In de Martinikerk
One afternoon in 2015 I walked through the city and my eye was caught by a building I had never noticed before. When I searched it on the web, it proved to have an interesting history. It was the building of the first cooperation in the Netherlands (where the idea started a bit later than in the UK).
The building is called ‘De Toekomst’ (the Future), and it was built in 1887, primarily to provide a meeting place for worker organisations, that had a hard time renting meeting places with commercial landlords.
It also housed a cooperative bakery, and two homes.
The cooperation was organised by the head of public works of the city of Groningen, Joan Nieuwenhuis. A year earlier he had started a socialist newspaper and wanted to resign from the city, but the (conservative) mayor convinced him to stay on.
His newspaper was financed by a rich farmer, Derk Roelof Mansholt, grandfather of Sicco Mansholt, who would become one of the founding fathers of the European Economic Communion, and architect of the (infamous?) common European agricultural policy.
The road drops down a few metres. We are leaving the Northern tip of the sand ridge, and descend into the mud that was deposited by the sea.
Out of town, apparently, on the old road to Garnwerd on the left bank of the former river Hunze. I remember, when I was a toddler, there were pastures left and right, now there are trees shielding new built up areas.
It opens up a bit
Bee hives on the side of the road
Even on Sunday we have to wait for a chemical tanker
The bridge is operated by remote control with CCTV.
Out of the trees along the canal into the fields
This 17th century farm has been nicely restored, but has no longer an agricultural function
To the right the flood plain of the former river
New cycle path to the East
We head towards the dwelling mound of Wierum
The road rises a couple of metres
On the left one can see the hole that was left when the extremely fertile ground (2000 years of cattle dung) of the mound was dug away around 1900 and sold for improving poor sandy soil in the South
Descending towards the hamlet of Wierumerschouw, that grew around the ferry (now bridge) over the canal that replaced the river around 1400
Wierum doesn’t have a church any more, but the graveyard is still in use
This is what remains of the old river
It is kept wet against the heat today
The canal, Reitdiep, towards the South
and towards the North
We turn away from Wierumerschouw
and take a short cut cycle path
through the cattle fields
We cross a cow road
And rejoin the old road near the dwelling mound of Oostum
This mound has also been mostly dug away, leaving a steep embankment along the road
Oostum still has its 13th century church
They dug away the soil right up to the church yard
and down again
Farm house ‘Reinges Stede’
But also not a farm no more
A side path to the West
But we arrive at Krassum
where we see two ditch crossings for the braggel festival
and the rope sling attraction, with Garnwerd in the background
Improvised food stall, but in the background the more dignified café Hamming
Here I found a safe parking place for my bicycle
And now the action started
A large modern dairy farm
There comes my grand daughter in the rear guard. She is pointing at us
Shampooing in the canal
And back home
The red circle just above the centre.
South of the city, West of the long sand ridge to the South, West of the river Hoornse Diep.
On a dyke, the Hoornse Dijk, that runs towards the sharp bend in the river to the South, the bend being named the Hoorn (horn, corner).
To the West two other rivers stream to the North, through this very low lying area.
To the South-West an actual swamp and the fields are flooded during the wet winter season.