cycling from Zevenhuizen to Zevenhuizen

30Nov12

The Netherlands possesses a quaint plurality of towns named “Zevenhuizen” (Seven Houses). There are at least three: Zevenhuizen near Leiden, Zevenhuizen near Gouda and Zevenhuizen near Groningen.

On top of that, there are also Driehuizen (Three Houses, near Alkmaar) Vijfhuizen (Five Houses, near Haarlem) and Negenhuizen (Nine Houses, near Delft). Weighing in for the even numbers is Achthuizen (Eight Houses) in Zeeland. Finally, there are the non-numbered towns of Huizen: Enkhuizen (Anchor Houses?), plain old Huizen and my personal favourite, Uithuizen (Out Houses).

As for why “Zevenhuizen” proved more popular than, say, “Vierhuizen”, I would speculate that seven houses was enough to be a landmark without becoming too tedious to count: “Zevenendertighuizen” is not very punchy. Moreover, a town with 37 houses ought to have a dike, a bridge or some other more noteworthy feature which could be incorporated into the appellation.

Zevenhuizen near Leiden and Zevenhuizen near Gouda are close enough to each other that it would be be possible to spend a pleasant day cycling from Zevenhuizen to… Zevenhuizen. But why stop there? What about an “N-Huizentocht”: a cycling route from Achthuizen to Enkhuizen via Zevenhuizen, Zevenhuizen, Vijfhuizen, Driehuizen and Venhuizen –

Happy trails!

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