Schokkerringweg 14, Schokland, Netherlands
Schokland Museum! Reviews
Schokland is listed by UNESCO! May 21, 2010
Schokland is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, a cultural and natural legacy from the past, that must be maintained for the whole of humanity because of its great, unique and universal value.
Similar sites on the list include monuments, building complexes and landscapes such as the Chinese Wall, the Acropolis in Athens and the Grand Canyon. Of these, 660 are cultural monuments, 166 are natural monuments and 25 are so-called mixed sites, where both cultural and natural values are combined, which is the case at Schokland.
Why Schokland is on the list of World Heritage.
For centuries Schokland lay exposed as a lump of peat in the middle of the often turbulent Zuider Zee. Regularly the sea would turn into a greedy monster, slashing off chunks from the island. At present, Schokland is an island laid dry, that can still be seen ‘sticking up’ from the polder floor. It is not without reason that this site was the first monument in the Netherlands to receive the status of World Heritage. A sign of international recognition as well as a worthy symbol of the never ceasing battle of the Dutch against the water.
It was put on the World Heritage list in 1995 and includes nine national monuments, five of which are archeological sites and one of which is a mixed archeological and architectural monument.
The architectural national monuments include the light keeper’s house and a church building. In addition, hundreds of archeological dwelling mounds, dike systems and other relics have been found. Also on and around Schokland remains have been found of prehistoric and early historic communities living on peat land, that lay constantly exposed to the threats of the sea.
Just as other islands in the Zuider Zee, Schokland had its own distinctive costume. Descriptions from the 18th and 19th centuries mention two separate ways of dressing on the island. Pictures dating from those days seem to confirm this. Probably this was based on some misunderstanding, the differences actually being due to changes in fashion. The original Schokland costume very much resembled that of the island of Marken. A characteristic feature was the cylindrical bonnet with loose chin ribbons and the colorful outer garments. In the course of time changes appeared, likely influenced by the proximity of the island of Urk.
By the end of the 18th century a costume with an ear ornament usually made of precious metal (locally called ‘oorijzer’, lit. ‘ear-iron’) and a starched white bonnet were quite popular with the women on Schokland. The female attire going with it, was mainly dark blue or black in color and made a less pretentious impression. A necklace of red coral beads indicated the wearer’s wealth and standing. The men’s dress was rather simple, a dark color being quite common in many places around the Zuider Zee. Silver or golden ornamental buttons were worn by th
e Schokland islanders as a decoration. Many of the elders held on to the traditional costume, so that both variants persisted over time. After the evacuation the population spread over the mainland surrounding the Zuider Zee, the traditional costume became obsolete and it was lost at the beginning of the last century.
chokland Past and Present
Schokland has a long history. Periodically the area was land, alternating with times that the water prevailed. Even in prehistoric times it presented people with an attractive location to live, but eventually the sea increased its influence. Partly due to human intervention, Schokland turned into an island in the Zuider Zee during the Middle Ages. The island got smaller and smaller and was ever more likely to disappear into the waters altogether. It turned out otherwise. In 1942 the sea around Schokland was reclaimed and laid dry as a polder, called Noordoost polder, and at present the island is sitting in the middle of the land as a testimony to the fact that, for the time being, man has won the battle against the sea in its favor.
Schokland’s history is symbolic for the Netherlands and its never ceasing battle against the water, which is also its richest resource.
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