My home town is a city of the north. The north of The Netherlands, it is not located in Holland. Where I was born, the ground lies 4 meters below average sea level. If the dikes were broken, most of the house would be under water. My home town is more than a thousand years old if you count all the settlements of the past in that same spot.


The city is called Leeuwarden, or Ljouwert in the local Frisian language. I spent most of my childhood and youth in that city; coming back is coming home to the house of your parents when you have become an adult,

you know it’s home, but something has changed. That change makes that the house is not the same anymore, and never will be again. Still, it’s home. The same goes for the city, I know it’s my home town, the place where I was born, but it is different.

‘t Naauw or “The Narrows”‘t Naauw or “The Narrows”

In fact, the reason is quite simple. The city has gone its own way in development and changes while I was away. Those who have stayed, hardly notice the differences. Those who come back after a long absence notice.

Jozef Israels straatJozef Israels straat

One of the changes is the many cars everywhere. It shows that some parts of the city were built in times when cars were not so abundant. Times when playing in the streets was common and not dangerous. Playing ball, sending it over your head and trying to make it bounce back off the opposite curb was a popular game. Today that game is mostly impossible.

De Verlengde SchransDe Verlengde Schrans

Other changes are roads and streets that are no longer getting traffic due to detours and blockages of the streets. What once was a very busy and undoubtedly dangerous street is now a haven of peace with hardly a car passing by.

Getting a beerGetting a beer

Other places have increased in popularity, making sure that tourists and inhabitants of the city enjoy the streets and the old ways of getting a coffee or a beer on a terrace. While the weather permits. Obviously the beer in the above picture is mine…Smile

The Waag or ScalesThe Waag or Scales

The terrace belongs to an old building of the city called the “Waag” or “Scales”. “The Scales” were usually the centre of a bustling mercantile city. The oldest mention of the “Waag” in the city dates from 1483, while the current building pictured above was built in 1590. The patio for my beer is located on the other side. The Waag in Leeuwarden was mostly used to weigh butter and dairy products and was therefore usually named the “Boterwaag” or “Butter scale”. Today it houses a restaurant and a bank.

A road instead of a Water TowerA road instead of a Water Tower

Other parts of the city are hardly recognisable. In the place where in the above picture people are walking was a Water Tower, a tower destined to provide pressure on clean water for use in the city. The tower was destroyed in the early ‘70s but the land was not used until fairly recently. In my youth I always asked myself what the reason had been to destroy such a beautiful building.

Inn “The Stee”Inn “The Stee”

Some places never seem to change unless you look very closely. A patio near the busy street for this old pub? Yes, today it is a reality. In my days that patio would probably have disappeared into all kinds of places, mainly in students’ homes for free furniture Surprised smile .

Buildings over 500 years oldBuildings over 500 years old

And then you have places that change “by themselves”. This picture was taking a few weeks before a very serious fire broke out and claimed one life. The buildings near the right side of this picture have been destroyed. They were more than 400 years old. The pointy red brick house with three white windows was the birth place of Margaretha Geertruida Zelle. While most of you will not know that name, you do know here stage name: Mata Hari. Mata Hari was born in Leeuwarden and after a tumultuous life of mystery was executed by fire squad in France on October 15, 1917 for espionage.

Now the buildings have burned and will never show their souls again. Mata Hari’s birthplace survived the fire, but only barely.

Going back to your childhood city is always a joy, but sometimes also mixed with sadness over the changes that you wouldn’t expect. For me it’s always a pleasure to come back, but I never stay long.

Until next time…

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4 days 18 hours

Thanks :) !

4 days 21 hours

---Very nice Blog Henk - some nice shots there...-:)

9 days 14 hours

Presets can speed up your workflow a lot, provided you have plenty of the same type of pictures. People doing weddings will a ...

9 days 14 hours

Hi, I hadn't noticed that the typing colour was that dark... changed it to pure white, that should do it ... Henk

9 days 16 hours

I certainly agree the use of presets will discourage people learning their own methods but they can offer a shortcut to fulfi ...

30 days 15 hours

Well, I was told so by a "pro" that later recanted... :-) I removed the name, so at least it is now correct.

josie brendle
1 month

nice blog but sorry the horses are not Clydesdales. Those are a little bigger. :)

1 month 1 day

Test comment here

Henk Von Pickartz
1 month 1 day

This is a comment. I will see if this works or if this will be taken over by spammers. If so, then I will take it down again.