Day 6 – Nieuw-Lekkerland, Bleskesgraaf, Liesveld, Molenwaard

The second day of the trip started from Amsterdam. I would meet my father and sister in Nieuw-Lekkerland, the first of the three municipalities scheduled for today.

Molenwaard

In an earlier post I mentioned that early 2013 (three years later than planned), the municipalities Nieuw-Lekkerland, Bleskesgraaf, and Liesveld will officially fuse into the municipality Molenwaard.

The municipality boards decided to take a route that is different from the usual procedures. Normally, the municipalities fuse, and the offices are merged afterwards. However, Molenwaard established an organisation (De Waard) that has been functioning since mid-2009, before the municipalities were officially merged. This organisation found accommodation in the municipal office in Bleskesgraaf:

However, since the municipalities cannot come to an agreement about the location of a new town hall, Molenwaard will probably be a municipality without a real town hall. Instead they have a ‘virtual town hall’, which has been operational since 2011.

Municipality: Molenwaard (as of 1 january 2013)
Location of town hall: Bleskesgraaf (51.869390,4.784353)

Nieuw-Lekkerland

Nieuw-Lekkerland is a small municipality, home to international tourist draw of the windmills of Kinderdijk. There are 19 draining-mills, all of them are administrered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee as World Heritage Sites.

Currently, the former town hall is home to a community school, named after the carillon on the town hall square. The town hall moved its public services to Bleskesgraaf already early 2012.

Municipality: Nieuw-Lekkerland (fuses into Molenwaard 1 january 2013)
Location of town hall: Nieuw-Lekkerland (51.886981,4.682858)

Bleskesgraaf

A bit to the west we found the town hall of Bleskesgraaf. As always we ignored the signs and found ourselves on a unpaved road. Had it rained, I probably would not have been able to convince my father and sister to follow me. All went well, and it contributed to the whole adventurous experience of exploring. When we finally got into town, we asked for directions to an elder lady. She was rather confused, as it was sunday, and the town hall was not open for public services. She described the town hall animatedly, and she was also a bit disappointed that the municipality is about to fuse. Sadly, I found that to be a common sentiment among inhabitants I ask for directions.

I have to admit that although I am not a fan of most of the new town halls, I like the temporary town hall of Molenwaard. However, one feature I think is vital for a town hall is the landing. Without a proper landing, it feels more like an office.

Municipality: Bleskesgraaf (fuses into Molenwaard 1 january 2013)
Location of town hall: Bleskesgraaf (51.870675,4.779654)

Liesveld

The last part of the trip was Liesveld.

What went wrong in finding the town hall, I don’t know. We did not find the former town hall. Instead, we found the former, former, town hall of Liesveld. As you can see, it might be one of the cutest buildings around. A small landing on the front, very small footage, and a rich history. So, I am lucky to have seen it.

We didn’t know that the former town hall is actually in the next town. So, on a future trip I will visit Nieuwpoort again to make a better picture of this lovely former, former, town hall (as my dad tries to attention whore it with his yellow jacket), and I will make sure to visit the former town hall in Groot-Ammers.

Municipality: Liesveld (fuses into Molenwaard 1 january 2013)
Location of town hall: Groot-Ammers (not depicted in the picture above)


km: 302
km total: 1234
done: 3 (29)
to to: 386

KML-LogoFullscreen-Logo
Day 6

loading map - please wait...

Nieuw-Lekkerland: 51.886981, 4.682858
Bleskesgraaf: 51.870675, 4.779654
Liesveld: 51.935250, 4.868585
Molenwaard: 51.869390, 4.784353
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Molenwaard
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Nieuw-Lekkerland
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Bleskesgraaf
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Liesveld

Day 5 – Zijpe, Schagen, Harenkarspel

Day 5 marks the beginning of multi-day trips. The days are getting shorter, and although autumn commenced a while ago, only now it’s getting slowly colder. I haven’t seen much rain, but winter is still more than a month away and lot can happen in a month. The bridge to the quest is that as I am progressing, working my way through the municipalities, I normally visit the nearest municipalities. Although there will always be a nearest unvisited municipality (as long as the quest is not completed), but eventually it gets to a stage where it really appeals to your interpretation of the word “near”. For example, to the north the municipality Eemshaven is 233km from my house, and to the south-west the municipality Sluis is with only 3km less, almost as far. Driving back-and-forth already takes over five hours, and that is mainly boring highway. If you avoid highways alltogether, it takes 4.5 hours just to get to Eemshaven. And with the sun only being visible for 9 hours right now, it is really difficult to make it work and keep it fun.

So this weekend I went to a party in Zaandam, and planned the saturday trip for the north-east of the Netherlands. I then slept over at a friend’s in Amsterdam, and started driving in the afternoon to meet up with my father and sister for part two of the trip.
In an earlier post I mentioned that early 2013, the municipalities Zijpe, Schagen, and Harenkarspel will fuse into the municipality Schagen. They are located about 40km from Zaandam, in a beeline. Since I had to go to Zaandam anyway, visiting them now would mean I would not have to rush for these municipalities before the end of the year.

The trip towards Zijpe, the first municipality for today, leads me through the most diverse landscapes the Netherlands have to offer. Alas I did not take pictures to support this claim. The first part leads me through the Veluwe, a forest-rich ridge of hills. The roads are surrounded by lakes, woods, and sand drifts. The second part was through Flevoland, figurehead of the polder, a province with only reclaimed land. To get to the last part which are also polders, I took the 27km long dam (although it is incorrectly named and called a dike: Houtribdijk), which was a dreary experience. Everything was foggy, and the sight was no more than 200m and grey of colour; driving more than 15minutes in a straight line without anything to see, is simply put very boring. The conditions were rather unfortunate, since I’ve been there before, and when it is not foggy, the views are nice enough to make it a fun ride. After 175km and four hours of driving, I finally reach Schagerbrug.

Zijpe

During the reign of Charlemagne the peaty soil was gradually conditioned for agriculture and residence. By digging ditches the marshes were drained (remember this is all in the polder). This enabled the cultivation of grain, but it also caused the soil to compact because the oxygen settled into the ground. This process caused the surface to descent, 1 to 1.5 cm per year, for hundreds of years. In an area without dikes this obviously caused problems, such as the sea having free play.

Then it took a lot of time and trial by error to figure out how to succesfully battle the rising water levels. In 1597 all levees were ready and Zijpe was the first succesful land reclamation, or impoldering, on a large scale.

Municipality: Zijpe (fuses into Schagen 1 january 2013)
Location of town hall: Schagerbrug (52.800011,4.767122)

Schagen

Schagen is a small province town that gained town privileges in the 15th century. The town is also called Magnusveste (“ramparts of Magnus”), after the knight Magnus who conquered the village Damietta (in Egypt) during a crusade in 1219 and who returned to his home town again a year later.

Also I would like to apologise for the pictures of this trip, I am going to put some more effort into it. In hindsight the pictures came out worse than expected. Maybe I will revisit some of the town halls to redo some pictures, let me know if you have any suggestions.

Municipality: Schagen (fuses into the new municipality Schagen 1 january 2013)
Location of town hall: Schagen (52.785803,4.799995)

Harenkarspel

By the time I reached Harenkarspel it was already getting dusk.

The municipality consists of 13 villages and towns, most of them having around 200 inhabitants, three of the towns are somewhat larger, having a few thousand inhabitants. The size of the town hall looks a bit out of proportion for this reason.

From 15 december this town hall will stop providing public services, and the council will stay until the beginning of january to make the transition to the new municipality.

Municipality: Harenkarspel (fuses into the new municipality Schagen 1 january 2013)
Location of town hall: Tuitjenhorn (52.734661,4.746072)


km: 347
km total: 932
done: 3 (26)
to to: 389

KML-LogoFullscreen-Logo
Day 5

loading map - please wait...

Zijpe: 52.800011, 4.767122
Schagen: 52.785803, 4.799995
Harenkarspel: 52.734661, 4.746072
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Zijpe
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Schagen
icon-car.png Fullscreen-Logo KML-Logo
Harenkarspel