Many of the people who make tours to the Netherlands only get to visit its bigger cities. A good number of them are, however, left with questions as to how the scenery and life generally is in the more rural parts of the Netherlands. To ensure that you don’t leave with such questions, you should really make an effort to visit Winterswijk: a provincial town in a relatively far-flung part of the Netherlands.
It may look small and bereft of historical monuments, but Winterswijk has a history: one that goes back to at least the year 1000 AD. Winterswijk, however, never quite developed into a trading or military center. It remained as more or less a rustic farming village, until the age of the industrial revolution, when it emerged as a quite important center for the textile industry.
Today, about 30,000 people call Winterswijk home, and it is a place where life is serene, and where things seemingly get conducted without too much of a rush. It is also a remarkably beautiful town, one that is surrounded by scenes that qualify to be termed as genuinely ‘natural scenes’ and one that, ultimately, seems to have gotten stuck in another (saner) age.
Don’t let yourself be misled by the small size of Winterswijk, and imagine that a visit to or a tour of this town will not offer much or that such a tour will inevitably bring you boredom. Far from it, you will have quite a lot to see in Winterswijk. Winterswijk also offers much in terms of things to do and a tour there can lead to immense fun.
Getting around Winterswijk
What is referred to as the Winterswijk town center is really a small condensed area: one that you can even traverse several times on your feet without really getting exhausted. Still, if you want to visit the outlying rural settlements, you can take a bus. There are bus services around here, though you shouldn’t expect the level bus network coverage in a rural town to be the same as in a huge bustling city. To put it in other words, there are parts of Winterswijk that are not exactly within the bus network, though even in the worst cases, the next bus stop is always just a kilometer or two away (meaning that there isn’t great inconvenience).
Cycling is another mode of transport you can use to get around Winterswijk. Don’t, however, expect Winterswijk to have the extensive cycling paths like those found in the bigger Netherlands cities like the Hague. In a place like Winterswijk, cyclists share roads with motorists, but thanks to the Netherlands highly developed culture of respect for cyclists, what we end up with isn’t exactly a cut-throat competition for space. Actually cyclists get preferential treatment from the drivers, many of whom are also cyclists.
There are a few taxis around Winterswijk, and if you want to get around the town in a taxi, there is nothing to stop you from getting in touch with a company like Walhof, and using one of its cabs: especially if the relatively high fare isn’t really an issue worth fretting over for you.
Ultimately, a town as small and as picturesque as Winterswijk is best toured on foot, and this pedestrian touring option is a very reasonable option that you can consider as well.
Things to see and do in Winterswijk
Winterswijk is home to one those interesting, olden watermills that process grain into flour and, as a tourist to the town, you can have a chance to see it (it is locally known as Beerenschot).
Winterswijk’s two major museums are the GOLS museum (which is basically a railway museum) and the Mondriaan Museum (which is basically a local art museum).
In terms of things to do in Winterswijk, you can go swimming at places like the Strandbad or in the local Hilgelo Lake. You can also decide to go sailing (using a fascinating rowing boat) in the local stream known as Bekendelle or have fun at the local park known as Sevink Avonturenpark.
You can go shopping on streets like Wooldsestraat or Misterstraat. You can also eat out at the restaurant Stranlodge or enjoy a drink at one of the bars in the Markt (Market Square).
‘Smart’ Mask Brainstormed by Dutch Physicians, Engineers
Physicians and engineers in the Netherlands said they are developing a “smart mask” that uses sensors and data to monitor a wearer's temperature and respiration and warns them when the mask needs replacing.
Though the mask is still in the development stage, researchers at the Holst Center, an independent research and development technology lab in the city of Eindhoven, said in addition to monitoring vital signs, a humidity sensor can indicate if the mask is functioning properly.
The core technology has already been largely developed in a joint research project with multiple partners to commercialize the smart mask. Holst Center researcher Ashok Sridhar said the mask was designed with practical applications to indicate if the wearer is basically healthy.
Sridhar said the mask will also tell wearers how the mask itself is doing. He said people tend to buy masks and wear them longer than they are intended.
“By measuring the humidity of the filter, you can also indicate that the mask cannot be used anymore. And the idea is to replace the mask, so that the effectiveness is retained."
The mask is going through a testing phase, and researchers hope to add further functionality, such as alerting users if they inhale toxic substances.
The mask uses flexible sensors that are printed into the fabric. The researchers said the Holst Center pioneered this printed electronics technology. They are using it to develop a T-shirt that can monitor the wearer’s vital signs during athletic training and report back to the user through a laptop or smartphone.
Coronavirus found in Minks in the Netherlands
The Netherlands also eases Corona Restrictions
The Netherlands has eased corona restrictions two months after the “lockdown”. As of the this week, hairdressers, beauty salons are allowed to reopen again., this is followed by restaurants, cafés and theaters on June 1st, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced in The Hague.
Rutte, however, called for continued caution – “We can only reopen the Netherlands if everyone behaves wisely.”
The government presented a gradual easing plan by September 1. From June 1, museums and all schools are to be opened thereafter, however, the relaxation is associated with a new obligation:
From June 1st, face masks must be worn in local public transport and the opening of primary schools from May 11th.
The Netherlands is now in a transition phase to the “one and a half meter society,” said Rutte but he warned that any loosening would be reversed if the virus spreads again as “The virus must remain manageable.”
From July 1st there are also plans to relax tourism with camping sites and holiday parks to open the gates again.
Restaurants, cafés and theaters can then receive up to 100 visitors. Sports with direct physical contact such as football should only be allowed from September 1st but playing golf, swimming or tennis will be allowed again next week.
The measures will be relaxed more quickly than planned. According to the government, this is possible because the number of new infections is declining faster than expected. So far, around 41,000 cases of corona infections have been registered in the Netherlands, 5204 people died and 628 patients are still in intensive care units and at the height of the crisis, there were twice as many in ICU’s reported.
Restrictions on freedom of movement have been in effect since March 13. Citizens should stay at home as much as possible and keep a safety distance of one and a half meters. Cafes, restaurants and schools had been closed. However, business was allowed to remain open. Prime Minister Rutte had called this an “intelligent lockdown”, appealing to the common sense of the citizens.
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