My own Dutch roots: Hilversum
The annual Open Monumentendagen (Heritage Days) took place this weekend. During these days many historical sites (some 4000 in total) can be visited free of charge. A lot of these sites are usually not accessible to the public. This year I decided to use the Open Monumentendagen to trace my own Dutch roots and visited Hilversum, the town of my ancestors.
When I was a child, my grandparents lived some 100 meter from the Catholic St Vitus' church. In their house we heard the church bells every 15 minutes, and from the front room upstairs we had a good view of the tower and could read the time on the church clocks.
During my Hilversum trip I visited this church and climbed the tower, to search for my ancestors house (on my photo album, my grandparents' home is the house with the balcony on the Veerstraat; on the photo on the left it's one of the buildings at the top of the photo, behind the white buildings). And I saw the church bells I remember hearing so well (apparently there were five church bells, but a sixth has been added since).
Of course, I walked through the Veerstraat to have a look at my grandparents' former home. I haven't been inside since they sold it, nearly 30 years ago, but I walked past it once or twice before. It is now an office building, deserted in the weekend, so there was no chance to go inside. Other sites visited included the Dutch Reformed church, that I haven't visited since my grandfather's funeral in 1997 (he left Hilversum in the 1970s, but returned a year before his death).
The last part of my Hilversum trip was a guided tour through the town hall, an architectural masterpiece by W.M. Dudok.