De Sebaldebuurster Molenpolder (Sebaldeburen Windmill)

It has been fairly quiet on Pining recently because we were in the north-east of the Netherlands, in Friesland, visiting the Dutch branch of my family, my brother has lived in NL for over 50 years. I had intended blogging while we were away but I never did find the time for it.  In recent years Jack and I have been exploring this rural area, but amazingly we hadn’t ever visited a windmill, we rectified that this time.

Windmill at Subaldeburen, The Netherlands

From a distance they look so peaceful and scenic, but when you get up close they are really quite scarily noisy, and like something designed by Heath Robinson, but more about that in another post.

Leens, farm worker’s house, Netherlands

Way back in June last year we visited my brother and his wife in the Netherlands. Their neighbours suggested that we should visit the Burg at nearby Leens, so on a lovely sunny and warm day we did just that. You can see my previous posts on the Burg here and  here.  After visiting the rather grand house we went for a walk around the surrounding farmland and decided to visit the farm worker’s house which we could see in the distance. I’ve been to loads of stately homes in the UK but I don’t ever recall any of them also having a farm worker’s house that you could look inside. I suspect that most of the small estate houses in the UK have been modernised and rented out to holidaymakers.

labourer's cottage , Leens, Netherlands

Leens, labourer's cottage , Netherlands

labourer's cottage , Leens, Netherlands


labourer's cottage, Leens, Netherlands

Honestly, I would quite happily have moved in. The rectangular box in front of the chair in the photo below is lined with metal and you put hot coals in it and put your feet on it with your long dress draped over it, too keep your feet and legs toasty!

labourer's cottage , Leens, Netherlands

The wee house is surrounded by farmland, and the formal gardens of the Burg, as you can see below. It’s a beautiful area, despite there being no hills!

Burg, Leens, Topiary, Netherlands

This is a photo of the outside of the worker’s cottage. (Copied from the Burg’s website.)



Hortus Botanicus Haren – Groningen, Netherlands

We visited the Chinese Water Garden at Hortus Botanicus Haren – Groningen back in June. It was a glorious day, we were really lucky with the weather.

Chinese Water Garden, Pagoda, da +


Chinese Water Garden , Groningen, Netherlands


Chinese Water Garden, Groningen


Chinese Water Garden, Groningen, Netherlands

There were lots of different types of dragonflies around. Unfortunately I didn’t get any usable photos of them. I’ve only see them a few times before in my life, they don’t seem to be that plentiful in Scotland, so it was a bit of a thrill to see so many.

Chinese Water Garden, Groningen, Netherlands


Chinese Water Garden, Groningen, Netherlands


Chinese Water Garden, Groningen, Netherlands


Waterfall, Chinese Water Garden, Groningen, Netherlands

In the photo below there’s a huge koi carp, it seemed to be the only fish in the water garden. We assumed that it had eaten all the others!

Carp, Chinese Water Garden, Groningen, Netherlands

This botanic garden has a lot more to it than just this Chinese section, well worth going to see if you happen to be in north east Netherlands.

Leens interior, Burg near Groningen, Netherlands

The dining room at Leens is all set out for a dinner as you can see. I suspect that any children didn’t eat in this room as the table isn’t all that big.

Leens dining room , Netherlands

The ceiling in this room is plastered as you can see from the ceiling rose below. I think in the UK we would describe it as being Georgian in design as it’s a lot more delicate than later Victorian style.

dining room  ceiling, Leens , Netherlands

The bedroom below has wooden ceilings, plaster must have been used for the areas that would be seen by visitors. I think that the shutters on the wall above the bed are there just so that you can see what an earlier wall decoration looked like.

Double bed, Leens, Netherlands

One of the rooms is set up with toys strewn on the floor as if the children have just been playing with them.

Leens sitting room , toys, Netherlands

I suspect that the room below was where the ladies of the house sat as it has sewing and knitting paraphernalia in it. They chose a good room, it would be cosy.

Leens drawing room, sewing, Netherlands

There’s really not a lot of difference between a Dutch  house of this type and a British one, although in Britain there would be an open fire, not a stove like the one below. I’m sure that the stove would be a lot warmer as most of the heat from an open fire goes straight up the chimney.

Reception room, Leens, Netherlands

In the probably unlikely event that you would find yourself in Friesland, north-east Netherlands, you should definitely visit Leens. It’s a lovely house and location.

Leens, Burg near Groningen, Netherlands

Leens Burg , Netherlands

Leens Burg, Netherlands

I’m looking back to early June when we were visiting my brother in the Netherlands.  On a really hot day we visited Leens Burg. It’s a rather grand manor house, which belonged to the people who owned the farmland in the area. It’s now open to the public and it’s a lovely day out although when we were there the cafe was closed for some reason. That was a bit of a shame as we had planned to have lunch there.

As you can see the house has a moat, it reminded me of the previous house we had visited in Norfolk, it even has the same kind of tiles on the roof, but it isn’t nearly as old as  Oxburgh was. There are a lot of similarities between Norfolk and the Netherlands countryside and architecture wise.

Leens Burg ,Netherlands

Leens is run mainly by volunteers, whoever does the gardening does a great job anyway.

Topiary, Leens, Netherlands

I took a lot more photographs of the interior, below is the sitting room which is a mixture of very grand and quite cottagey and homely.  I think the original owner would have been called a gentleman farmer. As you can see the ceiling is just wooden boards, whereas in the UK a house like this would have very ornate plaster ceilings. It’s still lovely though.  I’ll blog about the rest of the interior soon.

Leens, Burg, Netherlands,sitting room 2

You can see more images of Leens here.