Finger in It

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Remember that story that we learned as kids about the Dutch boy who saved Holland by noticing a leak in the dike and plugging it with his finger until help came?

It’s all a lie.

Whoever made up that story had obviously never seen a Dutch dike. In fact, that is a dike in the photo above. Can you tell? Here, let me point it out:

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Could you tell? Not what you expected, is it?

Often they built roadways on top.

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My husband’s family lives in a small village about an hour northeast of Amsterdam. When we’re there, we’re usually involved in family activities and I never have time to take all the photos of the countryside that I would like to. This time, on our last day there, my husband indulged me in taking the long way to my brother-in-law’s house.

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Just a few minutes from my husband’s town, there’s a town full of traditional people. I caught this woman catching up on her chores, sweeping the front walk.

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Here’s another woman, who was grabbing the mail.

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Can you imagine walking around decked out in all that each day? Each village will have their own style of dress. According to my husband, people in these towns are very religious and the towns literally shut down on Sunday. Stores are closed, cars don’t drive on the streets, and people stay home.

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The homes are yards are always so neat. I asked my husband why he’s not more into gardening, since his people obviously are.

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One more:

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This is a typical farm-house.

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Originally, the front of the house was the living quarters, and the back was the barn where the farm animals were kept. They were given the cheaper, but more fire-prone thatch roof. The barn was attached to the house to facilitate feeding during the cold winter months and help preserve heat. You can still see the different roof lines, but these days the families have expanded the living area into the former barns, making spacious quarters.

Two things you need to know about Dutch houses: 1) they must have a large front window.

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2) Outdoor space is highly prized and well used.

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Let’s review: a) Your mental image of a dike is not real.
b) You can easily find a woman looking like she stepped out of a Rembrandt painting on any given Saturday afternoon.
c) Those funny-looking roofs are former barn houses, but not anymore.
d) You better not walk around your house naked if you live in Holland.

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