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Friday, 22 April 2016

...And I'm Back!

Lady Iolanthe and I had a wonderful holiday together in Northern Germany and both the South and Northern parts of The Netherlands, despite a bunch of problems resulting from her plane cancellation which led to us being re-routed through Frankfurt and then to Amsterdam, where we were too late by 5 mins for our train connection back to Germany, Bremen this time. (She was flying in from the Canadian west and I from the east, meeting in Toronto to travel on together.) All in all, it took 36 hours, 15 hours of waiting in various airports included, for a trip that would normally have taken 7 hours....

So we arrived in Germany a day late; however, my sister-in-law and her husband took us sightseeing the next day, to Schloss Jever. I didn't expect any minis on this trip, but my goodness, there were minis in the museum at the Schloss!

This super kitchen was more of a Playscale size, but I just loved all the items in it. The wood was left its natural colour, and as you can see, there were metal, copper, pewter and pottery elements there as well. The kitchen reminded me of the toy German Victorian-era kitchens we see so often in miniature magazines, but much more natural, far less elaborately decorated.

This is a view into a "modern" room box that has a kind  of 30's presence about it; there is actually a sort of hammock hanging from the ceiling over the stairs. The grouping of pictures on the left-hand wall is unusual for a doll's house. The yellow glass windows make the whole room box look very sunny and contemporary. And that coloured glass circular window - partially blocked out by a floor lamp - is a feature I must consider for a miniature setting one of these days!

Here is Lady Iolanthe admiring a model warehouse, a dolls' house designed for boys to play with, complete with pulleys and a block and tackle, and I imagine it would once have had boxes and barrels to lift into and out of the warehouse doors. In Germany, the Tudor style of building is known as fach-werk, I believe, and there are hundreds or perhaps even thousands of buildings built in this style still lived and worked in today, some 600 years later.

On Wednesday we toured the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, managing to see only about half of it. It's a place that requires more than one day, for sure. Of course, we stopped in the dolls' house gallery, where Petronella van Oort's and Petronellas duBois' (I think) elaborate seventeenth century dolls' houses are on display. You need a ladder to see into the top story of the former, and it has a portrait of it on the wall beside it! Only one of the original dolls, a baby in an elaborate gown, remains in this house. The thing I always loved about this one is the incredibly fine basket work, made with willow fibres, so thin they look like fine thread, called "wilgen-tenen" or willow-toes, in Dutch.

The other Petronella's dolls' house is so chock-a-block with miniature, gleaming silver that it astounds you. The dolls that inhabit this are charmingly out of scale, and there are well over a dozen of them; maids with toddlers in leading strings and rolls of padded fabric around their heads, to protect against falls, a room full of gentlemen drinking, smoking, gaming and chatting, staff working in the kitchens, and so on. In the attic, a maid is ironing clothing while shirts and cloths hang to dry from wooden slatted racks hung from the ceiling. Here too, finely worked basketry is everywhere.

These two houses are so wonderfully reflective of their period, that sociologists use them to study how wealthy Dutch burghers lived at the time. The servants in the second Petronella's house are dressed in regional costume, recognizable enough to place them in the Dutch landscape. My sister-in-law took the photos for me, as I had left my camera in my luggage back in Bremen.

I also lucked out, in that I was able to pick up 4 Dutch dollhouse magazines; two issues  of DollsHouse Nederland, and one of Poppenhuizen & Miniaturen (P&M), along with their most recent quarterly projects issue, on bedrooms and bathrooms. The older magazines were being swapped out for the most recent issues, and the shop owner dug out the ones they would normally have returned to the publishing company - timed that one right! Not only that, but the magazine shop was right across the street from our hotel in Maastricht, so no problem getting there, either.

That's it for now; I am trying to get over the six hour time difference, something that I find more difficult the older I get. However, my stomach did actually start growling at 12:15 local time today, demanding lunch, so there is hope. Next event is the Moncton Miniature and Doll Show, in early May, for which I have to do some work still.


  1. Welcome back home, Marijke! It sounds as if you and your friend had a wonderful time, despite some of the missed connections. Your photos are interesting. I especially like the idea of the yellow glass, as it really does give the effect of sunshine!


  2. My travelling companion was my older daughter; that added wonderfully to the trip. She also enjoyed the dolls' houses in the Rijksmuseum!

  3. Yay- you're back!!! I really missed having my mentor handy. I'll give you time to rest then I want to hear all the details - yes, all of them!!!!! So glad you're home. - Marilyn D., Oromocto, NB, Canada