A Day in the Grave
Grave Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
September 29th, 2007 – by: Sweetski
In the Grave? How can he write a blog when he's dead, you might think. Well I'm not dead nor did I visit a cemetery.
Grave is a place with a lot of history. It's the place in the Netherlands that has been under siege the most. The history goes back to about 10,000 BC as findings of arrowheads show. The Romans have also been here (ca 400 AD) but 'modernday' Grave was founded in 1140 AD. The cityarchives go back as far as 1290 AD. The city (we call it a city because it has 'cityrights' a licence given by the king but in fact it's the size of a small village. You can walk around the town in as little as 20 minutes) is a fortification, part of the old wall is still there. As mentioned, the city has been under siege a lot; by the Franks (400-900 AD) , the German Emperor (1134 AD), in 1286 by Reinoud van Gelder, by Duchess Johanna van Brabant in 1386, and the list goes on.
One of the reasons we went to Grave is that there are some 'mobilisation compounds'. Former storage and armycamps from which the Dutch army would mobilise in times of war. The buildings were used to store a couple of tankdivisions, the garage and maintainance and the troops to go with the tanks. Being part of NATO we use less and less of these compounds 'cause we store our material elsewhere. (We also take part in UN missions in Irak and Afganistan and therfore shipped lots of materials overthere.) A couple of these mobilisation compounds are now in use as depots of the armymuseum.
My familiy are 'friends of the armymuseum'. Parts of our family have a link with the military. Ther are officers, reservists and an uncle of mine designed all of the gala uniforms for the entire army aswell as for parts of the navy, airforce and so on. Because of our bond with the military my family donates and with that comes the 'title' Friend. Every year the museum organises one or more days out. This time they organised a day to those depots combined with a tour through Grave. The depots are very interesting because not all of the collection can be permanently displayed in the museum.
We had to gather at 10:00 and were welcomed with a cup of coffee and a typical Dutch biscuit called a 'stroopwafel', a thin waffel with syrup in the middle.
Lunch was a stirdy wholesome meal, worthy for true soldiers. The surprise turned out to be a demonstration with a tank. What an increddible noise that thing made! As it drove by it rumbled and roared so load that it felt like a squadron af fighterjets flew by. It was driven by a major who's still serving in Afghanistan. The major is chairman of 'friends of the armymuseum. After that, everybody went to Grave. The group was split in two because ther were 110 participants wich was a bit much. The tour was very interesting and discribe the history of the place over many hondreds of years, of course with the emphasis on military history. Our guide was an eloquent man and a good storyteller. Truely passionate about his hometown. See below photos for an impression of our day.
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