Our Trip from Haarlem to Nederwaard


It all went very well untillllllllll.

We discovered she was making a lot more water than we expected. The bilge pump working we decided to move on to get as close as possible.


We had some bridges on route but being so low, we could take most of them without waiting for the bridge to open.
Some hairy moments when the bridge waiter said something else than the lights, which we will never do again we look at the light.


We moved onto the Noord, not just a big river also big boats with big wash.
The boat was like a bouncing ball and leaking, safe habour reached, not our home mooring.
The repair started the old fashion way, pushing jute into the caps to seal the planks of the  hull. An automatic bilge pump was installed with more safety equipment, a lifejacket is no luxury on the rivers.


A week later we set of again towards our mooring. The sad thing is that they closed a lock in Alblasserdam which means you need to cruise all around. A cruise with non closed lock would have taken 1 hour now it took 6 hours.


A small shortcut just past Hendrick ido Ambacht take you away from the big boats and their waves. Natuur is coming back alive here which was once an industrial area which is now in decline.


We came past my home town Dordrecht right by the 3 rivers point we crossed to the other site, to go east onto the Beneden Merwede.


Past the entrance of the BiesBosch which we will do one day, only this time we went on to go into the Peulen Sluis which would bring us on the small river De Giessen.


The lock goes right under the high way A15 but is no biggy for us after the canals in the UK, where we had to do all the work ourselves. The lock-keeper has a camera and see you coming, you need to keep an eye on the time.
After the Peulen sluis we phoned the next lock keeper and they stayed open a bit longer for us.


The still waters made it pleasant cruising in the Albasserwaard.


The perfect Mayday with flowering Hawthorn or better called Maythorn.


On route we made some note of brilliant moorings, like this one near a fantastic windmill, how could you miss it.


The aim of the boat is to find stillness to create special photos and to reload our own energy batteries.
Holland is a very busy place with fantastic waterways and the inner waterways were we are living give pure tranquility.

We are moored here by the white mill where the big job has started of restoration of  the Juni. In between the work we disappear gently to some away mooring to wander around.
Perhaps the woodwork on the boat will bring in more money than the wooden sculptures. One thing is for sure one day she will be a shining beauty, now it looks like a patch work of wood-rot.




Inside Juni


Tomorrow we will pick up JUNI and start our first and also long journey from Haarlem to Alblasserdam 95 KM with only 5 locks.
Our stuf is on board waiting for us. In that tiny cabin is our bed and an other great ting is we will be cruising under cover and no longer out in all weather like on the narrowboat.


The old wanderlust

Juni will be cruising along the old windmills in Kinderdijk.

To make it all more fun in Juni a mindful photography course will be done with her.
You will be cruising with mAgdA on Juni to some special spots to create them silent reminders of natural beauty.

snipa Juni







We go into a new direction on a Snipa a classical boat from Sweden all made from wood.

snipa Juni

She needs some TLC, like a big sculpture she lays in the water.

We are thinking to go Spaarndam Art Market with the boat they have a lovely little harbour with an old lock.


The market will take place along this lovely small harbour and she would just look perfect here.

First, we get out the sandpaper and elbow grease than the brushes, well we done it all before.
Really before that we will have a long trip to get her home over rivers and canals.



Number 3

Our wandering has taken a different perspectief. The years on the Narrowboat Wanderlust 1 made us realise the beauty of slow motion. A narrowboat can only cruise at the speed of maximal 4 miles an hour.
So Wanderlust 2 went to a new owner, it was too fast for us (80 kilometres an hour).
Yep, Wanderlust 3 is in the planning.

Marina Overwaard Kinderdijk

The future Marina


We live now in a water rich area in the middle of the big rivers of Holland.
Boats need to be here.
Big, small, they all have their own function in this area.


working in a flood forest

simple working


We already picked our first mooring spot on route, a ‘flood forest’. Once upon a time you could find lots of ‘flood forest’ all over this area. Slowly but certainly they are bringing them back and appreciating them forests.
It is wet and swampy and at times the forest has wet feet, the trees don’t care, even drive in it.
People make still a simple living in these forest by maintaining the forest with cutting, pruning, coppicing the trees.
The aim these days is to increase wildlife habitats.


Bird Collage

Bird oasis


The birds in the area sure appreciate the efforts made. The above photos are made on a spring Sunday. Many of the birds were just coming back and the sky was filled with them. The camera in hand is perfect for macro photos but not so good for bird photos, still manage to get some of them clear enough.
They all are water birds just like DabeArtists. While seeing these birds, the decision was made to have a little sailing boat to cruise amidst the birdies.
We have seen some which we really like, so one day we will have a float again. The windows will be filled with some of our art as always. Perhaps next year we attend some water festivals with our art.
We are hoping for one of the old Dutch sailing boats like a Schouw well we keep our fingers crossed.


Klein Hoefblad bloem, Coltsfoot flower

Spring is here

have a wonderful spring




bootjes kijken


We are at the big rivers from Holland, something very different than the canals of the UK. While looking over the rivers at the new boats old memories pass by. After a dig in the old photo books i found pictures of how it once was, it was hard work and bitter work.

ijs breken

slowly but certainly

Many boats didn’t have an engine they would get towed by a tug over the rivers. When the rivers were frozen, all boats were towed by an icebreaker. Here they go under the bridge at Zwijndrecht.

My father, mother, uncles and aunts were on the rivers, it was a special life. You lived and worked on the boat, on the back of the boat was the home of the skipper and family and on the front was the home of the matroos. Some had no matroos there the family worked, meaning often that wife and husband worked as a team. Us children where on the boat until we reached school age than the authorities came and took the kids into a special intern school. These schippersinternaat where not always that wonderful and my mum had some bad experience, so our kids went with my mum on the land. Yet every school holiday we went on the boat and many weekends as well.

Alvracht 3

Alvracht 3

The Alvracht 3 was the first boat my father was schipper on i can remember it well. Most of my memories were from the Alvracht 15. One of the first boats with a double engine and double propeller. We were fast but so went the time on the rivers first the boats without an engine disappeared than the more smaller boats. The time for the ‘particulier’  (private owned boats) became hard, jobs were taken by the companies. The Alvracht was one of them companies they owned the boats but the families would stay on the boats, it worked the same as the particulier.

Alvracht 15

Alvracht 15 around 1952 on the Rhine by Lorelei

Not anymore at the end of my fathers career we no longer could stay on the boat in our holidays and that broke our hearts. As boaters you had to work through the nights to make the deadline and them deadlines became closer and closer meaning you had to cruise through the nights it became a 24 hour job. The competition became hard when more and more companies moved in.


modern times

The duwbakken came in, these are boats ( square ugly tanks) pushed by a boat again a square thing with very powerful engines. The Alvracht 15 worked for a short time as a push boat the front would fit into an other boat making her capacity double, however this did not last long. The old girl is now long gone but my memories will stay.

These days you see big boats very big boats on the rivers many loaded with the containers as the market moved on. They work continu dienst (continuous) 24 hours 7 days one shift sleeps the other works, no family on board anymore. Yet it pleases me to tell that the particulier did survive and there are still smaller boats on the rivers going to places that the larger boats can not get to. They still work as a family team while one sleeps the other works. The woman are equal different yes but equal their work was just as much respected as that of a man, they have to, the work can not be done without the woman. They earn the money together making them compatible and their earnings go further as their work is their home, thinking about the housing market.



There are still boats on the rivers the size of the Alvracht 15. When i see them going pass i remember all the good times all them moments but most of all the way of life. This way of life was not always respected but that is a story for an other time, for now i am back at the rivers. I end here with a poem which i wrote for my parents when they were 40 years married they gave me many good memories on the boats.

Herinnering aan puur geluk

Het geklots van water wordt even verstoort door geroep

de kooi is klein, maar warm, maar zo veilig

De stilte wordt weg gevaagd door zwaar geronk

de motor is gestart

langzaam gaat het zwaar gebrom over in een eentonig gerommel

Als je dan je hoofd tegen de hout muur houd, trilt heel je lichaam mee op het gerommel

je stem verandert in een vreemd getril

Kort erna het geplof van touwen

de motor klinkt zwaar voor de eerste afzet

de schroeven verschuren het water

je hoort het roer draaien op de roef

door het raam zie je de balken van de bolders overgaan in de gevel kade

het geklots wordt nu harder en de motor komt weer tot rustig gerommel

de wal beweegt langzaam aan je voorbij



around 1948

long time ago


To paint the campervan we needed a good place where the van good stand outside as well as inside.


New Design Old idea

We went to the farm where Berth has a storage ‘shed’ which was once his workshop. When he picked up a piece of wood you saw the sculpture evolving in his head in the place where so many of his work evolved for so many years.



We had a design for the van to make it a followup of Wanderlust I the narrowboat by using the same colour scheme. In the end we went against it and use green for the background of the painting and the poem. Wanderlust II is not a boat she does not float, she does not roam at a gentle speed, she moves us long distance. Somewhere you have 150 different greens, the green of spring is different than the green of summer. The summer green came with an edge of winter green, the hardware shop does not have the colours of an art supply shop.



We made our own green with the colours of Wanderlust I and a long mixing stick from the workshop. The prime colour is there waiting for the final touch of gold and red, in the end she follows the colour footsteps of all the other wandering vehicles we had.


you know the meaning

One site will have a poem the other will bear words and dates which make you question what you see, as when art becomes a documentation we will loose our aim. The van is not just a van it will be a story, a poem, a vision and a way to be.



The crew of Wanderlust is on route again, only this time we choose to go on the road in an old campervan. After long consideration we had to move into an other direction. The winter in Portugal gave us time to think not only about the Art Retreats but also about DABE-ART. We came to the conclusion, us artists love the aspect of bringing art to the people, as we did on our narrowboat. The idea of a static shop somewhere in Wales went into a large pit with a tree planted right there.


Great Crested Grebe with young.

We love the wandering, discovering of old and new places, getting inspiration while on the go, meeting people.  The narrowboat had her limits, the places she could bring us had to be near water or otherwise well, boat on dry land goes nowhere.


a boat as roof

So an other vehicle was needed, our old idea of a wandering gallery in a campervan came back out the cupboard. More research was done into the possibilities and here we are in Wanderlust II on the road again.
Just 3 weeks ago we got this old lady, she needed some work on the engine and now she brings us where ever we wish. The next step will be to give her a special paint job so she stand out in the traffic jam.
Some of the lines will be made with letters forming a poem in 3 languages as we going through cultures and languages.


up in the sky 4 Spoonbills

Our first trip went to some old land for one of us, the place she was born and grew up. The trip took us to Strijensas, last visited 41 years ago. Places do not always alter in the wrong direction, this place certainly not. In 2006 they created from some old agricultural land a nature reserve, rewilding bringing back the wild and beautiful. Now 11 years later it sure looks just like a small wilderness with lots of water birds coming and going. The cows are still there but more in the shape of the wilder variety who wander along the area like kings and queens. While just around the corner on the other site of Het Hollands Diep you find a big industrial area with chemical industrie and power station.


industry and nature can go hand in hand

Boats move backwards and forwards with all kind of cargo right along the edge of the reserve. Wildlife do not mind, just give wildlife a change and it will wander along the track it creates herself. The area is not big but that doesn’t matter. On the edge is a marina with a camper place, for 7 euros you can park your camper right in the marina next to a channel. A very quiet spot with lots of walking and cycling tracks and not to forget boating.


eating Willow for a pain in the neck

The Netherlands finally join other countries into providing special places for campervans to stay, so you don’t need to go to the more expensive campsites. Right now while writing this we stand on a camper place by a farmer. We are surrounded by ‘Polderland’ land which once has been reclaimed from water. The ‘Polder Alblasserwaard’ has 22 camper places by farmers they are well worth visiting with fresh eggs for breakfast right next to you.


camper place on the farm

The area is known by the Dutch as the place by the big rivers, it is surrounded by ‘De Lek’, de ‘Waal’, de ‘Noord’, de ‘Beneden Merwede’, de ‘Boven Merwede’ and de ‘Oude Maas’, de ‘Dortsche Kil’, de ‘Nieuwe Maas’ and finally Het Hollands Diep which is more than a river.

In-between these rivers you find hundreds of small and bigger canals to channel the water away every day by low tide. The use of Windmills for this job goes back for centuries and the fight against water goes even further back. Here on de ‘Polder Alblasserwaard’ you find 19 windmills in a row but be aware it is very touristy so full of busses, the best time to visit is during the winter months.


pumping water

We are not here for just playing tourist info but for business. We have been excepted for several Art markets and festivals. They select the people who can join Art markets in Germany as well as The Netherlands, which is not a bad thing. Our first market will be in Dordrecht on 6 August from there we go to Venlo to set the navigator to Amsterdam, followed by De Bilt back to Dordrecht after which we go into Germany to Hamm and Dortmund. In December we go slowly but certainly south to France and ending in Portugal where we have an exhibition the whole of February. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay informed.

Here on the blog we tell you about our ventures in-between the markets and festivals.

Now we start the painting and writing of the campervan.


such a lovely Willows 




While writing this the river flows by, outside my window. Where we are the river flows substantially due to being influenced by the tide, we are around 20 kilometres upstream from the Atlantic Ocean. The tide difference can be up to 3.5 metres, right now the tide comes in while the wind comes from the South giving the river a rushing flow going up not down.


our Yurt by the river site


The Rio Guadiana ends her flow between Vila Real de St Antonio in Portugal and Ayamonte in Spain, creating an impressive estuary which is on the Portugese site a nature reserve. At the end of the river (or for some people the beginning) you not only find several different water-birds including the Flamingo but also salt pans for the winning of the famous sea salt. At times human activities can go easy hand in hand with nature even depends on each other, the salt pans provide for the birds as the ocean provide for the salt pans. The Guadiana has a rich history with many battles therefor you see lots of castles along her shores. Now the castles are nothing more than tourist attraction as the European Union provides no need for canon fire anymore.


traditional boats

The journey of the river starts, as all rivers, high up in the mountains of   Castilla-La Mancha   in Spain from which she flows interacting with other rivers winding and binding through Spain entering Portugal just the south of Elvas.  In modern days she feeds many reservoirs, providing water for agriculture and swimming pooles alike. The last part of the river forms the old border between Portugal and Spain, where we are.


The wild part Rio Guadiana 

Much of the river stays wild winding through rocky cuts leaving her imprint in the landscape. When looking from above you see the many arms/branches of her site rivers/streams like a watertree in the rocks. How fluid breaks down solid rock year after year carving with patience a ’tree’ sculpture in the surface of the earth. Not only water flows down with the river, also soil, sand, pebbles, branches and all kind of debris which at times we better not recognise. We see small islands coming pass build up by reed with branches holding onto each other to become the resting ‘boat’ for birds hitchhiking on the tide. Yet, all this flowing and moving doesn’t stop the river to be totally silent, being like a reflecting mirror for the land.


pure silence


You can navigate the river up to Pormaroa, where you find a small jetty for pleasure boats, just down from the remains of the old big jetty from which the train would fill the boats with copper from the mines. Many international boaters, on a variety of yachts, take rest of their sea adventures on the river. They come from different countries been on many seas having plenty of stories to tell and songs to sing. Many of them settled, like us two canal dwellers, on the shores along the river where you see many simple ‘temporary’ buildings and their boats rest close by for trips to the Azoren, Madeira or further an ocean.



The land wanderers also find a great resting place along the river, where they park there campers or vans of all kind of descriptions, contemplating on their next part to wander of to. So really, we didn’t wander of much from Wanderlust, just a different direction and certainly a different flow. No more locks to fill and empty, the bridges do not swing that much here. The water still let our wondering flow, giving us other directions for inspirational mentions by observations. We seem to be a bit on a flow here but it sure feels good.


camper reflections

This morning, before posting this blog, we saw Flamingos on the salt marshes, life is good here, sorry no camera with me.



We at dAbe Art always combined our commercial art with the not commercial art.
We create art for a market, for what people want to buy, as we can’t live from fresh air alone.
Together with other artists we feel strongly that commercialism blocks creative freedom and you might get trapped in making the same thing over and over  again.

ik zie, ik zie wat jij niet zie

ik zie, ik zie wat jij niet zie

We would not have the groundbreaking work from Vincent van Gogh, if he would have painted what the market at that time demanded. Artists even loose their artistic freedom when working as community artists or creating funded work. The funding bodies are now a market themselves as they have to justify the money they spend, with other words thick the boxes. Artists also loose on health and safety, the insurance. At times the monetary value of the insurance is higher than that of the art work.

ground breaking

ground breaking

Dabe-Art used their own money for all projects which reflect their artistic expression and the spend time was never wasted though not paid.
We sell to eat, we live to create. We like to explore and love to push boundaries.



Right now we are starting once again a meaningless, boundless, aimless project in which we take the freedom to reflect and prospect. A project divided in two, the upper part where we sell and be commercial, the lower part where we act out our freedom to be artists. Or perhaps split into a front part and a back part or a left and a right or an in and out, cleave the subjects. We will be asking other artists to join us on this journey. Before you ask, yes we, again, will be planting trees on our route. Oh and before we forget: the art retreats are a part of our commercial exportation, but when you are interested we will add on the abstract expectation.

do you see the meaning?

do you see the meaning?

Dabe-Art started the experimenting, the researching, the possibilities. We opened up some old ideas, which lay buried under sheets of dust. We look and search once again we might enhance the new into our old perspectivity  (new word) perhaps a new world.
We will use this new space not only to sell put also to explore and to feel your anticipation.

pick this up

pick this up


dAbE Art



shroppie magic

The Wanderlust wandering down, perhaps up, or maybe over, better into a magic place called Shropshire Union Canal.
Our most favourite spot on the canals is the cut, a real cut out of rocks to prevent the need of many locks, Woodseaves Cut
Created as a vein for the industry ended as haven for wilderness.


a green wall

It is still, it is green, it is wild yet human hands made it with spades and pickaxe. It was the last project made by the engineer Thomas Telford he never saw it finished as his ambition was high it took more time to repair and repair again what failed and failed again.
Yet, here it is full of life full of beauty. He knew you could do it and so he did.



The bridges here are TALL, higher than trees no problem here for the bird on the chimney. The canal here narrows to an almost single lane canal, yet two boats can just pass if no rocks stick out.



Trees are growing almost vertical any crack hides its own little forest of ferns, moss and my favourite liverworts. The liverworts are old very old plants living while adapting, in my opinion the strongest plant on earth.


Liverwort with a small fern covering cliffs

While passing you feel the jungle surrounding you with different sounds, different smells giving you the feeling you just entered an other world.
You can almost see the animals swing on the strings of Ivy.


vertical garden 

Somebody said a picture never does it justice, no matter how i pick my brain, words certainly don’t describe it.

When you are ever on the canals in the UK make sure you don’t miss this piece of magic.


good bye

A very special way to say good bye to our life on the canals as we wander on, over land towards new water to be explored by us but not with the Wanderlust.

Watch this space for more and even more updates.