Bethany Church Tour: Clogs, Canals, & Community

Our group of 23 Canadians has been warmly welcomed to the Netherlands! The past three days have been busy & full of fun & knowledge.

On arrival, we visited the historic Dutch village of Zaanse Schans, enjoying the traditional houses and windmills. Highlights were the delicious cheese samples and wooden shoe carving demonstration. We arrived at our lovely hotel accommodations which boasts a beautiful bird sanctuary!

Day 2 took us to the very impressive Aalsmeer Flower Auction. It was quite the amazing sight (& smell) from the scenic catwalk; the hustle & bustle of activity after 20 million flowers (from around the world) are sold and then sorted for shipping to their respective buyers! Following the auction we spent time in Amsterdam, enjoying a riverboat historical tour through the city’s canals. Afterwards, we had quite the adventure and eventually found our way to a Mennonite church in that area 😉 (inside joke…you had to be there!!). As many of the group have some Mennonite background, it was interesting to hear about the Mennonite history of that church.

Today, Day 3, we enjoyed travelling through the countryside to a flour mill in Witmarsum (Mevrouw de Molenaar), where we were treated to a guided tour by the very accomplished miller & baker, Christa. In keeping with her mandate of getting back to healthy/ancient grains and the history that comes with that, we visited the dairy farm of Menno and heard about the things he and his family are also doing to preserve their land and heritage. Following that, we travelled to a landmark building in Arum, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch of local foods, along with Christa’s artisan bread. Having visited the church in Witmarsum where Menno Simons first questioned his (at the time) Catholic faith, we reflected on the trials & tribulations of those living out their faith amidst the persecution they faced, as we later visited a “hidden” church. From there, we met with host families and headed home with them, to enjoy an evening of fellowship & lodging for the night.

Another great day! We can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!

– Angela Shantz

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