Day 17 – Alphen aan den Rijn, Rijnwoude, Boskoop

This post celebrates the 100th visited municipality. And since the days are getting shorter again, this means we are approaching the end of the year. In turn, this means that some municipalities are undergoing some changes. Today’s trip is about three of these municipalities: Alphen aan den Rijn, Rijnwoude, and Boskoop. They will fuse the first of January into Alphen aan den Rijn.

In 2008 there were talks that Boskoop and Rijnwoude could fuse on a voluntary basis in 2011. Many municipalities were approached, but none of them wanted to collaborate. A study showed that fusing would even be financially malignant for Rijnwoude.
Fast-forward to 2010. This time the provincial executive took the command, and involved the municipality Alphen aan den Rijn into the discussions. This time the negociations were effective, and two and a half years later, they are finally going to fuse.

This is not the end of the story. The inhabitants were able to elect a name from a set of names, weighted according to the number of inhabitants. The winner was the name “Rijn en Gouweland”. However, Alphen aan den Rijn did not acknowledge the chosen name. Now Boskoop and Rijnwoude are quite offended, and unanimously stated a motion of no confidence. They say using the name Alphen aan den Rijn makes it look more like an incorporation, rather than a fusion. The minister of the interior is asked to solve this matter. In the meanwhile, the working name of the municipality is abr. To be continued :)

Alphen aan den Rijn

After a quite uneventful trip with slow traffic and overtaking being prohibited on the provincial roads, I arrived in Alphen aan den Rijn. Come to think of it, there are many places called Alphen in the Netherlands. At least every important river has one (Alphen aan den Rijn, Alphen aan de Maas, Alphen aan de Lek). The fact that all Alphens are close to the water is no surprise, since this is explained by its name. It originates from the Germanic alf, which means water course. There is also another explanation which says that the name come from alv, which means calcareous sandy soil. But this is not true for all Alphens, so I don’t know. I like the first one better.

Alphen aan den Rijn

Rijnwoude

Rijnwoude

 

Boskoop

Internationally known for its tree nurseries, Boskoop is a middle-large town in Zuid-Holland. Although Boskoop is located on a thick layer of peat, in contrast to its surrounding towns and villages, winning turf was never one of its main activities. The ground was found to be very suitable for tree nursery. For centuries they dedicated themselves to the cultivation of fruit and fruit trees (in particular apples). One of the only cooking apples available in the Netherlands is the goudreinette, originally known as the schone van Boskoop (beauty of Boskoop). The apples are not particularly beautiful, but the texture and taste are exquisite, and perfect for cooking.

Boskoop


km: 305
km total: 3709
done: 3 (102)
to do: 313

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Day 17 ZH

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Alphen aan den Rijn: 52.129308, 4.659516
Rijnwoude: 52.129012, 4.588820
Boskoop: 52.074813, 4.656901
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Alphen aan den Rijn
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Rijnwoude
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Boskoop

Day 7 – Liesveld, Goedereede, Dirksland, Middelharnis, Oostflakkee

Last sunday we did a trip through the province Zuid-Holland to visit the five remaining municipalities that will merge in january. Four of them will merge into one municipality Goeree-Overflakkee. I also promised to visit the current town hall of Liesveld, as I only visited (by accident) a former town hall, and that of course does not count towards the total of 415 town halls. If you didn’t see the picture, check out the previous trip log.

Liesveld

The weather said it was going to rain, and for once they were right. We drove about an hour through pouring rain, and as we entered the province Zuid-Holland, the sky cleared up. My navigation system was also back from being serviced, so we had a nice ride.

The town hall is positioned at the bottom of the dike. It is unfortunately by no means as adorable as the former town hall in Nieuwpoort.

Municipality: Liesveld (fuses into Molenwaard 1 january 2013)
Location of town hall: Groot-Ammers

Goedereede

Goedereede used to be an important city, especially the fisheries and the harbour were very prosporous. The reede in Goedereede refers to Rede, a roadstead. Goede means as much as good. You can now figure out the meaning of Goedereede 😉 However, because of the silting, the standing of the industry declined. To prevent the damage of the many floods that scourged the city, dikes were built. This caused a change from an active mercantile centre to a rural region.

To get to the town hall, we drove through big cities such as Rotterdam. Although I’ve been there numerous times, we entered from the south-east. It is always interesting to see that cities can have many faces: I’ve never seen this residential area of Rotterdam.
We followed the water and drove over the Dammenweg, a large dam. On both sides the water was totally flat, and the sky was clear.

Municipality: Goedereede (fuses into Goeree-Overflakkee 1 january 2013)
Location of town hall: Goedereede

Dirksland

By the time we did the last town hall for today, we already forgot we visited Dirksland earlier. Maybe that says enough about how interesting this town hall is.

I parked my bike in front of the town hall, and my father parked it a bit further down the street. A guy went up to him and began telling that when he had a new bike, he would also make pictures in the weirdest places. He actually thought my bike was new. Even I can see from 100m that the dirt has formed a crust on the bike :). As you can see my rear wheel is really shiny. It took me over 3 hours to get it a bit cleaner. It drained all my motivation to clean the rest as well.

If you ever have to spend some time around Dirksland, I can recommend you to visit the church. I have not been inside, but the location of the church is just magnificent. The moat around the church is unfenced, so do be careful.

Municipality: Dirksland (fuses into Goeree-Overflakkee 1 january 2013)
Location of the town hall: Dirksland

Middelharnis

Middelharnis is the third municipality from the west on the island Goeree-Overflakkee. The name of the island is also the name of the new municipality. Last month there were elections for the town council, and the orthodox protestant party got over halve of the votes. Another clear indicator that we are in the Dutch bible belt, as it is called.

Currently, since september to be precise, they are extending the town hall, as it will house the new town council, and it will function as the town hall for the new municipality.

Municipality: Middelharnis (fuses into Goeree-Overflakkee 1 january 2013)
Location of town hall: Middelharnis

Oostflakkee

Oude-Tonge was one of the places I wanted to visit for quite some while now. My uncle was born there, and my father lived there when he was just an infant. The surroundings are mainly polders. The villages are really wide-spread, and the only thing you encounter when going from one town to another is yet another plenitude of pastures. It has its charmes though. It feels stereotypically Dutch, with the mills, and free sight until the horizon.

Some of the houses in the street where my uncle was born were still intact. Wooden cottages, which is nice to see for a change, since most houses are made of bricks. However, the parental home was taken down. But it is interesting, that they built the new houses in a similar style, from wood. It gives the street a special character. When we were looking around a bit, the church emptied, as the Mass ended. Other than the church-goers here, they were all dressed in black, another sign we are in the Bible belt.

As I said earlier, at this time we forgot that we visited Dirksland, and had a really hard time figuring out which municipality we skipped. We even drove to another town just to see whether we would encounter a new municipality sign, but to no avail. We went home, as the sun was setting already, thinking about how we would have to do another trip to this island. Luckily, everything went better than expected.

Municipality: Oostflakkee (fuses into Goeree-Overflakkee 1 january 2013)
Location of town hall: Oude-Tonge


km: 371
km total: 1605
done: 5 (34)
to to: 381

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Day 7

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Liesveld: 51.926153, 4.821475
Goedereede: 51.816840, 3.978596
Dirksland: 51.748425, 4.102707
Middelharnis: 51.755130, 4.160846
Oostflakkee: 51.692578, 4.217570
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Oostflakkee
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Middelharnis
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Dirksland
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Goedereede
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Liesveld

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

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Day 6

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Nieuw-Lekkerland: 51.886981, 4.682858
Bleskesgraaf: 51.870675, 4.779654
Liesveld: 51.935250, 4.868585
Molenwaard: 51.869390, 4.784353
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Molenwaard
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Nieuw-Lekkerland
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Bleskesgraaf
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Liesveld