Big Think writes:
A combination of sex and drugs (and possibly rock ‘n’ roll) is forcing two governments to change the border that divides them. The Presqu’ile de l’Islal, a small Belgian peninsula stranded on the Dutch bank of the river Meuse, is to change hands to eliminate a zone that is, to all practical effects, quite literally beyond the law.
Due to its political status, the uninhabited peninsula is off limits to the Dutch police. And because of its geographic isolation, it is out of reach for their Belgian colleagues. These circumstances conspire to make the peninsula a sanctuary for unlicensed sunbathing, loud bacchanalia and unrestricted drug dealing.
In parts of Limburg the border is formed by the river Meuse. Over time gravel extraction has led the river to change its course, creating tracts of land that the Belgian police can only reach by taking a long detour over Dutch territory. Binnenlands Bestuur explained in 2001: “The peninsulas have become popular as a gay meeting ground. […] In the summer the beach is popular with youths. […] Recently there have been indications that the gays have been bothering the youths. These allegations cannot be verified because the Dutch authorities have no legal status in the area and the Belgian authorities cannot act there because,” and here the author cranks up the dramatic background score to eleven, “they would have to invade our country through the town of Eijsden!”
Oh the horror! The voice of sanity is one Johan Lahaye speaking for the town of Eijsden who told Trouw shortly after: “There is no gay beach there. We’ve had the grand sum of exactly one complaint.” By that time however the Dutch parliament had started to study the issue and the Minister of the Interior had promised to make the border correction a priority. Last year De Limburger reported on a border committee that had visited the area and was ready to send a report to the capitals of both nations.
The border correction is expected to take place in a year or two. Gentlemen, start your engines.
The last time the Netherlands changed its borders was in 2010 when it gained 3 volcanoes (a number which had been 0 since 1945) and its highest point became 887 metres (formerly 323 metres)—three of the Dutch Antilles became a part of the country.
(Map by OpenStreetMap contributors, some rights reserved; the big purple line is the border)
Tags: beaches, borders, highest point, homosexuals, islands, Limburg, Maastricht, peninsulas, volcanoes
A price war between two competing ferry companies servicing the Dutch Wadden island of Terschelling is threatening to isolate the island of Vlieland as well.
Rederij Doeksen is the official ferry company that connects both islands with the mainland. In 2008 islanders of Terschelling, dissatisfied with Doeksen’s service, decided to start their own ferry company, Eigen Veerdienst Terschelling (EVT), which literally means Own Ferry Service Terschelling.
The Dutch government granted Doeksen a monopoly in 2011 (which was to enter into force in 2012) provided that Doeksen would guarantee a service throughout the year and not just in the summer, when tourists flock to the islands. EVT brought a case before the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal fighting the concession and in the meantime it charged 5 euro for a ticket to Terschelling whereas Doeksen originally charged 25 euro. Doeksen has lowered its rates to 4 euro, but now threatens to cut trips to Vlieland from three times a day to twice a day.
Vlieland’s inhabitants are not happy. Mayor Else Schadd (Labour) told Volkskrant on 15 July: “This is unacceptable. In the future if you want to go to the dentist, you will need to take the entire day off. Islanders who work on the mainland won’t get to their office before ten in the morning. And day trippers who want to visit us in the off-season will have to return home at five o’ clock.”
EVT’s case hinges around whether the Wadden Sea is a real sea or merely a whole lot of water, Veerbootinfo writes. In case of the former European law apparently gives EVT some breathing space.
(Map of the Wadden Sea by OpenStreetMap contributors, some rights reserved. Vlieland and Terschelling are in the top left corner, Vlieland is on the left. The white lines show the ferry routes)
Tags: competition, ferries, free markets, islands, monopolies, Terschelling, Vlieland, Wadden Sea
The local government of Urk has banned all strippers from the fundamentalist Christian ex-island, RTL Nieuws reports. If a bar breaks the new law, it has to close shop temporarily.
Last year a bar hired a female stripper who went the full monty, which apparently prompted this bout of legislation. Urk is the town with the highest concentration of fishermen in the country. Until 1939 it was an island–Urkers still say ‘on Urk’ instead of ‘in Urk’, according to Wikipedia.
(Photo of American burlesque performer Lola Bel Aire by Michael Albov, some rights reserved)
Tags: bars, fishing, islands, politics, Protestantism, sex industry, Urk
This artificial island was concocted by Studio Noach (what’s in a name?) and Anne Holtrop, and is based on recycled polystyrene.
The intended purpose of the island is to house a wellness centre in the IJ lake near Amsterdam.
For many tourists the image of Amsterdam as one of a city where you can celebrate your bachelor party but not your honeymoon will change when the city can offer a wellness arrangement without its equal in the world.
That sounds like a perverted marriage of the ideas of Robert-Jasper Grootveld (who came up with floating, polystyrene gardens long before Studio Noach, and was taken to his grave on one), and that of the current city government which wants to turns Amsterdam’s lively ecosystem of opinions and ideas into a sort of super-controlled Disneyland for rich tourists.
The walls and roofs will be covered in plants and flowers. […] [The island will be located] just 6 kilometres from the Grachtengordel (‘Belt of canals’), to be reached by shuttle over land or directly over the water.
(Source image: Studio Noach. Link: Ecofriend.)
Tags: artificial islands, islands
The way the Dutch viewed their national airport Schiphol has changed over the years. From the starting point of an adventure, it became the nuisance in the backyard. The Bijlmer disaster of 1992, when victims living (and dying) in Amsterdam’s biggest ghetto were pushed into a secondary role to El Al’s secret cargo, really helped define this latter view.
However, Schiphol’s own ambitions are radically different. Instead of becoming a smaller, gentler airport, it wants to become the major air traffic hub of this part of Europe. People therefore started to look at alternative locations for the airport, not as close to the most densely populated area of this densely populated country. An idea that keeps floating to the top is that of an airport in either the IJsselmeer or the North Sea, even though the Ministry of Transport and Water Management concluded in 2003 that a second national airport was superfluous, for now. Such a water-bound airport could be an artificial island, or a mega-floater.
In 2007 Haskoning and Van Oord, who helped build artificial islands before, proposed rotating, floating landing strips (see illustration). And last week, Jan van Kessel got his PhD for a study into the stability of mega-floaters made of hollow, upside down, concrete ‘shoe boxes’, apparently, 50% more stable than traditional barges.
And even though the government has declared the debate redundant, the Dutch keep dreaming of their airport at sea.
Tags: airports, IJsselmeer, islands, North Sea, Schiphol Airport, water
Seven artists escaped an abandoned gaol at the Oostereiland prison island in Hoorn last week. The “prisoners” were participating in an experiment that would see them creating art in a secluded setting for a month, but when they got there, they found the setting a little bit too barbaric. The artists had to sleep on air mattresses and carry chairs from other parts of the complex to their cells.
Six of the original 13 Isolations members remained behind, although what they could possibly learn about prison life under such harsh conditions boggles the imagination.
(Link: Via Trendbeheer (Dutch). Photo by Aapo Haapanen, some rights reserved)
Tags: Hoorn, islands, prison, prisons