Open a New Window


“When the soul throws its windows wide open, letting in the sunshine, and presenting to all who see it the evidence of its gladness,

it is not only happy,

but it has an unspeakable power of doing good.”

— Orison Swett Marden

Visit just about any country in Europe and you feel like you’re visiting a land that time forgot.  That’s because the architecture in European countries is as old as the hills. And that makes them rich with history–and if there’s anything you need to know about me is that I love history.  Especially when I can feel a part of it.  After all, there’s nothing like having a drink in a pub that was built in the 1600s.  Try finding a pub from that era in America!

During my recent trip to the Netherlands, I fell in love with this quaint, enchanting country. Everywhere I looked I felt surrounded by history, right down to the windmills, which are a national treasure.  Thankfully, not all were destroyed during World War II. Each time we encountered one, it felt like a gift from the heavens.  Let me tell you some of the other reasons why I developed a deep fondness for this country:

  1. Bicycles seem the main mode of transportation if you ask me.  In Amsterdam alone there are two bicycles for every resident.  Children are taught bike safety early on, in school.
  2. Their love of flowers, specifically tulips. Holland is the flower capital of the world, without a doubt. There are flowers everywhere and their beauty is pure bliss!
  3. In stark contrast to we, Americans, who enjoy our privacy, the Dutch tend to keep their window shades drawn, creatively displaying the little things that bring them joy.  In fact, in one community I visited, I learned that the residents tend to place their television sets in the very same corner of their living rooms, so that if you’re out for an evening walk and don’t want to miss a soccer game that’s being televised, you can peer into their window and catch the action while you’re out and about. How clever is that!

Here are just a few of the beautifully-appointed windows I came upon:












And one more.  Look below at the doll collection in the upstairs window. Fascinating.



10 thoughts on “Open a New Window

  1. It’s very pretty Monica! Lucky you for having had an opportunity to see it with your own eyes. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yeah, me too. In another life, that’s where I’d be living. Riding my bike through the quaint villages, enjoying the beauty of the tulips, and admiring the 1,000 windmills dotting the country. Sigh.

    • Thanks, Deborah. I went to Holland expecting to see windmills and tulips. Even bicycles. But I never expected to see such beautiful window displays. They took me by surprise! 🙂

  2. What fun!! I love seeing how people in other countries live, and I love peeking in these windows. Aren’t the bunnies and Teddy bear precious? And I really enjoyed the one with all the shoes lined up in a row. Monica, you’re soooo fortunate to have been able to visit this delightful country!

    • Me, too! I love the attention and special care they use to decorate their windows. Made me start wondering what I’d display in my windows. Maybe my owl collection. It’s small, but suits me just fine. Maybe a little vase filled with posies. And maybe I’d add the miniature Dutch clogs I brought home as a souvenir. They’re lovely. I’m already thinking about where I’d like to go next year!

  3. Lovely post Monica.

    The Dutch are very friendly and warm, at least the ones I have met have been. A few people I know have also commented on their windows. Here we tend to have blinds to keep people from looking in.

    Cycling is popular I suppose because the country is so flat with some of it below sea level. Though just out of interest here in Peterborough UK we have more miles of cycle paths than any other city in Europe.

    They are famed for their tulips world wide. The come over here across the channel in special vehicles and are delivered to the UK wholesale markets.

    • I have a bike, as you know, but I have to travel miles to find a flat road to bike on. San Diego is full of hills! I would love to live in a flat region, one as beautiful as the Netherlands. I’d definitely want to ride my bike everywhere!

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