Amsterdam, Gustav Mahler Square, september 2016
August 2016, between Lemmer and Urk
A 25 kilometers long dike to former island Urk
In august 2016 I cycled from Joure to Urk. This route passes a 25 kilometers long dike between Lemmer and the former Zuiderzee island Urk.
It is a unique dike because of its history, length and 25 kilometers uninterrupted long view from the dike to the IJsselmeer. No motorcyclist are allowed on the dike.
The dike was constructed in 1939 from the mainland Lemmer to the island Urk, just as the Afsluitdijk project was changing the salt water Zuiderzee surrounding Urk to the less saline IJsselmeer. A couple of years later, in 1942, the seabed areas surrounding Urk were reclaimed from the sea and became the Noordoostpolder.
The view from the dike is towards the IJsselmeer. But there are some ‘fly-overs’ in the dike, of which one can see the wideness of the Noordoostpolder.
History was felt
It was my first time passing this dike and I was impressed by its length, the views from the dike to the IJsselmeer, the rest, the rows of windmills in land and see, the many sheep and birds and the views over the reclaimed land on the backside of the dike. I felt history also.
History was even more felt, when came across a stone setting worker on my way up to Urk. He took my attention because of his ongoing and calm hand work in combination with these large basalt stones. It made me think of the construction of the Afsluitdijk in the thirties of the last century. I told him so.
One of 27 stone setting workers in the Netherlands left
During our combined lunch the nice man told me the construction and maintenance dike work nowadays is indeed the same as the work in those days. ‘I am one of them left of the 27 stone setting workers left in the Netherlands. I am glad too. It is work which cannot be done with machine work. We do get assistance from dike workers, but the real stone setting work has to be done by hand. People has tried with machines, but it did not work out. To be honest, I am glad with this, it means work to me, work I like. The work can be hard, but most important is gaining skills on it.
The man explained also he and his colleague work from Monday till Tuesday on this project. On Friday, they travel home to their families in the province Zeeland. On Monday they return to their host families in Lemmer.
Thanks to Harry Neels, Yrseke, also for sending me a couple of days later a copy of his course book from 1992 for education to stone setting worker.
The front of the book shows the picture of the sculpture called ‘steenzetter’ (stone setting worker), made by artist Ineke van Dijk for the Afsluitdijk and unveiled in 1982 by former queen Beatrix.
Nowadays, people can still be trained to become a stone setting worker.
In the soccer season of 1997 – 1998 I visited a couple of time the trainings sessions of the first team of Feyenoord 1 in Rotterdam, one of the major soccer clubs in the Netherlands.
Main goal of my photo project was to follow these supporters, who came day in day out to the trainings field, at that time located near the ‘Kuip’, the impressive stadium from 1937 of Feyenoord. A historic place in many ways.
At those days plans were already there for movement of the trainings location of the first team to Varkenoord and a rebuild of the stadium.
Supporters of all ages there were, and support I got from them. Unfortunately I had to stop because of health hig ups and my movement to the northern part of the Netherlands. The few film rolls I shot until then were not all developed well enough. Not a good start… But and however unfinished, it delivered me good memories, nice contacts, and some small photo memories to me and them to a small piece of time in the great history of Feyenoord.
From 2009 the first team indeed moved for their trainings sessions to the sport complex Varkenoord near the Kuip. The discussion for a rebuild of the stadium or further refurbishment is hot at the moment.
In special and grateful remembrance of Rinus Rotgers, who I met a several times at that time. We wrote already for a short time at that time and round my movement to Friesland.
It means a lot to me that I discovered only now (29 August 2014) now this broadcast of Dutch ‘Man Bijt Hond’ from 2008 about this at that time 96 years old Feyenoord supporter. I saw this picture I made of him in the background of his home. At time of the broadcast, Rinus Rotgers was 96 of age. I saw he passed away at the day of his 99th anniversary in 2010.
‘Oer-supporter Rinus Rotgers overleden’ : link to the Feyenoord website with a link to the broadcast.
The Afsluitdijk. A 32km long dike connecting North-Holland and Friesland. Built in 1930 to close what is now the IJsselmeer from being flooded by the North Sea. The dike was built as part of a plan to reclaim land in the IJsselmeer; this land became the province of Flevoland.
The past ten years I travelled several times between Den Helder (North Holland) and my home town (in Friesland) and passed with my car the Afsluitdijk.
But I think paused on it only a few times in all those years.
So, my new Ricoh GR iii occasion camera was a good reason to do that at the end of June 2013. I decided to capture my impressions on all the motorway stops on it with the setting ‘cross processing’ on my Ricoh. Normally I do not like preset settings on cameras that much. But I think the presets – adjustments can be made manually – on this Ricoh are different. It was fun to work with it.
In the gallery it is. Passing the Afsluitdijk during my ride from West to East, from North Holland to Friesland. It was nice to find myself unexpectedly (at least earlier that morning) between a mix of travellers from the Netherlands and abroad, motorist, cyclist and even walkers at the stops nearby the motorway. Unexpectedly maybe more was my visit at camping club ‘Het Wad’ at the former work island Breezanddijk. The campsite, not open for regular travellers, is situated right nearby the motorway, a car stop, a work area and the side branch of the IJssel Lake. Surprised by the location of the campsite and the state of their homes, I got in touch with some occupants of the homes who told me about the camping club. Thanks for that. Depending on the weather people live there in the weekends and throughout the week from April until October. As one of the occupants told me: ‘we need less’.
I have decided not to edit the pictures in the gallery. It is as it was.
Thanks to my Ricoh, the Afsluitdijk, the water, and the occupants of camping club ‘Het Wad’.
gallery update follows