On Monday 23rd May, at 4.30am, fifty-three excited pupils from Year 6 at Hartley Primary Academy arrived at school at for the start of a four night residential trip to Noordwijk in the Netherlands. Mr Dutton, Party Leader was joined by Mrs Lambourne, Mrs Skinner, Mr Goldsmith, Mrs Mead and Mrs Hollingworth who initiated this trip five years ago, and returned to join the group.
Children at Hartley have already had the opportunity of a two night residential in the UK in Year 4 and the decision was made to choose a country not commonly visited by families (and an opportunity not commonly offered by Primary schools) giving our children the chance to experience a different culture, landscape and language staying in a small family-run hotel in the beautiful coastal resort of Noordwijk within short walking distance of the most amazing sandy beaches.
Rather than taking the ferry route from Dover to Calais with a longer coach journey to the Netherlands, we travelled on the Stena Line ‘Super’ Ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland – a six hour crossing. On board, children had opportunities to watch a film in the cinema, visit the shop and play ball games in on deck. Despite a ban on electronic devices, the journey passed pleasantly with children talking, playing board and card games and, of course, eating!
The children visited a number of traditional venues and attractions; first, Clara Maria Cheese & Clog Farm where they fed and petted young farm animals, learnt about – and made – cheese, saw how clogs are made and let off some energy in the ‘Hay Barn’.
The children had an early start on Wednesday morning to observe the action at Aalsmeer flower auction, near Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, the busiest floral market in the world (this was featured on Friday 27th May on TV). 12.6 billion items annually and about 20 million flowers daily are traded here. The busy warehouse floor where mini transportation trains crisscross the world’s largest covered market at astonishing speed resembles a scene from ‘Monsters Inc’!
Next the party visited Amsterdam, taking a cruise along the canals to see the sights, then experienced culture in the Rijksmusseum which houses priceless artworks including Rembrandt’s largest, most famous canvas, ‘Night Watch’.
A day at Duinrell Amusement Park offered plenty of excitement. The thrill seekers among us experienced the hair-rising rides of the Falcon and Mad Mill, while others enjoyed a variety of other rides.
A new venue this year was the Miniature Park, Madurodam, which gave the children the opportunity to discover what makes Holland so unique. Canal houses, tulip fields, cheese market, windmills, Peace Palace and the Delta dykes brought Holland to life for the children.
In the evenings, there was the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful long sandy beach of Noordwijk and engage in Mini Golf and Bowling.
The final morning found us in the historic town centre of Delft, the beautiful, historic home to the famous blue and white pottery, artist Johannes Vermeer and its association with the House of Orange. This was also last chance for the children to purchase souvenirs in the Netherlands!
Arriving back safely at 10:00pm on Friday night the adults reflected upon the most fantastic trip with 53 incredibly well-behaved, polite children. Throughout the week we were so proud of the children who were praised by members of the public, the Rijksmusseum, the manager of the Hollandica Ferry and many more. They were a credit to the school, to their parents and to themselves.