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Our tour of East Holland began in Arnhem, the capital of Gelderland province.

Netherlands Open Air Museum vividly recreates the daily life of early Dutch inhabitants over the last 400 years. The brick-by-brick transplant of over 80 homes, windmills and workshops preserves furniture, kitchen utensils and clothing.

Netherlands Open Air Museum paper mill in Arnhem
Netherlands Open Air Museum paper mill in Arnhem
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

In the paper mill, water-propelled hammers pounded linen rags into a pulp. We watched a craftsman dip a framed screen into the slurry, press out the moisture and hang the handmade paper to dry.

Apeldoorn Holland

Daily life of royalty, in contrast, is revealed at Paleis Het Loo in Apeldoorn. The residence of the House of Orange is called the Versailles of Holland.

We strolled through baroque gardens and admired coaches, carriages, sleighs and touring cars in the royal stables. The palace's ornate rooms, furniture and paintings transported us back to the 17th century.


Northeast of Gelderland is Overijssel province. Germany borders the eastern side of both Gelderland and Overijssel.

In northwest Overijssel, Giethoorn is two hours and 200 years from Amsterdam. Giethoorn is called the Venice of Holland.

You can't drive here. There are no streets, just canals. Instead of gondolas, there are punts, which are barges that people move with long poles.

Barge in Giethoorn canal in Overijssel Province
Barge in Giethoorn canal in Overijssel Province
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Giethoorn farmers bring in the harvest by punt. Everyone goes to church by punt. Even the cows are transported to pasture by punt. The best way to see Giethoorn is also by punt, so we parked our car and enjoyed a floating tour.


There are streets in the nearby village of Staphorst, but you are not allowed to drive on them on Sundays. Visitors, in fact, are not even welcomed on Sundays, when the strict Calvinist villagers march in procession to and from church.

Photography is also prohibited in Staphorst. It's unfortunate, because the women's costumes are unique. You can see them, however, on weekdays when tourists are allowed (somewhat tolerantly) to visit.


Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions: www.holland.com

More things to see & do in Holland:

Dutch Foods, Drinks and Cuisine

North Holland Tour

Drenthe, Groningen & Friesland Holland

Flevoland & Urk Holland

Dutch Phrasebook