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Clogs and windmills and tulips oh my
March 15, 2014 4:03 AM   Subscribe

"Picture the scene: you’re on Family Feud (US) or Family Fortunes (UK), and the oily host summons you to go head-to-head with a member of the opposing family. “Hands on the buzzers, please. Top eight answers in this round. We asked 100 people…to name something associated with Holland.”

Suppress lewd thoughts of red-light districts, window brothels, and sex clubs—this is a family show—and quick, the buzzer!


And that, in essence, is Huis ten Bosch, a $3bn theme park answer to a quiz show question nobody asked."
posted by MartinWisse (26 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

My family was winning but little Debbie hit the buzzer and said “I think the Devil shits Dutchmen.”

We drove home, defeated. And Debbie took the train.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:35 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]

Good post.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:47 AM on March 15

So Europa-park's dutch section on steroids, with less visitors?

The article is from early 2011 and describes a visit in 2010. What's happened since? Looks like the park is still open, at least, currently running the world's greatest light festival and a tulip festival.
posted by effbot at 5:07 AM on March 15

Windmills, tulips, wooden clogs, dykes, stoopwaafels, little blond kids in Prince Valient haircuts with those weird blue outfits. Tall people, the Dutch East India company, Anne Frank, Vincent Van Gogh, bicycles, murderous street cars with tiny little bells.
posted by Diablevert at 5:07 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]

I went to Huis ten Bosch when I lived in Nagasaki back in 2002, but I never had any idea of all this history -- though I had been to see the Siebold house and some of the Dejima history stuff in Nagasaki. Unfortunately my memories have faded to the point that I don't have much to say about it but "Yeah, I went there" - a cute enough place to walk around in, but if there was any deeper postmodern significance, it passed me by as I was looking at tulips. (I am a little sad but also totally unsurprised that it has fallen on hard times.)

Fascinating to read about the bubble-economy weirdness that made it possible to build such a thing.
posted by Jeanne at 5:11 AM on March 15

I've wanted to go there ever since I heard about it, but I haven't made a trip to Kyushu yet. Sigh. So many dreams, so little vacation!
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:25 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]

Was there a part 2?
posted by empath at 5:26 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]

Sprawling as it does over 152 hectares (375 acres) . . . the park is more than three times the size of Tokyo Disneyland and still bigger than Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea combined . . . Add in the 250 holiday homes in the 50-hectare Wassenaar zone . . . and the entire development is roughly the size of the Principality of Monaco.

Well, heck . . . that's a lot o' tares.
posted by Herodios at 5:26 AM on March 15

Oddly, the restaurants in the place are two Italian, one steak house, and two Japanese ones in the park, and hotel restaurants including one French, three mostly Japanese, and one "natural foods". Can you get a broodje kaas somewhere?
posted by beagle at 5:31 AM on March 15

Windmills, tulips, wooden clogs, dykes, stoopwaafels, little blond kids in Prince Valient haircuts with those weird blue outfits. Tall people, the Dutch East India company, Anne Frank, Vincent Van Gogh, bicycles, murderous street cars with tiny little bells.

That's the worst We didn't Start the Fire parody ever.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:43 AM on March 15 [47 favorites]

Fascinating, thanks for the post.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:48 AM on March 15

Really fascinating, and a well-written blog, too.

Was there a part 2?

Part 2 and Part 3
posted by stargell at 7:18 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]

A replica of Manhattan in China, designed to be the next big financial center, is shaping up to be a major spending disaster.
posted by Brian B. at 8:12 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]

also, dikes!
posted by bruce at 9:24 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]

Great article, thank you for linking!
posted by latkes at 9:28 AM on March 15

Does it include Italian tourists, wearing pom-pom hats, riding red bikes in the opposite direction and randomly stopping on the fietspad to yell at the 8 other member in their group?
posted by humboldt32 at 9:33 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]

Reminds me of our own $3 billion bubble-era white elephant, American Dream Meadowlands, né Xanadu, site of "the ugliest damn building in New Jersey, and maybe in America."
posted by stargell at 10:20 AM on March 15

I love Huis ten Bosch! One time I went there during the holiday season, and there was a nightly show featuring Santa. This all seemed quite normal until a giant dragon appeared. Santa was joined by his Santa friends, all wearing different color Santa suits, and they fought off the dragon with their magical Santa staffs. Christmas was saved! It was the most Japanese thing I've ever seen.
posted by mshrike at 10:33 AM on March 15 [9 favorites]

So this is where they should have made the remake of the Prisoner.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:42 AM on March 15 [5 favorites]

This guy's whole blog is remarkable--thank you.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 12:25 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]

Ice skating, Hieronymus Bosch, Vermeer, oliebollen, De stijl, The Concertgebouw, Sinterklaas, Ajax, Paul Verhoeven, Rutger Hauer, having Maxima (an argentinian) as queen, Erasmus, Albert Heijn, having weird money cards that don't work anywhere else, not accepting credit cards accepted everywhere else…
posted by Omon Ra at 1:17 PM on March 15

That is weird, but it's not quite Canadian World weird.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:12 PM on March 15 [2 favorites]

The author had the misfortune of visiting just before the turnaround, it seems. I've been there twice in the last year, had a brilliant time both times! HIS has really turned the park around with some great attractions - the projection mapping shows in particular blew me away.
And it looks like they're doing well financially too - this Japanese article says they made about $27 million USD profit last year on sales of 100 million.
posted by bakerybob at 5:52 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]

I could be wrong, but I think they hired my grandfather to play bagpipe in that park in the mid ninties. Why they needed american bagpipe players in a dutch themed amusement park was always beyond me.
posted by Ferreous at 6:42 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]

Windmills, canals, tulips, fine porcelain, renaissance painters, Hans Brinker, speed skating, wooden shoes, cyclocross, salty licorice, Heineken, Amstel Light, Queen's Day, bicycles, cargo bikes, snow removal on bike paths, gouda cheese, dikes, polders, William of Orange and what do I win?
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:22 PM on March 15

I'm really enjoying this guy's blog, fascinating read all throughout.
posted by Fayrose at 1:32 PM on March 17

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