Monday, March 03, 2014

Arnhem - Operation Market Garden - A Bridge Too Far

Update 2014. Operation Market Garden, that large and ill-fated military effort, see, is commemorated each year in The Netherlands.  A recent mass email I received notes a burial ground some 6 miles from Maastricht, where 8,301 American soldiers are buried who died in Operation Market Garden.  The email says that each of the dead, including Canadian and British, are "adopted" by a family in the Netherlands who tend the grave, and keep alive the memory of the sacrifice.  Some display a portrait of "their" soldier.  On Liberation Day, services conclude with a concert, with the final musical selection always the same:  "Il Silenzio" commissioned by the Dutch, created by Italian composer Nino Rossi, and performed first in 1965.  It is built upon the original version of taps. 

The Silence... as performed in 2013 by thirteen-year old Melissa Venema, with Andre Rieu and the Royal Orchestra of the Netherlands. See and hear at


A Bridge Too Far, Bridge at Arnhem, Operation Market Garden, the Netherlands (John Frost Bridge)

A fine time to see this bridge, the primary Bridge Too Far, at Arnhem, is at sunset.  This is the bridge featured in the Allied operation, Market Garden, that failed at such cost, an airborne disaster.  See the 1977 film at and video clips at :// and at ://

There is a good restaurant here on the river, giving a contemplative view of the bridge.

The bridge is named The John Frost Bridge in honor of the commanding officer who held the bridge for such a long time in September 1944, waiting for the reinforcements that never came. See a memorial history at

There is a memorial with pictures, outdoor, nearby. Also see the Airborne Museum in nearby residential Oosterbeek, in the hotel that was a center of the fighting in that area. Another history:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Danger of Tulips - Istanbul origins; and whither the natural habitat?

Keukenhof Gardens, tulips at markets everywhere, but there is a dark side.  See Istanbul's tulip festival. The tulip originated in the Ottoman Empire, and Turkey continues its long tradition with some 14,000,000 in bloom at its festival time -- all at a high cost to other interests, see Tulipmania.  The issue is of competing values:  open space and natural habitats, or industrial behemoths of uniformity. 

Green spaces, or development -- not limited to the bulbs.  Bridges, parks, fall to the conformists' plantings. Is that so?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Amsterdam area. Long Track Speed Skating. Waterland-North Ice Tour. Speed Skate It.

Marathons of the Netherlands
Strap on the speed skates and watch for the officially approved skating tours that crop up north of Amsterdam (a 16 mile route, the Waterland-North)  in 2012).  On the day of the Waterland-North, there were 32 other officially approved tours, including near The Hague.  There is a Royal Dutch Skater's Union, the KNSB.  Apparently a single such tour near The Hague drew some 70,000 skaters, see article by Matt Steinglass, Why the Dutch Love to Get Their Skates On, in the Financial Times at

Along the way, find food stands, blade sharpeners, through the polders, and get your card stamped at the end for proof of Feat.
Its other, perhaps more important than fitness and fun purpose:  civil coordination to get the volunteers out to lay mats for walking around too-low bridges with skates on, sweep the ice, set signs, and cooperate with the Icemaster on safety.
Many years, the ice remains too fragile. Consider the 125-mile "Elfstedentocht" -- last Skate? 1997. See it at

Peterson's Magazine 1865 also featured the sport in sporting mode in the US.

Devotees in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada also sweep its Rideau Canal for a skateway for some 6 miles, see
Inline skaters also have their tours, see international destinations as

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Haarlem - Grote Kerk, Dog Whippers, Ship Saws, and the Great Church of St. Bavo

St. Bavokerk
St. Bavo

Enter St. Bavokeri through the side Oude Groenmarkt, the old vegetable market, up at the altar area.  Churches are not just for the devout: churches are history.  Fine which churches are named for which saints, what did that saint do to deserve sainthood; and research for quirks in architecture found in those older church settings.

1.  Saint Bavo.  589-654 AD, Ghent, mostly, Belgium. 

Rubens painted him.  See  Bavo converted to Christianity and gave his goods to the poor.  Is that enough to be a saint? The criteria are surprisingly mild. This 6th-7th Centuries period is before the Roman Catholic branch severance from the Orthodox Christian branch, in about 1054 or so. Why is this St. Bavo in Haarlem.

There are references to St. Bavo, saving people from the "Kennemers." See  The Kennemers were apparently a local tribe, but their appearance seems to come after St. Bavo.   The "Damiate" also refers to courage of Haarlem forebears, but so far we do not see Bavo. 

2.  Other cultural interest

In Haarlem's Great Church of Saint Bavo, there is a dog-whipper's chapel, behind an iron grill.  That chapel is for those who kept prayers safe by removing troublesome dogs from the church, thus saith the parish program at point VII.

There is the Brewers' Chapel, at point XiII. It belonged to the Brewers' Guild, fine, but its records on the walls there include two black marks.  These measure the height of the Giant Daniel Cajanus, whose height was 2.64 meters, or 8'8".  Daniel Cajanus lived 1703-1749 . He died in Haarlem 

Then it measures the Dwarf Simon Jane Paap at 84 cm, or 33".  He lived 1791-1829, and was buried in Zandvoort. 

So why is he here in Haarlem?

Of additional interest is the ships' models hanging from the rafters, opposite the Brewers' Chapel. There was once a mariners' altar there.
  • Three-master 12th Century frigate (what?)
  • Armed "pinace" also from the 12th Century (we have to go back!)
  • Shallow-draft armed yacht, 16th Century
History buffs:  As to the 12th Century ships, there apparently is a new weapon commemorated here, that we might have missed:

" *** an iron saw on the prow ... as written by John Evelyn in 1641: 'In memory of that invention of saws under their keeles with which they cutt the chayne before the Port of  Darniate', in order to conquer the city in 1219 under the lead of William I , earl of Holland. "

Haarlem.  Keep vetting.  Saint Bavo, why are you in Haarlem.  Bavo?  Bavo?  Are you there?  Why are you a saint,  Bavo?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Zandvoort - Long flight - head for the beach

Zandvoort sounded like sand fort so we went.

Yes, it was.  We saw no fort but it is a beach area and a perfect first stop after long flight and getting the car. Take off the shoes, enjoy.

First things noticed on the way: don't bother spending money and time mowing along the roads if grass and flowers do not interfere with visibility. Yards, roadsides, natural and woolly. And raised pedestrian walkways, and peninsulas of trees and whatnot going right into the road so you have to creep, even one lane, through towns. Very smart. Just design the road so noone can go faster than you want them to. Compliance by design.

There is a nudist beach down the way, but we didn't know that at the time. The unseen nudist beach! Anyway, too early in the year, jackets weather, rain coming, say we, sour grapes ha. See ://  Go between pole 68 and pole 71, no dogs allowed, so we hear.

Go look up your own Images.