June 29, 2012

0264 NETHERLANDS (Netherlands / North Holland) - From Hoorn the ships have left

Today, Hoorn is a quiet town in North Holland, with 70,196 inhabitants, in which thousands of people from Amsterdam (located at 35 km to the south) moved in recent years, swapping their little and expensive apartments for a family house with garden. But 400 years ago, during Holland's Golden Century, Hoorn was an important home base for the famous Dutch East India Company, and a very prosperous centre of trade. The Hoorn fleet plied the seven seas and returned laden with exotic spices and other precious commodities.

If the city name sounds familiar and you don't know from where, well, find that in 1616 the explorer Willem Cornelisz Schouten managed to rounded the southernmost tip of America, naming it Kaap Hoorn (Cape Horn) in honour of his hometown. Three years later, another son of Hoorn, Jan Pieterszoon Coen, "founded" the city of Batavia (now Jakarta), and in 1642 Abel Tasman discovered Tasmania and New Zealand. Since the end of the 17th century the town began to decline somewhat, because many merchants moved to Amsterdam, and in 1933 the construction of the causeway Afsluitdijk cut its harbor off from the open sea. Today, there are 365 Grade I listed buildings, placing Hoorn in third place on the Netherlands' league table of historic cities, after Amsterdam and Haarlem.

The stamp is Think green for a green world, from the Going Green series, about which I wrote here.

Hoorn – Wikipedia
Hoorn – Digitalefotosite Cor en Joke
Going Green series – lightning.com

sender: Barbara / barbara1277 (postcrossing)
sent from Hoorn (Netherlands), on 11.04.2012

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