Sunday, June 7, 2009

Zeeland Up Close & Personal

Author: Wendy Mussoline

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit Ms. Wilma Brouwer in the Zeeland Region, which is the province in southwest Holland. The focus of the Delta Works was the Zeeland region since more than one-third of the land area is water. Ms. Brouwer is one of the five executives on the Zeeland Water Board. She is very influential when it comes to making decisions regarding water management in the Zeeland province. She generously hosted me in her home and we indulged in a genuine cultural exchange. We spoke of the vast history of Zeeland's battle against the sea over a few glasses of wine and discussed the implications of the recent economic downturn within the US.

While in Zeeland, I took advantage of the opportunity to explore the countryside by bike. I transported my real "Dutch" bike by train down to the central station in Goes. After thoroughly exploring the area of Goes, we set our sights south and then west to Vlissingen (totalling approximately 30 miles in all). The original plan was to explore the small town of Nisse just southwest of Goes and then return to the train station and take the train to Vlissingen. However, the wind from the northeast was was nearly impossible to pedal upwind. Thus it was easier to ride 30 miles with the wind rather than 5 miles against the wind. With all the windmills we saw along the way (that were in high gear), I imagine wind is quite common in this province. The open spaces went on as far as the eye could see...mostly filled with apple orchards, fields of flowers, sheep, and crops galour. With all the agricultural, this region shall never go hungry as long as they can keep the water out.

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