MASTER BUILDER: Tom Hartsuyker in his shed where he creates models of Holland's iconic buildings.
MASTER BUILDER: Tom Hartsuyker in his shed where he creates models of Holland's iconic buildings. Trevor Veale

It's a big job making a small world

IN A plain, unmarked shed around the back of the Clog Barn is where all the magic happens, along with some major construction on a small scale.

With tools in hand and wearing a worn leather apron, Tom Hartsuyker works seven days re-creating some of The Netherlands most iconic buildings.

In the past year he has added 10 new buildings to the village and is putting the finishing touches on a replica of a church from Amsterdam that was located in that city's infamous red light district as a form of disguise.

"Everything you see in the village is hand-made and are models of actual buildings in Holland," Tom said.

 

 

 

Tom views some of his handiwork at the Dutch village in the Clog Barn, Coffs Harbour.
Tom views some of his handiwork at the Dutch village in the Clog Barn, Coffs Harbour. Trevor Veale

More than 35 years ago Tom, a former builder, came to the Coffs Coast with his family to retire. His definition of retirement was to buy a caravan park, build a Dutch village and create a tourist attraction. And at 85, he show no signs of slowing down.

"I just love it, love working with my hands. My wonderful wife Rita was my first love and building was my second."

As he walks through the village he lovingly created Tom points out the buildings are true replicas of the homeland he left when he was just 17, even down to the tiny windows and roof tiles.

"I use a lot of perspex and recycled old signs because they're weatherproof," he said.

"Even so, there is always plenty of maintenance work that keeps me busy."

 

 

 

 

All model buildings at the Clog Barn are faithful replicas created by Tom Hartsuyker.
All model buildings at the Clog Barn are faithful replicas created by Tom Hartsuyker. Trevor Veale

The village is free to visit and features canals, windmills, farmhouses, churches, city squares and buildings showcasing the different architecture of The Netherlands.

Visitors with a keen interest in the craftsmanship of the village may be lucky and get a peek inside the shed.

"I get quite a few of the older guys wanting to see how it's all made and they come back and have a chat."



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