A brief visit to the Netherlands

The Netherlands are, famously, a small country, which can come in handy if you have a long layover. On a trip to Sweden, a couple spare hours, plus a train station right at the airport, practically invited a side trip to Amsterdam.

Photo of Dutch change of address poster on a mailbox in downtown Amsterdam.

“New address?” this sign asks in Dutch. Possibly the best change of address poster I’ve ever seen.

Amsterdam Airport Schipol (Luchthaven Schipol) is interesting for more than quick trips to Amsterdam. Most of the airport is roughly ten feet below sea level. The site of the airport was once called Haarlemmermeer polder (Haarlemmer Lake), a shallow lake made infamous for the number of ships that ran aground in the area. The closest English translation of “Schiphol,” is, in fact, “Ship Grave.”

Land is so precious in the Netherlands that the area between the runways is actively farmed, and farm equipment is equipped with lights (so the equipment can be seen) and radios (so the operators can get clearance from the tower before crossing runways). More photos from the Netherlands.

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