My wife was in Utrecht this week

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My wife was in sunny Utrecht this weekend to meet my sons prospective in laws. Lovely folk from Rotterdam, just as their daughter is. A true marriage made in Heaven, well Utrecht anyway.

Spending time in the city, she hadn’t realised that it was the European Beach volleyball championships. A celebration of the game played at four sites over Holland. This is so incongruous, dumping tonnes of sand in the Neude to create a sea side atmosphere. And what do you know, Holland won the Women’s crown!

So well done Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink who played the final at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague fighting their way through as fifteenth seeds to beat the cream of Europe!

So to avoid the crowds, my darling wife and our son visited Kasteel de Haar. What a beautiful vista, just like a fairy-tale castle. But then you have the mannequins! What on earth is that all about. Guess the star from the mannequin that looks nothing like them. Seems a peculiar attraction to say the least when there is such a splendid house to admire and to be shown off. Is this what Dutch people like? Or do they think that a poor man’s Madame Tussauds is what the foreign tourist cries out for?

As we spoke on the phone, besides being envious of my wife’s location, I was able to listen to the bells of the Dom Toren playing away in the background. The sound is so evocative of Utrecht and adds so much to the ambience of the city. Not that I wasn’t listening to my wife as well I hasten to add.

I love the fact that the bells of the Dom celebrate music and musicians. The works of Prince, Bowie and Avicii are just a few who have been paid homage to. It’s a really fabulous gesture and so Dutch.,

My wife was staying in the museumkwartier, so all was near by and she visited Museum Speelklok. This is a must go to place and she visits every time she is in Utrecht. It is so quirky and unique. Displays are clever and effective. It is educational as well! A far throw from the mannequins of de Haar! We both hope to visit next year before the upcoming Robots love Music exhibition has ended. Like I say educational but fun.

As the so called British government try to face down Holland and the other 26 nations of the European Union, this Brit can at least say he wants to be European as there is so much that binds us and so little that divides us. It is a shame that about 30 Government MPs are running the show and making us leave the EU. I hope it doesn’t’ get more complicated to visit Utrecht in the future especially with the wedding coming up! Just as we get the direct train to Amsterdam and the short hop to Utrecht we get Brexit. Where is the sense of it?

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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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