8 April 2017. We went to a cheese farm for a tour. First, we could drink something: tea, coffee, raw milk from the cows or lemonade. While we were drinking, the farmer told us something about the farm and the cows: how many there are, how much milk he gets from them, when they are outside and when they are inside and how the cheese is made.
After this, we went outside to see the calves. There were three small calves in the “camping” for calves that are only one month (or less) old. Behind the “camping” were bigger calves. Then we went a little further to see the big cows. There were about 50 cows. Again, the farmer told us something about the cows and he showed us the leader of the cows: It was the only cow that had horns. There also were two cows that were fighting.
When the farmer was done explaining, we went back to the farm house and there we went upstairs to take a look at the cowshed. It was almost empty, because most of the cows were outside. The farmer said that the cows could freely walk around in the cowshed.
When we looked through another window, we could see a place where the cows get milked.
After taking a look in the cowshed, we went to see the last part of the farm: the part where the cheese is made. We could see the salt bath, the shelves where cheese ripens and a large barrel in which is milk when the cheese is made. We could also taste some cheese. There was also a shop on the farm where we could buy cheese and while the adults stayed in the shop, the children could go and milk a wooden cow which was fun. This was the last thing we did and then we went home.
|It was a great day for everyone and I learnt a lot about the cows. The cheese we could taste was really good so we bought some to eat it at home.|
Living in Tilburg for the last 8 years, I had heard the story of Marietje Kessels, the poor 11 year old girl who was murdered in the Noordhoek church on August 22, 1900 with no one was brought to justice. The story I was told was that Marietje came from a rich factory owner’s house but I did not know her family business was the production of musical instruments. So, I thought it would be great to find out more about one of the most famous families from Tilburg.
The day started like all guests to the museum trying to find the entrance, I was glad to see Anne waiting for me at the entrance to the textile museum were she proceeded to show me how to get to the musical instrument factory. After going out the textile museum and up some stairs the group was brought into a little room, where tea, coffee and biscuits were served.
At this point, the curator introduced himself and began to tell the story of the factory and the Kessels family which I would find out go hand in hand. The museum is staffed by volunteers who love their work and it shows. An example of this was even though the curators English was not the best and sometimes he had to ask for the right word, he spoke with the passion of a man wanting to share his knowledge of a beloved hobby. So back to the tour, next on the agenda was a short film about the factory which turned out to be kind of an accident.
Mathijs Kessels, a man that worked in the sheet music industry and an accomplished composer, saw a market for his sheet music in an industrial town known as Tilburg. Due to the high levels industrialization, this brought something totally new to the lower class free time. The factory owners encouraged music playing within the lower-ranks as, in the words of the curator, playing a musical instrument was a lot better than sitting in the pub.
So, as with many things, Mathijs started a small printing house in Tilburg and for some reason, people started bringing their musical instruments to the printing house to have them fixed. And in true entrepreneurial fashion, he said, why not? Demand became so great for musical instrument repair that Mathijs decided to not only repair them but make them. He found a site outside of the city center (next to the big AH that is now a green field ) to build a grand house and a new factory. Business grew and his factory at one point could supply almost everything to kit out a full marching band.
As with most stories, what goes up must come down. Mathijs received a large order of 900 pianos that were made and delivered but for which were never paid. This caused the company to come close to bankruptcy at which point the bank stepped in and took control of the factory. This ended up with Mathijs being kicked out of his own factory and starting a competing factory right next door. In the long term, not a great idea as orders and invoicing were delivered to the old address. Matthijs passed away on the 21st of December 1932 and within 20 years, both the new and old musical instrument factories were out of business.
So with the film ending, we were led to the brass workshop and shown the many stages of producing brass instruments. Being a mechanical engineer, it did bring me back to my student days. We were really shown how the instruments were made and the exhibit had a great illustration of showing this step by step. Next on the agenda was the wood instruments assembly area which included a saxophone to my surprise…
Well I don’t want to spoil the rest of the museum but I can recommend a visit. Half the fun is finding the museum and, if you have an interest in music or manufacturing, you’ll definitely be in the right spot.
by Patricia Gonzalez
It’s amazing how far you can go on a ship that has been moored for the last ten years. On our two-hour tour, we were transported to the ‘50s and ‘60s – to days of steamship technology when transatlantic journeys were run on turbine engines and stabilizers, boilers and condensers; to glamorous evenings when women in full-skirt silhouettes and stiletto heels wended their way through mid-century modern furniture aboard La Grand Dame. And, it being the first joint outing between the Tilburg, Breda and Eindhoven clubs, we met people from different parts of the world for whom the Netherlands is the current port of call. Our group included expats from Mexico, America, Spain, Australia, Germany, Lebanon, the Philippines, even a Dutch couple originally from Tilburg who migrated as far afield as Thailand and are now back in the Randstad.
What was it about the 38,645-ton ship that so fascinated us that we signed up for the outing? Maybe the SS Rotterdam appealed to the adventurer in us. We all left the safe, comforting haven of home to make a new life in a country not our own. Perhaps the many transformations of this colossal ocean liner spoke to us. A ship that has spent 12 years as a trans-Atlantic vessel, more than 20 as a cruise ship (when long-distance commercial flights replaced sea travel), and 4 as a hotel, restaurant, museum and visitor attraction is the epitome of adaptability. We, who’ve packed up our lives, our families and careers and adjusted to initially unfamiliar cultures, know that transitions are an inevitable part of migration. They have to be welcomed, embraced. But then again, maybe what brought our group together that Saturday morning was just the allure of looking out over the water, gazing at the Rotterdam skyline, sitting down to lunch on a sunny poolside deck or snacking on high tea petit fours, with the added convenience of being transported from our city to the Rotterdam port and back again.
Some journeys take you great distances. Others, like this one, are only a city or two away. But both can make you question how far you’ve come and appreciate where you are now.
Thanks to TIC, we had a relaxed and fun tour of the Schouwburg theater, one of Tilburg’s attractions. Before the tour began, some of us met up at the Foyer restaurant for a light lunch.
The Foyer is inside the Schouwburg building and it’s an elegant and cosy restaurant with a very modern interior.
After lunch we