Local Heart, Global Soul

April 13, 2017

A Painting By de Goya, Fort Kijkduin, And A Sobering Connection…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Fort Kuijkduin has seen many changes since it’s formative days as a single story series of complex tunnels and bunkers.

Over time more layers were added, the fortifications increased and the size of the site changed as war, and the defences needed against enemies changed.

The complex tunnel system (or at least some of them) are open to the public, but accessible only by staircases, so out of reach for me and any other less able-bodied visitors.

Although I missed this section of the complex there is still plenty more to enjoy on the upper levels and if you really wanted to stop and look at everything in absolute detail, then one visit here would not be enough.

Models, diagrams, historical artifacts and more abound.

In the first hall that I enter, a mannequin figure in one of the alcove cells immediately gives me the impression of a famous painting by Goya and indeed I find out that this is no coincidence. I studied this painting in my Art History days of youth.

With my study notes long gone I found this excellent background:

In 1807 Napoleon offered an alliance with Charles IV of Spain in order to conquor Portugal. Napoleon’s troops poured into Spain, supposedly just passing through. However the alliance was a trick: The French were taking over and Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother, was now the new King of Spain.

On May 02 1808 hundreds of Spaniards rebelled. Unsuccessful, these freedom fighters were rounded up and massacred by the French. Their blood literally ran through the streets of Madrid. Goya, although having French sympathies in the past, was appalled by these events and commemorated the uprising in two paintings, the most famous of which being “Third of May 1808”.
To discover why this exhibit is here I read from an information board:

On 02 May 1808 the Spanish people stood up against the French but their attempt was unsuccessful. The painter Francisco de Goya made a moving painting about the mass execution that followed.

Many (Spaniards) were made prisoner of war and were forced to work on all sorts of large projects throughout the French empire. One of the persons depicted being executed in this painting is a symbol for all of the prisoners of war who were transported here and forced to dig out Fort Kijkduin.” I had no clue that this connection existed. It’s a sobering thought, not just for the Spanish who lost their lives but also for those and all the other prisoners who were forced into hard labour both at home and abroad.

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Fort Kijkduin, situation 1812, lighthouse removed 1822…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Fort Kijkduin, situation 1990…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Francisco de Goya / Third of May 1808 / Painting

Den Helder: Fort Kijkduin / The Netherlands

April 12, 2017

English: We Shall Fight On The Beaches!… Opps, But Not Ours!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Arriving in the entrance hall of Fort Kijkduin, located close to Den Helder in the Netherlands, visitor attention is immediately caught by a large exhibit.

It depicts the landing battle between the English and (Napoleon’s)French on the beaches here. An information board translates as:

The early morning landing from 27 August 1799.

The English ships produce such heavy fire that the Bataafse army could not prevent the enemy from coming ashore.

Even worse, both of the rifle battalions (green uniforms) had to retreat to the hamlet of Groote Keeten.

Additionally, the second Battalion of the 5th Half Brigade (Blue and white uniforms) was forced to retreat to the Koegras.

The losses from the Bataafse side: approximately 1400 men.
The losses from the English side:approximately 500 men.

As a result of this landing Napoleon ordered the buildings of fortifications in Den Helder, including this fort.”

The little model figures and boats depict the battle, but are safely under a protective cover, away from inquisitive little fingers.This is how, as soon as we get in the door, we find the reason that this fort was built…  and since starting at the beginning is  very good idea, so in we go!


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Den Helder: Fort Kijkduin / The Netherlands

April 11, 2017

If This Is The Posh One, Then Where Did The Squaddies Squat?

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

The strong, cold, gusting wind that greeted us at Fort Kijkduin during the 2016 Easter weekend a gives me a special sympathy for this next subject.

Whilst everybody else scurried hurriedly to the entrance to get out of the wind, Moi, Kiwidutch Plod, was relegated to the rear, slowly making my way with the crutches, taking both rest and photographic stops.

On the other hand though, the biggest advantage of my slowness is that I get to see the most… which is how I managed to add another quirky loo to my photo collection of beautiful, quirky and novel lavatories.

This one has a sign outside: “Officiers Latrine” so clearly historically this was one of the best loos in the Fort.

I find myself wondering that if this was the luxury version offered to the Officers,  then what was made available to the poor lesser ranks must have been pretty grim. Access to the Officers Lavatory was via the inner courtyard, exposed to all weathers, which here in North Holland could be brutal in winter. With no visible ventilation it probably stank too. Toilet facilities in centuries past always seemed to be rather rudimentary, but a soldiers life was already a tough one so adding a freezing seat for the basic necessities of life seems cruel indeed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Den Helder: Fort Kijkduin / The Netherlands

April 10, 2017

Almost Literally Getting Blown Through The Front Door…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Family Kiwidutch and friends are visiting Fort Kijkduin on the outskirts of Den Helder in the Netherlands.

The day presents us with high gusting winds and dark stormy skies, but the wind has a plus side: it is blowing the bad weather away.

The sun is trying to break through the dark clouds, succeeding more and more as the day goes on, so we have been exceptionally lucky: especially considering that we packed the car on the nearby island of Texel this morning in drizzling rain.

Entering the Fort we find a series of courtyards, the first one is flanked my two small buildings, one of which looks more like a house than the other.

Then comes a bridge that connects this courtyard area with the larger one within the inner fort walls.

During our visit I never made it around the lower level courtyard (a third one, that is encircles the main Fort complex. Whilst I am taking photographs from the bridge, I happen to see a door open below me, a family come out, clearly with the intention of walking around the lower level. It only takes a minute in the cold gusting wind for them to decide to turn around and go back inside. I laugh, but can’t blame them, even the grass on top of the high wall above them is taking a battering.

Some of my photographs are a little fuzzy too: even a DSLR camera could not always focus as I tried to stay on my feet, and that’s even using every wall, rail and sheltered nook I could find to stay steady. The silver lining to this blustery weather however, is that the rest of my family, our friends, and every other set of visitors I see at that moment scurry past me as quickly as they can in search of the shelter inside, therefore I have no-one walking in front of my lens as I  take photographs.

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

The sign “Officiers ingang” translates: “Officers entrance”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Even the grass is getting a battering…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

The family literally come outside for thirty seconds before deciding that inside is a better deal today…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

Den Helder: Fort Kijkduin / The Netherlands (Website: Dutch language only)

April 9, 2017

An Error, And A Dramatic Sight…

Filed under: DEN HELDER,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Yesterday I replied to a comment from a few days ago, regarding the square lighthouse that we saw next to the sea dike near Fort Kijkduin.

My response was that I thought this lighthouse was called “Vuurtoren lange Jaap” (Lighthouse tall Jaap), with “Jaap” being a common first name for men in the Netherlands.

Now I think I have made an error… the lighthouse named (or nicknamed) “lange Jaap” must surely be this one, one that we saw coming and passed earlier and a check on Google Earth confirmed this.

The earlier text that I wrote for this post reads: Family Kiwidutch have seen a few different lighthouses during our Easter 2016 trip to Texel, but none of the others have been as tall or eye catching as this one, situated close to Fort Kijkduin on the outskirts of Den Helder.

The entrance to the fort serves as a natural frame for this lighthouse and on a clear day would look dramatic enough, on this day with the dark clouds and stormy winds it’s an imposing sight indeed.

Kiwi added this note on 10 April 2017: I have since found that this amazing lighthouse is one of the tallest “traditional style” lighthouses in the world! It even has it’s own Wikipedia entry (link provided at the bottom of this post) and is a “Rijksmonument” (Listed building /Heritage building of National importance). I also learned it’s height:  22 metres (72 feet). According to The Lighthouse Directory it is the tallest non-skeletal cast iron lighthouse in the world. That may be the case if the height is as specified in that source (63.5 metres (208 ft)). However, if the height is 55.5 metres (182 ft). As stated by other sources it is the second tallest, Cikoneng Light being 58 m (190 ft).[

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia:Lighthouse Lange Jaap (“Long James”) a.k.a. Kijkduin Light/Den Helder Light/The Netherlands.

April 7, 2017

More Than Just A Little Breath Of Fresh Air…

Filed under: DEN HELDER,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

The 2016 Easter Monday morning that we left Texel and headed into Den Helder, the winds were stormy and the seas were rough. Looking through the windows of the “Storm aan Zee” café where we and our friends had lunch, we see various people enjoying a windy walk on the dike and on the beach. “Walk” could be used fairly loosely in this instance since the wind did a good part of determining the direction they took.  A family of two small children have fun in the wind, getting more than just a “little breath of fresh air”.  As we leave the café I take photographs, the last one in particular gives a good clue as to why we are here…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 6, 2017

In A Round World, This One Is Beautifully Square…

Filed under: DEN HELDER,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

Almost next to cafe “Storm aan Zee” in Den Helder,  is an small but imposing lighthouse. It’s clearly not centuries old, and for me is unusual because it is square rather than round in shape. There are also some interesting looking houses close by…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 5, 2017

A Seat On The “Throne”, These Ones Come In Pairs!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post, Family Kiwidutch and friends are having lunch at the “Storm aan Zee” (Storm by the sea) café in Den Helder.

It was the Easter weekend of 2016 and we’ve just left Texel.

The nautical surroundings are wonderful for this location, and we smiled when we saw small sheepskin rugs on some of the seats as we came in.

What made us all giggle though, were several seats by the door that we missed when we first came in because we were too busy being blown in by the wind.

There were customers there earlier and now that one of them has gone, these seats have become more visible: they are actual toilet seats!

No, not functional ones of course! but two toilets mounted on to the wall, with solid tops in place of the usual seats. A small table in between the loos gives a place for drinks and food. It’s brilliantly quirky and it’s great to see people do a double-take when they see them. Yet another excellent addition to my ” Lavatorial, Interesting Loo’s” category of this blog.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Bezet” means “occupied”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 3, 2017

Den Helder, A Pretty Town Even On A Dismal Day…

The town of Den Helder is the port town where the ferry connection for the island of Texel is located. The day might be grey and overcast, but the rain is holding off as we make our way to the opposite side of town…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 10, 2017

A Short Trip, Great Views But The Commentary Inside Drives Me Crazy…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch needed to take a break from extended family obligations in 2016, get some fresh air and recharge their batteries.

We took the opportunity of the Easter long weekend to visit one of the Dutch Wadden islands: the largest of which is Texel.

On board the ferry for the short trip over, I am puzzled, amazed and horrified to hear that the person welcoming visitors on board in the English language commentary over the intercom pronouncing the name of the island incorrectly.

Dutch native speakers always pronounce the word “Texel”  as “Tess ell” but on the loudspeaker system on the boat, it’s being pronounced as “tex ell” !

It is a complete and utter mystery to me why the islanders (who in recent years have taken over and now run the ferry service themselves) perpetuate the error,  especially because the word “Texel”  is one of the most corrected words in non-native speakers learning the Dutch language in the Netherlands. It’s very windy, so I take a look around both of the front sides of the ferry as we leave harbour. It’s interesting to now look back on the photographs and know that our friends were soon to be at the end of the queue that I see forming on the other side of the ticket check-in area. By their account though, they were a long way back around the corner, so their vehicle isn’t by coincidence in my photographs.

The distance to Texel isn’t far, we can see the buildings of the far harbour in the distance. I take my time walking back to the car deck and only minutes after I get there the bell goes that summons passengers back to their vehicles. Soon we are on our way up the ramp and making the transition to dry land. Texel awaits.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

« Previous PageNext Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.