Great Continental Railway Journeys S05E06 WEB-DL x264-JIVEOct 26
Season 05, Episode 06 – “TBA”
Steered by his 1913 Bradshaw’s Continental Railway Guide, Michael Portillo heads for the Netherlands, where he roots around the world’s largest flower auction in Haarlem, operates a crane in Europe’s largest container port, Rotterdam, and investigates Amsterdam’s famous red-light district.Following in the footsteps of early-20th-century British tourists, Michael tours this compact country, which boasted a mighty navy and a global empire to rival that of Britain. He discovers the magnificent art and architecture of the Dutch Golden Age and marvels at the engineering ingenuity of this fiercely independent nation.In Rotterdam, Michael finds the ‘great commercial activity’ mentioned in his guidebook has reached epic proportions through the port’s automated terminal. He takes a water taxi along the New Mass river to the windmills of Kinderdijk to see how the Dutch conquered the waters which threaten their land.In Delft, Michael learns how the city came to specialise in pottery and finds out the secrets of its success. Michael is in his element in the Hague as he discovers the beautiful government buildings known as the Binnenhof and begins to understand the origins of the Netherlands’ famous reputation for tolerance.In Haarlem, Michael goes behind the scenes to see how 21 million stems and two million potted plants are auctioned every day from a vast complex roughly the size of Monaco.Plucking up Dutch courage, Michael takes to two wheels in Amsterdam’s fast-moving cycle lanes and heads for the Indies district, where he samples a delicious ‘rijstafel’ of dishes from the Dutch empire.Arriving in Utrecht, Michael discovers the main hub of the Dutch railway network and its busiest station. He finds that the first constitution of the Netherlands was signed here and hears what the locals think about Dutch tolerance today.