Nederland: steden en dorpen
Nederland - Hoog Soeren
Hoog Soeren: quiet village during ( ↑ ) and before ( ↓ ) the corona crisis. Even before the beginning of our era, Germanic tribes had settlements in the area where the village of Hoog Soeren is situated. The early 20th century excavated urns from burial mounds are reminders of this. Hoog Soeren is one of the oldest settlements in the Veluwe and originated on high dry parts of the Veluwe. The proximity of some fens made an existence here possible. Early 9th century the village was mentioned as Suornom or Suornum. It had several other names before the village became in the mid 19th century its current name. This may be derived from the Old Saxon “sôr”, which means “arid” or “dry”. Not strange as Hoog Soeren is located on a height of 85 meters, a high and dry part of the Veluwe, the largest nature area in the Netherlands. Hoog Soeren is surrounded by the woods of the Kroondomein Het Loo (Het Loo Royal Estate) and is a protected village area. It has only three paved roads with a name, all other houses along dirt roads have as address the name of the village with a number. Until the end of the 19th century, Hoog Soeren was an agricultural community, which developed into a settlement for forest workers, foresters and gamekeepers. In the 1930’s many local people had to sell their farm and land. From that period on, a village with civilian houses gradually came into being and became a popular settlement for wealthy people from the western part of the country. A number of farms were transformed into residential houses, but many new houses were built as well. In the first half of the 19th century the area also became a tourist attraction - with some hotels and guesthouses - and an attractive place to live and stay for wealthy people. Nowadays Hoog Soeren has about 250 permanent inhabitants, living in 100 houses. It has no school either a shop, but a lovely little village church, which was built in 1904.
Nederland - Bronkhorst
Bronkhorst is one of the smallest cities in the Netherlands with less than 200 inhabitants. It became already 'city rights' in the year of 1482. Although it calls itself the smallest city of the country it isn't. Nowadays Bronkhorst a small charming village with cobble stoned streets, some art galleries and shops, a Dickens Museum, two restaurants, a hotel, a church and an old Jewish cemetery. . Picture: 'Onderstraat', one of the 'main' streets in Bronkhorst.
Nederland - Appingedam, hanging kitchens
Although almost nobody in the Netherlands would call Appingedam a city, it became its city rights already in the year of 1327. For sure the city is much older, but its date of origin is not known exactly. Together with the capital Groningen and Winschoten it is one of the three cities in the province of Groningen and located in the northern part of the Netherlands. The name ‘Appingedam’ derived from two hamlets, ‘Appinge’ and ‘Damme’, which formed the later city; although others refer to the river ‘Apt’, in which a ‘dam’ was built. Appingedam’s is quite famous for its hanging kitchens ('hangende keukens') and do attract many visitors. During the Golden Age the city had warehouses along the Damsterdiep. In the 17th century these warehouses were converted into private houses and due to a lack of space white painted kitchens were built over the water of the Damsterdiep. Also very practical, because the housewives could collect the water for cooking directly from the canal and after the washing up they threw the water out of the kitchen window back into the canal. Many of these houses along the Solwerderstraat are still used as private residences. By far the best views of the ‘hanging kitchens’ are from the Vrouwenbrug (Women’s Bridge) over the Damsterdiep.
Nederland - Groningen, WinterWelVaart
We visited the city of Groningen in a weekend before Christmas and came across an atmospheric event WinterWelVaart (WinterWealth). Along the Hoge and Lage der A - cobblestoned quays with beautiful century old houses and (former) warehouses - about twenty of mainly historic (charter) ships were moored. On these ships several different cultural events were featured, such as intimate concerts, special children’s activities and art exhibitions. On the quays were a Christmas Market and an art route. WinterWelVaart can be seen as a tribute to the special and historic relationship between Groningen and the shipping trade.
Nederland - Oudeschans
In the middle of the 16th century the first inhabitants are mentioned on the site of today's Oudeschans. In those days a zijl (lock opening to the sea) was built in the river Westerwoldse Aa, on a strategic position close to a bay of the Wadden Sea. In the year of 1593 - during the Eighty Years’ War, or Dutch War of Independence (1566–1648) - Count Willem Lodewijk van Nassau-Dillenburg built a fortress around the lock, where he moored his 150 ships and had 2.200 troops disembark. The fortress played an important role in the battle of the Dutch troops against the Spanish authority. The fortification was initially named Bellingwolderschans (Sconce of Bellingwolde). It was renamed Oudeschans (Old Sconce), after the fortification of Nieuweschans was built in 1628. As a result of reclamation and the relocation of the river, the fortress became less important in the middle of the 17th century. In the 18th century the sconce was neglected and disbanded in 1814. At the end of the 20th century, the remains of the sconce were made more clearly recognizable, reinforcing the character of the old fortress of Oudeschans. Nowadays Oudeschans is a quiet village with just more than hundred inhabitants. In 1991 the walls, canal, bastions, and several other buildings became state protected monuments. The Garrison Church was built in 1626, near the harbour, nowadays a lawn with trees (main image). In 1772 the church was moved and a presbytery was built against it on the north side. A small museum in the village reminds of the military past.
Nederland - Oudeschans, Doodenbastion
Oudeschans is the smallest fortress-village of the Netherlands. The fortress itself was built in 1593 ad the fortification was used for military purposes until 1814. The sconce changed into a common rural village and much of the military past disappeared. Until 1972, when a reconstruction of the fortress started. As a result the walls, moats and bastion are visible again. Almost twenty years later the fortification became a state protected village area. Oudeschans had and has four so called bastions: a pentagonal masonry or earthen extension of a defensive wall or embankment. On one of the bastions lies a cemetery, called the Doodenbastion (“Death Bastion”). It is situated on a bastion because the fortress itself was located in a marshy area, which is not very suitable for a cemetery. The cemetery has been put into use shortly after the construction of the fortress. The cemetery has very old tombstones and tombs from our time.
Nederland - Zoutkamp
Zoutkamp is a village with a long history. The name "Soltcampum" was first used in 1418. Most probably because there was salt mined in this area: "sol" means salt and "campum" means fenced field. In the Eighty Years' War (1568 – 1648), Zoutkamp was a defensive fortification and after that it was mainly a bustling fishing village situated on the Lauwerszee. Once Zoutkamp was the 'gateway' to the city of Groningen, as the passage via the Lauwerszee was for ships the only route from sea to the city. Until 1960 Zoutkamp had a large fishing port, but after the Lauwerszee was closed off the village lost this important position. The village still has the appearance of an ancient fishing village, thanks to the monumental locks and still widely used old inner harbour. There are still fishing boats moored next to a striking row of brightly coloured buildings with shops, an eel smokehouse and a café/restaurant.
Nederland - Breda, Begijnhof
The Begijnhof (or officially Catharinabegijnhof Breda ) was first mentioned in 1267, but must have existed some time before that. The beguinage was moved to its current location in the centre of Breda around the year of 1535. In the 19th century, the court was expanded with a second courtyard and the single-nave St Catherine church. The walled complex of the beguinage consists of 29 houses around an herb garden with 300 different kinds of spices and lawn, which was used as bleachfield by the beguines. The last living beguine in the Netherlands - Cornelia Catherina Frijters - died in 1990. The Begijnhof has a small museum, where one gets insight into the living of the beguines. Nowadays the houses around the courtyard can be rented, but still only by single women.
Nederland - Bergen op Zoom
Bergen op Zoom was granted city status probably in 1212. In 1287 the city and its surroundings became a lordship as it was separated from the lordship of Breda. The lordship was elevated to a margraviate in 1559. Several noble families ruled Bergen op Zoom in succession until 1795. The city was built on a place where two types of soil meet: sandy soil and marine clay. The sandy soil pushed against the marine clay, accumulating and forming hills over several centuries. Those ‘hills’ are called Brabantse Wal , literally meaning ‘ramparts of Brabant’; Bergen in Dutch means mountains or hills and Zoom refers to the border of these ramparts. Bergen op Zoom became a trading city and merchants from all over Europe came to the city to sell their goods. The beautiful historical buildings on the Grote Markt (Market Square) reflect the wealth of the city. The city hall (right) is a late Gothic building, dating back to the year of 1398; several fires put the building to ashes; the current building with its late-Gothic façade, dates from 1611. In front of the town hall stands a statue of ‘Anton van Duinkerken’, a local writer, poet and professor (PiP2). Hotel De Draak (left) is the oldest hotel in the Netherlands and is at least dating back to 1397, when a fire almost burnt down the entire city, but the inn was one of the few buildings which survived. City archives turned into ashes and smoke during this city fire, but experts say that Hotel de Draak was at least 100 years old when the city fire emerged.