Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Best of Holland

Holland is a cool country for many reasons, but one of my favorite things is the almshouses.  Way back in the 1500 to 1700's rich Dutch people built groups of small homes for the elderly.  Some were for widows only.  Others for old maids.  One we went to recently was for couples, but the women had to move out when their husbands died.  These homes were donated.  Free.  An act of good will or a spiritual investment to the donator's after-life future.  The thing to do in the 17th Century was to build homes for the poor, the widows, the ones without.  

When I think about this, it makes me so happy.  The Dutch showed kindness, love, and good will to men for centuries with a simple little apartment for someone who had less.  What would America or Kenya or Hungary be like if the wealthy left a chunk of their fortune to build homes for the poor and widows?  Any rich people people reading this?  Probably not.  I guess that leaves the rest of us to do it. I'll add "almshouse" to my budget for retirement.

This is the courtyard of one group of almshouses in Leiden, Holland.  Twelve small apartments were built around this garden.

This is a door to the courtyard of a group of almshouses.  Residents entered here to get to their little flats.  This building happens to be in the same area that the Pilgrims lived before sailing to the New World.  Their church is right across the street from this picture, where many Pilgrims are buried and honored.


  1. Very few people think like the way you do..Interesting somethings in life are learned through life and doing those in life is worth learning.