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

November 4, 2015

De Zeven Heuvelen Hotel: The Hills Were Made When They Dug The Pool?

Filed under: Accomodation,Nijmegen,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At the beginning of January this year, I had another operation on my foot. This was done by one of Europe’s top foot surgeons in the city of Nijmegen on the other side of the Netherlands.

Looking for a hotel that would accommodate our family of four for the first night, and Himself and the kids for the nights I would be in hospital, plus our two friends and their toddler son was not at first easy.

On the list of essential requirements was an indoor swimming pool because I knew that if that wish was accomplished then all three kids would be happy and endlessly entertained, and as it turned out the pool turned out to be the highlight of their trip.

My daughter is training to be a lifeguard and my son, whilst not quite up to his sister’s standard still is a very confident swimmer, having passed the rigorous Dutch swimming diploma system. Both kids adore our friends son, so their toddler gained two personal assistants / playmates / entertainer in the pool and they played for literally hours on end in the water. This was even more perfect because our friend was expecting her second baby and said toddler still wasn’t always sleeping through the night so tired parents could keep a weather eye on proceedings without having to actually provide all of the entertainment.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Only one hotel in the area had both an indoor swimming pool and two family rooms available for the dates we needed them, which is how we ended up at the “De Zeven Heuvelen Hotel” (The Seven Hills Hotel) in Groesbeek, about fifteen kilometers out of  Nijmegen.

Being New Zealand raised, I have to admit that I struggled to find one, let alone seven hills in the area, but I’ll assume that they are (or were) here somewhere and that I’m clearly more in need of new lenses than I thought I was.

The family room that we had was decently large, with a kitchenette so that Himself could cook pasta for the kids after the first night, and a second room of the main one that contained two single beds. The room that I booked for our friends was smaller (as requested) but I was horrified when I saw it in person (there were no photos on line) that it had a spiral staircase to access the mezzanine sleeping area upstairs.

The hotel had put a stair-gate at the bottom of the stairs but omitted to add one to the top, so our friends had be very careful when their toddler was upstairs, Luckily he was terrified of the stairs and kept well away.

I was also worried about my pregnant friend, spiral staircases not being easy to negotiate if she needed the lavatory downstairs during the night, but on the up-side they spent almost all of the “inside” time in our far larger room, and shared meals there too so it ended up not being an issue.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend this room for a family with very young children though, space is tight and those stairs are frightening. It’s a shame that there were no photographs showing this on the hotel website. Luckily the swimming pool was such a hit that little time was spent in the room,  and our (bigger) room was perfect for both families needs.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our friends family room…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Little Mr)

(photograph © Little Mr)

(photograph © Little Mr)

(photograph © Little Mr)

(photograph © Little Mr)

(photograph © Little Mr)

(photograph © Little Mr)

(photograph © Little Mr)

Hotel & Bungalowpark de Zeven Heuvelen
Cranenburgsestraat 23b
6561 AM Groesbeek
Telefoon: 024 – 397 58 41
info@dezevenheuvelen.nl

De Zeven Heuvelen Hotel

 

 

 

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