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Trip to the Netherlands Spring 2010

Our immigrant ancestors had to be able to adapt to changes in their lives when they came to the US.  The same is true today.  A friend, Beverly Cambre, and I had a trip planned to the Netherlands, Venice, and a Tuscany tour in the spring of 2010.  Just a few days before we were scheduled to leave the United States, ash from a volcano in Iceland shut down the airports in Europe as well as in the US.  So, we regrouped and were able to leave a week later.  We had to change the order of our trip.  First we went to Venice, then did the Tuscany tour and ended up in Amsterdam on Saturday afternoon.  We spent the next few days doing the sights in Amsterdam.

Bicycle Parking Lot at Downtown Amsterdam Train Station

Bicycle Parking Lot at Downtown Amsterdam Train Station

Thursday, we walked to the train station, and bought tickets to Lelystad.    The parking  garage connected to the train station was not for cars but for bicycles. The folks at the hotel said we could take an express train to Lelystad – about 45 minutes to the north.  Not so.  We had to change trains along the way but that was not a big deal. That day was a National Holiday. The express trains did not run on holidays.  The person selling the tickets did not know what the holiday was; just that it was a national holiday.  Our fellow passengers did not know either.

Our train route from Lelystad to Aalten

Our train route from Lelystad to Aalten

My cousin’s husband, Freek Warger, met us at the train station in Lelystad and took us to their home.  Ina teKolstee Warger and I had been corresponding since the mid 1990’s.  My great-grandmother and Ina’s great-grandfather were brother and sister.  My great-grandmother was Janna Hendrika teKolstee who married William O. Walvoord in 1874 in Holland, Nebraska.  We had morning coffee, learned that the National Holiday was Ascension Day, visited, and had lunch.

William O. Walvoord c. 1894

William O. Walvoord, Holland, Nebraska c. 1894

Janna "Jane" Hendrika (teKolstee) Walvoord, Holland, Nebraska c. 1894

Janna “Jane” Hendrika (teKolstee) Walvoord, Holland, Nebraska c. 1894

A trip of a lifetime began  after lunch.  We saw families riding bicycles and spending time in the parks.  Ina said this was the custom on Ascension Day.  It was especially nice to have Ina and Freek describe the countryside and places of interest along the way.   Our  trip across Netherlands was delightful.   Our first stop was at a park with an eating establishment.

We sat around the original fireplace drinking hot tea or hot chocolate.   It was awesome.   Ina could remember the house before it was the eating establishment.  Henk B. Walvoort and his wife Aafke, and his 1st cousin with the same name Henk J. Walvoort were there also.  Henk and Aafke live on the farm next to Ina’s sister, Dini.  The following Spring of 2011, both Henk Walvoorts visited the U.S.   It was time to move on so we said our goodbyes to the Walvoorts and continued driving on closer to the German border.

Janna Hendrika teKolstee house

This was the house, in Aalten, Gelderland, where Janna Hendrika teKolstee was born in 1851. The date on the side of the building said 1885. It was originally a house long before that and had had major renovations in 1885 and had more renovations later as it became an eating establishment.


The playground in the front of the house. The children were running around, riding their bicycles and just having fun on their holiday from school.

We stopped first in Brevevoort where some of the teKolstee ancestors were born and walked around.  Our next stop was at the home of Dini and Henk Meerdink-teKolstee, Ina’s sister and her husband.  They farm land that has been in his family since the 1600’s.  WOW.  It was a wonderful visit with new found relatives, hot drinks and homemade goodies.

On the way back to Lelystad we stopped to eat at a restaurant that Ina and Freek recommended.   It was great.  It was getting dark and most of the bicyclists had gone home.  Our first day with Ina and Freek was memorable.

We would have 2 more days with them.  It was oh so nice to have our own guides for this part of our trip.  I’ll write about the other days for a later blog.

Below are some pictures of me with my Walvoort and teKolstee cousins.

Ann Walvoord Graff, July 2012

Ann Graff and Henk J. Walvoort

Ann Graff and Henk J. Walvoort sitting around the fireplace in the teKolstee home of long ago.

Ina teKolstee-Warger and Henk B. Walvoort

Ina teKolstee-Warger and Henk B. Walvoort

Aafke Walvoort wife of Henk B. Walvoort

Aafke Walvoort wife of Henk B. Walvoort

Walvoort, Walvoord-Graff and Walvoort

Walvoort, Walvoord-Graff and Walvoort

teKolste cousins: Ina, Ann and Dina

Freek and Ina teKolstee Warger, Ann Graff, Dina and Henk teKolstee Meerdink


Updated: May 25, 2014 — 10:09 PM
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