There are places that exert a kind of magnetic attraction. And this is one of them. A former island in the ‘Zuyderzee‘.
Barely 500 yards long and 50 wide, its three habitable pieces were connected by wooden walkways, barely wide enough for a single person. You could only pass each other by doing ‘The Dance’. holding on to each other and slowly change places, taking care not to fall in the sea or the mud.
The north-west gales battered the island for many centuries. As their short, powerful waves ate away the land, the Dutch government decided in 1859 that the safety of the few families still eking out some kind of existence there could no longer be guaranteed and evacuated the island.
What remained was a lighthouse, a church and a small protected anchorage that served as a refuge for local shipping during storms. Its island status finally came to an end when, in 1942, the dikes of the first large reclamation project closed and Schokland became just another spot in the newly created Noord-Oost Polder.
Fortunately for posterity, its unique historical value was soon recognized and it was the first Dutch location to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Today, the former island is a museum and a wonderful location for cultural activities, such as this Christmas Concert.
Five gifted musicians and one of their students offered us a variety of works by various great composers such as J.G. Albrechtsberger, J.S. Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven. The location and the ambiance, as well as the quality of the performance made one wish there would be a similar concert every week!
Some photo impressions