JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

Schokland 25 September 2016

It is Sunday 25 of September 2016.

This morning I heard the church-bells. Normally I don’t hear them on Sundays. It is probably so that normally I am on my way to a painting session in Amsterdam or perhaps the bells are not played every Sunday? Perhaps the wind was blowing in an unusual direction?

It was a very nice morning and the forecast was promising for today so this was a perfect day for a walk. This with the bells made me think of other parts of the Netherlands where they have little churches in little villages. Since it was such nice weather perhaps it was possible to go for a walk in the “old” land. Flevoland where I live it is “new” land. It was reclaimed in three steps 1939, 1957 and finally 1968. I live in the area from 1968 in Almere. The first house was finished 1976. That makes Almere about 40 years old this year. I have not noticed any celebrations actually.

When I heard the bells I was thinking it would be nice to go for a walk in a quiet park somewhere, random. Perhaps somewhere in “old” Holland. Last time when we wanted to go to a quiet park in Barcelona we ended up in a manifestation for the liberation of Catalonia from Spain. Totally randomly the decision became to go to Schokland. It was an island in the Zuiderzee but around 1942 it became “the former island” Schokland when the Noordoostpolder was reclaimed when they renamed Zuiderzee to IJsselmeer. Schokland was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Netherlands.

When we arrived at the museum car park on Schokland the parking was crowded. Not so bad though because we could get the car into the very last free spot, “snug fit”.

We decided not to walk up to the museum but we walked out from the museum area and along the road for a little bit and into the forest. It turned out to be so that we had landed at the wrong parking. The description of this hike had intended that we should start walking from another parking but instead of going there by car we decided to walk back a little bit. We walked along the “beach” that wasn’t a beach anymore to the southern part of the island being just an elevated part of the landscape. The beach had become a narrow forest. From the beach you had a view of the farmland landscape around the former island.

After some walking we walked up on to the former island and had a nice view of the farmland landscape on the former island. It looked the same. I wonder if it is exactly the same though? Is there a difference farming on the former island compared to farming the former sea floor?

Schokland has much boulder clay in the ground. Perhaps the island is originally created by deposit of clay through the streams of water in the Zouderzee.

When we reached the most southern part of the island we found the foundation of the former lighthouse. At first there was square lighthouse built 1634 but in 1825 a great storm flooded the island and destroyed 26 houses and the lighthouse. Then a round tower was built.

Between the trees you could see there was a kind of party tent.

There was also the ruin of a church and conveniently a really quit bench. This was the perfect location for a break. No people except us, almost. Next to the ruin there was a little group of women with white hoods standing waiting. We sat down and started eating our sandwiches enjoying the silence.

Now started the party tent to play music. It was not quiet anymore. The modern party music was breaking the atmosphere around the choir with traditional Dutch clothing. The conductor rushed away to tell the party people to turn off the music. She succeeded to stop the music for a little while.

In the distance we could see a group of people walking. You must be aware of that Dutch people are a nation of walking people. If you come across one person walking there is no problem. You normally greet the people you meet if you share the same path. When you come across a smaller group there is also no problem. When you come across a steady stream of people walking and you happen to need to go the other direction then it is not so funny anymore. It is difficult because you are supposed to go with the flow in the Netherlands. Did I say the Dutch are talking walking seriously? There are national walking days arranged. Then large groups of people are walking. It is like marathon except not running but walking. It the path we were about to walk was turning into a steady stream of walking people then we had a problem. It was difficult to tell. Instead we sat still on our bench eating our sandwiches.

When the people approached a “spokeswoman” instructed the people to gather in a half circle below the point where we were sitting. Then the little group of ladies with white hoods started singing and walked around the church looking out over the people. Someone held a small speech and then the choir one by one picked up earth for a pile and poured it out again while a man in a blue shirt was standing with his hat held to his heart. I don’t know the meaning of this ceremony.

After the choir the people of the group did the same. The choir walked across the other side of the church ruin and that was the moment when we figured out that it was time to leave because they were soon to walk across our bench and after them a hundred people.

We quickly picked our things and left our “quiet” bench at the church ruin on the southern tip of Schokland.

We walked away along the path we had feared would be full of people. It was not so bad. Behind us we left some kind of ceremony and party music, that started playing again. Louder.

After walking for a while we found another bench. This bench had a perfect view from the former beach out to the former Zuiderzee. We sat down and finished our lunch. I picked up my aquarelle painting set that I bought in Barcelona and painted a simple aquarelle painting of the landscape in front of us a "doodle".

After the break we walked to the Museum. On the way we came across the local media. They had an expression as if the person behind the wheel was saying something really funny while two other outside did not understand.

At the museum we finished the lunch with a cup of coffee and a cake. A passer domesticus came to see if there were some crumbles left.

On the way home on the motorway (highway) the Ketelbrug bridge opened. People stepped out of their cars and I had a chance to take some photos of the view from the bridge.

It had been a nice day. Not long after the bridge we came in a traffic jam. It was caused by a motorbike accident. Oh well.


I was born 1967 in Stockholm, Sweden. I grew up in the small village Vågdalen in north Sweden. 1989 I moved to Umeå to study Computer Science at University of Umeå. 1995 I moved to the Netherlands where I live in Almere not far from Amsterdam.

Here on this site I let you see my creations.

I create, that is my hobby.