Tuesday, September 18, 2012

On this day in Alkmaar, many, many years ago...

"Here the storm of Spanish warriors was thrice repelled and the genius of liberty made its stand." Think that's the right translation. My wife said she thought it was old Dutch when the city was Alcmaer. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.  

Alcmaria Victrix
Anyway, the inscription was at the side of the statue of victory located in, you guessed it, Victoriepark, which we pass every time we leave the old Spanish camp (Oudorp) and cross the Friesebrug into Alkmaar, usually on bike, sometimes on foot or by bus. 

A Marks the Park

Of course, on Oct 8th, the long siege of the city finally ended, signalling the beginning of the end of Spanish rule and with little fanfare, the start of the Dutch Republic later on down the road, or canal, for a local twist on the expression. Where the Spanish rear guard has gathered on the left near the tents is where we live. Not quite as hard to get into the city nowadays and a little more tranquil.

As I mentioned in my post last year, no national holiday to celebrate independence, but there are local festivities which unofficially mark the start of beer festival season and the count down to Octoberfest. Also, in keeping with the Spanish-Dutch theme of this post and heavy picture content, see this image of the Friesebrug:

When the cause is a single sailboat whose mast is three times as high as the hull is long, there is no grumbling, no shitting in the milk or on God, for those Catholics who are really furious. No one loudly complains about the audacity of having to wait and the important things this dickhead in the shitty little boat is causing him or her to miss. Someone might light a cigarette. Another might say good day and start a little idle chit-chat. When the bridge goes down, people don't ironically clap and shout, "Finally." Less entertaining in some ways, but little more even keeled, which pretty much sums up the difference between the Dutch and the Spanish almost 500 years after their separation.


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