Continuing the ‘Eleven Fountains’ theme, we visited Bolsward, long one of our favourites. Although it’s like having a massive box of delicious chocs and having to say which is the best. Impossible!
Anyway, the fountain in Bolsward is a bat. It’s a bronze cast, so it has lovey, realistic ‘bat lines’, it was working and has steps up one side to encourage viewers to climb onto it. Of course, I did. I love being able to interact with pieces of art and years ago embarrassed my kids by lying down in a church we were visiting, to better ‘feel’ the marble floor. Outrageous!!!!
Bolsward has all the usual quaint streets and canals, it’s stuffed with cafes, bars and restaurants, gift and clothes shops, two supermarkets, a bakers, a wool shop (of course) two opticians, two butchers…unlike the UK, the High Street isn’t struggling. And a pretty big and modern library. Take note, UK, where libraries are being closed down or can only be kept open by voluntary action.
Walking in Bolsward’s park yesterday, I noticed a statue of Titus Brandsma. It’s worth spending a moment or two acknowledging what this man stood for.
Born in Friesland in 1881, he took the name ‘Titus’ when he became a Carmelite Friar. He worked as a priest, but also taught Philosophy in various colleges and worked as a journalist, writing from a Catholic moral point of view. After The NL was invaded in 1940 (an event which is still very real to people living there today), Titus was arrested for spreading anti-Nazi propaganda, as he felt bound to do, because of his religious beliefs. He died in Dachau in 1942.The cause of his death was a lethal injection, administered by a nurse, as part of an ‘medical’ experimental programme.
He is counted as a Catholic Martyr and his Feast Day in 27 July.
I’ve noticed a great awareness of history in The NL and a willingness to incorporate information, statues, photographs into the infrastructure of the country. I think maybe this is one of the drivers behind their tolerance, acceptance and amazing ability to just get on with each other and welcome strangers. And that’s one of the ideas behind the fountains. Linking the cities by water, reflecting their culture and looking forward to an increasingly better future.