Some of you may know that in the not too distant future, Frank and I are planning a move to Nijmegen in Gelderland. We don’t feel at home any longer in Amsterdam (Plus the fact that like its southern counterpart, Venice, it’s slowly but surely sinking into the unstable ground it is built upon.) In the period up to and including 2023, some 23 bridges will be renovated, 800 metres of quay walls will be renewed and the replacement of 3,800 metres of quay walls prepared. The total cost is estimated at 450 million euros. Can you imagine the disruption and noise this will involve in an already over-populated and noisy city?
Beside the Sea
Now in these Covid times when we have less freedom to ‘escape’ Amsterdam with our house-sitting adventures, we have decided that a new start is on the agenda. Exciting times! At present, we still have one of our pied-a-terres in Amsterdam and in the meantime we are making full use of visiting the nearby coastline which we will miss when in Nijmegen.
Blow away the Cobwebs
There’s nothing like a walk along the beach on a windy day to blow the cobwebs away. This time we plumped for Egmond-aan-Zee which is about a half-hour drive from Amsterdam. The former fishing village has a wide, sandy beach which borders on the northern Dutch dune reserve. It has had blue flag status for 10 years and won the award again in 2020. Blue flag approval guarantees clean swimming water, daily cleaning of the beach and the presence of a coastguard. We did however manage to find a stray bit of blue fishing net which Frank disposed of, but I guess because it was Sunday the cleaners were having a day off!
An important landmark at the end of the boulevard is a lighthouse named after, ‘Jan van Speijk’ a Dutch naval hero of the 19th century. For his attacks on Java and Bangka he was given the dubious nickname, ‘Terror of the Bandits.’
Those in Peril on the Sea
On the dune bank leading up to the lighthouse is a bronze sculpture of a coastguard crew. ‘The Lifeboat in the Surf’ is based on a real lifeboat displayed in the Egmond aan Zee museum. The boat was used many times to rescue those in peril on the sea during the period from 1912 to 1939. The KNRM (Royal Dutch Lifeboat Association) has been in existence since 1824. The sculpture which commemorates the bravery of the coastguards and all the lives they saved, was erected in December 2004. The creator of the stunning sculpture is Louise H. van Meurs-Mauser (1929 -2013). The backdrop of the lighthouse and sky I think you will agree, is stunning! Egmond is well worth a visit but make sure the seagulls don’t nick your fish and chips!