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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...

The name Antwerp comes from 'anda verpum', which refers to its position on the oustide of a bend in the river Scheldt, i.e. 'opposite where sand is deposited'. That bend of the river is here in this picture, where the river turns to the left.

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.

> It was around this time that this bollard was put up.

As the harbour became bigger and bigger, it left the city, moving north towards the Dutch border. Today the port one of the biggest in the world again.

> And that's when this bollard got left behind. You see a part of the new harbour in the distance, while the bollard is in what is now a kind of no man's land north of the old city center.

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with my special thanks to Andrew (macondo) for the critique on my previous post

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2816 W: 35 N: 5750] (30664)
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