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Leerdam

Leerdam is often included in the area called "Drechtsteden", semi-urban centres around Rotterdam whose name usually ends on "Drecht" (old Dutch for waterway, of which there are plenty in this waterlogged country) but as it resembles Geldermalsen more, that's the town I've grouped it with. This is one of the places where I rented a room and had to put up with the classical Dutch tenants, ie. people who believe the building and whoever lives in it belongs to whichever loudmouths work themselves up furthest in the social hierarchy. In this building, which had two entrances, tenants had the nerve to make an official complaint about my behaviour - unlike their acceptable habits of making noise, harassing each other and not paying the rent on time, I committed the punishable crime of refusing all social intercourse with them - and I asked the landlord for the key to the other entrance so that I could bypass both these incarnations of Dutchness inside, and the equally Dutch people outside who built their vegetable stand around one of the entrances each Thursday, obstructing my way out, and made it clear that I was the one trespassing on their territory. A pity, because Leerdam itself (the "new" parts excepted) is quite agreeable, and surrounded by a rural area of the picturesque kind, vaguely reminiscent of French vineyards.


Glass production for lightbulbs and the like is an important industry here, as a tribute to which the town square is filled with diagonal rows of glass cases containing neon tubes bent in various shapes and coloured in three shades of blue. These light up at night for a spooky effect.



Still in the town square, just across from the train station: plants packed into an apartment building and three painted metal rods constituting Art.



The town's better housing stretches alongside a canal, also quite close to the station. The route from the station to the building where I rented a room runs from the town square, past this little canal, and through the centre where the shops are. (The building itself was situated over a supermarket.)



Beyond that, the buttressed old town walls, a disused cannon in the corner, and a line of boats. Boating is a popular activity here.



Taking a side road from the station leads me to the suburban modern add-on area, of which the houses always fail to charm me even if they are painted in bright colours.



This road pops over the hill at the end and into the countryside part of Leerdam, where the housing is more opulent and the view reminds of Arkel.



Old, less opulent housing in the town centre, and a genuine farm house, trapped between tarmac roads by the town's expansion.



Another road popping over a hill to somewhere. This one reminds me of Noordwijk (or Katwijk - they're pretty alike).



The view from the window of my room, and a second attempt to capture the weathervane which always stood out against the evening sky as if lit from within, and which may have been a trumpeting angel. On the photo, however, it's simply a whitish blur.







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