Different Donderdag: Highways

A highway is a highway is a highway. There probably aren’t that many differences from one highway to another, from one country to another, at least in the standard western world. Aside from the license plate shape, the picture above really doesn’t look much different from any similar highway scene I remember from the US. Still, there are a few differences you’ll notice on Dutch highways compared to American highways (and I use highway interchangeably with interstates).

First up, the Exit sign is now an Uit sign.

Speed signs are posted above the road in electronic form that can change as needed.

We’ve got electronic information signs too, of course, but they’re in Dutch!
Information Highway

There are the big blue signs providing direction to various cities, and information about ring roads.
Ring Around the Rosie

There are even signs directing you toward cheese! Yum! Gouda!
Say Cheese
OK, no, it’s not actually directing you toward cheese, just the city for which the cheese is named.

As you can see, it’s all pretty similar to anywhere else. One thing that is a bit different here is the fact that there aren’t the same huge, ugly billboards everywhere. This is the only one I saw that even remotely came close to the ones I was so used to in America (I saw these South of the Border billboards a lot in North Carolina).
Euro Menu

There are also a lot of wind turbines near the highway here, at least on the stretch we drove from Utrecht toward Rotterdam.
More Molen
You’ll also see lots of fields divided up by canals like these, often with cows, horses and/or sheep hanging around.
But it’s always going to be flat.

Cow Dung

As my sore throat and cough have now progressed to sinus misery, I figure now is a good time to discuss something that I probably wouldn’t be able to smell at the moment!

G and I have noticed that on certain days, when the wind blows from a certain direction, there’s a faint smell of manure in the air. It’s not that bad nor is it overwhelming; it’s just there in the background. M & R think we’re insane. I think they’re just too used to it to notice. Our buitenlander noses aren’t immune.

There are quite a lot of cows here in the Netherlands. In fact, the well-known black and white Holstein cows come from the Netherlands. With all those cows comes a lot of manure. Fortunately, it’s now being put to good use. It seems the manure is being turned into a bio-gas that will run a thermal plant’s gas turbines, providing heat for homes near the plant. A plant in Leeuwarden (birthplace of Mata Hari, by the way) is one of the plants to be using this new energy source, and will be providing heat to 1100 homes.

I could make jokes about going “brown” or references to heat sources, but I won’t.