The World Around Us

Renewing our vows in Thorn

Country: The Netherlands by Lisette


Leaving Africa behind meant an end to the emotional rollercoaster of the past ten months. We went straight to the Johannesburg Airport after an exhausting drive through South Africa. The ground steward was very nice when we checked in with Emirates Airline and gave us great seats. Hungry we sat down in a café and ordered way too much food.

With my belly sticking out we went on board to fall asleep on our way to Dubai. We were totally in awe of the wide selection of movies, TV shows, documentaries and music. From Dubai to Amsterdam we were mostly in awe of the new airbus A380, “world’s world’s largest passenger airliner” according to Wikipedia.

Oh, how good it was to be in my old hometown. I feel blessed having two countries I can call home. Unlike most holidays, we took our time to adjust and didn’t travel around madly. No, we were just recuperating from jetlag and stress.


Together with my mother, sister and niece, I went shopping — needless to say the girls had fun! With my friend Gaby’s help, we decided which restaurant we would invite our friends to for a smart get-together. Close to Weert is a cute place named Thorn, lovingly nicknamed “the little white town”. Here, we found the perfect place.

Thorn dates back to the late 10th century and was ruled by an abbess and 20 ladies of noble birth. The convent developed into a secular community without the strict religious laws. It even had its own jurisdiction and its own currency until the French came in 1794. The buildings have been destroyed except for the church.


The church was Romanesque in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 13th in Gothic style. Construction resumed in the 14th century when the nave, canon hall and crypt were added. Then another century passed and it was decided several chapels should be built. Pause and take a breath. At the end of the 18th century all Romanesque and Gothic elements were removed and the church had gained a marble floor and a new altar. The inside was painted completely white. The last change took place between 1863-1872 with the addition of a Gothic, Brabantine style tower.


Let’s go back for a moment to the French invasion – the aristocrats fled and the poor started living in the wealthy houses. The French quickly imposed a “window tax”, based on the size of the windows. As a result, people closed the windows with bricks and whitewashed the houses to conceal the building tracks.


OK, do a quick flight to 2013.. Marlowe and I held an informal get together at ‘t Thornse Krulletje whose Chef and owner Charles van der Veer was enthusiastic about what we wanted and suggested a yummy lunch menu.

We then exchanged newly written vows (this time in Dutch!) that emphasized not our original vows but where we stand today. As Marlowe’s vow said, “more the wiser” and thankful we are in good health and able to support one another, creating our future together.




This was our way of making something positive out of our home invasion adventure in Maputo. And of course, I have a new wedding band! This ring has a completely new character but is a combination of my former engagement ring and wedding ring that I both lost. With thanks to Ruud van de Voort Edelsmid.

We’d like to especially thank everyone who came and made our get together so unique! Gaby, thank you for the pictures.





It was then that Gaby introduced us to Marge and Vincent from; we were gifted a love-shoot! Marge and Vincent took us to few hotspots in Thorn and took their time to made us look at our best. They had even thought of all the little details! Here are a few of my favourite images:




All in all we were only ten days in my beloved “kikkerlandje”, too short to unpack but we sure got some relaxation in! And as always, my dad and I did our ritual of toasting with my favourite beer Lentebok. With renewed energy and all the Dutch goodies (home baked apple pie; always a winner!) we flew to Canada where Marlowe’s parents were awaiting us at the airport.