a walk in the park

Meet Wilhelmina. Or at least the artistic representation of her. I discovered this statue while walking around Utrecht with Theo.

It was a lovely fall morning. Bright gold, orange and red leaves scattered the landscape, crunchy underfoot and overhead they threatened to rain crackly color down upon us. The city threads through the park, so it seems, rather than the parks threading through the city. The difference is palpable.

The parks offer an interesting glimpse into life. Aside from some fairly happy water fowl, people were out, strolling, taking photographers. Children were learning how to ride the Dutch version of the training bike. It has two wheels, by the way. Not four. I guess that explains a lot.

Scattered throughout the parks (and the urban areas) are statues. Like Wilhelmina. I didn’t give much thought to her until sitting down to write. Just who is this Wilhelmina person? Why is a children’s hospital and park named after her?

A little digging reveals that she was a Dutch monarch who ruled in the Netherlands from 1890 – 1948. Check out the years. Think about the location. WWI. WWII. Economic depression. Wilhelmina was known for several things. Being strong-willed, out-spoken. She said what she thought and had a keen mind for business and strategy. A soldier’s queen, so the story goes. She would surprise her forces with visits to see reality, not the pomp and circumstance they wished to show a monarch.

I don’t know her. I’m not Dutch, so I haven’t grown up with any lore. All of this information is from a superficial scanning. However if pressed, perhaps her strongest quality was her ability to reach people during dark times. To motivate them, and encourage them. To see pieces of her everywhere makes sense.

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