The "White Village" of Thorn

in Pinmapplelast month

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About two weeks after our first trip to the Netherlands we decided to go back to the country for a second go at it to see the last few destinations in the country. Our stops were pretty spread out, with the Keukenhof, Alkmaar and Hoorne being on the West end of the country and Thorn and Maastricht on the East. We decided to split the driving distance roughly in the middle by staying in Eindhoven.

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I'm actually going to start with the small town of Thorn though, which makes this post a little out of order since we visited it on our last day. But its the town that I'm inspired by the most at the moment I suppose. It was a brief stop over for us on our way to Maastricht. We walked the town and had breakfast at restaurant that specializes in thin savory and sweet pancakes before going on to the larger city of Maastricht.

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I had a savory pancake of onion, bacon and cheese for breakfast and my wife had a sweet strawberry and custard one. In the photo it looks like a pizza but its actually a pancake. We each had a coffee as well of course.

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Unfortunately, my luck had run out though on our second trip because I couldn't find a good cappuccino anywhere that we went. For some reason they just didn't compare to the quality of our previous time in the country. If you read my last post then the photo above is exactly what I was talking about that you don't want to see in a cappuccino - there is no microfoam, just a thick layer of frothed milk with the espresso poured through it.

It's not the end of the world by any means, its just a small but noticeable difference for the coffee snobs out there, like me :D

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My wife had her first latte for the day. I'm emphasizing "first" because she didn't like it in my last post when I said that she drinks multiple lattes per day.

But this is my blog so I have all the power here.

Whaaahahaha *(evil laughter).

😈

Hi Honey 👋

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Thorn is a very small village in the province of Limburg. It's situated in the Southeastern part of the country along the Meuse river.

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Its known for its white washed brick homes that are located in the center of the town and is sometimes fittingly referred to as the "White village."

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As you can see in the photos, its very white. Ummm Duh!

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The white buildings look pristine and are actually pretty cool though. It's just a small thing, but it really gives the town a lot of character.

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The town was born in the year 990 when a monastery for noblewomen was established there. Some of the old residence buildings can still be visited there to this day. The Noblewomen's monastery attracted powerful women to the budding city and soon the entire region actually became ruled by women. At the time, most of Europe was ruled by men so it was no small feat that the region around Thorn was ruled by women for over 800 years.

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Today there is still a large cathedral in the center of the small city with several restaurants and hotels surrounding it.

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We had our breakfast in the restaurant on the corner in the photo above. It had a great view of the church from the terrace.

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Here it is again from the front.

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There is a reason that all of the buildings are painted white in town and its actually a really interesting story.

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In the 18th century all of the noblewomen fled the town to escape a French invasion that was being led by Napoleon. After they had left, a large number of poor people moved into town to fill the vacancy.

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When the French took control, they enacted a tax on the residents that was based on the size of a homes windows.

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Being quite poor, the residents of the town couldn't afford to pay the heavy taxes, so they bricked up their windows to make them smaller.

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Then they painted the entire house white to hide the difference between the old bricks and new.

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Its pretty smart when you think of it. I've seen bricked up windows in different places before but I never really understood the reasoning behind it.

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Today the windows in town appear to be a fairly standard size from what I could tell.

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Sparking my own curiosity, I decided to google why the French imposed a tax on windows and since I know that you're dying to know as well, I'm going to share the information here with you.

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Apparently a window tax was common starting in the 1600's in the countries of France, Britain and Scotland and remained in effect up until the 1900's.

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At the time, income tax was considered to be a dirty practice but the nations needed the revenue to fund their varying campaigns. As such, they decided to tax a households windows.

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The theory was that larger and more prosperous households would have more windows in their homes, as well as larger ones to boot. Taxing windows ultimately became a way to tax wealthier people.

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What's more interesting was that windows around that time became a sort of status symbol because only wealthy people could afford them. Many windows and/or large windows, ultimately became a demonstration of wealth and social status among the people.

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Some people even painted windows onto the outside of their homes to give the appearance of owning them in an attempt to increase their status. I didn't see any evidence of this in Thorn but I thought it was an interesting tidbit of history.

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The church is one of the main features in town to see. Its large and imposing and was built as far back as the 10th century.

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Parts of the interior were built or refurbished later on in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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The church could be seen from several different streets and we walked around it to get a glimpse at all angles.

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One of the last things that we saw of interest was this bronze statue of a naked family playing music together. I don't know the meaning or story behind it but thought that it was sort of different and interesting. I imagine them to be a family of hippies. Only hippies walk around and play music naked in front of their kids - but no judgement on my part (each to their own).

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Let me know your thoughts in the comments. What did you think of the town or the window tax. Do you play music or walk around your kids naked? Actually, that last part was a joke. I don't want to know if you do.

Well that's it for now. If you are interested in seeing more of our trip to the Netherlands than stay tuned, there's more to come. Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

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Hello @leaky20,
I would love to get some travel tips from you and see your itinerary and more:)))
You find the most stunning locations and take such beautiful photos that are so inspiring. You make me want to travel and explore the world, and I like what you've done with sharing all these beautiful places across the Netherlands.
This is awesome 🙌 Always something to look forward to:)

I would love to get some travel tips from you and see your itinerary and more

I usually turn each destination into a collection once im done posting about each city, and I add maps of all the locations to that. But if there is anything specific you want to know feel free to ask. I like sharing info if it helps people with their travel plans. Or let me know I I'm missing anything and I'll try to add it into future posts as well. 😁

Thank you that's so kind of you:)
My next trip overseas should be to Jamaica. I haven't been back home in 8 years... Never thought that was possible. However, with your recent stream of Netherlands posts, you had me exploring other ideas.
I'll remember your offer in the future.
Wishing you and yours a lovely day 😊😁

8 years is a long time, but there are so many options out there, it can be hard to choose where to go. Good luck 👍

So true!... and with all the wonderful stories on Pinmapple, I think everyone gets itchy feet.
Wishing you a good Friday and the great weekend:)

Thanks. You have a good weekend too 😊

It looks like a nice place! I had never heard about this place to be honest. It seems like tourists always get to find the better spots than the locals do.

It seems like tourists always get to find the better spots than the locals do.

Haha yeah. That's always the case it seems. It was a nice town. Very small though, so we didn't stay long - just enough to see it.

Sow your post when you published it.
Read the windows and tax thingy.
Saw the naked musicians.
Didn't have time and courage to answer as I wanted to, so today I am coming to tell you the truth!

Ok, maybe I will go back to the window tax thing 😂

That was interesting, I didn't know that rule, thanks for explaining. I imagine people who could not afford to pay, made the windows smaller, but also those who wanted to show their status were thinking about the tricks of how to show themselves superior. Isn't it the same nowadays?

Btw, white houses also have a lot of charm, I loved this tour and the atmosphere of this town! 👌

Yeah the taxing the windows is an interesting point in history.

tricks of how to show themselves superior. Isn't it the same nowadays?

Yes totally. People definitely have all sorts of tricks.

I am coming to tell you the truth!

Haha no judhement from me. Lol

No judgement from me either :D

You made me laugh 🤣😂🤣 lol it is your post indeed @leaky20

How wonderful you went all the way to Maastricht and stopped at Thorn. I lived close to that area for 28 years… in a few different towns and cities though. 😊

You ate at the most famous pancake restaurant in Limburg. Lucky you it wasn’t busy. They are always busy and it is hard to get a table… must be still remnants from the virus. And I haven’t lived in Dutchy land for a while now.
To bad you didn’t have luck with the drinks ☕️

You ate at the most famous pancake restaurant in Limburg. Lucky you it wasn’t busy.

Interesting. I didn't realize that. We got there before it really even opened and then sat down first thing pretty much. It was quite busy by the time our drinks arrived at the table.

Aha… could have been a reason too, that you arrived that early 😉
People literally drive from afar, just to go there for pancakes hahaha

Have a wonderful Friday @leaky20

How is it you always manage to find these pretty towns where ever you go? Loved the 4th image after Hi Honey!

Haha I do a lot of research basically. But they aren't always nice. There are a lot of duds out there that we visit. I just don't post about them generally. Lol

savory pancake of onion, bacon and cheese

would be interesting to taste!

Really liked the white village, atypical I guess for the Netherlands. It kinda splits you between the dutch architecture and the Spanish village. I would definitely add it to my list.

Yeah the white walls are very unique for sure. I haven't seen many Spanish villages at this point yet but I think I know what you mean. I recall seeing some photos online, or manybe it was Hive, of villages painted white, probably to help keep them cool in the sun.

I enjoyed the history lesson and the explanation for the white buildings. I hadn't heard of the window tax before. Nor did I know about the Noblewomen being in charge of that area. That looks like a town I'd enjoy visiting some day. The bronze statue certainly is different. I'm going to pretend somebody stole their clothes and they are playing their flutes in an attempt to enchant the thieves so they bring back the stolen goods.

Yeah it's a charming little town with an interesting history. Definitely worth checking out if you're in the area.

That's a fun interpretation of the artwork. I like it 👍

That's the first time I hear of taxing household windows and the status symbol behind it, like "oh look at my massive full-length window.." Interesting thing to know though and the white-washed stone walls are beautiful.

The phrase " the thorn among the roses" popped in mind when you mentioned the town attracted powerful women, well, perhaps it's just coincidence.

Is that crust of the pancake a bit crunchy? It looks yummy!

I didn't know about the window tax either but thought that it was interesting. The explanation made sense to me when I read it, for that time anyway. Kind of/sort of lol.

The pancake actually wasn't crunchy at all though it looks like it would be. It was more like a thicker and airy crepe.

This is so interesting and the photos are so perfect!
Wonder if the windows still scream of social status in the present time.
And oh, the pancake really looks like a pizza. Are all pancakes there like that?

As far as I know, not all of the pancakes look like that. I had ones in a different town that were thicker and more like a traditional American style of pancake. The ones at this particular restaurant were very thin like that though.

I see, good to know. I thought it's more like a crepe style pancake in that part of the town. 😀

At this restaurant they were more like a crepe but at other towns and other restaurants we had the other variety. I'm not sure if pancakes like these are specific to this particular restaurant or if they can be found elsewhere as well.

I see! Good to know though.. :D

Your review is so clear and interesting. Thank you for your sharing.

You're welcome. Glad you liked it. :)

These place is so lovely and nice

Yeah it's a charming little town.

Wow dat good🤪🤪

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Nice photos

Thanks 😁

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