|In The veLuwe Forest|
I know it’s a strange name and not well known by most foreign tourists but it is almost a must visit in Holland. The Geology of the Netherlands might be flat, but it is not boring at all. The last Ice Age (about 10,000 years ago) created Holland. Debris, dirt, rock, sand, silt, and run-offs were pushed in front of the (up to 600 feet thick) ice sheets (glaciers) and were deposited in what we today call the Netherlands. Rivers were re-routed, deltas were formed, and it was a quagmire of moors, bogs and small sandy hills. The name veLuwe could mean ‘waste land’, useless land for agriculture. But because man starting un-mucking the area by draining the water away, agriculture thrived from the changes made to the land. The area now is actually very fertile. Humans did such a great job that they became dominant but the native wild life suffered. On top of that, hunting parties of the rich and the daily use of the land by locals, mismanagement of resources (chopping up the forests for wood) etc. and you have what is called veLuwe today.
But things are changing. Man has become aware of their shortsightedness and now Holland is, by establishing National Parks, trying to restore some areas to their former condition. Again, meet the new veLuwe, the area is now managed by the State Land Management office and nature is allowed to return to the way it used to be and restore itself. Keeping people out helps; and even building fences and having sections totally off limits to visitors is a great way to rebuild. The idea is to re-establish the fauna as it was before man interfered. Wild life is re-introduced with some mixed results. I read that even kangaroos were introduced to bring about a change to the landscape, even though they are not native to Holland. It makes me wonder if man is still playing ‘God’! Still the area is now very nice looking. It is an interesting area and I could see how it ‘might’ have been in centuries past. I am sure it is not easy to re-build nature after so many years of neglect. The Government is trying, however.
The land originally was owned by extremely rich merchants from Rotterdam and was passed on to the people with the provision that they return the land to its natural state. While in the merchant’s care it was used as a hunting ground, along with a rather elaborate hunting castle but those merchants finally saw the light and donated the land to the State.
As you can see, Holland is not just tulips, cheese and wooden shoes, or canals and windmills. Holland is also art, exceptional landscapes and masterful minds. And all of this costs so much money that is hard to grasp. What I saw, what I heard, what I witnessed, the lifestyle and the ambition, all costs tons of money. How do the Dutch do this? Their individual tax rate’s highest level is 52% of income. (It used to be 72% before 1990.) Living in the Netherlands is wonderful, but expensive.
Within the DeHoge veLuwe Park, is a museum building; the Kröller-Müller Museum. There are many world famous artists represented here. Picasso, Monet et al. Outside the building are statues and pieces of sculpture in a very large garden setting. It is an art lover’s delight, almost like an orgy of impressions, of styles, of points of view. We came just to visit this Museum and concentrate on Vincent van Gogh. I would call this museum the second home of van Gogh. This Museum has the 2nd largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s pieces besides many other artists. It is a fascinating place; a delight to just wander through, to gawk and be awed. Have you ever really studied Vincent’s pictures? Don McLean wrote a song about Vincent. Good Listening! Read the words! Watch the Pictures!
Watch the details of each painting. Look at the variations, so full of beauty but also of pain, of life lived, of emotions felt. And now I am at this Gallery, a collection so immense that the total is incomprehensible to me. The attempts of Vincent to express his views, his way of looking at what we all call Life, is so impressive, so well done, so open and at the same time mysterious, that all of the world stops and admires it. When I am looking at his art, all the other people around me fade away. I believe Vincent knew, he was able to portray his inner light, his understanding of human souls and put it forth on a piece of canvas. Yes, he struggled, he was out of touch with what we call ‘reality’ but never mind all that, his life is shown in pictures. He painted what he, at the time, thought important. He looked at an Iris flower in a very specific way, his facial portraits are always ruled by the eyes, but he never forgot the lines that life left on his subject’s faces. His brush strokes, his use of colors, his layering of paint, and his expression of what he wanted us to see and feel is unique. He used many styles to make it visual. He was an amazing artist. I have looked at many, many pictures by other artists but very few are truly called ‘artist’. There is no doubt about it; Vincent was a one of a kind human being. I loved seeing his collection. Yes, I feel badly that he had such a sad life. Yet, would he have shown us such emotion in his art without having lived the life he did?
Are we all not the result of the way we live and have lived? Each one of us in our own way?
Here is a YouTube Movie about Vincent's Life: (about 1 hour long) Too long to add to this Blog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upbXc6HgVh0
|Olive Garden (van Gogh)|
|Details of the Branches|
|Details of the Leaves|
|Olive Grove Was Painted in June of 1889|