Local Heart, Global Soul

March 9, 2017

We Actually Saw The Easter Bunny… In Multiples!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

In my yesterday’s post I talked about loving quirky things.

The seats modeled with legs in the shapes of lighthouses caught not just our attention, but that of many other too, if the sight of cameras and phones coming out to capture images was anything to go by.

That though, was nothing to prepare us for the next quirky sight I saw.

The kids were in the back, busy with their phones, Himself and our other friends had gone over to the second vehicle to discuss where we wanted to eat together, and what we wanted to do next.

Not surprisingly my sudden exclamation of: ” Quick , Look… I have just seen the Easter Bunny!!!”. Heads jerked up with a sort of  eye rolling” yeah mam, that’s a lame joke… get a life” look , but both heads turned when they realised that I was pointing to something.

What I had seen was a group of men  coming out of the nearby beach restaurant wearing white bunny rabbit onesies and getting into their cars.
Annoyingly I was slow in spotting them so was still pointing them out to the kids  with one hand and retrieving the camera with the other when the first cars drove off, Luckily a few had parked further away so I got a few photographs of them battling the wind as they walked past.The kids in the back were now squeezing themselves against the part of the car that offered a better view, laughing and muttering, “what in the world…?”  as they tried to tally up how many men were taking part in this festive gig.

Numbers ranged between six and twelve, and a small difference of opinion ensued about double counting and missed sightings so we settled on eight as a tentative end number that pleased everyone. We have no clue as to the occasion for this attire: a birthday? anniversary? retirement?something related to Easter? …I thought maybe a  pre-wedding Stag do, since it seemed to be only the men dressed in costume. The ladies accompanying them had hair bands with white rabbit ears on them, it wasn’t clear if they were carrying them as accessories to the men’s costumes or if they were their own.(Of course we never found out, but it’s excellent to see that these Gents dared to get dressed up for their special event, and they bought huge grin to our faces as they did so.

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

March 8, 2017

Make It Quirky And They WILL Notice!

Regular readers know all about my love of quirky thing, the little details all around us and things that make you smile. In this instance I was delighted to find that it was not only me who noticed that the legs of the seats by Texel’s Eierland lighthouse have been made in the same form as the lighthouse it stands in front of.

Kiwi Daughter, usually disparaging about my taking photographs of inanimate objects of the architectural detail kind, thought that this detail was really lovely and whipped out her phone to take a photograph herself! I also heard other people mention it as they passed by, so here is a message to architects and designers everywhere: make it quirky and they will notice!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia / Eierland Lighthouse / Texel, The Netherlands.

March 7, 2017

Beautiful, Serene, Peaceful, But Also Bleak And Lonely…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,TEXEL,Texel: Eierland Lighthouse,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Texel is an excellent place to come for walking.

Even on a very windy day like the 2016 Easter weekend when we where there, the car park near the lighthouse was full and there were plenty of holidaymakers on the beach.

Wheelchairs and crutches not being friends with sand,  I can not join them, so contented myself with photographs of the views around the lighthouse.

In the sunshine it is beautiful,  peaceful, and serene place to walk but I can well imagine that this must be a pretty bleak and lonely place to be on a dark, wintery, stormy night.

(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)

March 6, 2017

Casualties Of War, Casualties Of Our Feathered Friends And More…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During our 2016 visit to Texel’s Eierland lighthouse, I learned that towers and nature do not always mix.

A plaque on the wall reads: “The lighthouse offered safety to seamen, but it was very dangerous for birds.

Thousands of migrating birds used to smash against the lighthouse.

They were attracted by the light, particularly during cloudy, moonless nights. Every morning the lighthouse keeper walked around the building with a wheelbarrow, picking up dead birds.

Later on, a fence was placed around the lamp and the building itself was also illuminated.

Since then, the number of victims has dropped considerably. However the lighthouse continues to attract birds. As a result of this several local owls have learned to come here to hunt them.”

Hmmm, ok, It seems that one bird’s loss is another bird’s gain. Hopefully one day we will learn of a method that  deters birds from coming to the tower at all.
It is not only birds who have met their end here, another plaque tells me: “Hundreds of wrecks have sunk in the shallow waters around Eyerland. Most of them have been documented.

The most important wrecks are shown on this map. The ships that sunk could rarely be saved: the same held true for their crew.

If nothing else, a light beacon would decrease the danger during dark stormy nights. More than enough reason to build the lighthouse on Texel.”
Of course the vast majority of these wrecks occurred in the centuries before radar, sonar and modern technology. There was generally little hope for crews because standard practice was that sailors never learned to swim,  superstitiously believing that learning to do so would prolong their suffering when death by drowning became their fate.

Added to this, heavy clothes, severe weather and extreme cold usually meant that they didn’t stand a chance. This lighthouse has seen many scenes of carnage, be that of beasts of the natural world, soldiers in combat or sailors at sea. It’s possible to get  ticket and walk to the top: we are warned that there are 118 steps and they are very steep. Clearly I am walking that lot in my dreams. I wait below whilst the others go up and enjoy the views. They tell me that they can see a huge amount of the island, but that the wind up there almost has them off their feet. Sheltering in the small space by the door at ground level is clearly a good idea.

(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)

Wikipedia /Eierland Lighthouse / Texel, The Netherlands.

March 5, 2017

A Lighthouse: Beacon Of Remembrance To The Georgian Uprising…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,TEXEL,Texel: Eierland Lighthouse,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Standing at the base of Texel’s Eierland lighthouse in 2016, Himself gave me a  brief history lesson.

He had a few memory lapses in his account so Wikipedia filled in the gaps later once we were back at our accommodation.

As usual the link to the Wiki page is at the end of this post.  This dark chapter in Texel’s history can be  somewhat summarised:

“The Georgian Uprising on Texel.
Between 5 April and 20 May 1945, an insurrection occurred by the 882nd Infantry Battalion Königin Tamara (Queen Tamar or Tamara) of the Georgian Legion of the German Army.

Stationed on German occupied  Texel the battalion was made up of 800 Georgians and 400 Germans, with mainly German officers.
It was one of the very last battles of the European theatre. The heavily fortified island was part of the German Atlantic Wall defense system.

However, after the Allied landings in Normandy it was relegated to relative insignificance. The men of the battalion were Red Army soldiers from the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic captured on the Eastern front.
They had been given a choice:  they could choose  to remain in prisoner of war camps, with associated abuse, starvation, and possibly death, or serve the Germans and be allowed a degree of freedom. This battalion was formed from men who chose the latter option.

The battalion formed at Kruszynain, occupied Poland in June 1943 and was used initially to fight partisans. In August 1943 it was ordered to the West to relieve troops of the Indische Freiwilligen-Legion Regiment 950.  In February 1945 the battalion was posted to Subsection Texel.

Preparations started in late March for the transfer of several companies of the Georgian battalion to the Dutch mainland to oppose Allied advances, and it was this plan that triggered the rebellion.

Shortly after midnight on the night of 5–6 April 1945, under the leadership of Shalva Loladze, the Georgians rose up and gained control of nearly the entire island. Approximately four hundred German soldiers were killed in the initial uprising, almost all while sleeping in the quarters they shared with Georgians, who used knives and bayonets. Others were shot and killed while standing guard or walking the roads of the island in groups or individually that night and the following day.

Members of the Dutch resistance participated and assisted the Georgians. However, the rebellion hinged on an expected Allied landing—which did not occur. The Georgians further failed to secure the naval batteries on the southern and northern coasts of the island; the crews of these artillery installations were at the moment the only Germans still alive on the island. A counterattack was ordered and the intact artillery batteries on the island began firing at sites where rebels were suspected to be hiding.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Approximately 2,000 riflemen of the 163rd Marine-Schützenregiment were deployed from the Dutch mainland. Over the next five weeks they re-took the island; fighting was particularly heavy at Eierland and around the lighthouse. The German troops then combed the length of the island for any remaining Georgian soldiers, while the Dutch inhabitants sought to hide them.

The captured mutineers were ordered to dig their own graves, remove their German uniforms, and were executed.
During the rebellion, 565 Georgians, at least 812 Germans, and 120 residents of Texel became casualties.
The destruction was enormous; in retribution for hiding Georgians, dozens of farms went up in flames.

The bloodshed lasted beyond the German capitulation in the Netherlands on 5 May 1945 and even beyond Germany’s general surrender on 8 May 1945.
The fighting continued until Canadian troops arrived 20 May 1945 to enforce the German surrender, and disarmed the remaining German troops.

Soviet SMERSH forces arrived on Texel and took charge of 228 Georgians still alive.  After arrival at a collection camp in the Soviet Union, 26 Georgians were singled out and banished together with their families,and nearly all others disappeared into Stalin’s Gulags.

Those still alive in the mid-1950s were rehabilitated and allowed to return home.
The Georgians lie buried in a ceremonial cemetery at the Hogeberg near Oudeschild. The survivors may have feared facing the same fate as most Soviet collaborators: forced repatriation, under the terms of the Yalta Conference, often followed by incarceration, banishment and, for officers, execution.

The German dead were initially buried in a part of the general cemetery in Den Burg. In 1949 they found their final resting place at Ysselsteyn German war cemetery, Limburg province, the Netherlands. The cemetery is administered by the German War Graves Commission.
A permanent exhibition dedicated to these events can be found at the Air Force and War Museum next to Texel International Airport.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 4, 2017

It Rose To Fame For Something Darker Than It’s Light…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,TEXEL,Texel: Eierland Lighthouse,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our next excursion of our 2016 Easter trip, is not too far away from our accommodation on the northern end of Texel: it’s the Eierland lighthouse.

From Wikipedia (link at the bottom of this post) I leaned something about the history of the lighthouse.

“Named for the former island of Eierland an designed by Quirinus Harder, construction began in 1863.

Built on top of a 20 metre high sand dune three kilometres from the sea, it’s kerosene lamp was lit in 1864.

Due to erosion in the intervening time, it now stands less than half a kilometre from the sea.

The current (electrical) lamp is a 2000 watt Philips fluorescent lamp, producing 2.85 million candela, the light is focused with a number of Fresnel lenses.

Originally red, in time the lighthouse faded to pink. In 1977 the tower was covered with a red plastic based coating. In 1982 the lighthouse gained “Rijksmonument” (National monument / Historic Listing) status.

In April 1945 the lighthouse suffered heavy damage. It was repaired by constructing a new wall around it and a new upper-level construction. In this process the lighthouse lost two of its original nine storeys.

During the 1990s the lighthouse, including the top and the lamp, was open to visitors. Closed for a while for renovation, it reopened in 2009 and is now only accessible up to the sixth floor where the viewing platform is located.”

This might be the history of the construction of the tower, it’s dimentions and physical appearance. It’s function may be to provide light, but for many people something rather darker entirely springs to mind when the name of this lighthouse is mentioned…

(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)

Wikipedia / Eierland Lighthouse / Texel, The Netherlands.

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