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Behind The Dikes

The famous Dutch dikes do not only protect the low countries from the sea but also from some rivers!

In my earlier post (*) I already showcased some impressions of my ride between the two rivers, Maas and Waal.

That ride as well was for a large part along a cycling path on top of a dike!

Here I've posted pics from 2 earlier solo rides in that area, focussing mainly on landscapes, religious buildings, windmills, and more.

Originally a Roman Catholic boarding school for mentally handicapped girls in Druten, built in 1907, it now has become an apartment complex.

Detail of the Boldershof entrance gate.

This was a surprise I found in Afferden, not a church anymore but Wat Phra Dhammakaya Netherlands! Later I looked up the story behind this as it is rather unusual, to say the least since Roman Catholic churches are not allowed to be sold to other religions... (**)

Door detail of Wat Phra Dhammakaya Netherlands

The still operational De Drie Waaien is a tower windmill in Afferden and was built in 1869.

A slightly camouflaged pony.

In the village of Deest, I bumped into the Steenfabriek Vogelensangh B.V.., a traditional brick-making factory dating from 1918-19 and still in operational use! (***)

The old tower in Puiflijk.

The H. Johannes de Doper Church in Puiflijk.

Puiflijk paid respect by placing this Statue of the Tobacco Cutter as during World War 2 cultivating tobacco was an important form of additional income.

They were a bit disappointed as I didn't have anything to eat for them...

Classic Dutch view...

And now for something completely different: disintegrated Carnaval ornaments!

The Sint-Antonius van Paduakerk was built in 1938-39.

Close-up of Winssen's Old Tower and cemetery.

View from a Maria candle Chapel, Kapelberg, Bergharen. (****)

Note: this is the highest point of the Betuwe: 21.3 m

A grave near the Maria Chapel.

View of De Verrekijker windmill (1904).

This Maria Chapel is a well-known place of pilgrimage!

Bergharen's St. Annakerk, built in 1893.

One of the gravestones at the Nederlands Hervormde Kerk, Bergharen.

The Roman Tower in Ewijk dates from the 11-12th century, but has seen lots of changes over the years...

View of the Prins Willem Alexander Bridge across the river Waal.

The Dijkkapel was made out of steel by Huub en Adelheid Kortekaas in 2000.

It's located on a dike in Winssen.

Although I didn't encounter any locals using these (or wearing facemasks!) I thought it would be a fun shot to end this post with.

Something to ponder over...

During this trip, I was once again intrigued by the huge number of churches (from various Christian faiths!) spread out across the countryside. Even the smallest villages seem to have at least one religious structure!

Most of these are centuries old when the majority of the Dutch population was struggling hard to survive and constructing these churches must have been very, very expensive... Also over the years, there were some very serious religious disagreements which led to fighting and murder on massive scales.

Visually I am really glad that the majority of the churches are kept in good condition, but they do have some (bloody at times) history...

(**) Built in the late 1800s, the H.H. Victor en Gezellenkerk was until 2017 a Roman Catholic church but due to the dwindling number of believers it was forced to close its doors. Its future looked bleak, probably become another apartment building, until it caught the attention of a Dutch Buddhist: Luang Phi Sander Oudenampsen who was looking for a meditation center... The fact that technically Buddhism is a philosophy rather than a religion made this sale possible! Even the former pastor was pleased with the change and nowadays visits the meditation evenings. The significance of it becoming the property of the (in Thailand!) controversial Dhammakaya group has escaped public notice here...

Even so, overall Afferden is pleased with the temple as the interaction between the monks and villagers seems very positive.

Full story in Dutch here:


Claire Aarts
Claire Aarts
Jun 25, 2023

Regarding the churches, many of those are designed by the Cuypers family who had somewhat of a church factory in the Neo-Gothic style, spewing out one church after the other, including statues etc (most famously, Pierre Cuypers, who also built Amsterdam Central Station).

Jun 25, 2023
Replying to

Aha, learned something new!


ray storey
ray storey
Jun 25, 2023

A fine post, KK. This country sounds like most of Europe for the past 1000 years regarding Christion in-fighting. My favorite image in the set is the one you have labeled "A grave near the Maria Chapel.".

Jun 25, 2023
Replying to

Fascinating place with so much well preserved history, amazing.

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