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  • Writer's pictureLiz Charpleix


Like all good accountants, I keep my professional education up to date. I need to have the latest tax, accounting and other professional knowledge under my belt at all times.

Most of this is derived through courses and seminars of a day or half-day in Hobart or perhaps as far away as Melbourne. In 2011 I started studying for a PhD in water accounting at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW. This year my study program took me to Delft, in the Netherlands, at UNESCO-IHE Institute of Water Management.

What I’m studying bears little resemblance to accounting for BAS and tax, but for me, the understanding of what value water has in the world environment and how we can better manage it is absolutely fascinating.

There is no prettier or more appropriately watery place than Delft in which to study. Canals and tree-lined cobbled streets and alleyways thread the ancient city, once a major Dutch East India Company port…

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Last remaining city gate, Delft – Oostport.

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Dutch East India Co. - former Armamentarium, Delft.

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Oostport, Delft.

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Canal Wijnhaven.

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Old Church

(built in 1240 around a 1050 church; the nearby New Church was built in 1381)...

Every minute of my stay in Delft was a delight. The building in which I studied, which once hosted Napoleon for a visit, was 10 minutes walk from my 15th century accommodation (with internet and 21st century plumbing), formerly a house for old people:

Stairwell Papenstraat.jpg

While steeped in history, Delft is nevertheless a thoroughly modern city of 96,000 inhabitants. Bikes are a favoured form of transport, used in combination with ultra-modern trains, trams, buses…

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Delft Railway Station Bike Park – one of many rows.

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... and child seats attached to the front, rear or in-between.

The excellent public transport system enabled me to visit a few other towns during my short (6-week) visit. Rotterdam (art), Schiedam (jenever, a gin-like liquor), Utrecht (below-ground canals and warehouses), Hoek van Holland (water engineering works), Den Haag (The Hague, more art), Amsterdam (sleaze), Marken (time stopped still), Zaanse Schans (everything a tourist could possibly want to see in Holland, all gathered in one place), Volendam (seaside jollity of the loud music and fake Dutch costume kind).

Six weeks went way too fast.

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