The Liceo Classico “Raffaello” of Urbino has also this year organized the
exchange programme with the “Merewade College” of Gorinchem, Holland.
The students involved belong to the following classes: IV A Linguistico, IV E
Turistico, accompanied by the teachers Zanarelli and Betti.
The first part of the experience took place in Gorinchem from 21 September to 4
October 2003 and it has been recorded in the following pages witnessing the
students’ personal and cultural enrichment.
They have learnt to be more independent, more self confident and to accept
their friends’ lifestyle together with a new cultural environment.
Cooperation and friendship have favoured the awareness and the appreciation of
the mutual differences which are essential qualities in order to become true
MEREWADE COLLEGE LICEO CLASSICO
STUDENTS’ MATCHING 2003-2004
BALLABENE FRANCESCA KELLY VERDUIN
BATTISTONI MONIA ANDREW VAN WAARDENBERG
BICCHIARELLI VALENTINA MARTIJN VAN VEEN
BONCI ROBERTO DANIEL ROOS
FERRI MATTEO CASPER VALEN
FRATERNALI ELISA FERDINAND DE RIDDER
FRULLA IVANA ALESSIA INGE BOTH
GARBUGLI ELENA BABS SELIJ
GARBUGLI LAURA LUUK SNIJDER
GIULIANI EVA STEPHAN VERSLUIJS
LUPI ERICA ILSE ROUBOS
MANGANI VALENTINA JISKA BAKKER
MANNELLO GIULIA MARJOLEIN VERDUIN
PALAZZI MARTINA MARTIJN V VEEN
PERINI GIULIA CHARLOTTE KROMHOUT
PIERAMICI ELENA MERVE UCUNCU
PIEROTTI ERICA DENISE VOGELAARS
RUGGERI MONICA CATHY WIJKAMP
SILVESTRINI FLAVIA SHARON VAN HOOGDALEM
STEFANI CAROLINA CHARLOTTE KROMHOUT
DAMIANI BEATRICE FERDINAND DE RIDDER
FRATERNALE LORENZO CHRISTIAAN MAAS
GALEOTTI MONIA MURID SIAWASH
GATTONI SONIA ROBIN HORST
MAGGIOLI ELEONORA ROBIN VAN OORT
STOLZINI MONICA MICHELLE BOR
URBINATI LUCIA SUSANNE POIESZ
ITALIAN TEACHERS: SERENELLA ZANARELLI
MARIA ELENA BETTI
DUTCH TEACHERS: IDA ZEEDIJK
22 September 2003
Do you still believe that storks deliver children? Probably not, but if you still have
some doubts, imagine that in this case Strasbourg would be overpopulated!!!!
Indeed, as soon as we arrived in this charming city, we noticed something unusual
on nearly all the rooftops and trees; only the day after we discovered they were
enormous stork’s nests.
But this is not the only feature of
Strasbourg, in fact a very
fascinating and humorous guide
showed us all the other beauties…
the oldest part of the city, rich in
typical Alsatian houses called
“Maisons à colombages” decorated
with coloured flowers, the imposing
Gothic cathedral and some of the
most important squares where we
could spend our free time doing
shopping. Obviously the most
important souvenir was a soft toy
After having had a pizza for lunch (the worst pizza we had ever had), we went to
visit the European Parliament.
It was exciting to be present at a real Parliamentary Assembly and see members
from all over Europe discussing and debating important issues. We could also
appreciate the beautiful modern building from an architectural point of view
because we walked around it several times thanks to our teachers who couldn't
find the way to the bus anymore!
Luckily we returned safe and sound to our youth hostel just in time to have
dinner… Well, you need a lot of imagination to define it dinner!
Before going to bed we had a beautiful surprise: at night the youth hostel was also
a cosmopolitan disco where we met a lot of nice guys coming from Germany,
Austria and Switzerland.
The following morning at 7 o’ clock we were ready, a bit tired but very
enthusiastic, to reach our destination and our Dutch partners.
Eva Giuliani, Valentina Mangani, Monica Ruggeri (IVA)
A view of Gorinchem: the typical Dutch windmill
Gorinchem is a small town which developed from a fishing settlement on the
banks of the rivers Merewade and Linge in the early Middle Ages. Gorinchem is
old, very old. The town was founded at the beginning of the 13 th century. It used
to be some kind of city state and the Lords of Arkel were the bosses in this region.
One day the Lords decided to sell Gorinchem to the Count of Holland; a couple of
months later they wanted the town back so they tried to storm it. This turned into a
battle but the Lords of Arkel died. From that moment on Gorinchem became an
even more important city. Nowadays it is a smallish Dutch town of about 30.000
inhabitants. It is situated 40 Km east of Rotterdam on the north bank of the
Merewade where the picturesque river Linge flows into it, through the old centre.
Surrounding the town is the typical Dutch river landscape: water, green, willows,
dikes and windmills
that, with the tulips,
represent the symbol of
Holland. The old centre
is both intimate and
pictu-resque and is
surrounded by 17 earth
The Linge Harbour
In Gorinchem there are historic buildings, but also a variety of shops, pubs and
restaurants can be found.
Tere are important carvings in Gorinchem, among them a man holding a fish
made in 1991 by Jan van Munster. Another important building is the old church of
St.Vincent, containing monuments of the Lords of Arkel. The old river harbour
contains many traditional boats. The Linge harbour has a big influence on the
character of Gorinchem and in the summertime it is nice to have a look at the
boats and people around it.
From the pubs and restaurants along the water, you have a great view.
In 1998, Gorinchem became the cultural city of the year. It would be nice to see a
lot more art in this place, that already had an open eye for it.
Lorenzo Fraternale, Bonci Roberto and Ferri Matteo (IVE – IVA)
We couldn’t have imagined that the Dutch were so kind, friendly and
welcoming! Before arriving there, we thought they were a bit colder than us, but
this fantastic experience made us change our opinion: in fact from the moment of
our arrival we immediately began to breathe a really warm atmosphere, which
made us feel comfortable on every occasion.
A typical Dutch house
One of the striking characteristics of the Dutch is their helpfulness; they
always did their best to let us stay together as much as possible and enjoy
ourselves: our partners’ parents let us go out every time we wanted, but we had to
go by bike, which is the most important means of transport in the Netherlands,
and we always had to use it, even if it was windy, raining and freezing.
Just as in Italy, also in the Netherlands there are many different kinds of houses
(flats, villas, boats..), but the most common one is the terraced house: the typical
Dutch terraced house is very small, tidy and full of strange knick-knacks and they
have a front garden, too.
the de Ridders
The first thing you should do when you enter a Dutch house is take off your shoes
in the hall and then to pet the family pets (cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, too!); after
that the Dutch mother offers you something to drink or some snacks.
As for meals, the whole family has breakfast together and you can eat
cheese, salame, chocolate, yoghurt, and drink milk, coffee, orange juice, but they
never drink water. Then they have lunch at school or at work. So, dinner is the
most important meal, because it’s the moment when the whole family stays
together and speaks about the day they’ve just spent and they’re not disturbed by
the TV, in fact they prefer listening to the radio or soft music. The strangest thing is
that they usually have dinner very early in the evening (at about 17.30), so at 8 o’
clock you are hungry again!!!
The Dutch have a real strong sense of hospitality: during the whole exchange,
every time we were at home, they always spoke English to let us understand and
take part in their conversation!
Finally, the day of our departure, our partners’ parents drove us to school to
take the coach and they gave us a present for our families, however the
greatest present had been that of welcoming us warmly and letting us have
such a fantastic experience which has left in our hearts a big desire to go there
Ballabene Francesca, Fraternali Elisa, Perini Giulia (IVA)
25 September 2003
After a few days, finally.... our dream comes true… We are going to Amsterdam!!!
We are excited, impatient and curious,.... We are "full of enthusiasm", all but one…
when Francesca arrives she is totally covered with mosquito bites, Dutch
The first stop is at the Rijksmuseum, the largest museum in the Netherlands,
where the magic
paintings by famous
masters such as
deeply catch our
attention (luckily the
guide is Italian)!!!
excitement and hunger
make us almost faint
and the search for
something edible begins: without positive results... someone in despair gives
himself up to a prawn cocktail. The saddest thing is the "performance" of a
homeless who wants to steal our leftovers .
The Van Gogh Museum is our next visit: a very modern building full of the world's
greatest collection of works by Vincent Van Gogh and his contemporaries and also
full of surprises.... in fact, when we meet a group of handsome guys we start to
make comments about them.... but we didn't realize that they were Italian!.... How
But the best is still to come, we are given some free time and so, now we can
discover all the secrets, the wonders and the surprises that this fantastic city
Our adventure starts from the Dam, then the magic atmosphere surrounds us and
leads us through the numerous alleys full of typical and "strange" shops where
people go in and out frantically. We are astonished and nearly hypnotized by this
Unfortunately time flies and we have to go back to the Dam with all our bags.
However, there's still another place to discover that arouses our curiosity... : The
Red Light District: an unimaginable scenery that makes us feel sadness and pity...
even if a very strange and funny episode lightens up the situation:
Giulia Perini has the fantastic idea of taking a photo of a prostitute, who, really
angry, gets out of her window, chases her, grabs her hair and steals her camera.....
after a hysterical laugh Giulia bursts into tears!!!
Our adventure finishes but a small piece of that magic atmosphere will always
remain in our memory.
Giulia Mannello, Flavia Silvestrini, Carolina Stefani (IVA)
We went to Amsterdam twice: the second time we visited the Nemo museum and
Anne Frank’s House.
The “green boat” of the Nemo by Renzo Piano
The Nemo museum is a scientific museum, where you can try a lot of interesting
and strange experiments: you can play with soap bubbles, or become a chemist, or
play love games ; we can actually say that this museum is like a fun-park, and,
what’s more, while you play you can also learn a lot of interesting things.
It’s a huge building like a big ship, designed by the famous Italian architect Renzo
Piano and from its roof terrace people can enjoy a beautiful view of Amsterdam.
Inside the Nemo
The morning at the Nemo was amusing but not the afternoon spent in Anne
Frank’s House… her hiding place during the second world war.
Anne Frank was a Jewish girl, who hid there for twenty five months.
She wasn’t alone, she lived with her father, her mother, her sister, another family
(Van Pels family) and doctor Fritz Pfeffer.
The house has undergone some modifications: it’s bare, without much furniture,
but it shows a lot of documents and movies about Anne and the second world war.
It’s a typical Dutch house, very small, on three floors and it was used as a store.
The entrance of their hiding-place was behind a bookcase. During the day Anne
and the others had to keep quiet, not to be heard and discovered!
Anne was the authoress of the famous “Anne Frank’s Diary”, written during her
stay in the house.
The diary was found by her father, the only person who saved himself from the
terrible holocaust, when he went back to
the house. Here you can see the original
This house is very touching and we liked it a
lot, because now we better understand
what “to live a war” means…and we think
that every war in the world is wrong,
because a lot of innocent people, like Anne,
Anne Frank’s house
Damiani Beatrice, Galeotti Monia, Gattoni Sonia (IVE)
29 September 2003
What a surprise to discover that magical place!
Who would ever imagine that a simple chain of windmills could create such a fairy
A row of windmills at Kinderdijk
Kinderdijk represents the typical Dutch landscape, indeed we found a huge plain
surrounding the series of 19 windmills interspersed by canals....
The sky was wonderful! It seemed even bigger than in Italy, and even if the
weather was cloudy , the clouds made everything more charming. High grass
surrounded the windmills, and the green blended with the sky’s shades.
In the past windmills were used to avoid flooding in the polders, pieces of land
taken off the sea and protected by dikes. The windmills pumped out of the polder
the water filtering under the dike, then they drained it into the sea. Even if they can
still work, nowadays more modern machinery is used.
The place is called Kinderdijk because of an ancient legend telling of a lucky
baby. During a flood, he was thrown up onto the dike by a wave, so he could
escape drowning to death and he saved himself.
We went for a pleasant walk along a narrow track where we risked being run over
by some cyclists. Finally that landscape was the background of our photos, that
will keep reminding us of this extraordinary experience!
Valentina Bicchiarelli, Martina Palazzi, Elena Pieramici (IVA)
After the visit of the famous mills of Kinderdijk, we left to Den Haag.
When we got off the bus we immediately looked for a postbox (or “the red box for
the letters”-as our driver Mirko used to say!!) to send our postcards, but our
attention was caught by an amazing building that looked like a castle of a fairy-
This idyllic atmosphere was torn when our ball was thrown into the lake by our
Dutch partners and scared all the ducks that were peacefully swimming.....
The operation of rescue was more difficult than
expected; in fact our friend Matteo had to
intervene and after a long fight the ball was
The fairy-tale continued with our arrival at the
courtyard of “the Hall of Knights”. After a few minutes we entered the castle and
we were guided into a room where every year the Queen makes her speech; the
first thing we noticed was that everything was made of wood, there was a big
throne and a huge quantity of ensigns on the walls.
But suddenly we were taken from the past
to the present, back to 2003, in fact the
next target was the Dutch Parliament
which is completely different from the old
castle: it’s a very modern building.
The ceiling was blue to remind the colour
of the sky and the floor was green to
remind the colour of the earth. There were
also big abstract paintings that are changed each season and are really out of
common: they seemed to follow you while you were walking.
This day was like a journey through time, lasted hundreds of years, from the
fascinating age of castles to nowadays.
Battistoni Monia, Frulla Ivana Alessia, Garbugli Elena (IVA)
27 September 2003
8:30 a.m. The teachers, with their usual energy, are on the bus: destination
Now you can wonder where the students are!…walking around the bus like
zombies because for them it’s always too early to get up!!
9:20 a.m. In front of our sleepy eyes there is a stunning skyline, in fact Rotterdam
is called “The Manhattan on the Maas”.
9:30 a.m. We have arrived too soon, so with great happiness we can walk for
about an hour on the “Swan”: the most beautiful bridge of Rotterdam, one of the
examples, together with the Cubicle Houses, of the original modern art that
characterizes this city.
From here you can enjoy the view of the harbour, which is the most important and
busiest in Europe. Also the Italians have left their mark on Rotterdam: Renzo
Piano is the architect of the “Telecom Building”, that, with its lights, looks like a
Christmas Tree, but of iron and glass.
The Telecom building by Renzo Piano 10:50 a.m. We are ready to take a
trip on a wonderful, immense, well-
equipped boat like the Titanic … we
hope with a better ending!
Today is the most freezing day of
the world and we are completely
wrapped up in our scarves but we
want to go to the upper floor of this
little Titanic all the same, because
there is a terrace from where it’s
possible to see the view of this port with its countless containers and cranes.
11:30 a.m. A jump into history …
During the second world war, Rotterdam was destroyed by the German soldiers.
The New York Hotel survived and even now it preserves its ancient style. Inside the
hotel you can walk around surrounded by old furniture, photos, miniature boats
and all kinds of luggage.
The New York Hotel
Here time has stopped … We are in a film set in the twenties even if our clothes
are a little unsuitable for the situation.
1:00 p.m. Finally we can have lunch!
3:00 p.m. To do a different thing … we go shopping!
5:00 p.m. We go back home where mosquitoes, like every night, are waiting for
Monica Stolzini, Eleonora Maggioli, Lucia Urbinati (IVE)
The first time we arrived at Merewade College we were surprised because it’s a
very modern building, with a lot of different rooms and laboratories, and with a
very big field to play sports and to relax.
The best thing of the school is a very big room, the Hall, where students can do
what they want: they can have a break, they can study, chat, and listen to music. In
front of the door there are two screens where students can find the timetable of
their lessons and their rooms, and there are many lockers where students can
keep books or clothes.
At the school canteen
The Dutch school organization is very different from ours: lessons start at 8.30
a.m. and at about 15.30 p.m. students can go home; they have only six hours of
lessons and spend the rest of the morning in really long breaks, changing their
classroom for each subject.
Rooms have window walls on one side, so students can see people walking along
the corridor; that’s a good way to take your mind off when you don’t feel like
listening to the lessons!
They have a lot of amusing subjects, like Drama, Art, Music, Sport…but in spite of
this, after school, they are so tired that they need a rest all the same; sometimes
they go out and meet friends until late at night. In Italy, instead, we have to study
after school and most of us can go out only at weekends.
During our stay in Holland the Dutch buddies organized many interesting activities
for us; the best was the evening spent at school all together.
It was beautiful going to school in Holland… but there was only a little problem:
riding the bike! The Dutch students are used to cycling and leaving their bikes in
the big parking lot behind the school… but for us it was indeed a very strange way
to go to school!!
Erica Lupi, Laura Garbugli, Erica Pienotti (IVA)
1 October 2003
During the whole week all the people had been talking about this exceptional
event and we, the Italians, were really curious!!
The Merewade School had a great surprise for us: we weren’t the only foreign
guests, but there were students from other exchanges with other countries:
Austria, Poland, Spain, Slovenia and Slovakia.
We had dinner all together and then, all of a sudden, four intrepid musketeers
started singing songs of important rock bands (Oasis, Nirvana, Green Day…).
Luuk Snijder was the singer and before his performance he was really nervous
and the only thing he wanted to do was to run away. It was very funny to see his
scared face!! The other members of the band were, on the contrary, really calm
and relaxed, while drinking beer and controlling the sound .
Thanks to these four (even handsome) guys, the mythical “Stupid toads”,
everybody danced and jumped all night long, even Mrs. Zanarelli and Mrs. Betti
threw themselves into dancing. What a show!!!!
Unfortunately at 12.30 a.m. the party was over. It was very late: we had to go to
school the following day.
So we took our bikes and we went home tired but really happy!
In our mind we relived every single magic moment of that wonderful night that had
been organized to say goodbye to us, a touching moment even if sad because it
was time to leave Gorinchem very soon.
We left Holland with the beautiful awareness that we would meet again in Italy.
Erica Lupi, Laura Garbugli, Erica Pienotti (IVA)