Almost by accident, I ended up making three trips to The Netherlands this year.
Not going back until next spring at the earliest, I’m starting to get withdrawal symptoms. I’ve consoled myself with this small compilation video, of pictures taken in Utrecht (mainly), Assen, Groningen, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
Despite the preponderance of bicycles that appear here, for my first two trips I was actually largely on foot. This wasn’t a problem – while I love riding bicycles, I also like wandering, and what is so wonderful about Dutch cities is their human scale, so easy and pleasant to navigate on foot, or by bike. You can, of course, drive a car around them, but for most everyday journeys it would be rather absurd, given that the alternatives are so much more uncomplicated and effortless.
What I also hope some of these photographs do is give the impression that there’s no such thing as ‘being in the way’ in The Netherlands; Dutch streets are, naturally, places rather than just thoroughfares. The ‘civic’ function of these streets is much more evident than the ‘traffic’ function. Unfortunately the complete opposite is true of most UK streets, which tend to be ‘roads’, even in places where there are large numbers of pedestrians – the people actually doing the shopping and interacting.
I’m just counting down the days until I can go back.