Walking through the streets of Amsterdam, or barging through a small village in rural Friesland, we come across small window displays. With the drapes drawn back, the displays are a personal reflection of their owners and their willingness to share. The frequently cleaned windows host creative displays of flowers, plants, vases, candles, lamps, antiques, knick-knacks and toys. With the sidewalks so close to the windows, one cannot help but stop and look. Once we have paused, our eyes often move up to the invitation to look into their living room and into their lives. The nothing-to-hide openness, the simplicity, the cleanliness and the orderliness of life is inviting.
In our travels in France we notice the heavy shutters on windows. They are flung open in the morning, but there are no window displays, nor is it easy to look inside. In the early evening the shutters are closed and the home is cut-off from the outside world. There is no sign of life.
Through the sixteenth century, religious persecutions in Portugal, Spain and France caused many of the persecuted to move to the Netherlands, which welcomed the educated, the artisans, the artists and the free thinkers into their population. They soon assimilated and formed the open-minded, colourful and diverse nation that is the Netherlands.
It is amazing what is seen on a window sill.