Moving to Holland is not easy, but it's worth the effort. This blog tells the story of shifting from American life in Pittsburgh to Expat life in the Netherlands,
and all of our European adventures that follow.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

World Harbor Days

Tis the season for festivals in Rotterdam. The 33rd annual Wereldhavendagen (World Harbor Days) was held this weekend along the Mass river. Tons of boats and activities line the entire riverfront and harbors (Veerhaven, Leuvenahven, & Oudehaven).

Most of the activities are right outside our doorstep, between the Erasmusbrug & the Euromast. They have boats of all sizes, including large military, shipping & construction boats. You can tour most of the larger vessels, and even go on the bridge & talk to the captain.

The Royal Navy gave a demonstration on how they handle hostage situations on boats. Some fake pirates came up to a boat and took them hostage. The people on the boat even put their hands up in the air. Then, a naval helicopter swoops in from across the river, drops a line, and several men in full combat gear repel down the line and onto the boat, taking it over from the pirates. There was some fake gunfire and explosion sounds thrown in for good measure. It's pretty fun to watch. Then, all of the guys attach themselves to the repel line from the helicopter & it flies back and forth around the river while all the men are hanging on the line. I think that is the coolest part.

Saturday we met up with our friends to walk around & check things out. Then Jake & Erin came back to our place for some pizza and football, as this was the opening weekend for college football (woohoo!). At 10, we all met up again and went down to the river to watch the fireworks display.

Then on Sunday, Linda and Arjen made their first trip to Rotterdam with Tomas (Lukas is too young). We also met up with Dom & Caron & their two daughters, Daisy & May. This day was much different than Saturday, because we got to see things through the kids eyes. It was interesting. Everything they saw was fascinating: firetrucks, large & small boats, police men, shipping equipment, etc. There were also some boats that can be used to put out fires on ships or buildings, and they shot a stream of water so high that it was sometimes taller than the nearby skyscrapers!
Since we live in the city with the largest port in Europe, and the second largest in the world, it's nice to be able to take advantage of the local industry. We've enjoyed walking around this festival each year, touring the ships, and seeing all of the boats on the water. As it looks like this will be our last September in Rotterdam (*gasp*), we definitely took full advantage of the opportunity, and the great weather, this year.


Check out more pics on Flickr:

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