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article imagePhoto Essay: Spring in the Dutch countryside, storks and all Special

By R. C. Camphausen     May 1, 2013 in Environment
With Amsterdam much in the news lately due to the coronation, or at times due to its coffee-shops or prostitutes, other parts of the Netherlands are lesser known; if not to say under-reported. Here's a look at the Dutch countryside during springtime.
With its almost 17 million people on a mere 265,000 square miles (690,000 sq km) of land (about the size of Maryland), the Netherlands count among the world's most densely populated countries. Hence, we've had politicians say that the country is 'full,' referring of course to the problem of continuing immigration.
Traveling though the country, however, it becomes clear that it's mainly the large urban center comprising Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht that is truly overcrowded, while there are extensive areas, especially in the North and mainly agricultural, where we have country roads rather than 10-lane highways, fresh air rather than smog.
The agrarian North of the Netherlands is quite empty. You can take extensive walks through the count...
The agrarian North of the Netherlands is quite empty. You can take extensive walks through the countryside amidst cows, channels, churches and open green spaces.
Such is the case in the country's northern provinces among which is Friesland, an agrarian area filled with green grass and trees, wind, water and domesticated animals such as cows, sheep and horses. This year, the winter was a long one and spring came late -- yet now it's everywhere. One of the annually recurring signs that the cold days and nights are gone is the arrival of the storks. The males come first, renovate last year's nests and then begin an impatient wait for their partners to join them so the breeding of a new generation can begin.
I'll let the following images speak for themselves.
Storks are large birds  looking majestic when overhead in the air.
Storks are large birds, looking majestic when overhead in the air.
Two stork nests in the same tree  with the males still awaiting the arrival of their female partners
Two stork nests in the same tree, with the males still awaiting the arrival of their female partners
A stork elegantly descending towards the nest
A stork elegantly descending towards the nest
Male and female storks happily united once again.
Male and female storks happily united once again.
Water is everywhere  and so are sheep and horses.
Water is everywhere, and so are sheep and horses.
In the spring  cows are released from their winter stables and can once more feast on fresh grass.
In the spring, cows are released from their winter stables and can once more feast on fresh grass.
One of 60 000 suspension bridges in the Netherlands that allow traffic to pass on both water and roa...
One of 60,000 suspension bridges in the Netherlands that allow traffic to pass on both water and road.
Spring also brings the flowers of which millions are exported all over the world each year.
Spring also brings the flowers of which millions are exported all over the world each year.
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