Go green...

Gili Orr

Haarlem, Netherlands

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Wall Art


Artist's Description

“Go green…” was featured in the groups
European Everyday Life
Statues and Suchand
PostCard Style

Photo taken while riding from the beach of Nieuwpoort, Belgium, obviously through Oostduinkerke (as henrihan tells me in a comment), 2 years ago. Shot with Canon PowerShot S70.

As I learned from Henri Han, this is the statue of “The shrimper of Oostduinkerke”. This led me to googling and finding some interesting info. For those who can follow a video in Dutch (and also others, in fact), you can watch this on YouTube: The shrimpers of Oostduinkerke. For others, here is the info from two websites:

Wikipedia: Oostduinkerke is known for its shrimpers on horseback, a considerable tourist attraction. It is the only place in the world where you can see such shrimpers. Fishery folklore is still very much alive.

Belgian horseback shrimpers vow to preserve trade
Mon Aug 27, 2007 3:58am EDT
By Emma Davis

As dying trades go, Belgium’s horseback shrimp fishery must be among the most arcane and outdated.

Men in bright yellow overalls and sou’-westers ride their plodding workhorses across the sands into the North Sea at low tide to trawl for shrimps in just the way that their forefathers have done for more than 500 years.

There are now fewer than a dozen left of the hundreds who once plied the same trade all around the North Sea — in France, the Netherlands and Britain.

Just as in 1500, the horses drag two large planks behind them that open out once in the water to reveal a net that scoops up the shrimps and any other fish lurking in the surf.

Then, it was coastal farmers who wanted the fish to use as fertilizer for their fields. Now those farms have been crowded out by far more lucrative seaside property development, and the horses have to be stabled inland.

“There are no farms any more. It’s just all buildings and tourists,” said Eddy d’Hulster, who has fished the shore at Oostduinkerke for decades.

The catch is now more likely to end up on a plate than a field, but prices are nowhere near enough to turn a profit.

Instead, Oostduinkerke’s tourist board supports the last outpost of the tradition because of the tourists it attracts.

Artwork Comments

  • Robert Elliott
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  • Jo Nijenhuis
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