Hasselt & Hassailt

Of course we informed you last week about our present port of call, being Hasselt in the province of Overijssel, The Netherlands – a member of the former Hanseatic League. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasselt,_Overijssel or even better, for all of you with a command of the Dutch language, https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasselt_(Overijssel).

It’s a charming old little town. To emphasize the word ‘old’, the picture proves beyond any doubt that this little row of houses sank a bit backwards in the course of time. Prove is given by the straight façade of the modern house in the distance. The old ones are endlessly more charming, don’t you think? (At least to look at, that is…)

The front of this house, named ‘De Bonte Os’ (The Multicoloured Ox), is adorned by a plaque depicting a… cow (ox?). This cow symbolizes a stratagem. The story tells that Hasselt, during a siege, intended to discourage the enemy by parading a cow on top of the town-wall as a prove of the fact that there was still plenty of food available to its population. Whether true or false, it’s a nice enough little tale.

Another example of a gem of a house alongside Hasselt’s canal. The owners/inhabitants are sitting in front of their home and did not object to being pictured. Name of the house “’t Hooge Huijs” (The High House).

A sense of humour to end with – as far as buildings are concerned. Here’s the building of Hasselt’s ‘Kringloopbedrijf’ (Recycling-company), called ‘Noggus & Noggus’. A hard to translate wordplay, but we’ll try. In English it might be ‘Rejuice & Rejuice’. Or, errr, ‘A Gain & A Gain’. We cannot think of anything funnier – keep in mind English is not our mother-tongue. Any better ideas?

Once every five years Hasselt is the centre of a gathering for well-preserved old ships. The gathering is named ‘Hassailt’, another example of wordplay – this time a combination of the name of the town and the word ‘sail’. We had the privilege of being able to be a part of this this rare event. In the capacity of visitors, not participants. And we loved it.

  • Having a beer (or two)

    Virtually anything related to the event was ‘installed’ (boats!) of the Friday. So we had a walk into the town, as the weather-prediction for the Saturday was not that agreeable. After some sightseeing it was, of course, time for a drink. All pubs had extended their normal space, as is visible here. Her chair was where the bearded man is contemplating his next move; his chair opposite of her. After one Radler, a variant (much better) of Shandy, (her) and a few beers (him) we continued our walk. When arriving back home one of us (guess who) missed his (ohhh,...

  • The providing pub

    ...now we give it away still) wallet. Sheer panic, well, not that bad – but it is disturbing enough when thinking of a driving-license, a public transport card, debit- and credit-cards and the likes. What to do? The wallet presumably slipped out of the open back-pocket, thus getting left behind on or below the chair. Back to the pub was the first thought. And, hooray, the wallet was brought to the attention of the staff by an honest fellow man. Thank you honest person – and thank you honest staff of ‘Eetcafé De Compagnie’ (Eating Café The Company). Phew!

Saturday the 29th of July 2017. This is what it looks like after climbing the bridge that spans the river ‘Zwarte Water (Black Water) at Hasselt. Unfortunately the weather was, say, grey on that day. Sometimes even (very) wet.

An impression when standing on the quay, looking towards the river…

…and another one, in close-up, revealing more details. We always pay attention to names and where the ships come from, in this case ‘Goede Gunst’ (Good Favour) from Ouderkerk (either aan den IJssel or aan den Amstel) and ‘Nieuwe Zorg’ (New Care) from Opperduit. Opperduit! We’d never heard of it, but it does exist – or did, see https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opperduit. Only in Dutch, of course, it’s only a tiny hamlet next to the river Lek, the latter being a branch of the mighty river Rhine.

Hassailt – moves, sounds and rain

Despite the poor quality of this short video it gives you a perfect idea of the ships, weather, river, a passing sailing barge and music, in short: the unique atmosphere during Hasselt’s Hassailt on Saturday the 29th of July.

  • Hasselt’s waterways…

    All ships -and, believe us, it was a load of ships participating- cruised to the end of the canal, turned there and cruised back to their...

  • …occupied by beauties

    ...designated spot. An enormous amount of planning self-evidently, as the width of the canal hardly offers any space for passing.

  • Ships, ships and more…

    All ship-bows are now orientated towards the canal-exit, so the only important thing is that not a single skipper can afford to oversleep on the Sunday, when all ships must...

  • …ships, all over the place

    ...leave in the same order they were positioned at arrival. These pictures show how animated Hasselt was on the Saturday – despite the disappointing weather-conditions.

  • A real beauty

    The name ‘Hoop op Zegen’ (Hope for Blessing) is the name we noticed as being the most frequently used one. This unquestionable gem of a Tjalk…

  • Hoop op Zegen

    …(https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tjalk, not in English, but most English-speaking boaters know what a Tjalk is) was the first one we noticed with this name.

  • Hoop op Zegen (2)

    Three other ones with the same name. This kind of…

  • Hoop op Zegen (3)

    …names seem to date from the period that faith (and…

  • Hoop op Zegen (4)

    …church) played a bigger role in men’s life than it does today.

  • Another beauty…

    For your information: because of the lighting we were unable to picture the entire mast. It darkened the ship too…

  • …with an uplifting name

    …much when we tried. Another, not completely unexpected, name of course is ‘Ora et Labora’ (Pray and Work).

An undeniable step further is this name though: ‘Niets Zonder Gods Zegen’ (Nothing Without Gods Blessing). We like this sort of old-fashioned names very much. It is out of fashion nowadays, unfortunately. Never change them old fashioned ones, please!

And then there was ‘Hoop op Welvaart’ (Hope for Prosperity). That must be from a time that the owner and The Netherlands -the western world if you like- became more profane. (The word ‘Welvaart’ can have another explanation but that’s not applicable in this case, we think.)

No special reason to show this one to you. We simply couldn’t resist it.

May we introduce you to ‘Tina’, the tiny Tjalk-like ship we found the loveliest one. She is from Leeuwarden, Friesland and we completely fell for her at first glance.

Behind ‘Tina’ there was ‘Connie’, equally gorgeous and, again, from Leeuwarden. She was not very well visible from the opposite bank, zo we made the required detour to have a better view of her. Almost no-one did, the crowd was on the path on the other bank. Most of them will never know what they have missed. A friendly, lovely young lady even invited us to make a video of Connie’s interior. We didn’t do it because we are (1) too shy to intrude into someone’s privacy and (2) its rather time-consuming and/or difficult to insert a video of, say, over a minute into this blog. That’s it for this week. Although we didn’t move for a single yard this week we have enjoyed ourselves immensely and hope the same for you.