So you think you know the Netherlands? Here are 13 Dutch ‘streken’

So you think you know the Netherlands? Here are 13 Dutch ‘streken’

The Netherlands has plenty of well defined provinces, towns, cities and regions. But there is also such a thing as a streek, an area whose borders are very often much more difficult to pinpoint. Here’s a list. Achterhoek Many people only have a vague idea about the Achterhoek (literally back corner) except that its main export was a band called Normaal whose performances usually ended in total mayhem. It lies at the eastern end of the province of Gelderland, with Germany to the south and east, but its borders are fluid and local spats are rife. So ‘that bit in the corner of Gelderland’ it remains. Refoband The Bijbelgordel, or Refoband, is the Dutch Bible belt. It roughly cuts a swathe across the centre of the Netherlands, beginning in Overijssel and ending in Zeeland. It is defined by the voters of the fundamentalist Protestant political party SGP, the party which believes women should not vote and the Netherlands should be governed by the word of God. Randstad The Randstad! At least here we know exactly where we are, don't we? The Randstad includes the Netherlands' four biggest cities, Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam and all the towns and villages in between. The cities have started promoting themselves abroad as the Holland Metropole, to further complicate the issue. Kop van Noord-Holland The Kop van Noord-Holland, or simply the Kop (head) is conveniently bordered by water on three sides: the North Sea to the west, the Wadden Sea to the north and the IJsselmeer to the east. The Wadden island of Texel, more like a bump on the Kop, is also part of the area. The local authority boundaries have been redrawn and the area now consists of Texel, Den Helder, Schagen and Hollands Kroon or Holland’s Crown (which sounds historical but is actually a newly invented name). Westland For many Dutch people Westland, in the province of Zuid-Holland, is synonymous with the city of glass, as it is home to the Netherlands’ vast array of greenhouses. Fly over the Netherlands at night and that orange glow is Westland. But it is actually a combination of the municipalities of Westland and Midden-Delfland, plus Hoek van Holland, Monster and Loosduinen. Westland itself forms part of another streek called Delfland. Well, it's somewhere near The Hague anyway. Veenkolonieën The Veenkolonieën or peat colonies refer to the communities that sprung up in the peat cutting areas – the most important of which are in the eastern parts of Groningen and Drenthe and an area called the Peel, on the border of Noord-Brabant and Limburg. The turf that came out of these areas was instrumental in turning the 17th century into the Golden Age by allowing the Dutch Republic to produce its own energy. The Veenkolonieën later became famous for their workhouses, where antisocial families were sent to be reformed. Duin and Bollenstreek The Duin and Bollenstreek, or dune and bulb region, takes in the Zuid-Holland municipalities of Katwijk, Noordwijk, Noordwijkerhout, Lisse, Hillegom and Teylingen. Lisse rings a bell with most people because it's the home of the Keukenhof, with its world-renowned flower shows. If you come in spring you won't be able to miss the endless fields of brightly coloured blooms, especially if you're stuck in the traffic jams that build up around Lisse in the flower season. Kleistreek De Kleistreek is named after its soil: clay. It’s in the province of Friesland and refers to a band of sea clay on the coast to the west and north of Leeuwarden. It’s mostly used for agriculture and tourism. The expression ‘Uit de klei getrokken’ or ‘formed from clay’ refers to people from rural areas, implying that they are sturdy, no-nonsense types. Twente Most people have some idea about where to locate this very picturesque corner of the Netherlands. It is the easterly bit of the province of Overijssel that backs onto the border with Germany. The Tukkers, as the inhabitants of Twente are called, are famous for their dry wit, their university, their football club, based in Enschede, and their dialect, which is part of Dutch Low Saxon, an officially recognised streektaal. Groene Hart You'll have heard of this one: it's the patches of green in between the cities of the Randstad (see above) that property developers and local councils are always itching to get their hands on. The Green Heart is protected against too many encroachments by law, but local councils strapped for homes are constantly trying to see how far they can push the boundaries. A famous Dutch poet once said that what is left of nature in this country is a strip of woodland the size of a newspaper, and that was in 1945. Heuvelland Meaning 'hilly land', you can't go far wrong with this one: it is in the province of Limburg, the only area of the Netherlands with any hills to speak of. Heuvelland in Limburg is not to be confused with Heuvelland in Belgium, which is just over the border. In order not to confuse the two the Dutch version also goes by the name of Limburgs Heuvelland. We could also mention the Utrechtse Heuvelrug – the ridge of low sand dunes near Utrecht – to further confuse the issue. Streek Last but not least is a streek which is actually called the Streek, in the province of Noord-Holland. The Streek is the epitome of a streek because it is the most ill-defined of them all. It started out as an area east of Hoorn in the late Middle Ages, then took in the area between Hoorn and Enkhuizen and now encompasses the villages of Blokker, Westwoud, Hoogkarspel, Lutjebroek, Grootebroek and Bovenkarspel. Poor old Lutjebroek, has become synonymous in colloquial Dutch with 'any insignificant speck on the map'. A bonus streek: HollandCity HollandCity is really a streek but in the other sense of the word, ie a bit of a prank which is being played on unwary tourists. It is, simply, a marketing trick to try to lure tourists away from Amsterdam and into other parts of the country. The HollandCity strategy basically involves promoting the Netherlands as a single metropolis with lots of districts, such as Lake District Friesland and Design District Eindhoven. Bona fide streken such as Twente, the Groene Hart and the Bollenstreek don't get a look in.  More >



Vrij Links must remain free-thinking

Vrij Links must remain faithful to their free-thinking, secular roots Spinoza sowed the seeds of a free Europe in which secular thought could flourish so we should stop thinking that non-western immigrants need protecting from free debate, say writer Asis Aynan, actor Femke Lakerveld, film maker Eddy Terstall and former Labour MP Keklik Yücel.. Group thinking is dividing this country. Nationalist right-wing opinion is feeding on romantic nationalism and all the regressive left has to show for itself are equally divisive tales of identity politics. The group is elbowing out the concepts of nationhood as well as individuality. The progressive left, traditionally based on universal values and the elevation of the masses, has been left to languish on the side lines. We, a number of progressive Dutch people from different backgrounds, refuse to give up on the left-wing ideas that have stimulated freedom and modern thought in the Netherlands and the entire Western world. Polarisation We are worried about increasing polarisation and segregation...  More >


British citizens call for Dutch support

Dutch politicians have a key role in protecting the rights of British citizens This week, the Dutch courts will decide if a court case brought by British nationals in the Netherlands who want to keep their European citizenship should be referred to the EU courts. But, whatever happens, the Netherlands can play an important role in making sure the rights of British citizens in Europe are protected after Brexit, writes Sarah Parkes of the British in the Netherlands group. Some 85,000 British citizens currently live in the Netherlands. Our number has been growing since the early 1930s and we hope, post Brexit, that we will be able to maintain our good relationship with the Dutch, can continue to contribute to the Dutch economy and, of course, to Dutch society. Whilst the UK government has been paying attention to the details of how the three million EU citizens can continue their current lives in Britain, they have given little attention to the estimated 1.3 million British citizens resident in the other 27 EU countries. Indeed, some of us could not even...  More >


Podcast: The Balls, Bans and Bangs Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Balls, Bans and Bangs Edition – Week 24 The podcast team looks back at a week in which the government decided that burqas were a bigger threat to society than stray fireworks, a school in Drenthe shelved plans to stage a mock shooting and Delft's porcelain image was rattled by a series of blasts and bombings. Schiphol airport vowed to get tough on passengers who pre-load during pre-boarding and the women's football team almost blew their chances of World Cup qualification. In our discussion we ask if Mark Rutte's speech to the European Parliament signals a seismic shift for the prime minister and the European Union. Top story Dutch senate set to pass ban on burqas on public transport News School postpones 'active shooter' safety drill after parents complain Cabinet refuses to ban New Year fireworks despite safety warnings Police investigating series of shootings at businesses in Delft Schiphol to crack down on drunk and dangerous passengers Sport Late Martens strike keeps Lionesses on course...  More >


‘I’m grateful to this place for its peaceful and relaxed, but professional, mindset’

‘I’m grateful to this place for its peaceful and relaxed, but professional, mindset’ Hungarian-born, US and-Israeli-educated David Lusztig is a growth hacker for Codemotion—a 'geek connector' that unites developers and tech communities in cutting-edge conferences. He says he escaped a life in the tech world at the mercy of some money-hungry superiors—'sharks'—where many friends ended up burnt out or worse. He has since become 'stupid proud' of what he does, and he plans to stay in the Netherlands 'until forever'. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was working in Israel, in the summer of 2014, and I was asked by a British headhunter company if I would like to be one the six founders of a new online gambling company in Amsterdam. And I said 'sure'. I mean in my career, with the experience I had at the time, nobody gets asked to set up an online casino with that kind of [financial] backing. Anyone would have said yes. We went bankrupt a month before the launch. I then got offered a job by a Dutch company in Amsterdam, but that was more of a rough ride—very...  More >


A sizzling summer of space in Delft

Delft is heating up this summer with the Sizzling Summer of Space A two month long international space university might not be your idea of a summer vacation, but for experts in the space industry, that’s exactly what they will be doing in Delft during the upcoming months. With them come a summer-long series of events with a space theme, open to every would-be astronaut or astronomer. Some 110 space professionals from 25 countries will pack into Delft later this month to learn about the latest in space technology, advancements in research and to boost cooperation between institutions and universities involved in exploring space - as part of the International Space University's space studies programme. The ISU was founded in the US in 1987 and is headquartered in Strasbourg but moves to a different location for its summer school every year. This year, Delft has the honours. ‘Space is increasingly important for society worldwide. I think the Netherlands is an excellent place for educating the next generation of space professionals,’ says...  More >


Podcast: The Who Spilled My Coffee Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Did You Spill My Coffee Edition – Week 23 This week's podcast asks if Amsterdam can hold back the rampant spread of tourism in the age of Airbnb and stag weekends. We also look back at a week in which Mark Rutte's handiness with a mop broke the internet, universities once again asked if English is taking over on campus, AD's fishy judging panels kicked up a stink and two fallen giants of world football went through the motions in Turin. Ophef of the week Frosty reception for Leidschendam ice-cream salesman's 'healthy option' AD scraps 'taste tests' in row over alleged bias and vitriol Top story Rutte to meet Trump at White House in July – reports Prime minister goes viral after cleaning up own mess \   News Minister says English at Dutch universities 'must not compromise standards' Deal struck on teachers' pay but strikes will still go ahead Dogs and cars top list of neighbourhood nuisances Sport Netherlands and Italy play out 1-1 draw in battle of World Cup absentees (FourFourTwo) Dumoulin...  More >


How to buy a house in Amsterdam

How to buy a house in Amsterdam and Amstelveen – don’t be afraid to take the plunge! The housing market in and around Amsterdam and Amstelveen can be pretty complex but more and more international workers see owning their own home as the best answer to ever rising rents. So if you've decided to take the plunge, how to buy a house? Buying your own home in a foreign country might seem daunting, but it is perfectly possible – as long as you get proper advice. Currently in Amsterdam and Amstelveen, properties are selling quickly and prices have risen to record levels over the past year. Nevertheless, there are still great buys around and a tuned-in estate agent will help you make the most of your money. There are plenty of legal ins and outs to deal with as well, so you will need to get good legal advice from a specialist notary too. On Sunday, June 24, a special event is being held at the Vondel church close to the park to help expats find their way around the housing maze. ‘The event will guide you through the entire home buying process, including the roles...  More >


DutchNews.nl destinations: Nijmegen

Dutchnews.nl destinations:  explore 2,000 years of history in Nijmegen Nijmegen, the oldest city in the Netherlands, started life as a Roman military encampment in the 1st century BC. Esther O'Toole spent a weekend exploring. Despite its location on the Waal river, Nijmegen is not the prettiest of Dutch cities - much of it was bombed in World War II and planners in the 1960s and 70s helped finish the job. So, although the charming main square retains a sense of history and the centre is welcoming to visitors, if you are after long strolls through medieval streets you will be largely disappointed. However history buffs, whether young or old or favouring ancient or modern periods, will have lots to explore. Politically Nijmegen is a progressive stronghold in the Netherlands, so much so that it’s sometimes referred to as Havana on the Waal. Its liberalism is tangible in the laid-back, terrace culture that has developed over time; a strong vibe of intellectual curiosity in the events scene, which has lots of ties to the student life of the Radboud...  More >


Blogwatching: Where to eat… Dutch food

Blogwatching: Where to eat… Dutch food in Amsterdam British by birth and Dutch by choice, Vicky Hampton is a writer, cook and avid foodie who has lived and worked in Amsterdam since 2006. Vicky launched her blog Amsterdam Foodie in 2007 and it is now an indispensable guide to the city’s eateries and beyond. In all honesty, I don’t eat a huge amount of Dutch food. Yes, I live in the Netherlands – but it seems that even the average Dutch person doesn’t eat that much of their national cuisine – especially those who live in Amsterdam. And yet, when I’m approached to write articles, it’s the topic I’m most likely to be asked to write on. A while ago, I wrote this post on Dutch food and drinks for Eating Amsterdam; they’ve commissioned a set of 'foodie maps' – illustrations of the national cuisines of the Netherlands, Czech Republic, United Kingdom and (soon) Italy, and where each dish comes from in the country. I thought the Dutch one was cute (it’s so orange!) and I was interested to teach myself about the origins...  More >


Podcast: The Crunching Councils Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Crunching Councils, Sleeping Lion Edition – Week 22 This week's podcast brings you up to date on the process of forming council administrations after this year's local elections. Elsewhere, torrential rain causes havoc around the country, the Dutch government gets tough on Russia over the MH17 inquiry, opposition grows to reforming the 30% tax ruling, and a court makes a groundbreaking ruling on gender neutrality. We also look at how Tom Dumoulin narrowly missed out on the Giro d'Italia title and what happened when a purloined lion-shaped pearl went under the hammer. If you live in the Eindhoven area, you can now listen to the DutchNews podcast on Radio 4 Brainport at radio4brainport.org or on AM radio at 747 mHz. Ophef of the week: sad trampolines protest against new flight path over Lelystad Wij zijn er klaar voor! Doe ook mee onder de laagvliegroutes met deze actie!@hoogoverijssel@novliegrouteede@airportnee@liegveld@stildrenthe@2019NEE@reddeveluwe@hoogoverwezep pic.twitter.com/EiSnWhhMRd — Stg Red de Veluwe (@st_RdV) May...  More >