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Oare Wurden

2018-08-04 11:43 —

Kristina Kočan explores Het Bildt

Last Friday, 3th of August, our Slovenian guest Kristina Kočan visited Het Bildt. Her guides to the area were Gerard de Jong and Mirjam Vellinga. Gerard grew up and still lives in Het Bildt. He is the editor of the local weekly newspaper Bildtse Post and as an author in the Bildts language he stayed in Donostia/San Sebastián as an Other Words writer in 2017.

At Swarte Haan, Kristina enjoyed the stunning view of the Wadden Sea, the islands of Ameland and Terschelling, the birdlife on the waterline and the tall ships on the horizon. The ‘Slikwerker’ monument reminds of the hard work of generations of men who built the polders and dykes. Because of the drought, the grass on the dykes has turned yellow, adding an expressionist touch to the still green fields of potatoes, onions and sugar beets.

In the Middle Ages, what is now Het Bildt used to be the estuary of the river Boarn. In 1505, a 12 kilometer long dyke was built, turning the area into arable land. In this polder three new parishes were founded, which were populated by both Frisians and immigrants from South Holland. This seems to have been the origin of the peculiar Bildts language, a mixture of early modern Dutch and Frisian, that is still being spoken in the villages of Het Bildt.

The village of Ouwe Syl was formerly a harbour on the original 1505 Bildt dyke. Kristina and her hosts visited the local history and art exhibit at the museum ‘Aerden Plaats’, and afterwards enjoyed a drink in the shade at the café opposite the village bridge. Artwork is also exhibited in the frontyards of many farmhouses and workers’ cottages. In the corn fields impressive geometric patterns were to be seen: designed by artists as a tribute to the famous works of M.C. Escher.

In Sint Anne, the biggest village of Het Bildt, they visited the protestant church, an octogonal Dutch Baroque building from 1682. Mr. Brandsma, one of the churchwardens, was cycling by and offered to show them the interior and led them on steep ladders to the wooden bell tower. From there, Kristina enjoyed the view over the village where Rembrandt once married his Frisian bride Saskia van Uylenburgh and over the green and yellow fields of Het Bildt.