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Photographer's Note

A bollard (or mooring post) is a short thick stone or metal post that is used for tying ships when they are in port. In Antwerp we call them 'bolders'.

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A short history of the port of Antwerp...

In the 16th century Antwerp was the Europe's busiest port, then it fell victim to a sectarian war between roman-catholics and protestants, as a result of which the Low Countries were split up in two with the north (Holland) gaining independence and the south (Flanders) remaining firmly within the Spanish (later French) empire.

While thousands of people fleeing the city to the free north, the port of Antwerp was blocked and several Dutch cities developped into world harbours.

In the late 18th century under Napoleon the Antwerp harbour came back to life, as the French ruler saw the river Scheldt as "a gun aimed at the heart of England".

Of course, it was he himself who was defeated some time later, leading first to the reunification of the Low Countries, then to the foundation of Belgium...and meanwhile Antwerp reclaimed its position as an important harbour.

Since then the natural curves of the river Scheldt have been straightened for bigger ships to dock, which provoked quite a lot of protest as it also detroyed some of the oldest parts of the city.

> This is when this bollard was put up. He is the 339th of his kind.

Since then the harbour, becoming bigger and bigger, has left the city, moving north towards the Dutch border, and today Antwerp is one of the world's biggest ports again.

> And that's when this bollard got left behind on the riverbank of the old town. Nowadays he is mainly used for people to sit on, though an occasional ship still moors there, sometimes it's a red one.

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2816 W: 35 N: 5742] (30636)
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