The Oude Kerk (The Old Church)
The other view of the church
The town was quiet, not many people around considering it was 1.30 p.m on a Saturday afternoon. The shops were quite picturesque because of the old buildings. We easily found our shop and quickly made our purchase. Then we continued with our little sight-seeing and went to the back of the town. It was a mistake actually, we should have bought the cast iron pan on the way back towards the new city centre (the bigger and newer side of the city) and not beforehand. The small pan weighed considerably in my hands. On the back lane of the town, there were neat houses overlooking canal and the Wilhelmina Park. In the distance we could see an old windmill. I would have gone and checked the mill, but my extra burden made me delay it for another day :D
If you look carefully, you will see the old windmill at the background.
The old windmill "De Hoop" or The Hope built in 1897 - picture frm Mr Google
Since the wind was getting stronger and my burden was getting heavier by the minute, we walked back to the other side towards the new city centre.
Stadsmuseum (City Museum)
On the way to the new city centre, we found this Stadsmuseum which was built around 1870. I believe it was an old house and later converted to a museum. We didn't go in for the obvious reasons :D
On the opposite of the Stadsmuseum, there was an old farm house "De Vlaming" which was built in 1850.
The still in use old farm was surrounded by newer modern houses. Behind it I could see Grote Dobbe (Lake Dobbe) which devides the old medieval town from the new city centre.
The funny thing is the streets after the farm and the museum were named after places in London, such as Oxfordstraat, Londenstraat and a few others. Obviously these are later street additions around the old place.
Back at home and much later, a search on the internet reveals the following :
Zoetermeer was a small village in the 10th century and home to farmers and fishermen. In the 13th century a village centre was formed which still exists as the historic Dorpsstraat - ie the old town where I purchased my heavy cast iron poffertjes pan. Until 17th century there was a lake called Zoetermeer. A reminder of the lake is "the Noord Aa" at the northern edge of the city, an artificial lake created when there was a necessity for sand for building material and development. The real growth of the city only started in 1966 when there was an urgent need for houses around The Hague. From then on they started building new quarters around the old village centre and Zoetermeer began to grow and becomes the third largest population center in South Holland province after Rotterdam and The Hague.We shall definitely be visiting the medieval village centre again, to see the windmill, the Grote Dobbe and the Stadsmuseum. Apart from this old attractions, there are also the indoor ski slope Snoworld and go-karts and laser game centres to entice those who are interested. Now, had I not been obsessed with finding the pan, I would probably never find out about the historic medieval village of Zoetermeer !!!