It’s no secret that the Netherlands is my favorite country. For the past 12 years, I have tried to visit it annually and have ridden a bicycle all over the country. Biking is a great way to see the real country behind the scenes. I am just crazy about the small towns and villages and prefer to spend time in them as opposed to the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the Hague. Charming and cozy are the best words I can use to describe these towns. I have always had a fascination with Dutch architecture. In fact the first house we built as newlyweds was a Dutch colonial, and that was long before I had even been to the Netherlands. When we were bicycling there a few weeks ago, I took some photos to show you particular characteristics of the Dutch look. Please note that each of these homes except the first one were country homes that I spotted along the bike trails where we cycled.
This photo, which I took in the lovely town named Thorn, actually captures two of the looks that are consistent with Dutch homes. It has a high gloss front door, and that front door happens to be a Dutch door. I have mentioned here on the blog that the front door in our new place will be in a high gloss paint. Plus, our back door will be a Dutch door. We have had Dutch doors in two of our homes and truly love them. I think most Americans like Dutch doors, but ironically, our door man told me that our order was his first request for a Dutch door in over 25 years. Our door will be taller and have glass panes on the top and wood on the bottom.
The Dutch love their shutters, and they come in all colors and styles. My favorites are the colorful ones that have a geometric design on them. Although this look wouldn’t work here in our country, it sure looks stunning on this country farmhouse. They also had their share of cottage style shutters.
There are clean windows on almost every home in Dutch villages. I have been told that the Dutch women wash their windows every week, and those ladies who do not get criticized behind their backs. The bottom line is that the windows are squeaky clean, and usually the curtains are open. They do that to prove they have nothing to hide. And one more things about windows. They have a lot of windows outlined in black, which is a trend that is catching on here.
First of all, if there is a spot for a plant or a flower, the Dutch will plant one. After all, that’s part of the Dutch look. They love growing things and are very good at it. Hello, tulips. Even if a home sits on a large parcel of land, the front yard is usually enclosed with a wrought iron fence or a canal and planted in a formal and symmetrical way. The Dutch tend to enjoy order, and their lawns are perfect examples of that. They also enjoy espalier trees and lots of color. While cycling I am always impressed by how rich and black their soil is which, of course, makes growing things easier.
Although I have never seen a thatched roof here in the USA, they are very common in the Netherlands and definitely are part of the Dutch look. I have been told that they can last up to 50 years. A thatched roof sure adds character and charm to a home, don’t you think? And do you see that lace treatment in the front door? We saw a lot of that, too. It’s not lace. I think it’s metal.
We saw so many beautiful homes, and it was just impossible to take photos of all of them. After all, I needed to get to my destination before dark. I am always amazed that the villages are places where real people live. They aren’t tourist destinations – they’re just real towns, and they truly have the Dutch look. To learn more about what makes the Dutch tick, you might enjoy this book. And this book tells why the Dutch children are the happiest of all the children in 50 countries. As an aside, American children rank number 47 out of 50.
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