While there might not be tons of things to do in Lijnden Netherlands there are plenty of things to see, lots of history and Amsterdam is just a very short drive away. Lijnden is a town in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer and thanks to the ingenuity of several engineers it is no longer at the bottom of a lake. This bit of history makes the pump houses in and around the area some of the most interesting feats of human kind and are worth the visit.
Several hundred years ago in the 1500s three lakes used to rest between Amsterdam, the ritzy town of Leiden and Haarlem. The low elevation of the area and plenty of precipitation cause the three lakes to merge into one very large lake dubbed Haarlemmermeer. This large lake was very unstable and threatened to grow even larger. With several villages and Amsterdam at risk engineers decided that they could and should do something to stop the rapid advance of these waters. Thus was born one of the most impressive hydro-engineering feats of the time, the draining of Haarlemmermeer. In the early 1800s heavy storms put Amsterdam at real risk and in 1836 the pumping would begin. Lijnden would be the home for one of the three pump houses used to create the current polder in the municipality of Haarlemmermeer.
The Lijnden pump house was put into commission in 1847 and operated until 2005. After this time a new pump house was built and put into commission. The old pump house still stands as a tribute the engineering marvel that kept, and still keeps Amsterdam dry. You see, Amsterdam and the polder is still at risk of being reclaimed by the lake and continuous pumping has gone on since 1847. The old pump house is now home to a world re-known restaurant, Bij Qunis. It is a must see for anyone that is a fan of gastronomy or history, or both. It will not be hard to get to this town or pump house as Schiphol airport is in this same area. Previous to the creation of the polder and the airport this was a notoriously difficult area to reach. Even those who are not familiar with hydro-engineering will be impressed by the system of pumps, now more than forty, that keeps this polder dry ground instead of a large lake.
With the exception of being an original pump house location, Lijnden is probably most known for being close to Schiphol airport and the city of Amsterdam. At a quick twenty minutes away, Amsterdam is a city that is full of activities for everyone in the family. Famous for the night life, Amsterdam is much more than its red light district and coffee shops. Amsterdam is just as famous for its fabulous shopping, flower market, and legendary musuems.
Anne Frank House
This attraction is not a museum in the traditional sense but none the less popular by tourist from around the world. The house has become more of a memorial to Anne Frank and a freeze frame of this poignant time in history. The furnishings in the home have been kept from the time of Anne Frank. A tour of the cramped and chilling secret annex in which Anne Frank and her family hid will transport you back and time. It is an experience that you will not soon forget.
The architecture of this building is as impressive as the works of art stored within. The museum houses works from the greats like Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer. In addition there is a new Asian Pavilion which was opened to the public in 2013. Besides works of art there are historic textiles and furnishings that can be viewed on the lower floors. Reserve an entire day for this museum as there is plenty to see.
Van Gogh Museum
If you are not a fan of Van Gogh one visit to this museum will surely change that feeling. If you are lucky you will be able to see some of Van Gogh’s most iconic works like “Sunflowers”, ” Starry Night”, and “Irises”. In addition are his many sketches and some of his oriental themed works that are not very well known, but equally beautiful. The museum loans out some of his greatest paintings on a regular basis so if there is one in particular you are hoping to see verify that it is actually there before going out of you way. Even if some of his more famous paintings are out on loan you will not be disappointed by the works that remain. The museum does not discriminate and it features works by other famous painter’s and sculptures like those of Degas.
Holland is famous for more than red light districts and windmills. The tulip industry is a huge portion of the agriculture market in Holland and the flower market in Amsterdam is testimony to this amazing industry. The flower market can be found in the center of Amsterdam. The street is bordered by one of Amsterdam’s famous canals and flower vendors take up shop on boats and docks that rest permanently on the canal which borders the road. Across the street several shops and cafes can be found that accompany your flower shopping quite nicely. If tulip is not your favorite flower there are plenty of other types of bulbs and plants from which to choose.
Shopping and Food
Many people are aware of the museums and other attractions in Amsterdam, however, do not forget to take advantage of the amazing shopping and restaurants. Walking malls line the city as foot and bicycle travel are preferred. Stores that accommodate all styles and price points are easily found with a simple stroll. Word to the wise, keep an eye out for the trams that regularly traverse down what might seem to be a sidewalk. They travel quite swiftly and will make their trek regularly despite the number of people that crowd the street. While the tram itself is very quite a sharp blast of the horn will alert you to its presence. Just as diverse and fantastic is the food. You can try cuisine from India, to Argentina, to France. If it is local cuisine you desire try the fries with mayo and the classic dutch pancake.