The Cathedral of Steam

by hopesfrenzy

In June, we finally *finally* FINALLY got our vaccine appointments. The Netherlands opened it up to people in our age group for appointments in early June, which meant that, in busy Amsterdam, it would be July before we could even get our first shot. So, instead of going to Amsterdam, we booked appointments farther afield: Urk.

There’s a lot to say about why there were so many appointments available earlier in Urk, an hour’s drive away from Amsterdam, but that’s not a discussion for here. Instead of renting a car just for the vaccine, we decided to make a day of it. We drove a bit farther north to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Woudagemaal, the largest still-operating steam pump in the world.

Our tour was entirely in Nederlands, so we couldn’t understand a lot of it, but it was a cool place to visit nonetheless. The pump, sitting in Friesland, was built in 1913 but still actually operates as part of the vast network of waterways in the Netherlands. When the canal overflows and the modern pump to the north cannot handle all of the water, Woudagemaal “springs” into action and pumps freshwater from the canal to the other side in the Ijsselmeer.

You could tell that it was still in operation with employees milling about, used rags, and the like.

After Woudagemaal, we drove to Urk. Urk is a cute fishing village on the water (it actually used to be an island before the Zuiderzee was drained and they created Flevoland). We got our shots, and then afterwards strolled around and explored the town a bit before driving back to Amsterdam. My arm hurt – but it was worth it!

Sightseeing with Stéphane and Adam
Location: Woudagemaal, Lemmer, The Netherlands

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