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We've spent some time in the western part of the country on our way to IJmuiden, where our boat was shipped to the Mediterranean. Holland is very quaint, in its architecture and in its pace of life.

These are the front and back views of the South Gate, or Drommedaris in Enkhuizen, built in 1540 and heightened in 1648. The building was once used as a prison and now houses a dormitory and is used occasionally for special functions. It's a good example of the medieval  towers used by Dutch towns as part of their defenses to protect their perimeters.

 

We have found that many of the statues we've seen celebrate the common man, such as the statue at left of fishermen in Medemblik. Below, Art has a rather one-way conversation with the ship-boys from Bontekoe in Hoorn. 

 

This residence in Enkhuizen is typical of the buildings we see. Many of the old houses have inlaid tiles, often with images of boats or coats-of-arms. The top is often ornately designed with sculptures that tell a story.

This is the commercial version of the stepped-gable building. This 1613 building is the old town hall in Hoorn, and was once a monastery. 

 

Hoorn has a rich past as a trading center, and boasts a list of notable natives, including Willem Cornelis Schouten, who in 1616 was the first to round the tip of South America, naming the Cape after his home town (now Cape Horn), and the founders of Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia) and Tasmania. The gate shown at the right is on the inner harbor and is called the Hoofdtoren, part of the harbor defenses of Hoorn. The building dates from 1532, and the belfry on top was added 119 years later. In the 17th century, this building housed the offices of a company that financed whaling expeditions to the Arctic.