Holland this year was an absolute pleasure from start to finish. 42 students and five members of staff travelled by coach and ferry to the delightful seaside town of Noordwijk. The accommodation, near a lovely beach, provided good quality, substantial meals, plenty of outdoor space and was an ideal base camp for our excursions and activities.
Day one included a trip to Zaanse Schans, an open air Dutch cultural museum which offered the pupils the chance to see clogs being made, taste the famous local cheese and experience a working windmill in action. Picturesquely located along the river, it includes examples of Dutch architecture from the 15th century. Pupils learnt a lot about the local cultural heritage, had a great time and came away with a few souvenirs from the gift shop. Following that, we visited Tiki Pool in Duinrell, a fantastic water park with a tangle of high speed water slides which pupils enjoyed hurling themselves down.
On Wednesday we visited Amsterdam. First stop was The Anne Frank House, a beautifully designed museum which wraps around the very building in which Anne and her family hid during the Nazi occupation. It was a moving experience. Our pupils were engrossed by Anne’s story and full of thoughtful questions. From there, we drove across the city to begin our canal boat cruise. We snaked our way through the city’s famous network of waterways in a glass roofed boat, whilst the commentary taught us all about Amsterdam’s trading history and canal side architecture. Onwards then to the Van Gogh Museum which has undergone a recent refurbishment and is all the better for it. We benefited from a very clear telling of Van Gogh’s life story through the medium of his own work. It was beautiful, fascinating and inspiring to see how he strived relentlessly to be the best artist he could be. What a day!
Thursday was ‘Theme Park Day’. De Efteling theme park is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in Europe. Walt Disney himself visited the park as part of his research before designing the first Disney World and he was clearly inspired by the clever use of animatronics, incredible attention to detail and the hair raising rides. Suffice to say, our pupils had a great time.
Every evening, after dinner we made the 15 minute walk to the beach, where pupils played ball games, dug magnificent holes (Matthew) and generally enjoyed themselves. On our last evening we were treated to a glorious golden sunset as we made our way back to the hostel across the dunes.
Throughout the week, the pupils were impressive representatives of the school and it was a delight to accompany them.
"Holland was really fun! I had a great time going to the beach and going on all the big rides. My roomates were friendly and fun to be around. The Anne Frank museum was very interesting. I didn’t realise what she went through." Will
"Holland was really fun, interesting and adventurous. The food was nice, the accommodation was sweet and the beach was glorious. I really enjoyed it. My favourite part was De Efteling and Tiki Pool water park." Zoe
"I had a fantastic time in Holland. I really loved playing games on the beach and I loved Tiki Pool and De Efterling. Also, I liked visiting Amsterdam and The Anne Frank House." Ella