Monday, 28 March 2011

The Netherlands and its canals: Appingedam

"Honey, I hung the kitchen!"

(si prefieres leer este post en español, por favor, pincha aquí)

If you have never been to The Netherlands, it is very well possible that you think that you can only find canals in Amsterdam. It is true that Amsterdam is known around the world as "The Venice of the North" and that the grachtengordel (the Dutch word for "canal ring") has recenly been added to UNESCO's World Heritage list. But canals are not exclusively found in Amsterdam - there are also beautiful canals in other big cities in the country, such as Delft or Utrecht or small towns like Valkenburg or IJlst, and in some cases these canals have unique characteristics. Take a look at this photo I took in the province of Groningen:

These are the (not so) famous hanging kitchens (hangende keukens, in Dutch) of Appingedam, a city in the northern province of Groningen.

Some of the 16th century houses along the Solwerderstraat in the city of Appingedam have kitchens overlooking the canal, the Damsterdiep. They were originally warehouses that were later converted into private residences in the 17th century. Due to the lack of space, they built the kitchens "hanging" over the Damsterdiep canal - a practical solution which also allowed the housewives back then, to collect the water for cooking directly from the canal and after the washing up, to throw the water out the kitchen window back into the canal.
Many of these houses were restored in the 1980s and they are still used as private residences. From the Vrouwenbrug (Women's bridge) you can get a nice view of the hanging kitchens:

Vrouwenbrug over the Damsterdiep in Appingedam.

A nice little terrace over the canal and one of the hanging kitchens.
But the hanging kitchens are not the only places of interest in Appingedam. The town also has a marina that attracts yacht owners and where you can rent pedal boats or canoes to sail around. Through the Damsterdiep you can actually sail for 40 km pass very picturesque dorpjes or villages in Groningen.

Just walking around Appingedam you can spot charming scenes like these:

Parking your boat in front of your house - how cool is that?
I wonder if the police hand out parking tickets along the canal, too?

Neighbours having a chat - how often do you see scenes like this in your neighbourhood?

In the summer, no need to put up your plastic paddle pool in your garden; in the winter, you have a natural ice-skating ring for free!
Modern houses by the marina in Appingedam.
Nice old houses on the Solwerderstraat.
Someone was watching me!
Appingedam is a charming town to visit for a day especially during the spring/summer months, when you can enjoy the activities around the marina and, for example, rent a boat or explore the area by bike. It is also good to combine with a visit to the city of Groningen which is about 30 km southwest of Appingedam.


Anonymous said...

I love the hanging kitchens! What a lovely idea. Of course, the little terrace on the water seems awfully nice, too, especially now that the weather is turning nicer!

Presépio no Canal said...

Lindissimo!! Gostei muito! Muito pitoresco! Ja esta anotado na agenda!

BLOGitse said...

You're not in Spain???
I do know where my hubby and me are going to visit when we have extra time and money.... :)

Here in Helsinki we have kind of canals too - melted snow! :) People are so fed up with snow here.......
I feel better but not fever and my stomach is more peaceful now :)

Breigh (Canadutch) said...

Woah I've never seen or heard of those before! That's hilarious :)

Invader_Stu said...

I've always liked the amount of water there is in Holland. I don't know if I would be brave enough to jump in the canals myself but going around them on boat is great.

Katie said...

I love the hanging kitchens! It must be nice to have a view of the canal while preparing a meal or cleaning up.

Just out of curiosity, how clean is the water in the canals?

Ana O'Reilly said...

O sea que tiraban el agua sucia y mas tarde la recogian para cocinar??? jijiji!

Que lindas fotos sacas!

Paco Piniella said...

I like so much the pictures and the places.

Anonymous said...

WOW, how cool is that hanging kitchen?! So cool and what a charming always share soo many interesting places from the North. One of these days we'll get up there to explore!

Anita said...

Appingedam ? Never heard of. But then I asked hubby and he replied: Ahn... Groningen ?
Well, I am not jealous of people living by water. I have a house giving to a canal and it is thrilling (scary too - my little girl still doesn't know how to swim so I have an extra tension at the moment and I keep giving the same instructions to her and her brother and asking them to repeat everything).
Hmmm.. I wouldn't feel insecure if I had a hanging kitchen - you get used to all kinds of architectonical oddities, I suppose...

Aledys Ver said...

Isn't it charming? I'd love to live by the water and arrive home by boat! :D

Aledys Ver said...

You'll love it, you have to go!! :D

Aledys Ver said...

Glad to know you're better!!
You should come to NL and visit Friesland - I'm sure you'll like it a lot!

Aledys Ver said...

Aren't they funny...? And charming! :D

Aledys Ver said...

Yeah.. I don't think I'd like to swim in one either... but they're beautiful to look at and to sail around!

Aledys Ver said...

It depends on where the canal is! They are normally cleaned and drained regularly... THose I've seen in places in Friesland or these in Appingedam are quite clean. People even grow plants in them, they have something like their own "garden" on the water. In Amsterdam or the big cities the water is, of course, less clean. Sometimes you can see even bikes lying there... hehe

Aledys Ver said...

Gracias!! Me alegro que te guste - tienes que venir!!

Aledys Ver said...

Yes!! Do come, you'll love it!! :D

Aledys Ver said...

Your house must be lovely! I would like to live by a canal too - only thing I wouldn't like much, is the annoying mosquitos in the summer! :D

BLOGitse said...

Welcome back!
Did you take pictures?
How did you manage with your Spanish? yes, I know you didn't have any problems even if you say s and in Spain they say th (graSias vs. graTHias) - right?

Aledys Ver said...

Yes, I took a lot of pictures! Of La ALhambra alone, I took 568 or so... :D We had a wonderful time - going there always feels like going home. As for the language - no problem there, though our variety of Spanish is very different! :D

~ Lopa said...

haha, loved reading this post of yours.
Indeed it's a great idea, and also looks very picturesque !
I haven't been here yet, but sure would love to !