Local Heart, Global Soul

February 28, 2017

This Air Craft Is 15 Stories High And Is Stratospheric!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Before we leave the Air Force and War Museum in Texel,  I spy what I first assume to be a life boat.

A closer look determines it to be the “Dutch Viking“, which is the cabin of  a transatlantic high altitude balloon that set a record for the transatlantic crossing on 02 September 1986.

Captain Henk Brink,  his wife Evelien, and Major Willem Hageman, an F-16 squadron commander in the Royal Dutch Air Force comprised the three person crew.

They departed from St. John’s in Newfoundland, Canada just before midnight on Saturday and touched down in a Dutch wheat field 51 hours and 14 minutes later.

In the Youtube video (Dutch language only, linked at the bottom of this post) Henk explained their near disastrous ending  to the journey:  sudden swirling winds made the balloon tilt to one side, at quite an angle to the gondola,  this in turn meant that the heat from the burners went up the outside of the balloon and they lost a lot of height very quickly. Since the balloon at that moment was close to crossing over the town of Velsen close to Amsterdam, they had to make a decision about how best to avert a crash landing in the town centre.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

They carried bags of lead balls as ballast, the usual method of using these was to toss out handfuls of these balls at a time, but since their situation at that point was dire and time was of the essence, the decision was taken to dump 19 bags in their entirety.

Two of these bags crashed through a roof of a steel plant and another through the roof of a fish factory, amazingly no one was hurt but damage caused was considerable.

The drama was not over however: on landing the gondola of the balloon flipped end over end, and whilst Willem and Evelien were securely strapped in, Henk wasn’t and he was thrown out into the field, injuring his hips.

After being airlifted to hospital and checks done, it was pronounced that nothing serious was broken, he just had to rest for a while since his hips were badly bruised.

The flight broke the record of 53 hours for a transatlantic crossing, marked the first time that Europeans had made the crossing and Evelien became the first woman to make the crossing in a balloon.

In essence this text is my translation of the Dutch commentary in the video, even if you don’t speak any Dutch, it is well worth going to time stamp 04.36 in the video where the view from the edge of space, the amazing curvature of the earth is a wonder to behold.
They also talk about needing to descend to 10 000 metres before getting into busy European airspace, it required a special maneuver where they needed to all wear their parachutes for safety reasons.

I’m guessing that that was a nerve wracking part of the trip! Four F14 fighter jet colleagues greeted them as they crossed the border.
I read in the information here that the balloon itself was 15 stories high and the gondola /lifeboat is not your average balloon wicker basket size either, so I can see why they were concerned about crashing into the town of Velsen. It just goes to show that air craft come in all shapes and sizes, even 15 stories high!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 27, 2017

I Discover My Inner Militaria Geek…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The aircraft hall in Texel’s Air Force and War Museum is a delight to anyone interested in history,  aircraft, militaria, local history and wartime events.

Not at first thinking that interest in these topics would apply to me,  I find that in fact most of them do: I am least interested in the types of aircraft, but the more and more I learn about the rest the more fascinated I become.

I love the detail in some things too,  the embroidered insignia of uniforms, design of medals and the like, and now living in Europe, have a new appreciation for the events that my parents, grand and great grandparents lived though.

These events shaped them as people, and as a nation, and explains in part the difference in mentality between them and others of their generation, say in New Zealand who were less personally touched by war.

It gives me new eyes on the events of today and the plight of others in the world who find their countries in turmoil. I am for accepting genuine people in need from war torn countries, and for making wealth, education and work opportunity in the world more evenly distributed so that migration for economic reasons might no longer be seen to be a necessity.

Realistically, I can not depose leaders or solve civil unrest, but if we all work together a little, then I can hope for a better world for my children. One of the things I learned whilst living in the Netherlands is that KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) is the oldest airline in the world, and Schipol airport the oldest airport. There is a model of Schipol in its origional from here… I love the detail of the little planes on the runway, a reminder of how vastly air travel is today. There is so much to see here, let’s keep looking…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 26, 2017

Suddenly We Enter A Large Aircraft Hall…

Visiting the Air Force and War Museum in Texel, Himself and I suddenly find ourselves in a large hall full of all sorts of aircraft. It is so large and so full of items that I know that I will have no hope to walk around it all. Instead of trying, I start by talking a photographs as far around me as possible. Here is a photographic over view of what I saw…

(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)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 25, 2017

The History Of Wartime…

Filed under: ART,PHOTOGRAPHY,TEXEL,Texel: Air Force And War Museum,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing yesterday’s blog post I am looking at a poster entitled, “Nederland in oorlogstijd”  (the Netherlands in wartime).

The place we are in is the Air Force and War Museum in Texel, one of the Wadden Islands in the north of the Netherlands.

As I described in my previous post, the detail in this poster made me turn back for another look, each of the smaller “pictures” within the frame joined up to make a bigger story that illustrated life in the Netherlands under German occupation.

I love the style of the illustrations, the strength of the images when combined with the poignant words, and how typical of the time the artwork of the poster is now, when looked at from  modern day perspective.

The smaller pictures surround a larger one, a map of the Netherlands that shows invasion and battle movements, bomber plane and the like.

As with yesterday’s post, translated caption text that were included with the smaller pictures are included above each one.

Although not shown in the same order as on the poster, I have posted these in the most logical and natural sequence in light of their accompanying texts.

The story continues:
And when the enemy was seen, people disappeared fast away

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Everything that served the enemy was taken away in the dark

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

How many hours were people counting, here patience was severely tested

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the direst of situations families escaped famine like this

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Beams and board of friend and neighbour were used to make a warming fire

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In response to a fearful sigh, food was thrown out of the sky

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Covered in sun and happiness the liberator was welcomed with enormous happiness

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 24, 2017

Delight To Detail Fanatic And Historian Alike…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes you go past something in a museum, and then something about the item attracts your eye and you go back for a closer look.

Such was the case when Himself and I visited Texel’s Air Force and War Museum.

The item in question was a poster, that according to the title, ” Nederland in oorlogstijd”  (the Netherlands in wartime) and depicts the events in the nation between 1940 and 1945.

The  smaller pictures around the central map are miniature artworks in themselves and taken as a whole, they tell a story about the war.

There are (just) too many photographs for one post, so I will split them into two.

The other half will be posted tomorrow. I have translated the small text of the “story” into English and put them into as logical order as possible (they form a square around the central map and were not numbered.) These are beautiful, and a delight to the detail fanatic and historian alike…
The small pictures…

And where-ever you went the Gestapo was present…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The respect for another persons home was not honoured by the enemies gun

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And brothers who spoke our language were doomed with a star

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The work offered by the enemy was accompanied by whip and bullets

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Many anguished sighs were heard near the barbed wire of  Vught  (Kiwi’s note: Vought was a Dutch concentration camp)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The heart of the nation was angry and sad because of the murder of Rotterdam

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The sacred word and prayer supported moral resistance

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

People gathered with determination the arms for the freedom struggle

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Silent as a quiet rumour, messages were sent through the air

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The press, working away from the enemy always offered the free printed word

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

To be continued…

February 23, 2017

Taking Practical Over Pretty… Even If It’s Not So Posh.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The next display that caught my eye at the Air Force and War Museum in Texel is also one that I didn’t expect to be present in this kind of museum.

A closer look revealed it’s aviation connection, because in fact this porcelain is a tea set used by KLM in either it’s Business or First Class service.

There are not just porcelain cups, saucers and plates, but also milk jugs, napkin rings,  salt and pepper set, a small tray for other condiments.

Together with KLM engraved glassware, dinner at thirty thousand feet is indeed a far posher affair at the front of the aircraft than it is with the crowded masses and their plastic implements at the back.

Himself and I buy one lottery ticket per month… if we ever win big I am certain that a nice trip to New Zealand in Business Class would be a wonderful treat.

Until then we will go with the famous quote made by Victor Kiam, who was also famous for the catchphrase, “I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company“. The company in question was of course Remmington, and when Kiam took over they were in trouble  so he  told employees that costs would have to be cut to save jobs and keep the company from folding.

Executives who has been used to flying Business were required to change to Economy, an action that Victor Kiam led by example with the famous quote: ” After all, the back end of the plane arrives pretty much the same time as the front“. The plates may be plastic in economy and given the choice I would love to be wined and dined with a service such as this, but when reality sets in I will take practical over pretty any day.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 22, 2017

KLM Is At “Home” In The Sky, … Bottoms Up!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Leaving the informational movie theatre in Texel’s Air Force and War Museum, Himself and I make our way into a large hall.

The date was Good Friday 2016 and we were taking a little break away from the rest of the family, who were off with friends and other kids.

Just inside the entrance to the hall is a very distinctive display cabinet, filled with of all things, Delft’s blue porcelain houses.

Naturally I am curious as to why on earth this is in a museum dedicated to aircraft and war memorabilia, so went to read the information board next to it. From this I learned that these are:

KLM Delft Blue Houses. The houses, numbered 1 to 94, are filled with Bols Dutch gin and are handed out at the end of intercontinental flights to passenger flying Business Class. House “94” is a copy of the “Oudheidkamer” in Den Burg.

This was the first copy and it was donated on 7 October 2013 to the Mayor of Texel, Francine Giskes.

During this ceremony, all of the houses exhibited here were promised by Mrs Hartman on behalf of KLM, to former President of the board of this Museum, Theo Whitte.”

Unfortunately house number “94” is not labelled and nor are any of the others, so it’s difficult to tell which one it is, especially since the shelves are not symmetrically spaced in the lower half of the cabinet.

By just counting from left to right (as logically as possible) house “94” could be the first house on the very bottom row but I am not certain if the houses are even in numerical order, it is possible that since this house is especially designated that it is either the house at the very top or at top right of the display.

Both are too high up to see if there are any labels, and sadly I am not familiar with the historic buildings of Den Burg to recognise it.

These little bottles are beautiful, I would love to own this collection (certainly not for the gin, but for the bottles) and it’s an unexpected place to find them since Delft is more in my back yard than Texel’s. I have no clue if this is a tradition that KLM still follow, if so, there are some very lucky owners of these lovely little bottles around the world.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 21, 2017

Seats To The Upright Position Please, The Film Is about To Commence…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s not unusual for museums, exhibition centres and historic sites to show short films to visitors.

Sometime these films depict an introduction, or show series of events, but they all need to seat the public whilst the film is being shown.

Himself and I have sat in many of  these  little “theatres”, from inside a rough little hut, seated on a chunk of sawn off log, seeing how maple syrup is made in Vermont and Maine, to sophisticated theatres in large commercial productions, we have sat in all manner of theatres and seats.

The one in the Air Force and War museum on the Dutch island of Texel during the Easter weekend of 2016 however, is one we will not easily forget.

In keeping with the nature of the museum, all of the seats in the theatre who’s films guide us through some of the regions history, are aircraft seats!

They were very comfortable, and for me a welcome change to rest my leg for a short while.  I have to confess that I could easily have gotten comfortable enough in here to have had a little nap after looking at the film, but the rest of the museum beckons.

Not only are the seats aircraft seats, but the theatre is also shaped like the inside of an aircraft. Himself didn’t say anything at the time, but mentioned on the way home that this was one little movie theatre that he really liked and won’t forget in a hurry, I hadn’t mentioned it when we were in there either but I had exactly the same thought!

February 20, 2017

A Battery That Depicts A Nation At War…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My next post from Texel’s Air Force and War museum is all about the remains and former parts of the defensive batteries that were built around the region during World War II.

There are two main information boards that go with a series of quite amazing models, made by a “B. van Leersum” they show all of the defenses as they would have been in 1940.

If I am totally honest I am curious about the models but less knowledgeable about the technical details that go with them, so I have written up the information that went with the display, and will leave my dear readers to hopefully make better sense of it than I did.

The North Battery
This was called by the Germans the “Marine Battery Eierland”, “Nordbatterie” or “Batterie Texl-Nord”   and was located near Marker Pole No. 28. 

The battery was operational as early as 1940 and was used to fire on the channel between Texel and Vlieland. The weaponry consisted of three 15cm cannon, originating from the former Dutch coast battery of Den Hoorn.

On the outer dunes, three open firing positions were built for it. Later on in the war this battery formed part of the Atlantic Wall.  Four more advanced 10.5 cm cannon and concrete bunkers were also installed together with a command post bunker with aiming equipment.

In the dunes behind these bunkers there were a number of smaller bunkers, among others for ammunition storage and to house soldiers etc.
After the war the bunkers suffered from coastal erosion and some even fell onto the beach. They were a risk for coastal sea defenses, so they were demolished,  and therefore why there is not much left today.
This model shows the situation of 1944 with the three foundations of the 15 cm weapons, the four cannon bunkers with the 10.5cm cannon and the command post bunkers.’

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

” Coast Battery Den Hoorn
This Dutch battery of  3 x 15L35  was constructed 1938-39 in the dunes near the village of Den Hoorn but was part of the “position of Den Helder” which formed a defense around Den Helder to protect the strategically important navy post and the Texel channel.

This battery consisted of the following constructions: Command Post, three firing positions which were also used as ammunition storage, an ammunition lift, a waiting room for soldiers, staff accommodation, three measuring posts and a workroom.
This battery was made for indirect firing so that the cannon did not have to be positioned on the outer dunes. From the command post and the three measuring posts, the distance and the direction of the target were defined.

This information was passed on to the workroom  where with the help of a type of mechanical computer, the data was transformed into aiming information for the soldiers manning the cannon.

German occupiers repositioned the cannon as early as 1940 to the north battery, the command bunker was still used for observation. The command post on the Loodsmansduin, the  three firing positions in the nature reserve de Bollenkamer  and the southern measuring post near  beach post number 8 in the inner dunes are still present.

This model shows the parts of the battery that are mentioned.”

The Second World War was very far away from my family in New Zealand, and yet uncomfortably close for my Dutch family members. Looking at things like this helps me to try and make sense of the things that they went through, what occupation of their country was like and how the experiences of those times shaped and changed a nation.  It’s a sobering time in Dutch history, a catastrophic time in world history … where the battery didn’t just apply to these structures being built, but also to the battery that the country was taking.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 19, 2017

Georgian Knights Of Old And Tales Of Chivalry…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of the next exhibits that we see in the Air Force and War Museum on Texel is an unexpected but beautiful set of Georgian artifacts.

The information next to it tells us:
“Beginning May 1999 the head of the Georgian Orthodox church,  Ilja II, visited Texel.

On 3rd May he paid a visit to the museum to view the exhibit devoted to the “Georgian uprising”.

As a gift he brought with him an oil painting and a special book. The painting  shows the “old Tbilisi”, the capital of Georgia, and the book describes part of the Georgian church history.

The gold plaque in the center of the exhibition depicts a knight in a panther skin, and another information board tells us that this is part of one of Georgia’s Epic Stories :

“In the epic story Rustaveli talks about matters such as love, chivalry, courage and friendship.

Although the epic story is written in Georian, the heroes come from other countries: Arabia, India and China.

The knight in the Panther Skin tells the story of the arabian  nobelman Avtandil who is sent by his lover and also the ruler of arabia Tinatin, to find the mysterious knight in the panther skin.

After searching for three years Avtandil finds the knight who happens to be the indian prince Tariel and they become friends.

Tariel tells Avtandil that his lover Nestan-Daredjan is kept prisoner by devils / evil spirits in a fort. There is a passionate quest to find Daredjan and to free her.

At the end of the story there is a double wedding: the Royal wedding of Tariel and Nestan-Darejan, and that of Avtandil and Queen Tinatin.”

This is an unexpected find about the Georgian country and culture and tells us something interesting and fun that I would otherwise have had very little chance of coming across since Georgia is not in the mainstream media very much. The detail fanatic in me is also delighted by the gold-work in the picture… and added to this, who doesn’t enjoy a good story?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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