August 31, 2014

The Haarlem Hideout

HAARLEM


I rode my bike into Leiden from Wassenaar. It was supposed to take 20 minutes. I think I had a couple backtracks, and it took me 35 minutes instead. Locked up my bike next to a tree, and got on the next train to Haarlem. The Netherlands has free wifi in their stations and on their trains. No phone, no problem!


Once in Haarlem, I took the long loop back to the Corrie ten Boom house. The museum only offers 4 English tours a day, and for only 25 people at a time, and I was already too late for the early tour. I did not book ahead, and I got lucky; I definitely recommend booking your spot ahead of time to save the worry of having gone all the way to Haarlem and not getting into the house.


The little city of Haarlem is dominated by the massive cathedral in the center market square. There were workers cleaning up what looked like had been a music festival of some kind. I think normally the square would feel more open and inviting without stage equipment everywhere. I would have gone inside the church, but there is an annoying Dutch trend of charging admission to go inside churches, and I don't support this concept (exception: Sagrada Família).


Every restaurant looked good in the center, so I don't remember the name of the one I ended up at...but if I saw it again, I would know! I ordered a sandwich that said North Sea, and all the ingredients were in Dutch. An amazing salmon sandwich came out on the softest homemade bread: YES!

"The Hiding Place"
I don't even remember the first time I heard the Corrie ten Boom story. It was sometime in early elementary school, and she was just a natural part of our Christian curriculum. This home tour was just as excellent as the Anne Frank tour, but with an unashamed message of Christ's love for everyone. Honestly, I felt like I was at a home prayer group. It was real and it was awesome.

The guide had great stories to tell, and I learned so much about the history of the ten Boom family; how they believed Christians should pray for and do whatever they could to support the Jewish people (they felt this way 100 years before WWII) and how their sacrifices during WWII helped save over 800 people.


The ministry of Corrie ten Boom after the war was intense. If you have no idea who I am talking about, read this. An incredible woman who survived insurmountable odds, and blessed others until the day she died. An ultimate warrior for Christ, and someone even non-believers can admire for her courage and strength to love even after seeing the worst of humanity during WWII.



6 comments:

  1. I remember reading a book in highschool about Corrie ten Boom's life and crying so much! What an amazing experience to actually visit her and her families hiding spot.

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    1. My memories of her book were fading until I was able to go to her home. It all felt like a really distant place in my past, and that made it all the more amazing and deep. I hope you get the chance to go, especially since you are familiar with her story!

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  2. My sister was able to visit last summer while in the Netherlands, but I have yet to see it! It's on "the list."

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    1. Lucky for your sister! The Netherlands is just chock-full of awesome places to visit, and I'm so happy I get to go for about a week each fall! It's such a tiny country, but so full of history and beauty in every season. Hope you get to enjoy it soon! :)

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  3. You've inspired me to read up more on Corrie Ten Boom, thank you! Haarlem is just precious! I visited once several years ago for a couple of nights and really enjoyed it.

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    1. Hi Cynthia! That's awesome! Yes, Haarlem was incredibly charming, I'm glad you've been there! Corrien Ten Boom was one of the great humans of the 20th century, we will all do well to remember her and learn from her! Thanks for reading! :)

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