From Hilversum to Eelde
Monday April 27, 2020 was Koningsdag (King's day), the birthday of King Willem-Alexander and a national holiday in the Netherlands. The vrijmarkt on King's day is a nationwide flea market, at which many people sell their used goods. Koningsdag is the one day of the year that the Dutch government permits sales on the street without a permit and without the payment of VAT. This year an alternative stay-at-home program was set-up due to the coronavirus outbreak.
As the weather was very good, we decided to make a sightseeing flying trip from Hilversum over Friesland to Groningen. It was permitted to fly with household members, and Veleda joined for the trip. The Ameland and Drachten aerodromes were closed, but Groningen was open, so we could make a stop there.
After departure from Hilversum we flew to the north-east, west of Flevoland and the Oostvaardersplassen. The Oostvaardersplassen is supposed to be a small nature reserve between Lelystad and Almere, although many regard it as a cruel experiment where grazers are kept behind a fence and die there by starvation.
Run-up checks before departure
North of the Oostvaardersplassen we passed Lelystad. At the Markermeer lake is the Batavialand museum, with an indoor and outdoor location. Outside there is a shipyard, with the replica ship Batavia at the pier.
The original Batavia was built in 1628 in Amsterdam and was commissioned by the Dutch East India Company. The ship was an East Indiaman, specially designed to handle the long voyage to and from the East Indies. However, on 4 June 1629, the ship perished off the West Australian coast on its maiden voyage. The Batavia ship replica was built from 1985 to 1995, using the same material and methods utilized in the early 17th century, and is now a museum ship in Lelystad.
After leaving Flevoland we crossed the Noordoostpolder (North-East polder). Work on the construction of the dikes encircling the Noordoostpolder started in 1936 and was finished by the end of 1940. Over the polder we passed the former island Schokland.
Schokland was a peninsula that by the 15th century had become an island. Occupied and then abandoned as the sea encroached, it had to be evacuated in 1859. But following the draining of the Zuiderzee, it has, since the 1940s, formed part of the land reclaimed from the sea. Schokland has vestiges of human habitation going back to prehistoric times.
Batavia at Lelystad
Schokland was an island in the former Zuiderzee which elevated only little above the water. Severe storms and land erosion during the 18th and 19th centuries made life at Schokland increasingly unbearable. In 1859, King Willem III had the island cleared. However, some people still remained there: To operate the lighthouse, to maintain the coast-defence structures and to manage the harbour activities.
When the Noordoostpolder (North-East polder) was drained in 1942, Schokland became 'an island on dry land'. Since 1947 the Schokland museum exists on one of the former terps of the island. The museum actually consists of an assembly of buildings, grouped around a historical little church built in 1834. In 1995 Unesco declared the former island of Schokland as World Heritage.
That because this former island stands as a symbol for the fight of the Dutch against the water. After the drainage, another water-related problem came up: Exsiccation. To counter-steer subsidence of the land and also to preserve archaeological treasures, in 2003 the groundwater level at the eastern part of the island was raised.
North of the Noordoostpolder we entered the province Friesland, and we passed the next point of interest, the Woudagemaal in Lemmer.
The Wouda Pumping Station at Lemmer in the province of Friesland opened in 1920. It is the largest steam-pumping station ever built and is still in operation. It represents the high point of the contribution made by Netherlands engineers and architects in protecting their people and land against the natural forces of water.
Sloten is the smallest of Friesland's 11 cities. In earlier times, the city was of strategic importance due to its location on a major waterway from Sneek to the Zuiderzee. This is no longer the case, but Sloten is always in demand with water sports enthusiasts and day trippers. The city centre has many beautiful old houses.
Ir D.F.Woudagemaal, Lemmer
The Ir D.F. Woudagemaal was built in 1920 to pump away the excess water in Friesland, and was opened by Queen Wilhelmina in 1920. Until that time, large parts of Friesland were submerged during the winter. The Woudagemaal, that can pump away over 4000 cubic meters of water per minute, or 6 million cubic meters per day, changed that. the Steam Pumping Station is the largest steam pumping station still operational anywhere in the world.
Sneek is sometimes referred to as the water sport capital of Friesland. The 17th century Waterpoort (Watergate) is the most famous building in Sneek. It is the last vestige of the old fortress Sneek. During the 16th century, the military function of the towngates disappeared.
Bolsward is located on three terps – artificial mounds created to provide safe ground during storm surges, high tides and flooding – the oldest of which dates from ancient times. The Broere Church is Bolsward's oldest building. It was built in the 13th century as the monastery church of the Franciscan monks the Minderbroeders. This national monument was abandoned and abolished in 1580, and then ruined in a fire in 1980, but has now reopened to visitors.
Waterpoort in Sneek
Broerekerk in Bolsward
Franeker has a historic city centre with a lot of monuments, such as the old city hall, the Martinikerk, the Martenahuis and the Eise Eisinga Planetarium. Frisian wool comber and amateur astronomer Eise Eisinga built a machinal planetarium into the timber roof of the living room ceiling of his historic canal house. It is the oldest still working planetarium in the world. This accurately moving model of the solar system was built between 1774 and 1781.
Leeuwarden is the provincial capital of Friesland. The Grote of Jacobijnerkerk (Great, or Jacobin Church) is the oldest building in the city. The bastions and a moat were built in the period 1481-1494. The Saint Boniface church was built between 1882 and 1884. The architect was Pierre Cuypers, who also designed the Amsterdam Central Station, the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum, the Castle De Haar, the Oudenbosch Basilica and numerous other churches.
Franeker, City hall, Eisinga Planetarium
Saint Boniface church in Leeuwarden
Generations of people in the Netherlands learned at school
754; Boniface murdered near Dokkum.
This saint had a huge impact on European Christianity and is firmly tied to the Frisian city.
His spirit still roams the streets of Friesland's oldest city thanks to the statue, chapel, church and healing source.
The fortifications of Dokkum are well preserved.
Dokkum is a popular shopping city in Friesland.
Like many other settlements in Friesland, the village of Wierum developed around an elevated church that was built on top of an artificial hill. The church in question was completed around 1200 and originally stood in the centre of Wierum, but eventually became part of its shoreline after several floods swept away the northern side of the village. The church ranks among the oldest in the Netherlands and is protected as a national monument due to its vast age and cultural significance.
Maria Church in Wierum
The Lauwersmeer (Lauwers lake) lies on the border of the provinces of Groningen and Friesland. After the disastrous storm flood of 1953 in Zeeland, the decision to close off the Lauwerszee began to take shape. The lake was formed in 1969, when the dike between the bay called Lauwers Sea and the Wadden Sea was closed. New flora and fauna appeared as the Lauwerszee gradually became a freshwater lake. In 2003 the Lauwersmeer was desginated as a national park.
Marnehuizen is a military training village in the military training area Marnewaard. It is the largest urban military training area in Europe. The village has several streets with houses and town buildings. The army can practice realistic combat training with courses in urban warfare.
Lauwersmeer locks, Lauwersoog harbour
Army practice town Marnehuizen
The village of Kleine Huisjes (Small Houses) originated in the early 19th century. The houses were inhabited by agricultural workers who mainly worked in the (salt marsh) polders that were then created. The name is taken from the many small houses in which the workers lived who worked on the surrounding farms and the construction of embankments.
Niehove is an ancient village built on an artificial dwelling hill. The artificial dwelling mounds are called Wierden in the province of Groningen. The church is in the village centre and on top of the artificial dwelling hill. The village houses are located in two circles around the church, with their backs turned to the fields. The church in the centre is a Roman-Gothic church from the 13th century. Until the 16th century, this was the only stone building in the village.
Middag-Humsterland is a National Landscape in the province of Groningen, consisting of the regions Middag and Humsterland. Middag and Humsterland are former medieval islands. Settling here was previously possible on mounds. Between the islands lie silted mudflats that can still be found in the curved shapes of the ditches and plots. Last year, on a rainy day, we visited Saaksum, Ezinge and Niehove in this region.
From Niehove we flew to Groningen's airport Eelde, which actually lies in the province of Drenthe. After landing on runway 23, we were directed to the apron in front of the airport office. There we filed the flight plan back to Hilversum (a flightplan is mandatory in the Netherlands for flying to or from a controlled airport). With the restaurant closed, we received coffee from the only person at the airport office.
Approaching Eelde airport
From Eelde to Hilversum
After drinking our coffee outside in front of the airport office, we returned to the plane for our flight back to Hilversum. We requested start-up from Eelde Delivery, and then switched to the Tower frequency for taxi. When ready for departure at holding point runway 23, we requested a straight out in the direction of Veenhuizen, which was approved. We were cleared for take-off runway 23 and to climb to 1500 ft. South of Veenhuizen we left the CTR, and changed frequency to Dutch Mil Info.
René at Eelde airport
Veleda at the quiet GA office
The ammunition depot at Veenhuizen is the largest ammunition depot in the Netherlands. More than 200 bunkers are located here, making it one of the largest warehouses for ammunition in Europe. The complex in Veenhuizen is a remnant of the Cold War. The battle between East and West was to be fought on the North German Plain, it was thought at the time. Veenhuizen was an excellent location to supply the troops.
In the early 19th century, the Society of Benevolence founded several free Colonies where the poor were given opportunities to build a better life. The unfree Colony Veenhuizen in Drenthe was founded in 1822. In Veenhuizen, orphans, vagrants, and beggars were housed, put to work, and given education. In 1859, the unfree Colonies were taken over by the Dutch government. The Department of Justice used Veenhuizen as a penal colony. Today, one complex houses the National Prison Museum. Other prison buildings that were added around 1900 are still in use today.
Ammunition storage veenhuizen
Veenhuizen prison and prison museum
In 1815, when the new independent United Kingdom of the Netherlands was created, the Netherlands suffered extreme poverty after many centuries of prosperity. There was crippling national debt, and the trade and shipping industry the region once was famous for had virtually disappeared. The population underwent rapid growth, but agricultural production did not maintain the same pace. Large sections of the population soon became impoverished.
In 1818, the Society of Benevolence was founded to tackle the degrading circumstances and a large-scale programme of domestic colonisation was launched.
Between 1818 and 1825, a series of seven colonies were built, in which families, the disabled, orphans,
fallen women, retired military personnel, beggars and vagrants were housed.
There were two basic types; there was the
free colony, which poor people entered of their own accord, while paupers were obliged to reside in the
unfree colony, which bore the characteristics of a compulsory colony.
Creators of the initiative – enlightened high officials with General Johannes van den Bosch at the helm – developed a visionary solution that combined education, employment and land clearing, an approach in which relief for the poor and the prevention of crime more or less overlapped. Large areas of uncultivated heathland were systematically cleared to make way for the construction of agricultural colonies. By providing work for people, educating and guiding them, and if necessary by punishing them, they could escape from the often structural poverty. The additional agricultural production could relieve food shortages and the pressure on public finances could also be alleviated. It was a comprehensive system of benevolence and correction, improvement and control on a national scale.
Each colony was conceived as a self-sufficient entity that offered progressive social services for its day; which in addition to land-use planning also translated into a characteristic building heritage.
The Aekingerzand are plains of drifting sand in the National Park Drents-Friese Wold.
The origin of the hamlet Boschoord is related to the history of the Society of Benevolence. It was one of the seven colonies of this organization. In Boschoord is Hoeve Boschoord, a care center for people with intellectual disabilities.
Aekingerzand or Kale Duinen
Frederiksoord was the first cultivated free colony of the Society of Benevolence. The Society of Benevolence still has its offices in Frederiksoord. Furthermore, there is a guesthouse, a school of horticulture, and colony's cottages, in which the early colonists lived. The cultivated landscape with cottages and small farmsteads continues in the adjacent free colony of Wilhelminaoord. Schools, an early 19th-century home for the elderly, a colony's church and a large area of production forest (Boschoord) can be found here.
Steenwijk was originally an old fortified city. The canals and ramparts date from the time of the Eighty Years' War (Dutch War of Independence), when Steenwijk was a strategic place in the battle between the Seventeen Provinces and Spain.
Giethoorn's characteristic features are the many canals, typical high bridges and thatched farmhouses. Giethoorn is an extremely popular tourist destination, particularly with visitors from Asia. A large part of its built-up area is only accessible by footpath or boat.
South of Giethoorn across the Beulaker Wijde and Belter Wijde lakes lies Belt-Schutsloot. Until 1959, the village was only accessible via the water. The village is tucked away in the stunning landscape between lakes, canals, waterways and reedlands.
The heyday of the city of Vollenhove was in the first half of the 15th century. Vollenhove was important at the time because of sturgeon fishing and was a subsidiary of the Hanseatic League. The construction of the Afsluitdijk between 1927 and 1932 put an end to the Zuiderzee fishery. Early in the 1940s, Vollenhove became important as a working port for the reclamation of the Noordoostpolder.
Kampens's historic centre contains numerous medieval monuments, including towers, gates and houses. One of the town's most distinctive features is its beautiful bridge that connects IJsselmuiden and Kampen over the IJssel. The middle section of the bridge can be lifted to allow large boats to pass.
After Kampen we flew over Flevoland back to Hilversum. On the way we passed Harderwijk, Spakenburg and Eemnes, but we already touched these places in other trip reports this month. After landing at Hilversum we cleaned the plane, filled-in the airplane's log, and then we went home.
Approaching Hilversum airfield