A Day in the Grave

Grave Travel Blog

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Panorama of Grave

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.


The Name

Together with my mother and my wife I went to Grave; a small historical place in the provence Noord-Brabant, The Netherlands. Grave get its name from the dutch verb 'graven' wich means 'to digg'. Grave is situated in former wetlands nearby one of the main rivers. Back in the old days, people had to digg quite a lot to make mounts and moats to keep their feet dry while living there. Although names of place can't realy be translated it would be the same if I lived in an English speaking country and went to 'Diggs'.
Part of the fortificationwall with canons.


The history
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.
Centuries of buildingstyles next to eachother
They were sieged by the Spanish (1568) , the French (1672) and more recently again by the Germans (1940). It's a wonder that much of this place has survived over all these years and attacks, but it has.

More recent
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.
Various guns


Our Trip
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.
Tank
At precisely 10:45 (you know how strickt they are in the army) speeches followed and the houserules were explained. We were free to walk around as we pleased as long as we were back in time for lunch at exactly 12:45. After lunch they had a little surprise in store for us and at 14:00 we would go to Grave for our tour. There were about 9 volounteers (curators) of the museum to awnser any of our questions.

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.
Sunflower300 says:
What a lovely blog Rudolph. Thanks for the history lesson. Did you get to go into the tank?
Posted on: Mar 09, 2008
eglp says:
Very nice place and very informative blog. Nice work!!!
Posted on: Dec 12, 2007
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Panorama of Grave
Panorama of Grave
Part of the fortificationwall with…
Part of the fortificationwall wit…
Centuries of buildingstyles next t…
Centuries of buildingstyles next …
Various guns
Various guns
Tank
Tank
Detail of a restored copper raindr…
Detail of a restored copper raind…
17th century building with curch i…
17th century building with curch …
tiny square with a sculpture to ho…
tiny square with a sculpture to h…
Grave also has a little harbour.
Grave also has a little harbour.
The Maas river
The Maas river
nice old cafe where we had a pick…
nice old cafe where we had a 'pic…
Very nice detail of masonry of the…
Very nice detail of masonry of th…
various façades
various façades
Nice window detail. They dont mak…
Nice window detail. They don't ma…
Part of a fortified building
Part of a fortified building
Sign explaining the working of the…
Sign explaining the working of th…
equipment to punish in the shape o…
equipment to punish in the shape …
The Maaspoort
The Maaspoort
A V2 (used by the Bermans in WW2 t…
A V2 (used by the Bermans in WW2 …
Detail of motor with sidecar
Detail of motor with sidecar
motor with sidecar
motor with sidecar
Oops. That must have hurt.
Oops. That must have hurt.
Sure, it looks like a tank, until …
Sure, it looks like a tank, until…
Gun
Gun
Old guns and canons
Old guns and canons
cockpit of a manned V1
cockpit of a manned V1
Manned V1 rocket (without its wing…
Manned V1 rocket (without its win…
Now thats a porch.
Now that's a porch.
Knight on wooden horse on a roofto…
Knight on wooden horse on a rooft…
Standard issue boots for desertmis…
Standard issue boots for desertmi…
Major Scholten, currently serving …
Major Scholten, currently serving…
Detail of V2 rocketmotor
Detail of V2 rocketmotor
more modern canon
more modern canon
It says something like: during tr…
It says something like: "during t…
Always handy to have with you...
Always handy to have with you...
Some trucks realy need to be resto…
Some trucks realy need to be rest…
detail of a reconnaissance plane
detail of a reconnaissance plane
a reconnaissance plane equiped wit…
a reconnaissance plane equiped wi…
If you launch, ill launch back!
If you launch, i'll launch back!
amphibious truck
amphibious truck
What happens if youve fired all s…
What happens if you've fired all …
Organisation is eveything.
Organisation is eveything.
move out of my way or ill shoot.
move out of my way or i'll shoot.
old canon
old canon
oxygene carrier D
oxygene carrier D
Same old canon. Th W stand for W…
Same old canon. Th 'W' stand for …
Hands up!
Hands up!
Thats not a gun, THIS is a gun.
That's not a gun, THIS is a gun.
Mom and wife trying to fill my boo…
Mom and wife trying to fill my bo…
Big, bigger, best?
Big, bigger, best?
Row upon row of roadplates.
Row upon row of roadplates.
Firetruck
Firetruck
Now this would be nice to have in …
Now this would be nice to have in…
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Grave
photo by: Sweetski