Holland Visit

The Adventures of

Flat Stanley in Holland

By Mason Jones and Ed Bond

The Netherlands, another name for Holland, is situated in Western Europe. West of the country, across the English Channel, is England. To the north is the North Sea, to the east is Germany and to the south lies Belgium.

The Netherlands has been around for a few thousand years. The Romans has conquered it. So did the Spaniards and Napoleon Bonaparte of France. In 1597, Holland obtained its independence from Spain and has been a free country ever since. The Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815 when the first king, King William of Orange, setup the monarchy.

Although a small country, it has contributed considerably to the world stage. One of the better known products are cheese, windmills and dikes. The Dutch, as the citizens are called by English speakers, are also considered the best dam builders in the world.

Population: 16 million

Language: Dutch

Capital City: Amsterdam

Total Area: 16,036 square miles (slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey)

Government: Constitutional Monarchy (at present a Queen reigns over the country)

Currency: Euro (€ 1 = $ 1.20)




We all know where cheese comes from but did you know that Holland has been producing cheese since before 400 AD? No wonder they are good at it.

There are many different types of cheese, of which “Gouda” and “Edam” are the most famous ones. The taste and softness of cheese depend on its age, yes – cheese have age. Soft young cheese is ripened for about 3 weeks. Sharp cheese ripens between 2 and 7 months while the very sharp varieties need to ripen for at least 12 months.

I, Flat Stanley, was lucky enough to sample some of the finest cheese Holland has to offer. I went to a cheese store in Amsterdam and let my taste buds take over.

The word for cheese in Dutch is ‘Kaas’

So many to choose from.

The young sales lady was nice enough to help me up so not only could I see the different types of cheese, I could smell them too. I don’t mind saying that some of them smell like bad wind, but they sure taste delicious.

You can see in the picture the different varieties of cheese. The younger cheese are at the middle bottom of the picture while the older and sharper ones are found at the left bottom and middle shelf of the picture.

Delft Blue

Another product Holland is famous for is Delft Blue, pottery which is hand-painted then baked. There are many types of Delft Blue, although the word ‘blue’ does not really convey all the possible colors available. Delft Blue potteries come in many colors but the color blue is the most famous one.

Delft Blue dates back to over 400 hundred years ago when Holland was a world power. The Dutch traded with the Chinese and that is where they got the idea of painting pottery and baking it. The first Dutch pottery was established in the city of Delft in The Netherlands. The first ink used was specially developed for the Dutch pottery industry. The ink turns blue when it comes out of the oven, hence the name ‘Delft Blue’.

Since each piece is hand-painted, you will find that each piece has its unique design. Even the same pottery with, what seems, having the same design, you will still notice subtle differences between them.

Ooh, I like that one, and that one…

Wooden Shoes

Everyone in Holland knows what wooden shoes are and how they look. Do you know how they look like? Made from the willow or poplar trees, it is light and durable. Easy to get in and out of.

Everybody over the whole world thinks that all the people in Holland wear wooden shoes. But that’s not right. Only a few people wear them, mostly farmers. They usually wear thick socks in the summer to protect their feet. And in the winter, they wear wooden shoes one size too big so they can also stuff old newspapers in it, besides the thick socks. This is to keep their feet warm and dry. Why, you ask, would farmers still wear wooden shoes when boots are available? Imagine a farmer stepping on a piece of nail out on the farm? Or worse, being stepped on by a cow?

‘Klompen’ – Dutch word for wooden shoes

I was trying to buy the shoe you see in the picture but it is not my size. I found a pair that’ll fit me but alas, they are made of paper and not of wood. I ended up walking away from the store without really buying any.

The Royal Palace on Dam Square

The work on The Royal Palace began in the year 1648. It took 17 years to complete and finally in 1665, it was opened to the public. It was initially built as Amsterdam’s City Hall. When it was finally finished, it was the biggest governmental building in Europe at that time.

The building was used as a City Hall until 1808. The current king at that time, King Leopold Napoloen, turned the building into a palace. In 1960, parts of the building was given to the public, meaning they turned it into a museum. Certain parts of the building is still used by the Royal family when receiving international guests such as other royal families or heads of states.

The Royal Palace, Dam Square, Amsterdam

I asked this nice young girl if she was willing to give me a tour of the palace but she refused. According to her I was a bit on the skinny side and she’s afraid to crush me. Oh well, maybe next time I’ll meet someone who’s willing to take me.

The Dam Square in front of The Palace was used in the old days as a public forum. Since they didn’t have newspapers or televisions in those days, one would announce any new laws here. Public executions were also performed here. In those days, the parents would bring their children to watch hangings and tortures. I’m glad I live this time period.

The Dam Square is one of the most famous landmarks in Amsterdam. Then and now.


Holland is considered a delta environment, meaning that the country has lots of rivers and marshes. Water from the neighboring countries such as Germany and Belgium flows into Holland on its way to the North Sea. Because of this, most cities in Holland are peppered with canals. They function as roads in the old days. It was faster and smoother than the old brick roads.

However, since the invention of cars and trains, canals has lost its use as the main transportation highway. Nowadays, it provides the cities with peace and tranquility to those who seek a place to relax.

Going my way???

When I was standing on top of this bridge, I saw someone canoeing on the canal. I tried to hitch a ride by sticking my hand out but he was so concentrated in what he’s doing he just passed me by. When I get older and stronger, I’ll hire a canoe and travel this waterway to my heart’s content.

Water Locks

Since most cities in Holland are surrounded by canals and rivers, they must have a way of controlling the water. One of the best way of doing this is to build locks. No, not the ones you need a key to open, but the ones that prevent or allow water to flow. Panama Canal has one of the most famous locks in the world.

Locks manage the water level in canals and rivers. When closed, it prevents flooding in case of high water. When open, it equalizes the water level between the two connecting parts of the canal or river.

All locks in the city are usually opened a couple of times a month to let water flow freely. This is one way of keeping the canals in the city clean.

Open Sesame…

I was just in time to see this particular lock open to allow boats pass by.

Boat passing by an open lock

The other lock in the distance…


In the old days, windmills were scattered all over Holland. There must have been millions of them. In 1850, at the peak of its heyday, there were 6 million windmills in Holland. Now, there are only 1,048 windmills scattered in the country. The use of windmills in Holland was first recorded around 1200.

As famous as windmills are, very few outside of Holland know the purpose of these wind machines. The present windmills that you see on the California countryside and other parts of the world are used to produce electricity. They didn’t have any electricity a few hundred years ago, so what were the uses for these windmills? Do you know?

One use of a windmill is as a water pump. Holland has reclaimed most of its land from the sea. They would build a dike around a piece of water. Thereafter, they would build windmills on top of the dikes to drain the enclosed water. This usually takes around 50 years to complete. Once the sea bed is dry, this piece of land is now called a ‘polder’ and people would inhabit it.

Draining a polder

Windmills are also used to cut lumber. Wind would turn the sails which in turn will drive a big wooden saw. Another use for a windmill is to grind grain. Farmers would bring their grain to the local windmill so it can be crushed to become flour by a giant round stone. Of course, the round stone is powered by, you guessed it, the sails of the windmill.

A windmill bakery?

Since this kind of windmill is no longer of any use in our present day situations, the Dutch government has turned them into museums. People could also rent them from the government to establish their residency. This particular windmill is turned into a healthy food store and bakery.

My stay in Holland was very short. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see all the wonderful places this country has to offer. At this time of the year, it’s cold and wet. Being made of material that cannot withstand water, I was limited to nice and sunny days. I had to wait for nice weather before I could go out and see places. As you can see, I always had my raincoat on.

I hope that you enjoyed my Dutch adventure. Hopefully, I could come back here and experience more exciting adventures in the future.


We have just returned from a trip to England and Ireland.  A co-worker of mine asked if we would let Flat Stanley come with us on our trip.Stanley at Greenwich
His niece, Megan, had made him and was hoping that he could stow away, as he would not take up very much room and he had his own bubble wrapped envelope.  One of the things that we did was take him to Greenwich where the next Millennium will begin.  I have enclosed one of the hundreds of photos that we took on our travels.  It really added a delightful dimension to our visit and everyone that we met was delighted to pose with Flat Stanley and he put a smile on the face everyone who met him.

Best Regards

Tony Whalley

San Diego, California

Greece- My Big Flat Greek Vacation

My Big Flat Greek Vacation

Submitted by Dale Hubert

Stanley loved his trip to Greece.

He met some wonderful people.

Stanley got some help in competing at the Olympic Stadium at Delphi.
(Take a close look at the runner’s left hand)

Even the rocks were interesting.  This piece of rock was full of fossilized shells.
It was carved into a piece of a temple at Olympia.

Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers!

He even went for a swim in the Aegean Sea.

At Meteora the monks built monasteries way up high in the mountains

“Hey,” says Stanley, “don’t blame me- this was ruined when I got here!”

There were some wonderful statues.  Do you know why the heads are missing?

Now tourists visit the Caldera, but 3500 years ago this volcano
off the Island of Santorini blew up and destroyed much of Mediterranean civilization.
Volcanic rocks washed up on the beaches of Egypt.

Flat Stanley enjoyed the sunset in Santorini

Germany- Munich

Munich, Germany

Last year I hosted a Flat Stanley here in Germany (Munich) for about three months. We had lots of fun together and took many pictures of all the adventures. Also Flat Stanley made many friends – flat Anna-Lena and flat Emilio, flat Anika and flat Kathi; he also visited England and met flat Lara and flat Max, he met flat Güler from Turkey. He visited several second graders and the kids here in Germany loved him!

Best wishes from Germany!

Sincerely, Brigitte Trieb-Kesenheimer

Germany- Flat Cady

Hello Cady

Flat Stanley did arrived Germany and He went

To the Soccer Stadion in Kaiserslautern were

The American SoccerTeam plays at the German


Flat Stanley did went to a German School he did

Want to see how German Kid’s have to learn.

He also went withTanja and Claudia to a castle in Landstuhl were he meet some Kids from Amerika thay live here in Germany for 3 Years

Claudia Here in the bag you see Ramstein Air Baise

This is Luca my Brothers son and he

Goes to School in Summer. He did

Like Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley meet also

Dominic and his Girlfrend Gloria

Dominic have Tanja’s Baby David

In his Arm and Gloria Flat Stanley

I think Flat Stanley did like Germany very mucht and if he wants to come some time again you can send him bag.

Take care


Germany- Dresden International School

Stanley in Germany

This is part of the palace at Ludwigsburg. It is the biggest and best-preserved baroque palace in all of Germany. This is a summer palace with 452 rooms and 18 buildings. We took a tour through this beautiful palace that took 1 ½ hours.  It included many special rooms and also a chapel, theater, game room and beautiful hallways.

from Pat Thompson

Dresden International School
Goethealle 18
D-01309, Dresden

In Scotland with Dale Hubert

Gardenstown, Scotland
Gardenstown, Scotland

This Flat Stanley spent July 2009 in Scotland with Dale Hubert. The first stop was Gardenstown. There is a ruin on the hilltop that was begun in the year 1004 to commemorate a battle between the Vikings and the Picts. viking church

Speaking of the Picts and Scotland, do you know how the the thistle became associated with Scotland? Take a look a this giant thistle and think about this story. A very long time ago, the Vikings were attacking a group of Picts in the night. The Vikings were trying to sneak up on the sleeping Picts, so the Vikings were running barefoot across the countryside. Suddenly a Viking stepped barefoot onto a giant thistle and as he cried out in pain he awakened the Picts and the surprise attack was ruined.thistle

The Picts

Notice the size of the large standing stone behind the mseum guides.
Notice the size of the large standing stone behind the museum guides.

Little is known about the Picts. The Romans called them the Painted People and that’s where the word “Pict” comes from. As you drive through the Sottish countryside you can see Pictish Standing Stones. There are some examples of Standing Stones in Groan House Museum. This is a great place. There’s a video that outlines the history of the Picts, the staff is friendly and helpful and there’s free admission and parking!

Pict stonework often included crosses
Pict stonework often included crosses

Loch NessNessie 5s

Flat Stanley visited perhaps the most famous place in Scotland, Loch Ness. Even though the experts agree that the existence of a monster verges on the impossible, and most of the photos have been proven as fakes and the photographers themselves have admitted to hoaxes, there’s still a bit of magic connected with Scotland’s deepest loch (lake) and people still peer into the misty distances hoping to see Nessie.

Urquhart Castle and Trebuchet

Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle with very thick stone walls
Urquhart Castle with very thick stone walls

Trbuchet ammunition
Trebuchet ammunition
Reconstruction of a Trebuchet

On the shore of Loch Ness is the ancient Urquhart Castle that legend says was begun in the year 565. Much of what exists today has been reconstructed. Nearby is a trebuchet, a siege weapon that used a counterweight of many tons to launch stone balls. Urquhart Castle changed hands many times and was eventually destroyed by placing barrels of gunpowder in the gatehouse and blowing it up so the enemy could never use it. It has since been partially restored as a tourist attraction.

The Lighthouse

Scotland’s first official lighthouse was built on top of a old castle.

Scotland's first official lighthouse was built on top of an old castle.

One the earliest forms of navigation technology was the lighthouse. This was a way for sailors to tell not only how close there were to shore, but which shore they where nearing. They could tell which shore they were close to because each lighthouse had its own signature. The signature was the order of flashes per minute. Sailors could therefore see the flashing light, look at the chart, and know which lighthouse they were nearing.

lighthouse lens 5-s

lighthouse with Kate-s

The lenses were amazing and even now, as they are on display they cast 3D reflections and almost look like holograms. The lighthouse had a giant clockwork mechanism that caused the light to rotate. Large weights made the mechanism work. The lighthouse keeper had to pull up the large weights every half hour so the light would keep turning.

Looking down inside a lighthouse at the spiral stairs. The chains held weights that made the clockwork mechanism rotate the light.
Looking down inside a lighthouse at the spiral stairs. The chains held weights that made the clockwork mechanism rotate the light.

The lighthouse keeper also had to pump the fuel tanks every half hour to keep the pressure up so the flame would keep burning. So he would pull up the weights using a winch, then 15 minutes later he would use a hand pump to pump air into the fuel tank, then 15 minutes later he would have to rewind the clockwork mechanism, and that was his part of his job for the night. He was also expected to record weather conditions such as wind speed, wind direction and temperature. The lighthouse keeper was even required to paint the lighthouse and keep it in good condition. When it was too foggy to see the lighthouse, a foghorn was used. The foghorn had its own signature as well. Before the foghorn was invented, cannons were fired so when sailors heard the signature of the explosions they would have an idea where they were on the sea.

This cannon was used to warn ships in fog that the shore was nearby.
This cannon was used to warn ships in fog that the shore was nearby. A glass lens is beside it.

Battle of Culloden

One of the battles that lives on in the memories of the Scots is Culloden. William led his Hanoverian army against the Prince Charlie’s Jacobites. The Jacobites were Scots who wanted Bonnie Prince Charlie to become king. It seems that everything went wrong for the Jacobites.

Culloden tour guide
John, the tour guide on the fields of Culloden

It all started well, with the Jacobites well-placed on the field of Culloden, waiting for William’s army. They then discovered that William had given his army the day off to celebrate his birthday and the Jacobites had been waiting in the cold and wet for an army that wasn’t going to attack that day. There was much discussion and the Jacobites finally decided they would march all night to where William’s army was celebrating, and launch a surprise attack by first light of the morning. So they set off in the darkness. Unfortunately, after marching most of the night, the Jacobites realized they wouldn’t reach William’s army in time, so had to turn around and head back to Culloden. They set up their positions again but not quite the same as before. In their haste they were badly positioned with boggy wet ground in front of some of them and a stone wall in front of others. They were tired after marching all night and waiting the day before and many of them hadn’t eaten for three or four days. William’s army arrived and set up. There were three lines of men with guns so they could take turns firing. While one line reloaded, the other line fired. William’s army also had more cannons with trained men to fire them. As the Jacobites attacked in the ferocious highland charge, William’s men stayed in place and fired their guns and cannons. Few Jacobites made it across the field to the enemy and those who did break through the enemy’s lines were surrounded and killed. The Jacobites were badly beaten at Culloden and those who were left retreated to Inverness. William’s army followed them to Inverness and made life very miserable for everyone in that town. The Battle of Culloden marked the end the Jacobite uprising. About that time a new flower was introduced and supporters of William named the flower Sweet William. In return, there was a weed with a very bad smell that opponents renamed Stinking Billy. Here’s Flat Stanley on a Stinking Billy plant.

Stinking Billy weed
Stinking Billy weed

Orange and Purple, Googly-Eyed Fellow Travellers

Flat Stanley met some fellow travellers, Orange and Purple at Dunvegan Castle. Orange and Purple were accompanying this very nice couple on their honeymoon. Notice the giant plant leaves in the background.

Purple and Orange, a pair of googly-eyed fellow travellers with Flat Stanley
Purple and Orange, a pair of googly-eyed fellow travellers with Flat Stanley

2 Flat Tires and Flat Stanley near the end of the Scotland Visit

The Scotland Trip didn’t end as well as it began. It could have been much worse, though.flat tire and flat stanley

We were all deflated when I managed to blow the left front and the left back tires while only 18 miles from the end of the trip. I’d driven more than 1800 miles without incident but as a bus passed closely by on the right side, something on the road wrecked both tires on the left side. Fortunately, I was able to drive the car to the nearby Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. There was even a pay phone there, so it appeared help was on the way “within 60 minutes” according to the person at the tire service. But then the restaurant with the payphone closed and the repair truck hadn’t arrived.


Two hours later, there was still no sign of help but fortunately, Park Rangers Caroline and Beverley showed up. They were great! They let us use their mobile phone and kept us company for the next hour awaiting the tire service. They even drove some of our group into the next town. After several more calls, the repair truck finally arrived and the Volvo was hoisted onto the flatbed and driven into Balloch.

Flat Stanley visits Smoke Rise, New Jersey

Recently we welcomed Flat Stanley for a visit to the community of Smoke Rise in northern New Jersey. We took him for dinner at the Smoke Rise Inn, which is a restaurant and a community center. He saw the horses at the Smoke Rise Stables, where many young people ride. In the summer everyone swims and fishes in the lake in Smoke Rise, and there are many boats on the lake, including rowboats, kayaks, canoes, rowing shells, pedal boats and sailboats. In the winter some people cut holes in the ice and go ice fishing. Flat Stanley visits Smoke Rise, NJ

Flat Stanley saw the horses at the Smoke Rise Stables, where many young people ride. We showed him the Smoke Rise Community Church where many people attend church on Sunday mornings. Since we live in the woods, at the beginning of the mountains, we see many animals in Smoke Rise, including deer, foxes, wild turkeys, even bears.

We enjoyed having Flat Stanley visit our home and our community. He is a very pleasant fellow to have around, although he seems a bit shy and doesn’t say very much. We hope he will come and visit us again in our community of Smoke Rise!

Barbara Lovely