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Free time: Dutch-language tour of Gemeenlandshuis van Delfland

So I'm strolling through the flea market when I hear a commotion down the street. It's only 10 a.m. so I can't imagine that the college kids are getting too nutty already. I go to investigate.

Outside this classic building with an impressive array of shields over the door are actors bantering with each other. Crowds are growing. I'm intrigued.

This is Open Monument weekend in the Netherlands when thousands of site across the country open their doors to the public for free. I had stumbled onto Gemeenlandshuis van Delfland, the Delft Water Authority.

I got in line and followed the crowd into a splendid hall. A woman took out a piece of paper and began reading to us... in Dutch.

"This is the chamber of the chairman of the board... it is also a number of paintings in here..."

I scooted closer to her and opened up Google Translate on my phone. It did its best to "hear" what was being said and create an approximate translation as we went.

"...scabbard by drunken people just during the day say what to do after waking up. You should not listen to allow to invade..."

The translation got a little fuzzy at times.

"...consultation and bus lie. The next punishment on you will be barefoot... attending and you carry a candle with you of half a pound."

Nevertheless, it was delightful to hear Dutch spoken at length and try to grasp at it in context.


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