From Hilversum to Oostwold
Friday 31 May 2019, the day after Ascension Day, was a quiet day at work. Most people had taken the day off, and Laurence and René also took the afternoon off for a little trip from Hilversum to the north-east of the Netherlands. We departed from runway 25, and after leaving the circuit, we headed from the north of Hilversum to the north-east.
The old centre of the Hanseatic town of Elburg is no larger than 250 by 350 metres. But the list of monuments and historic buildings in this town is impressive and it's surrounded by moats, earthworks and city wall remains. The fifteenth-century Vischpoort opens onto the perfectly perpendicular street plan of this town. The pavements are made from white and black cobbles. Until the Afsluitdijk was constructed and the Flevopolder was created, Elburg was a flourishing Zuiderzee community.
Laurence at Hilversum airfield
While the town is small, there are many museums to visit. The 15th-century Agnietenconvent, or convent of St Agnes, is now home to Museum Elburg. This museum hosts both permanent and temporary exhibitions about the town’s history. The casemates, one of the oldest still-existing cannon cellars and the wall house where the poorest of Elburg’s citizens lived are part of Museum Elburg as well.
Zwolle is the capital city of the Overijssel province. It was formally founded in 800 A.D. by Frisian merchants and troops of Charlemagne (Karel de Grote). The name comes from the word Suolle, meaning 'hill'. It was the only area of the land that wasn't prone to constant flooding, surrounded by the IJssel, Vecht, Aa and Zwarte Water rivers, and a prime location to establish in for merchants and trade.
Coevorden is the oldest city in the province of Drenthe. It received city rights in 1408. The city was captured from the Spanish in 1592 by a Dutch and English force under the command of Maurits, Prince of Orange. The following year it was besieged by a Spanish force, but the city held out until its relief in May 1594. Coevorden was then reconstructed in the early seventeenth century with streets laid out in a radial pattern with polygonal fortifications and extensive outer earthworks.
The Veenpark museum in Barger-Compascuum, east of Emmen, tells the story of the peat moors along the Hondsrug. In the low-lying and water-logged areas east of the Hondsrug, large thicknesses of peat bog accumulated during the last few thousand years. Starting in the Middle Ages, this peat bog became coveted because it could be excavated for 'turf', a much valued fuel for the growing population. The museum shows how people lived and worked here in Drenthe in the old days.
Bourtange is a village in the south-east of the province Groningen. Fort Bourtange was originally built in 1593 during the Dutch Revolt. Between 1739 and 1742 the fort was brought back to a defensible condition and expanded. In 1851 the star fort was given up and Bourtange became a normal village.
In the 1960s, the municipality of Vlagtwedde took the initiative to reconstruct the fortress as it was in 1742. The plan was implemented between 1967 and 1992. Ramparts were erected again, canals were dug and soldier barracks were built. It is currently an open-air museum.
The birth of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands
The undulating, seemingly unspoiled Westerwolde landscape has seen turbulent times dating back to many centuries before the Common Era. But the year 1568 stands out in its history. That year, at Wedde Castle, the battle of Heiligerlee was planned, which would trigger the revolt against Philip II of Spain. William of Orange (Willem van Oranje) instructed his brother, William Louis of Nassau (Willem Lodewijk van Nassau), to capture the north-Netherlands out of Germany. An armed conflict of many years ensued. William of Orange and the republicans built redoubts to block all access roads to Groningen. Fortress Bourtange on the German border was one of them. In 1593, William Louis finally captured Wedde Castle. He completed Fortress Bourtange and also built Oudeschans. This was the beginning of what was to become the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.
Castle Wedde; Monument to the battle of Heiligerlee; Bourtange
In the late 16th century, during the Eighty Years' War, the Fortress Bourtange was constructed as a defence work. The basions provided a clear view of possible enemies lurking from any direction. It was built under orders of William of Orange (Willem van Oranje) and completed in 1593. Its original purpose was to control the only road between Germany and the city of Groningen, which was controlled by the Spanish.
Soon after its construction, Spanish forces from Groningen besieged it, though the attack ended in failure. Fort Bourtange faced another siege in 1672 against invading forces of the Prince-Bishop of Münster, France's German ally in the Franco-Dutch War. Following a refusing to surrender the fort, the Münsters replied with a frontal assault. Thanks to the surrounding marshes and the time-tested fortifications, the invading army was repelled successfully.
Burcht Wedde, the only real castle in the province of Groningen, was where the Battle of Heiligerlee was engineered, which marked William of Orange's first victory of the Eighty Years' War against the Spanish (1568-1648).
The differences between farmer and worker were traditionally very big in the region near Winschoten. While in nearby Finsterwolde the differences led to a strong position of the former Communist party, in Oostwold and nearby Midwolda the farm workers remained mainly Protestant.
After approximately one hour and fifteen minutes after take-off we landed at Oostwold airfield.
Wedderborg (Wedde Castle)
The Wedderborg (also known as Wedderburcht, Burcht Wedde or Huis te Wedde) is a castle in the village of Wedde in the province of Groningen. The castle was for centuries the seat of the Lords of Westerwolde or their representative. The history of the castle is therefore closely intertwined with the history of the region.
The Wedderborg was built around 1360/1370 by the family Addinga, who came to the Westerwolde region at around that time from the neighbouring Reiderland. The people of Westerwolde had difficulty accepting the rule of Egge Addinga. He moved the legal seat from Vlagtwedde to Wedde, and ruled arbitrarily and in conflict with Westerwold land law. Once when he was travelling he was attacked and killed.
The Addingas remained in power for almost the entire fifteenth century in Westerwolde. Around 1460 the Addingas were building a wall around the castle. The population then called on the support of the city of Groningen. In a battle that followed in 1478, the castle was destroyed. The Wedderborg was rebuilt in 1486 by Haye Addinga, after receiving permission from the Bishop of Münster.
In 1530 the castle was taken by Berend van Hackfort on behalf of Karel van Gelre. Hackfort was appointed as bailiff, and substantially strengthened the castle. A new ring wall was built with four bastions and a gatehouse with cells for prisoners. In 1536 the castle was taken by Georg Schenk van Toutenburg who, on behalf of Emperor Charles V, took up the post of bailiff. In 1561 the castle transferred to Jan van Ligne.
At the start of the Eighty Years' War in 1568, Adolf van Nassau moved into Wedderborg. From Wedde he went with the rebel armies to Heiligerlee, where he met the Spanish-minded Jan van Ligne in the Battle of Heiligerlee. The castle was plundered several times by both Spanish and rebel armies in the following 25 years. In 1593 the castle was definitively taken by Willem Lodewijk van Nassau.
Battle of Heiligerlee
In 1619 the castle was sold to the city of Groningen, who thus became the owner of the Westerwolde lordship. The castle became the seat of the bailiff on behalf of the city. The city would keep the lordship until the French era. In those nearly two centuries, the castle was conquered twice more, both times (in 1665 and in 1672) by the bishop of Münster.
For centuries the castle was used as a court of law by the Criminal Court, in which the bailiff of Wedde and the judges from Vlagtwedde and Bellingwolde took seat. Many convicts were tortured and branded at the castle, and also death sentences were given. To death convicted people were executed on the gallows hill just outside Wedde.
The French era brought the end of the lordship rights. Westerwolde became part of the province of Groningen, and the Wedderborg lost its function as a court of law in 1818.
Nowadays Castle Wedde is a special holiday accommodation for children and young people who do not have the opportunity to go on holiday themselves.
Tip! There are more and bigger Pictures behind the option
From Oostwold to Hilversum
At Oostwold we had something to drink. It was quiet at the airfield restaurant. Only two other people were there, who were making a round trip from Lelystad to Oostwold and Teuge. After we had finished our drinks, we walked back to the plane for the return flight.
Stadskanaal was founded in 1765 as peat extracting colony. It is a ribbon village nearly 10 km long, along the Stadskanaal (canal) that was excavated, giving the settlement its name.
Take-off runway 25 Oostwold
The LOFAR core ("superterp") near Exloo is part of a large radio telescope network located mainly in the Netherlands, completed in 2012 by ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy and its international partners, and operated by ASTRON's radio observatory, of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.
The 'hunebedden' are an emblem of the province of Drenthe. They were created by peasant tribes 5000 years ago. The Hunebed Centre is in the village of Borger, in the Hondsrug region, and stands near the biggest remaining hunebed in Holland.
LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) is currently the largest radio telescope operating at the lowest frequencies that can be observed from Earth. Unlike single-dish telescope, LOFAR is a multipurpose sensor network, with an innovative computer and network infrastructure that can handle extremely large data volumes (map).
The core of LOFAR consists of a network of thirty eight stations concentrated in the north-east of the Netherlands. In addition, LOFAR is extended with 12 stations in Germany, France, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Poland. An ongoing project (NenuFAR) aims to build a separate super-station in Nancay which will greatly increasing the sensitivity of LOFAR.
Next to its two types of ultra-modern phased array antenna stations for the flagship radio astronomy application, the LOFAR network currently has stations with seismic sensors (geophones) and infrasound detectors for atmospheric studies.
The revolutionary multi-beaming capabilities of the LOFAR telescope allow astronomers to engage in multiple lines of research at once: they can look back billions of years to a time before the first stars and galaxies were formed (the so-called 'Dark Ages'), they can survey vast areas of the low-frequency radio sky, and they can be constantly on the lookout for radio transients originating from some of the most energetic explosions in the universe.
A new map of the night sky published on February 20, 2019 charts hundreds of thousands of previously unknown galaxies discovered using the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio telescope that can detect light sources optical instruments cannot see
Hunebed centre Borger
The Hunebed Centre in the village of Borger consists of a museum, the largest Hunebed in the Netherlands, an exhibition about the Hondsrug region, a prehistoric park, and a boulder garden with boulders brought to Drenthe in the Ice Age of 150,000 years ago. The megalithic tombs in the northeastern Netherlands are called 'hunebedden'. These Neolithic structures from around 5,000 years ago were built by the Funnel Beaker people.
Under the trees right outside the museum building is the largest hunebed in the Netherlands. With a length of more than 22 metres, every stone is massive and the largest one weighs more than 20 tons. The plugstones, the stones which filled up the gaps between the larger stones, and the sand with which the hunebed would originally have been covered, have disappeared over the course of time.
The museum tells the story of how the people whom build the hunebeds lived. The journey through time begins in the Ice Ages when the landscape was first shaped by wind and ice. The visitor will discover the first people who settled here centuries later and learn how they left their own mark on the landscape. See how our ancestors lived and worked here for thousands of years.
The prehistoric park begins with a Neanderthal camp. The path leads past a reindeer hunter's tent, a hut from the middle of the Stone Age, burial mounds, an ancient wooden causeway through the peat bog, past a hunebed excavation and into the prehistoric village. Here one can view the ancient fields, go inside reconstructed houses from three different prehistoric periods and see and feel what life was like in those far-off times.
Hoogeveen is a town in the south of Drenthe, and it has an airfield. In the Dutch language, the name Hoogeveen points towards the city's history as a peat settlement. It goes back to 1625, when Roelof van Echten bought a large tract of peat land from farmers of the district with the plan to harvest its peat. To conduct the area's peat extraction, Van Echten's company had an extensive network of canals dug to drain the area, allowing them to transport the peat to its users.
South-west of Zwolle we crossed the River IJssel. The arch bridge is the oldest of the three bridges there, and it was opened in 1930. In 1940, the bridge was blown up by the retreating Dutch army. It took almost three years to repair the bridge, only to be blown up again in 1945, this time by the German army to make it more difficult for Allied troops to advance. The bridge was reopened in October 1947.
Bridges over the River IJssel
We flew further to the south-west, passing a.o. Elburg, Harderwijk en Nijkerk. After Amersfoort we headed to Hilversum, where we landed on runway 25. It was a nice trip, and a good start of the weekend.
Arrived at Hilversum airfield
René and Laurence