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What the Netherlands looked like in the 1950s

The 1950s was a period of significant change in the Netherlands, as the country began to recover from the devastation of World War II and entered a new era of economic growth and social progress. Dutch cities that had been destroyed during the war. This process involved extensive reconstruction efforts, as well as the construction of new housing developments, infrastructure, and public buildings. The government played a major role in these efforts, providing funding and support for the rebuilding process.

Economy of the Netherlands in the 1950s

The 1950s also saw significant economic growth in the Netherlands, with the country experiencing a period of sustained prosperity and rising standards of living. This growth was driven in part by the development of new industries, including electronics, chemicals, and oil refining, which created new jobs and opportunities for Dutch workers. Dutch government invested heavily in the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, housing, and other buildings. This created a significant amount of new construction jobs and also helped to modernize the country’s infrastructure, making it easier for businesses to transport goods and for individuals to travel.

Agriculture remained a significant part of the Dutch economy in the 1950s, with a focus on modernizing farming methods and increasing production. This helped to feed a growing population and also provided raw materials for Dutch industry. The Netherlands has always been a trading nation, and in the 1950s the country continued to develop its export-oriented economy. The country’s location at the heart of Europe, combined with its developed infrastructure, made it an ideal location for businesses to export their goods to other European countries and beyond.

Life and Culture of the Netherlands in the 1950s

As the country became more prosperous, Dutch society also began to undergo significant social changes. Traditional gender roles began to shift, with more women entering the workforce and seeking greater equality and opportunities. The 1950s also saw a rise in consumer culture, with Dutch consumers embracing new technologies and products, such as televisions, cars, and refrigerators. This growth led to rising standards of living for many Dutch people, and the emergence of a new consumer culture focused on modern technologies and products.

In 1952, the Netherlands became a founding member of the European Coal and Steel Community, an early precursor to the European Union. This marked a significant step towards greater European integration and cooperation and helped to shape the country’s political and economic future in the decades that followed.

The 1950s were also a period of cultural renewal in the Netherlands. Dutch artists, writers, and musicians began to embrace new forms of expression, drawing inspiration from both traditional Dutch culture and global artistic movements. This cultural renewal helped to establish the Netherlands as a vibrant center of artistic and intellectual activity in Europe.

Here are some stunning historical photos that will take you back to the 1950s in the Netherlands.

#1 Queen Elizabeth II of England on a three-day state visit to the Netherlands, 1958.

Queen Elizabeth II of England on a three-day state visit to the Netherlands, 1958.

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#2 Queen Elizabeth II of England on a three-day state visit to the Netherlands, 1958.

Queen Elizabeth II of England on a three-day state visit to the Netherlands, 1958.

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#3 Damrak Central, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1958.

Damrak Central, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1958.

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#4 Raadhuisstraat, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1958.

Raadhuisstraat, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1958.

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#5 TV Bus travels through Aldwych, London, on its way to Leiden, Netherlands for the Cambridge Week festivities,1957.

TV Bus travels through Aldwych, London, on its way to Leiden, Netherlands for the Cambridge Week festivities,1957.

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#6 Dutch Royal Family at a ceremony in which Hungarian revolutionaries presented their flag to Queen Juliana, Amsterdam, 1956.

Dutch Royal Family at a ceremony in which Hungarian revolutionaries presented their flag to Queen Juliana, Amsterdam, 1956.

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#7 Dutch Royal Family: The 18th Birthday of Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1956.

Dutch Royal Family: The 18th Birthday of Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1956.

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#8 Men walking down a narrow alley in the Netherlands, circa 1956.

Men walking down a narrow alley in the Netherlands, circa 1956.

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#9 Sjoerttje van der Geest plays an accordion for the benefit of everybody along the canal from the deck of her parent’s houseboat ‘Diepwijk’ in Amstel, Amsterdam, 12th November 1955.

Sjoerttje van der Geest plays an accordion for the benefit of everybody along the canal from the deck of her parent's houseboat 'Diepwijk' in Amstel, Amsterdam, 12th November 1955.

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#10 Couples kissing in a narrow alley in the Netherlands, circa 1956.

Couples kissing in a narrow alley in the Netherlands, circa 1956.

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#11 Cars parked outside a Dutch colonial building in Willemstad, capital city of the island of Curaçao, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea, 1955.

Cars parked outside a Dutch colonial building in Willemstad, capital city of the island of Curaçao, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea, 1955.

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#12 Pedestrians and residents walking along a shopping street in Willemstad, capital city of the island of Curaçao, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea, 1955.

Pedestrians and residents walking along a shopping street in Willemstad, capital city of the island of Curaçao, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea, 1955.

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#13 Traditional windmill on Zeeland, Netherlands, 1955.

Traditional windmill on Zeeland, Netherlands, 1955.

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#14 Views of Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk church in Veere, Netherlands, vintage property of ullstein bild.

Views of Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk church in Veere, Netherlands, vintage property of ullstein bild.

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#15 Gothic Town Hall in Middelburg, Netherlands, vintage property of ullstein bild.

Gothic Town Hall in Middelburg, Netherlands, vintage property of ullstein bild.

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#16 Windmill in Veere, Netherlands, circa 1955.

Windmill in Veere, Netherlands, circa 1955.

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#17 Only three organ-grinders licensed to take an organ into the main streets of Amsterdam, compared to about fifty before the war, 1955.

Only three organ-grinders licensed to take an organ into the main streets of Amsterdam, compared to about fifty before the war, 1955.

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#18 Two men in traditional baggy trousers walking through Volendam harbour in the western Netherlands, 1955.

Two men in traditional baggy trousers walking through Volendam harbour in the western Netherlands, 1955.

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#19 A picturesque castle built on a small island with sheep grazing on the surrounding grass, 1955.

A picturesque castle built on a small island with sheep grazing on the surrounding grass, 1955.

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#20 Two musicians, one playing an organ and the other a violin, performing in a street in the Netherlands, 1955.

Two musicians, one playing an organ and the other a violin, performing in a street in the Netherlands, 1955.

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#21 René Coty in Holland, 3rd March 1955. The President of the French Republic, René Coty and his wife, on a visit to Holland. Mrs Coty is seen on a balcony in front of children lined up in a courtyard.

René Coty in Holland, 3rd March 1955. The President of the French Republic, René Coty and his wife, on a visit to Holland. Mrs Coty is seen on a balcony in front of children lined up in a courtyard.

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#22 René Coty in Holland, 3rd March 1955.

René Coty in Holland, 3rd March 1955.

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#23 Dutch Royal Family: Princess Irene (14), Princess Beatrix (16), and Princess Margriet (11) ride horses at Grebbeberg, the Netherlands, daughters of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.

Dutch Royal Family: Princess Irene (14), Princess Beatrix (16), and Princess Margriet (11) ride horses at Grebbeberg, the Netherlands, daughters of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.

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#24 Dutch herring fishermen on the North Sea, 1954.

Dutch herring fishermen on the North Sea, 1954.

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#25 Fishing harbor of Scheveningen, the Netherlands, 1954.

Fishing harbor of Scheveningen, the Netherlands, 1954.

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#26 Herring fishing in the North Sea near Scheveningen, the Netherlands, 1954.

Herring fishing in the North Sea near Scheveningen, the Netherlands, 1954.

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#27 Lights switching on in typical canal houses in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1954.

Lights switching on in typical canal houses in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1954.

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#28 A boat passing under a drawbridge in the Netherlands, 1954.

A boat passing under a drawbridge in the Netherlands, 1954.

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#29 A man wearing traditional Dutch clogs with flower carts in the background, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1954.

A man wearing traditional Dutch clogs with flower carts in the background, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1954.

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#30 Two young Dutch women walking near the central station, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1954.

Two young Dutch women walking near the central station, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1954.

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#31 Crown Prince Akihito visits Madurodam Miniature City, The Hague, Netherlands, 28th July 1953.

Crown Prince Akihito visits Madurodam Miniature City, The Hague, Netherlands, 28th July 1953.

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#32 Child of the Haanapel family holds his scooter and watches the street in Doesburg, Netherlands, 16th May 1953.

Child of the Haanapel family holds his scooter and watches the street in Doesburg, Netherlands, 16th May 1953.

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#33 A Dutch farmhouse flooded by water, Netherlands, February 1953.

A Dutch farmhouse flooded by water, Netherlands, February 1953.

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#34 A town destroyed by a flood in the Netherlands, February 1953.

A town destroyed by a flood in the Netherlands, February 1953.

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#35 Queen Elizabeth II admires a display of Dutch cheese wheels on the Netherlands exhibit at the British Food Fair at Olympia in London, 1952.

Queen Elizabeth II admires a display of Dutch cheese wheels on the Netherlands exhibit at the British Food Fair at Olympia in London, 1952.

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#36 The carriage carrying Haakon VII, King of Norway, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, the Duchess of Gloucester and the Duchess of Kent in the funeral procession of King George VI in the Mall.

The carriage carrying Haakon VII, King of Norway, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, the Duchess of Gloucester and the Duchess of Kent in the funeral procession of King George VI in the Mall.

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#37 Workers in the Dutch town of Harderwyk making wicker rafts for dyke foundations, 1952

Workers in the Dutch town of Harderwyk making wicker rafts for dyke foundations, 1952

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#38 A weighing house for cheese in the Dutch town of Gouda, 1952

A weighing house for cheese in the Dutch town of Gouda, 1952

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#39 Workers in the Dutch town of Harderwyk making wicker rafts for dyke foundations, 1952

Workers in the Dutch town of Harderwyk making wicker rafts for dyke foundations, 1952

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#40 Judy Garland is shown here dancing with Sidney Luft at the Sherry Netherlands Hotel.

Judy Garland is shown here dancing with Sidney Luft at the Sherry Netherlands Hotel.

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#41 Annual Bloemencorso Bollenstreek flower procession through the streets of Hillegom, Lisse, and Sassenheim in the province of South Holland, Netherlands, in April 1951.

Annual Bloemencorso Bollenstreek flower procession through the streets of Hillegom, Lisse, and Sassenheim in the province of South Holland, Netherlands, in April 1951.

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#42 A roadside flower vendor sells a bunch of tulips to a male customer beside a field of tulip bulbs near Lisse in the Netherlands in June 1950.

A roadside flower vendor sells a bunch of tulips to a male customer beside a field of tulip bulbs near Lisse in the Netherlands in June 1950.

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#43 A woman wearing traditional clogs (klompen) hangs out washing to dry on lines on the quayside beside fishing boats moored in the harbour of the village of Spakenburg in the province of Utrecht, Netherlands, 1950.

A woman wearing traditional clogs (klompen) hangs out washing to dry on lines on the quayside beside fishing boats moored in the harbour of the village of Spakenburg in the province of Utrecht, Netherlands, 1950.

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#44 Pedestrians pass cars parked beside City Hall on Markt Square in front of Nieuwe Kerk Protestant church in the center of the city of Delft in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands 1950.

Pedestrians pass cars parked beside City Hall on Markt Square in front of Nieuwe Kerk Protestant church in the center of the city of Delft in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands 1950.

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#45 Pedestrians walk through an archway in the center of the city of Delft in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands, 1950.

Pedestrians walk through an archway in the center of the city of Delft in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands, 1950.

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#46 A barge passes children playing on a canal bank in a suburb of Amsterdam, capital city of the Netherlands, 1950.

A barge passes children playing on a canal bank in a suburb of Amsterdam, capital city of the Netherlands, 1950.

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#47 A conical trawling net is hung up to dry from the mast of a fishing boat moored in the harbor at Volendam on the Markermeer lake in the Netherlands, 1950.

A conical trawling net is hung up to dry from the mast of a fishing boat moored in the harbor at Volendam on the Markermeer lake in the Netherlands, 1950.

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#48 Land stretching to the south of the Afsluitdijk, one of Holland’s busiest roads. The land, the Zuider Zee, was once a vast freshwater lake, now a fertile plain.

Land stretching to the south of the Afsluitdijk, one of Holland's busiest roads. The land, the Zuider Zee, was once a vast freshwater lake, now a fertile plain.

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#49 A canal at Amsterdam, 1950

A canal at Amsterdam, 1950

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#50 Princess Margaret at the New Church for the inauguration of Queen Juliana, Amsterdam, Netherlands,1950

Princess Margaret at the New Church for the inauguration of Queen Juliana, Amsterdam, Netherlands,1950

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#51 Waterlooplein Flea Market, Amsterdam.

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#52 Amsterdam.

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#53 Wood carving.

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#54 Amsterdam.

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#55 Royal Palace at Dam Square and the facade of the Stedelijk Museum.

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#56 Hembrug, North Sea Canal near Amsterdam.

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#57 Tulip fields.

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#58 Tulip fields.

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#59 Windmill, De Groot of de Molen van Piet, Singelgracht Canal, Alkmaar.

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#60 Windmill, De Groot of de Molen van Piet, Singelgracht Canal, Alkmaar.

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#61 Alkmaar Cheese Market.

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#62 Alkmaar Cheese Market.

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#63 Alkmaar Cheese Market.

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#64 Canal, Edam.

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#65 Chain-Bridge, Oosterkade, Edam.

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#66 Chain-Bridge, Oosterkade, Edam.

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#67 Willem Hoeve Cheese Farm Entrance, Edam.

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#68 Man in traditional clothing, Noordeinde, Volendam.

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#69 A young boy outside carpet shop, Volendam.

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#70 Fishing boats, Volendam.

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#71 Fishing boats, Volendam.

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#72 Man in traditional clothing and with a golden earring, Volendam.

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#73 Kneuterdijk, Den Haag, 1957

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#74 Madurodam in Den Haag, 1957

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#75 Man reading, 1957

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#76 Nieuwmarkt, Amsterdam, 1957

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#77 Outdoor school, Scheveningse, Den Haag, 1957

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#78 Prinsengracht in winter, Amsterdam, 1957

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#79 Rebuilding St Lauren church, Rotterdam, 1957

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#80 Sleeping child, Den Haag, 1957

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#81 Street in Amsterdam, 1957

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#82 Street in Jordaan, Amsterdam, 1957

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#83 Vrijthof, Maastricht, 1957

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#84 Amsterdam, 1957

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#85 At the beach in Rockanje, 1957

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#86 Canal in winter, Amsterdam, 1957

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#87 Child in snow, Amsterdam, 1957

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#88 Child on houseboat, Amsterdam, 1957

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#89 Children’s playground, Scheveningse, 1957

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#90 Coffee house, Amsterdam, 1957

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#91 Fish salesman in Scheveningse, Den Haag, 1957

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#92 Hanging clothes, Prinsengracht, Amsterdam, 1957

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#93 Hay wagon, Haarlemmermeer, 1957

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#94 Kids playing, Rotterdam, 1957

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#95 Carpet mender on Geldersekade Canal, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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#96 Linje Buss in Holland, Netherlands.

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#97 A family on bicycles on Kanaalweg, Middelburg, Netherlands.

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#98 Near Middelburg, Netherlands.

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#99 A Dutch family awaiting a ferry, Veere, Netherlands.

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#100 Dutch families awaiting a ferry, Veere, Netherlands.

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#101 On the quay with the fishing boats, Veere, Netherlands.

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#102 A fishery worker on a break holding a smoked eel, Veere Netherlands.

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#103 Kaai, Veere, Netherlands.

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#104 Dutch bikies, Veere, Netherlands.

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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