bits and bobs

detail lWhat do a cat, a ferry boat, a happy face, a bee hive and a house have in common? These are some of images found on Dutch licorice.
I do not consider myself an aficionado of licorice. However, I do know the best licorice in the world can be found in the Netherlands. Some might say its acquired taste: salty or sweet, hard or soft.  Liquorice Illustration_Glycyrrhiza_glabra0or licorice comes from the root of the liquorice plant, which is a herbaceous perennial legume native to southern Europe, India and part of Asia. It is harvested every 2-3 years after planting from the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant.  The Dutch are such amazing plantsmen, it makes sense that the most popular candy in the country would come from a plant.

Jacob van Ruisdael. 1672.

Jacob van Ruisdael. 1672.

It comes as no surprise that one can drive for miles and see endless nurseries, after all the Dutch are master horticulturists. The surrounding landscape is still pretty much as it is pictured in Dutch landscape painting of the 17th century. .


Endless tree nurseries


This love of nature is reflected in the small town of  Wageningen, which boasts four arboretum:  Belmonte, The Dreijen and Hinkeloord and a fourth arboretum, known as the forgotten arboretum.
pyrus with red rectangle

Walking around the Belmont Arboretum, I was stopped in my tracks, by this red rectangle hanging from a large shrub. The red rectangle indicates an endangered species which is accompanied by a sign that tells you the name of the tree: Viscum album or mistletoe, dwarf evergreen shrub.  In the Netherlands, Viscum album is legally protected. The species is locally common, but elsewhere very rare.

sign endangered red rectangle

Outdoor sculpture seems a common feature of museums, parks and arboretum.


A bench is always available to sit on or …you can just keep walking.

sign walk this way

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