5 must sees in the Netherlands

Besides visiting Roverway 2018, The Netherlands has much more to offer. We have a sea, mills, several museums, lovely cities and even caves that you can visit. We give you here 5 tips on places to visit.

1. Kinderdijk

For centuries people in the Netherlands have lived among the water and extracted water to provide land for living and farming. Think of the Zuider Sea having been turned into the IJsselmeer or the Delta Project in the south west of the country. Kinderdijk is one of the most iconic parts of the Netherlands when it comes to water management and polder landscape. After serious flooding in 1421 it was in this area that serious water management started with a type of windmill you can find all around the country. Nevertheless the image that Kinderdijk gives you, with its polder landscape and 19 windmills, is something you can’t find anywhere else. Visiting Kinderdijk means you can see the development of water management, because apart from several types of windmills (with different dates of origin) you can also find modern equipment like pump stations, storage tanks and the Netherlands’ first power plant. What’s interesting is that the windmills aren’t spread out over long stretched dykes, but with a little effort you can see them all from one spot.

2. Kröller Möller museum

In the middle of the country, in and around Veluwe National Park, you can find the remnants of one of the last ice-ages. It’s a hilly sight of about 1000 km² covered with Douglas trees, birches and oaks. Apart from vegetation only found here because of the ice-age and its permanent frosted earth’s crust it has a range of animals like an abundant amount of deer, boars and mouflons. The Park is peppered with cycling paths and hiking trails to explore the phenomena of ancient forests in an area characterized by grassland and pollard willows . In the middle you can find the Kröller-Möller museum, which was originally the private collection of the couple Anton Kröller and Helene Möller. The collection of more than 11.000 pieces contains work of Vincent van Gogh, Rodin, Monet, Picasso and Mondrian. The garden surrounding the museum serves as a background for the 25 acre outside gallery, which is one of the biggest in Europe. Blending art and architecture with nature was Anton’s and Helene’s intention when they moved to area in 1913. It is shown in and around the original farmhouse, their house designed by Berlage and of course the museum itself. To be able to see most of the park at once you can use one of the available bikes near the museum.

3. Hanseatic cities and canals

Not only Amsterdam and Utrecht have canals. The country is covered with them. In 1358 the Hanseatic League was founded, which was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and their market towns. It didn’t cover Dutch towns alone, but it served trade over the German border too. It made these towns develop quickly and all along the IJssel you can find the typical canal structure developed during that area. Dark brick quays and drawbridges to improve easy access for delivering goods mark the town centres. The cities’ colourful armorial bearings are depicted on windowpanes or decorate the top of step-gables. From small towns like Bolsward in Friesland to bigger cities like Zwolle and Deventer, but also down south in Roermond the characteristic architecture of that time is visible everywhere. Most Hanseatic cities have rich histories and can be linked to historical figures who are known for their knowledge and development, like Copernicus’s solar system, which can still be seen in Franeker.

4. Marl and limestone caves in Limburg

One time the Netherlands simply didn’t exist. There was only sea and the shore wasn’t far away from Limburg, in the south-east of the country. The marl and limestone that started to build up because of the millions of layers of sea animals became land as the water withdrew. It is one of the hilly areas and the most sunny part in the Netherlands. It’s well-known with cyclists and hikers. But the subterraneous world is just as interesting. About 2000 years ago people started to delve the marl for building and started using the caves for shelter during bad times. They dug deep and they dug far and now a total of 250 corridors cover about 240 kilometres of total darkness. History and biologic phenomena can be found in far corners, but the caves are also used for survival and underground mountain bike trips, workshops back on track and history, laser tag and paintball. Visiting the caves with a guide after a boat trip from nearby Maastricht is also a possibility.

5. Wadden Sea

Officially it is said it’s the largest part of intertidal sand and cradles transitional zones between land, sea and freshwater environment. That basically means the whole area consists of mud which is flooded twice a day. It inhabits various seals, fish, mammals and a variety of vegetation that needs both salt and freshwater. Over 10 million birds winter in this extraordinary environment. But apart from a charming scenery, some exciting sports are practiced here too. Wad walking means getting from the mainland to one of the islands before the surroundings are flooded again. The mud with its firmer and softer spots, its subterranean streams and sides caving make this race against the clock quite a challenge. The Wadden Sea, with its shallow and deeper parts, is also an area suitable for advanced sailing. Some of the islands to the east are traffic free and some are even inhabited, but all islands have large sandy beaches on which you can relax after an intense day of wind and salt water.

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Dutch traditions: Saint Nicolas

All saints have their own holiday, like Saint Patrick on 17 March, but no saint has so many traditions in so many countries and is as well-known as Saint Nicolas. Not only in the Netherlands and Belgium is it considered a holiday, all across Europe, like Romania, the Tsjech Republic, Austria, Switzerland and some parts in France, but also farther away like Ukraine and Curacao. In every country the celebration is based on different stories, legends and history, leading to different traditions and various forms of celebrations.

According to the songs Saint Nicolas comes from Spain, which is probably based on the lively trade the Netherlands has had with Spain for centuries. He originally comes from Turkey and was a bishop in the fourth century. Most famous is the tale about a poor farmer who wasn’t able to get together the dowry for his three daughters. When they got to a marital age a pocket with money was found in their drying shoes in front of the fire. It is said that it was Nicolas who provided the money for the dowry.

This tale, among others, is the base for the feast that is held on 5 December each year, but there is enough happening in the weeks prior to this date. He arrives by steamboat halfway November and as he is a busy man, there are a lot of back-up Saint Nicolases arriving around the same time in all parts of the country too. From that date on children put shoes in front of chimneys and front doors filled with drawings, oranges and carrots for Saint Nicolas and his horse. They often sing songs too. Overnight, shoes are sometimes filled with pepernoten (tiny, gingerbread biscuits), chocolate coins and small gifts or they are left alone, which means Saint Nicolas was too busy to make a house call that night. On 5 December Saint Nicolas has an exhausting night, as he has to visit every house. He often just leaves big bags or crates filled with presents near the front door and knocks on the door to let the children know he was there.

As we all know Saint Nicolas can only do so much, so from around the age of 8 or 9 children and adults give each other gifts too. Tickets with names are drawn, indicating for who you have to buy a present, make a ‘surprise’ and write rhymes. The surprise serves the idea that it takes time to find out who it’s for, or what the present inside could be. The poem is often written to mock or emphasise characteristics and events that happened that year. Saint Nicolas knows everything and has eyes everywhere so it’s important to deny you made that ‘surprise’ or wrote that poem. The sport, on the other hand, is to find out as soon as possible who drew your ticket.

In larger groups or when people are too busy to make ‘surprises’ people often play games. The eyes of the dice, which is often used, indicating what to do with presents, like giving it away or passing it to the left or right.

In whatever form Saint Nicolas is celebrated, it usually comes with typical snacks, like speculaas, pepernoten, chocolate letters, taaitaai, meringue in Saint Nicolas shapes and marzipan. Nowadays gifts are often toys and other items for pastime, whereas the gifts, until relatively recently, used to be things like warm socks and jumpers. This tells us celebrating Saint Nicolas isn’t about what presents you get, but about having fun, being together and sharing.

Boats used during Roverway 2018

The International Scout Centre Zeewolde is located in Flevoland, the province that is surrounded by water. Spread out along the water and with its own pier it’s the perfect location to complete your Roverway adventure with a sailing experience, which we are organising for everybody. In boats especially designed for Dutch Sea Scouts you’ll find out what it’s like to fly across the water and feel the wideness with only sky above and water under you.

With the North Sea in the west, the Waddenzee in the north, dozens of lakes, canals, streams and several big rivers passing through, the Netherlands may be called a water rich country. With so much water around, about three hundred scout groups spend most of their time on and around the water. During Rowerway 2018 lelievletten will be the boats you’ll be using for your sailing experience. There might also be some lelieschouwen present for the more advanced sailers.

The first lelievlet, with its name derived from the Scout lily and designed for Scouting Nederland, was built in 1956. It’s a 6 person boat, made of steel and is used for sailing, rowing and sculling. With over 1500 boats present in the Sea scout fleet, it’s by far the most popular one. Next to sea scouts in the Netherlands, some sea scouts groups in Belgium and the National Water Activities Centre(NWAC) in Ireland use them.

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The lelieschouw is actually a Friese schouw and bigger than the lelievlet. Scouting Nederland started using them in 1949. The first 10 were made of wood, but they started using steel for them afterwards. They aren’t as easily used for rowing and sculling as lelievletten and it takes experience to keep a lelieschouw at speed, especially after changing direction.

From those first 10 wooden boats, 9 are still in use. After almost 70 years, that’s quite an accomplishment.

Next to lelieschouwen and lelievletten Sea Scouts use juniorvletten too for sailing and exploring the water, weather and nearby mainland. Younger children up to 8 years old use mainly canoes and kayaks to find their way on the water. Groups that have their own guard boat spend many of their weekly gatherings here too. Not every sea scout group has a guard ship, but there are 54 ships spread out over the country. The fleet also has about 120 tug and motorboats, which are used to get sailing boats back to shore of guide them through narrow passages.

The fleet is presented during the Vlotenschouw, which marks the end of Nawaka, the water camp that is held every four years. Boats are are decorated with lights and form a long chain, slowly gliding into dusk, spreading their light across the surrounding water.

Who are joining Roverway 2018 already?

Roverway 2018 is a European camp, but Rovers and Rangers from other countries are welcome too. Some Rovers and Rangers, whose countries won’t be having a Contingent, might join other ones. It will be interesting to see so many different nationalities during Roverway 2018. For certain we’ll be welcoming Contingents from:

Denmark, Ireland, UK, Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Romania, Finland, Germany, Poland, Greece, Switzerland, Norway, Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Georgia, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, Taiwan, Ghana, Australia, Mexico, South Africa, Chile and Canada.

Buy your merchandise at the Tulip shop

The Tulip shop is Roverway 2018’s online shop where you can find products you will find in Zeewolde during the camp too. But why wait until summer to get a shirt or hoodie and find out your size may be sold out or your favourite colour isn’t available anymore? Arrive prepared at Roverway 2018 and find your size in your favourite colour in the Tulip shop.

After a couple of trial runs over the last few weeks the Tulip shop has been fully operational since last week. There you can find a selection of merchandise, which will be extended when we get closer to Roverway 2018. Not only are the shirts and hoodies available in a wide variety of colours, but also in men’s and women’s models. There is a clear table to guide you to your right size. So if you were wondering what to buy for your Rover/Ranger friend or what to put on your wishlist for the upcoming holidays, you might want to check out the Tulip shop.

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Opposites Attract

This Roverway edition
will focus on the personal
development of the participating Rovers and Rangers as part of their role in society. The Roverway will provide the environment in which Rovers and Rangers can interchange experiences, knowledge and ideas. This exchange of experiences will be encouraged through the three educational objectives, which all centralize around society and intercultural learning.  

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