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Title: The Mentor: Holland, v. 2, Num. 6, Serial No. 58
       May 1, 1914

Author: Dwight Elmendorf

Release Date: July 20, 2013 [EBook #43257]

Language: English

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Please see the Transcriber’s Notes at the end of this text.


Cover page


MAY 1 1914




Lecturer and Traveller








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The History of Holland


TThe history of Holland is a record of the unexpected. One might think that this flat country would have a story as monotonous as the land on which it is built, that it would be the last part of the world to be the center of fierce battles and bloody wars. Yet there took place in this little country, formed principally of the mud deposited by three rivers, the Rhine, the Meuse, and the Schelde, some of the most important deeds in the history of the world.

The earliest inhabitants of this part of Europe are said to have been some of the barbarians that accompanied the Cimbri and Teutons in their expedition against Italy. The Romans, however, held sway over this district until near the end of the fourth century, when the Franks took possession and settled there. Later the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne extended his supremacy over the whole of the Netherlands, and under his successors a system of dividing the land among the vassal princes gradually developed. Thus the feudal system grew up.

The situation of the country on the ocean and the mouths of three great rivers invited the people to commerce. Then, also, the big cities grew up and surrounded themselves with strong forts.

In 1477 the Netherlands came into possession of the House of Hapsburg by the marriage of Mary of Burgundy, the daughter of Charles the Bold, with Maximilian, afterward emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Their son, Philip the Handsome, was the father of Charles V, who subsequently became King of Spain. Under his rule the Netherlands enjoyed a golden era of prosperity; but during the reign of his bigoted son, Philip II, there began that apparently hopeless struggle of the weak people of the north against the haughty Spaniards, which lasted for eighty years and which ended in the establishment of the powerful Dutch republic. The great founder of Dutch liberty was William of Nassau, the Silent. Today he is revered by the Dutch as a mighty hero and martyr.

It was in 1579 that the Union of Utrecht laid the foundation on which the republic of the United Netherlands was to be raised. By the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 the independence of the United Provinces was recognized.

The prosperity of Holland was great. Its navigators explored the most distant coasts in the world, and its trading posts in East India yielded a rich harvest. It had commerce with all nations, and at the same time its art reached its highest point of excellence.

For many years the fortunes of the Netherlands varied from good to bad. In 1795 the French Republicans took possession of the country and founded the Batavian republic. In 1806 Louis Bonaparte was created king of Holland by his brother Napoleon. Four years later Napoleon annexed Holland to France, giving as the reason his belief that it was formed of the alluvial deposit of French rivers. At last, in November, 1813, the French were expelled from Holland; and in 1815, by the Congress of Vienna, the southern or Belgian province of the Netherlands was united with the northern into a single kingdom, and the Prince of Orange was created king of the Netherlands under the title of William I. This union was severed by the Belgian revolution of 1830. Ten years later, William I abdicated in favor of his son William II, who was in turn succeeded by William III.

His daughter Wilhelmina is the present ruler of Holland. Her daughter, Princess Juliana, was born April 30, 1909.




William the Silent


WWilliam the Silent is to Holland what George Washington is to the United States. As the principal opponent of Philip II of Spain he was the very incarnation of the national spirit in the greatest period of Dutch history. He dared to stand forth as the fearless leader of a persecuted people in opposition to the mightiest monarch then on earth. William, Prince of Orange and Count of Nassau, was surnamed “The Silent” not because he was gloomy, but because he was able to hide his plans with wonderful discretion. He was born on April 16, 1533. He was a great favorite of Charles V of Spain, who appointed him, when he was only twenty-two years old, governor of the provinces of Holland, Zealand, and Utrecht. When the Low Countries came into possession of the Duke of Alva, the Spanish governor, William set out on a short but useless campaign to liberate the southern provinces. Four years later he was invited by Holland and Zealand to command their troops against the Spaniards. Shortly afterward he captured Middelburg and succeeded in raising the siege of Leyden. The Union of Utrecht, the famous defensive league of the North Netherlands, was formed in 1579. Soon afterward William was exiled by Philip II; but the States General defied his authority, and in 1581 formally threw off their allegiance to the Spanish crown.

However, so anxious was Philip to have William out of the way that he offered a reward of 25,000 crowns and a title of nobility to anyone who would assassinate him. Many were the cowardly attacks made against the brave Dutchman, eight attempts being made before the one that finally succeeded.

On July 10, 1584, William, in company with his beautiful young wife, was coming to dinner down the stairway of the Prinsenhof—his house in Delft. Suddenly from the corner of the corridor a man stepped forth holding a petition. The prince asked him to present it later when he was not busy. During the meal William was as usual very cheerful; but his wife seemed to have a premonition of danger. She spoke to him several times of the strange man they had met in the hall, remarking that she had never seen a more villainous face. This did not disturb William in the least, and at the close of the meal he led the way back along the corridor. As he approached the staircase, without a moment’s warning the assassin sprang forth and shot him in the breast. The prince reeled backward a few steps and fell into the arms of his wife. A few minutes later the founder of Dutch liberty had passed into history.

William the Silent was the foremost statesman of his time. He gave up great position, vast wealth, and at last his life, to rescue the Netherlands from the tyrannical power of Spain; and he had the satisfaction of knowing before he died that the cause for which he had suffered so much would succeed.

His murderer, Balthazar Gerard, was executed by having the flesh torn from his body with redhot pincers.






AAmsterdam has often been called “The Venice of the North.” Between the two cities there is a resemblance; but they also differ from each other essentially. Venice is golden; while Amsterdam is gray. Venice inspires romantic memories and poetical associations; Amsterdam, even with its many attractions, is distinctly practical and commercial.

Amsterdam is a seaport in the province of North Holland. It is one of the chief commercial cities in Europe and the largest city in the kingdom of Holland. It is one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

Amsterdam stands on flat, marshy ground into which piles fifty feet long are driven to form the foundations of brick houses, which are usually six or seven stories high. The form of the city is a crescent, and the arms of its canals project into the Y.

Amsterdam is really a city founded upon islands, ninety in all. It has miles of liquid streets, which are spanned by three hundred bridges. All through the city float heavy barges, many of which are the homes of citizens.

Among some classes of the Dutch it is customary, when a young man has saved or borrowed enough money, to buy a huge, broad-shouldered boat and install therein not only his entire family, but also his poultry, hogs, and even cows. From then on he is independent, and master of his own floating house, stable, farmyard, and express wagon. He transports loads of merchandise from town to town, and is in a small way even a farmer. When he moors his boat to take his wares from house to house he uses a cart, and to draw this cart he employs dogs. When the merchandise is sold the driver calmly seats himself in the cart and makes his patient animals pull him home. If he does not own a dog, he merely puts the yoke upon the shoulders of his wife, and she acts as a willing steed.

The little houses in the vicinity of Amsterdam are thoroughly characteristic of Holland. They have sharply pointed roofs of pretty red tiles, neatly painted walls and blinds, and a monstrous windmill on one side. Within they are scoured and polished so that they almost shine with cleanliness. Even among the wealthy citizens of Amsterdam there is not much display of luxury. The houses are quite plain, but always brightly clean.

To most people who are used to paved streets and plenty of dry land it would not be pleasant to dwell among the watery streets with their narrow sidewalks of Amsterdam; but to a Dutchman it is impossible to have too much water about his house. Even with a canal in front and another on each side he will add, if possible, an artificial pond in his small garden.






RRotterdam, the famous commercial center of Holland, lies fourteen miles from the North Sea at the union of two rivers, one of which is called the Rotte, and with the great dam erected on its banks gives to the town its name. To a visitor the most notable feature of this great Dutch city is its multitude of bridges, most of which are drawbridges, continually rising and falling like parts of a huge machine.

Rotterdam received its first municipal privileges in 1340. Its modern prosperity dates from the separation of Belgium from the kingdom of the Netherlands. The largest seagoing ships can now be admitted to the quays of the town. Great cargoes of oil, grain, coffee, tobacco, and coal pass through it, and its cattle market is the most important in Holland.

It is a remarkable fact that in Rotterdam almost every man one meets has either a cigar or a pipe in his mouth. The Dutch are great smokers. It is said that the boatmen measure distances not by miles, but by pipefuls. Many of the natives are believed to sleep at night with their pipes between their teeth, so that they may have their morning smoke without any delay. The Hollanders call tobacco smoke their second breath, and a cigar the sixth finger of their hands.

In Rotterdam is situated the home of the greatest smoker that the world has ever known, Meinheer Van Klaes. His average consumption was one hundred and fifty grams of tobacco a day. Nevertheless he lived to be ninety-eight years old. His directions as to how his funeral should be conducted are interesting: “I wish that all my friends who are smokers shall be specially invited to my funeral. Each of them shall receive a package of tobacco and two pipes, and they are requested to smoke uninterruptedly during the funeral ceremonies. My body shall be inclosed in a coffin lined with wood of my old cigar boxes. Beside me in the casket shall be laid my favorite meerschaum, a box of matches, and a package of tobacco. When my body is lowered into the grave every person present is requested to pass by and cast upon it the ashes from his pipe.”

It is said that these requests were faithfully complied with. There is also a report which says that at his funeral the smoke was so dense that a horn had to be blown to enable the mourners to find the door.

Rotterdam suffered from a great fire in 1563, and also underwent great loss during the struggle with the Spaniards who occupied the city in 1572. Since 1573, however, its progress has been remarkable.




Tulips and Windmills


SSpring is the best time to visit Haarlem in Holland. The traveler to this city passes through wonderful fields covered with broad sheets of scarlet, white, and yellow tulips. It is a sight never to be forgotten. But, beautiful as the tulips are, it is not for this that the Hollanders grow them in such quantities. They grow the bulb not for the flower but for the “onion,” as it is called.

The cultivation of tulips is a great business in Holland; but today only a small percentage of the population commercialize the flower, compared to the number that cultivated it in the seventeenth century. The tulipomania of that time was really a form of gambling, in which admiration of the flower and interest in its culture were secondary matters. In those days thousands of florins were paid for a single bulb.

Tulips grow wild along the northern shores of the Mediterranean, and in Africa and the Far East. They were introduced into the Low Countries in the sixteenth century from Constantinople and the Levant. Owing to their great beauty the flowers became immediate favorites in European gardens. It was in 1637 that the extraordinary tulipomania first took possession of the Dutch. Not only were flower merchants seized with it, but almost every citizen took up tulip growing. A single bulb called the “Semper Augustus” was sold for thirteen thousand florins, and for another of the same variety was traded “a new carriage, a pair of gray horses, and forty-six hundred guilders.” A prize of one hundred thousand florins offered by the horticultural society at Haarlem was won by the black tulip of Cornelius van Baerle. But when the government stepped in and enforced a law against gambling the price of tulips fell to nothing. The bubble burst, and thousands of dealers were beggared in a single night.

There is an old Dutch proverb which says, “God made the sea; but we make the shore.” For hundreds of years the Hollanders have proved this true by literally making the land upon which they live. They must continually fight against the encroachment of the sea, and a big factor in the work of keeping the ocean out is done by great windmills, which pump the water from the fields into the rivers and canals, and thus drain the land.

Everywhere in Holland windmills can be seen. Besides pumping and draining, they also saw wood and grind corn. Although nowadays steam and gasolene engines can do most of the work formerly performed by windmills, they still form a picturesque part of the Dutch landscape. By draining whole marshes they have transformed this waste land into beautiful green and fertile fields. In passing from The Hague to Haarlem on the train one can see the largest of these “polders,” as the drained marshes are called.

Windmills were used as early as the twelfth century. In all the older windmills a shaft called the wind shaft carried four to six arms or whips, on which long, narrow sails were spread. The tips of the sails made a circle of sixty to eighty feet in diameter. It is this type of windmill, with its long arms waving above the landscape, that is associated so closely with Holland.




Art in Holland


MMany people consider Dutch art the most interesting in the world. The artists of Holland did not portray classic gods and prayerful madonnas. They were too practical and matter-of-fact for that. Their minds were serious, and scenes of everyday life attracted them more than they did the artists of Italy or Spain. Portrait painting began very early among the Dutch. This was because the Dutch spirit was essentially commercial. The prosperous burghers liked to have great artists paint them, and they were usually willing to pay pretty well for the privilege. Also the nobility, due to their love of splendor, gave abundant employment to the artists.

Some of the earlier Dutch artists who achieved fame are the brothers Van Eyck, Hugo van der Goes, Roger van der Weyden, and Quentin Massys. But greater than any of these is Frans Hals, who was born in 1580. He was a great portrait painter. His marvelous capacity for catching an impression on the instant brought him many patrons. He loved to paint people as they were, and jolly topers and rich burghers were his favorite subjects; but, great artist though he was, he died almost in poverty.

Rembrandt Harmanzoon van Rijn, who was born in 1607, the son of a miller of Leyden, has been called the greatest painter of northern Europe. Today his pictures are beyond price. His influence on the Dutch artists that followed him was very great. But he died at the age of sixty-two, alone and neglected.

Paul Potter, called the “Raphael of animal painters,” was born in 1625, and died from overwork at the age of twenty-nine. It is said that he painted portraits of animals, and tried to know the character of every beast that he drew.

Jan Steen painted all sorts of subjects,—chemists in their laboratories, card parties, marriage feasts, religious subjects, and especially children. Besides being a successful artist, he was a brewer at Delft. He failed in this business and opened a tavern. Hence he has often been called “the jolly landlord of Leyden.”

Pieter de Hooch was the most neglected of all Dutch painters; yet in 1876 the Berlin Museum paid $26,000 for one of his paintings. He was born in Rotterdam about 1630, and became one of the most charming painters of homely subjects that Holland has produced. He died at Haarlem about 1681.

Meyndert Hobbema was born in Amsterdam about 1638, and was buried there in a pauper’s grave in 1709. Although today he is considered one of the great landscape painters of Holland, his work was not appreciated during his lifetime. Hobbema liked to paint only landscapes. It is said that when it was necessary for him to get a figure in a picture he had another artist do it.

All these men were great artists of Holland. And it is a peculiar thing that most of them lived in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Since then Holland has done comparatively little in art.


The Mint Tower, Amsterdam


Lecturer and Traveler



Holland has been described as a “country of unpainted pictures.” That is the artist’s point of view; for his eye takes in the picturesque possibilities of the subject. To us it seems as if Holland is of all countries the one most often seen in pictures. While, no doubt, there are many “untouched pictures” in the miles of level Dutch landscape, art has surely shown a generous recognition of Holland’s attractive scenery, and has celebrated its picturesqueness to all the rest of the world. Holland is a country of dikes and level meadow lands, of windmills and canals. From the point of view of an aëronaut the Dutch cities look like a map of Mars. This is especially true of Amsterdam, which, viewed from above, appears to be a network of canals. These canals are an attractive feature of the cities. In some cases the whole street is canal; in other cases the street is both “wet and dry”—a canal flanked by a street.

Copyright, American Press Association


This is Queen Wilhelmina’s favorite place of residence. It is located in the forest park about one and a half miles from The Hague, and was the meeting place of the first International Peace Conference, held in 1899

Imagine a country, in some spots lower than the sea, maintaining its existence only by constant vigilance and industry, fighting for its very life through the changing seasons against the one great enemy, water. The dunes or sand hills which line the coast serve as a barrier against the sea. These are reinforced by coarse grass, which holds the sand together. In some places the dikes are made of earth, sand, and clay, held together by willows, which are carefully planted so as to form a binder. In other places dikes are built of stone. The dikes are the fortifications against the inroads of the ocean, and also the floods in the rivers that flow through Holland to the sea.

Copyright, American Press Association


With the Queen’s Fish Pond in the foreground

When there are heavy rains in Germany the Rhine brings down a great additional volume of water, which has to be checked by the dikes and led away by the canals. Holland’s fight against water has been a warfare of varying fortunes. At times in the past dikes have been broken, great tracts of land have been inundated, and thousands of people drowned.

The Dutch are a careful, plodding, and industrious people, and they have profited by experience. As a result they are now not only holding their water enemy in check, but they have actually advanced upon the sea, and have taken from it sufficient territory to add materially to their cultivated lands. But the contest with the rivers and the sea has to be constant. A special body of engineers is appointed to look after the work, and the Dutch government spends annually several million dollars to keep the dikes in order and hold the ground. Water is confined in canals and in large basins; and the ever-faithful windmill, when not otherwise engaged, is employed to pump the water from the lowlands.


The dikes and the windmills are the two great factors of physical and commercial life in Holland. The dike safeguards the land; the windmill fans the currents of trade. Whether corn is to be ground, timber sawed, tobacco cut, paper manufactured, or water pumped, the long arms of the mill perform a willing and efficient service while the wind blows. The importance of the dike is reflected in the names of many Dutch towns. The word dam or dike is to be found almost everywhere. Amsterdam is the “dike” of the River Amstel (ahm´-stel); Rotterdam, the “dike” of the River Rotte; Zaandam (zahn-dahm´), the “dike” of the River Zaan—and so on. The thought of the protecting dike was generally in mind when a town was founded. The windmill is not only an untiring servant of industry, but is a sign of Dutch prosperity as well. You may hear it said of a Hollander, “He is worth ten millions.” You are quite as likely to hear it said, “He is worth ten windmills.”


The palace, formerly the town hall, was begun in 1648, finished in 1655, and cost 8,000,000 florins. It rests on a foundation of 13,659 piles, and its tower is 167 feet high. The weather vane on the tower represents a merchant vessel, formerly the crest of the city

It required dogged determination and persevering energy to make the history of Holland. The Dutch people successfully resisted Spanish domination at a time when Spain was a supreme world power, and then they built up a government of their own in a country where they had to fight for the very existence of the land. In government administration, in thrift and commercial enterprise, in exploration and colonization, in literature, and in arts, Holland has proved herself to be a wonderful little country. She has had much to say in the Congress of Nations. One of her chief cities, The Hague, is identified in everyone’s mind with one of the most important world movements of modern times,—the International Peace Conference.

The population of Holland does not exceed 6,000,000, and there are only four towns having a population exceeding 100,000,—Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam (rot´-er-dam; Dutch, rot-ter-dahm´), and Utrecht (u´-trekt; Dutch, oo´-trekt).


This most interesting city is situated where the River Amstel enters the Zuyder Zee (zy´-der zee; Danish, zoi´-der zay). Just where the city lies there is an arm of the sea which goes by the odd name of Y or Ij (pronounced eye). Amsterdam is the chief commercial city of Holland; though in some branches of business Rotterdam disputes its supremacy. The city is of odd, semicircular shape, and is intersected by canals, which run in curves like the rows of seats in an amphitheater. Each of these semicircular canals marks the line of the city walls and moat at different times. Other canals cross these in such a manner as to cut the city up into a number of islands. The old part of the city lies in the very center, inclosed by the inner semicircular canal. At one end of this canal is the “Weepers’ Tower,” which takes its name from the fact that it stands at the head of what was the old harbor, and was the scene, therefore, in ancient times, of many sad leavetakings. There wives and sweethearts said goodby to the men who went “down to the sea in ships.”



Amsterdam is supposed to have originated about 1204, when Gysbrecht II, Lord of Amstel, built a castle there. It came to be really important about the end of the sixteenth century, when the wars with Spain had ruined Antwerp, and many merchants, manufacturers, and artists left there and settled in Amsterdam. The population of the city today is close to 600,000, and it is one of the busiest markets in Europe, doing a large business in imports, especially in the products of the Dutch colonies.

Copyright, American Press Association


The city, moreover, is very beautiful. The main canals are lined with avenues of elms, and they offer a picturesque appearance and a pleasant shade. The streets are full of life, and their interest is enhanced by the varied activities of those who walk and ride on the paved roads and others who ply oddly constructed boats through the waterways.


The costumes, while not so picturesque as those to be found in the country districts, are interesting to the traveler from other lands. The houses are built on piles driven into the soft soil—a fact that the witty old Erasmus of Rotterdam turned to jest by saying that he knew a city whose inhabitants dwelt in the tops of trees like rooks.

There are so many things in Amsterdam of historic, literary, and art interest that no one can expect to “do the city” and do it thoroughly in the brief time usually allotted by the ordinary tourist. For the student of art there is enough to fill a month’s time. The home city of Rembrandt naturally holds the interest of an artist, and the Ryks Museum contains a wonderful collection of Dutch art and Historic relics.

Copyright, American Press Association


The old Ridderzaal on the Brennenhof is the ancient castle of the counts of Holland. The most modern improvements, such as electricity and telephones, have been installed in this ancient structure. The grand assembly hall seats two hundred and eighty, and is lighted by eight immense chandeliers of antique style, containing fifty-four lights each


This museum is an impressive stone and brick building, constructed in 1877-1885, and filling nearly three acres of ground. It holds a place among the greatest museums of the world, and in its devotion to its own particular subject—Dutch art and history—it is unique. It is not the lover of art alone who will find the place fascinating: the historian will be held by the military, naval, and colonial collection; the antiquarian will linger over the old works in gold and silver, the models of ships of different periods, antique books and furniture, textiles and stained glass; while the artist will regard the picture galleries as a treasure house.

For the artist, if interested in the Dutch masters of art, the museum is the one particular place in Europe. There about him he will find some of the most celebrated works of Rembrandt, Franz Hals, Paul Potter, Jan Steen (stane), Hobbema (hob´-be-mah), and other Dutch painters.

The picturesque old buildings of Amsterdam, especially those in the inner city, will delight the visitor. Many of these have great historic interest—notable among them Admiral de Ruyter’s (ry´-ter; Dutch, roi´-ter) house, bearing his portrait in relief on its front, and a little beyond that the old Montalbans Tower.

Copyright, Underwood & Underwood


The Royal Palace is a solid building which was begun in 1648, just after the Peace of Westphalia, and was finished in the course of seven years at a cost of 8,000,000 florins ($3,216,000). It is not a beautiful building; but in its structure and its inner equipments it is interesting as showing the character of Dutch life and government. You bring from a visit to the palace an impression of the solidity, power, and the enduring virtues that are the ancestral inheritance of the Hollander.

No visit to Amsterdam is complete without a sight of the Zoölogical Garden, which is one of the best in Europe, and a trip out to the unique little Island of Marken. There in that odd spot you will find all the picturesqueness of Holland in solid deposit. Gaily colored costumes are everywhere; houses are queer in structure and in furnishing; and manners and habits of life are peculiar and interesting. But let the visitor be cautious in Marken. It has of recent years come to be a show place, stocked with all sorts of Dutch articles of no special value, most of which are manufactured solely to catch the fancy of the unwary tourist.


On returning from Marken the traveler will find it worth his while to run west to the quaint old town of Haarlem (hahr´-lem). This is the city of the governor of the province of North Holland, and is one of the cleanest and neatest towns in the Netherlands. Its population is something over 70,000, and it has the appearance of prosperity and welfare. During the Middle Ages, Haarlem was the residence of the counts of Holland, and was the scene of several important military engagements between the Dutch and the Spaniards. It is famous for its horticulture, and furnishes bulbs to every country in Europe and North America. Along about the middle of spring a wonderful sight may be seen in the lands surrounding Haarlem. Whole fields of hyacinths, crocuses, anemones, tulips, lilies, etc., offer a brilliant variety of color and fill the air with delicious perfume. It is a feast for the senses indeed!

Copyright, American Press Association



Situated about thirty miles south of Amsterdam and Haarlem is Rotterdam, the second largest town in the Netherlands, which has a population of about 370,000. To some it is known chiefly as the home of the illustrious Erasmus, who was born there in 1465. In the great marketplace of Rotterdam there stands a fine bronze statue of Erasmus.

To merchants Rotterdam is known as one of the busiest import cities on the Continent; as in its import trade it is exceeded only by Hamburg and Antwerp, while its cattle market is the most important in Holland. There is much life in Rotterdam, and plenty of entertainment to enliven the visitor who goes there for other purposes than those of trade.


Boyman’s Museum contains a most valuable collection of Dutch art, and the churches, parks, and public ways are attractive and interesting. Down at the large docks you will find busy scenes; at the Wilhelmina Kade especially, where the great passenger steamers lie. You will meet that name Kade wherever you go in the towns of Holland. It means quay, and the different thoroughfares distinguished by the name are either quays or else have been quays in times past, and in the course of the city’s growth have become streets with waterways in them.

You will be impressed with the vast multitude of bridges in Rotterdam. I do not know that they actually exceed in number the bridges of Amsterdam; but they appear to, for many can be seen from almost every point of view. The service of the canal to Holland is manifold, and this is true in winter as well as in summer. Over the frozen surface of the canal children skate to school, women skate to their shopping, and those who have time for recreation skim the icy surfaces from town to town in skating trips.


There are many towns in Holland to invite the traveler, and most of them will delight him as well. This is especially true of Utrecht, Dordrecht, and Delft, the last famous the world over for its pottery. It is well, however, when making a visit to Holland, to save The Hague until the last.

The Hague is the political capital of Holland, and in some ways the most beautiful and interesting of all Dutch cities. It is a most cosmopolitan town, and its population includes many distinguished people. Among the cities of Holland, The Hague leads in culture and refinement, as Amsterdam and Rotterdam do in commerce. It is, moreover, the most attractive city. In neatness and in cleanliness it is claimed that The Hague cannot be excelled by any city in the world. You are willing to believe that when you are there.


The full Dutch name of this city of royalty is ’s Graven Hage (’s grah´-fen hah´-ge), which means “the count’s inclosure.” The name was given to it originally when it was a richly wooded plain and a hunting resort of the counts of Holland. It is now the residence of the queen of Holland and the seat of government, where most of the important national transactions of the last three hundred years have taken place. There is no great amount of business at The Hague. It is a place of important political affairs and of social life and enjoyment. The life there is distinguished for its gaiety, and the society for its distinction. Great interest naturally centers in “The House in the Wood,” a most picturesque château erected in 1645 for Princess Amalia, consort of Prince Frederick Henry, son of Henry the Silent. This is the favorite home of royalty. The most interesting apartment in the palace is the Orange Room, which was prepared by the princess as a memorial to her husband, and has been the scene of many important diplomatic and social events. The first International Peace Conference, at which twenty-six powers were represented, met in this room in the summer of 1899. The House in the Wood is beautifully furnished and decorated, and, more than the usual royal residence, it realizes the meaning of the word “home.”


This church dates from the fourteenth century. Its tower is two hundred and thirty feet high


The population of The Hague is more than 240,000, and it has, besides The House in the Wood, a number of notable features. There is the celebrated picture gallery called the Mauritshuis, the Municipal Museum which, next to the Ryks, is the finest in Holland, the Mesdag Museum, which contains among other art treasures a fine collection of pictures by the Barbizon painters, and the Steengracht Gallery, which is rich in modern French and Dutch paintings. The quaint old Hall of the Knights will attract attention for its historic interest, and so will the beautiful and imposing national monument, which was set up in 1869 to commemorate the restoration of Dutch independence and to honor Prince William Frederick of Orange.

Altogether The Hague is a delight to the traveler. Thackeray exclaimed over it, “The brightest little brick city, with the pleasantest park to ride in, the neatest, comfortable people walking about, the canals not unsweet, and busy and picturesque with life!”


The cathedral was erected in 1254-67. At the time it was one of the finest and largest churches in Holland



It might be Brighton or Margate, and, except for the swarm of hooded beach chairs, it might be Coney Island, this popular seaside resort of Holland. Most of the features familiar to those who frequent the sea coast resorts of other lands are to be found at Scheveningen. There is the wide, gradually shelving beach, ceaselessly washed by the rolling surf, crowded with people of all ages and stations, bobbing in the water, frolicking on the beach, or sedately seated in the shaded chairs. Back on the beach runs the long line of hotels and cottages that we find at all great ocean resorts. The pleasure of playing on the seashore is much the same wherever humanity is found, and no matter what the locality may be the pleasure in all places finds pretty much the same forms of expression.

Scheveningen (shay´-ven-ing-en) began its life as a fishing village away back in 1400. It is situated about three miles from The Hague, and has been a bathing resort since 1815, growing in popularity and population until now the annual number of visitors is about 40,000, chiefly Dutch and German, but including also many Britons and Americans. The season runs from the first of June to the end of September, and, just as in the case of other summer resorts, its activities are at their height about the first of August.

Aside from its many attractions as a summer resort, Scheveningen has some historic interest. It was from there that Charles II set sail when he returned to England to assume the crown at the time of the Restoration. This was in 1660. Thirteen years later that sturdy naval hero Admiral de Ruyter engaged in a sea battle off Scheveningen, and there defeated the combined forces of France and England.


For those who would know Holland and the people, no trip would be complete that merely included a few of the prominent cities. Take your pack if you care for tramping, or engage a car if you prefer to ride: you will find the roads good. Then go through the country and meet the people in their simplest condition. The Dutch farmer has not changed in several hundred years. He is a thrifty, contented individual, and his life will interest you. You will find the country families hospitable, and you will learn much from them that the city Hollanders have not told you. As you go through the farm districts you will be impressed with the varied color and the picturesque qualities of everything. And though you may not be an artist you must, in the course of a sojourn in Holland, feel the stir of art consciousness.

Aptly indeed has Holland been called “a land of untouched pictures.”


J. L. Motley.


J. L. Motley.

Two justly famous and comprehensive historical works.


W. E. Griffis.

A condensation of Motley’s works brought down to 1908.


P. M. Hough.

A well written and authoritative book.


W. E. Griffis.

A book that cannot fail to interest.


George Wharton Edwards.

A book delightfully written, and artistically illustrated by a well known painter.


The travel impressions of an artist are always interesting. Mr. George Wharton Edwards in his book, “Holland of Today,” presents with brush and pencil a vivid and attractive picture of life and natural conditions in the Netherlands:

* * *

“The first impression that the traveler in Holland gets is in one respect similar to that given by the far western prairie regions, and the broad, wind-swept flat country with comparatively few trees, and lying open to the gales of the North Sea, has a little of the same bare aspect. But with this is mingled a most decided aspect of novelty. Here the fields are cultivated with the care of suburban market gardens, and are separated by long V-shaped ditches, through which the water runs sluggishly some feet below the surface of the ground. Looking across them, one sees broad, brown, velvety-hued sails moving in various directions among the growing crops; the roadway is on an embankment, running high above the land, frequently crossing canals lying far enough below for the brightly painted barges with lowered masts to pass freely, generally without the need of drawbridges.

* * *

“The passenger boats, once so common in the canals, are fast disappearing; like the diligences, they have been replaced by the system of tram-cars which now cross the country, but here and there this old-fashioned means of communication between the towns and villages still survives, and it is certainly a delightful experience to make a journey on market day in one of these arks. It is generally a long and rather narrow boat, low in the water, and usually painted green and white, with a low-roofed deck cabin divided into two compartments running the entire length, with clean board seats, and tiny lace-curtained windows, the floor scrubbed with sand until it is almost as white as snow. The roof is covered with a mixture of sand and pulverized shells, on a foundation of bitumen to hold it. It is most delightful to sail or be pulled along by ‘boy power’ through the country between the ‘pollarded green banks’ and look upon the changing landscape and the brown-armed mills in legions engaged in battle against the water enemy.

* * *

“The very laws of nature have here been reversed, for disregarding the injunction, every house is builded upon the sand, and the whole coast is held together practically by straws. There being little or no wood in the country whole forests have been brought hither in ships and buried as pile foundations for the cities. Save in the Island of Urk in the Züyder Zee there is not a stone to be found anywhere. Yet artificial mountains (almost) have been brought in vessels from Sweden and Norway and in masterful and ingenious manner erected as barriers against the sea.”

* * *

Concerning the people of Holland, Mr. Edwards has this to say: “The superficial observer will perhaps find that the people move more slowly and deliberately than his standard demands; that there are not enough of the quaint costumes, of which he has read so much, to be seen in the large centers, to satisfy his sense of the picturesque; but for him whose eyes are open to the glory of attainment and the greatness of art, whose mind is attuned to effects of environment upon the development of character, who can appreciate the brave and successful attempts of a people grown out of the very soil to ameliorate sorrow, poverty, and suffering, and who have succeeded in spite of adverse conditions and climate in establishing an almost ideal form of civilization and government, I say no land has so much to offer as little Holland. As the poet says:

“‘What land is this that seems to be
A mingling of the land and sea?
This land of sluices, dykes, and dunes?
This water-net that tesselates
The landscape? This unending maze
Of gardens, through whose latticed gates
The imprisoned pinks and tulips gaze;
Where in long summer afternoons
The sunshine, softened by the haze,
Comes streaming down as through a screen
Where over fields and pastures green
The painted ships float high in air,
And over all and everywhere
The sails of windmills sink and soar,
Like wings of sea-gulls on the shore?’”

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Transcriber’s Notes:

The spelling of the original work has been retained.
Section Amsterdam, pronunciation of Zuyder Zee: Danish should probably be Dutch.
The poem at the end of the Open Letter is part of Longfellow’s Kéramos.

Following are the correct spellings of the Dutch names given by the authors:
Brennenhof: Binnenhof
Ryks Museum: Rijksmuseum
Ryks: Rijks
Harmanzoon: Harmenszoon
Veen Kade: Veenkade
Montalbans: Montelbaans
Zuyder Zee, Züyder Zee: Zuiderzee
Meinheer: Mijnheer
Zealand: Zeeland
Franz Hals: Frans Hals
Y, Ij: IJ (occasioanlly Y)
’s Graven Hage: ’s Gravenhage.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Mentor: Holland, v. 2, Num. 6,
Serial No. 58, by Dwight Elmendorf


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