Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Day in Harderwijk

The title of this sabbatical is "Going Home" and we have been visiting places that have been "home" to us--places that have shaped our faith and our family.
Today we went home with my mom to the town she grew up in Holland.

My mom was born in Friesland--a northern province of the Netherlands.  When she was 2, her family moved to the sea port town of Harderwijk where my grandfather owned a metal working factory.

After World War 2 when my mom was 11 years old, the family sold the factory and immigrated to Wisconsin.  Mom has been back to the town a few times since then--she and I were in Harderwijk together in 1997.  But this was a special opportunity to show Ana and Mia their grandma's home town.

A few things have changed in 60 years!  The town has grown and modern shops line the busy streets. The most significant change is that Harderwijk is no longer a port!  In 1933, a large dike (the Afsluitdyk) was completed along the north sea.  Bit by bit, the Dutch reclaimed land from the sea (see green areas).  By 1986, the water north of Harderwijk had been pumped away forming an entirely new province called Flevoland--the largest green area.  It was separated from the original mainland of the Netherlands by a river.  

When my Mom was a girl, she had visited the harbor and looked out onto the Ijsselmeer and out to the sea.   But today, the view is just across a river to Flevoland.
We walked around the town for 5 hours, starting at the very old Fishport--one of the original gates of the city wall which were built in the 1200s.

We saw the town hall where my mom's older brother George married my Aunt Rita and her older sister Sieta married Uncle Dick before they left Holland for America.

The old church--built around 1350-- in the center of town was renovated 30 years ago and they discovered beautiful murals underneath layers of paint.

We happened to get into the building because they were setting up for a concert this afternoon.  This was going to be a contemporary Christian music group.  Notice the contrast of the old organ pipes and the new sound board.

The custodian allowed me into the pulpit for a picture.

In the middle of our day, we stopped for yummy fries and a Dutch treat--croquettes!

We walked down the alleys that my mom walked to school.
We saw the church she attended as a girl.

Then we walked to the house where she lived with her 7 brothers and sisters and parents: #19 Mauritslaan.

What a day of remembering and reliving the stories of my mom's life!

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