Thursday, January 1, 2009
A few weeks ago, I discovered America on a map of the Netherlands. Located in Limburg province, close to Germany, it beckoned to me softly, but didn't quite justify a special trip. So, while on the way home from driving my parents to the Düsseldorf airport, I detoured briefly off the A67 motorway to take a look.
America? Land of opportunity? Maybe in name only... there definitely wasn't much happening here on this frosty morning. According to Wikipedia, it has 397 residences. I didn't audit their figure.
If you're curious about the sign, the "gem. Horst a/d Maas" means America is not big enough for its own gemeente, or city government. It is part of the gemeente of Horst aan de Maas, which has about 30,000 residents.
One fun thing about named places here is that they not only announce your arrival, but also your departure, which of course means this photo (disclaimer for the Department of Homeland Security: no need to bug my phone; it's just a Dutch road sign):
Why bother with the "no more America" sign? Partly because of speed limits, I think. In general, speed limits are not posted on roads. The limits are posted on a big sign when you enter the country and (for the benefit of international arrivals, like me) at the exit of Amsterdam Schiphol airport. The sign looks like this (photo by celesteh):
Isn't the little windmill in the city silhouette cute? The sign means that in towns, or "built-up areas," including named places like America, the speed limit is 50. Outside of built-up areas, such as just beyond the "no more America" sign, it is 80. On highways, the limit is 100, and on motorways, the limit is 120. Don't forget! Of course, anywhere, such as on residential streets, these signs can be overridden by red-circle speed limit signs.
So yeah, I stopped by America on my drive home from Germany. Nice morning drive, eh?