Thursday, 4 August 2016

Flushing

We left Middelburg early this morning and came down the canal to Flushing (Vlissingen). However it is still blowing hard from the SW with waves and spray coming over the harbour breakwater, so we have stayed in port. It's supposed to be getting better tomorrow. I keep telling the crew that prolonged strong winds in August are very rare - usually when sailing at this time of year there is not enough wind. However regardless of the statistics prolonged strong head winds are what we have.

We walked round Flushing which has mostly been rebuilt in the post war reconstruction style of architecture. Occasional interesting art pieces add variety to what is otherwise a fairly utilitarian style:
Flushing town centre
We looked at a couple of museums; the picture shows William admiring one of the exhibits in the pram museum (free entry, donations welcome). 
William tests some prams
The Zeeland maritime museum was also excellent and provided a wider historical context of the importance of Flushing in Dutch maritime history.

Above the beach at Flushing near the harbour are a series of memorials marking the liberation from Nazi occupation in October 1944. The beach (codenamed 'Uncle') was sucessfully assaulted by a mixed Canadian, British and Polish amphibious force and the occupying Germans were driven back. There are lots of memorials like this celebrating the liberation in Normandy but this is the first of this sort I've seen in Holland where maybe relations with today's Germany are slightly more nuanced than they are in rural France. 
The Dutch civilian population suffered greatly in the war as a result of the Nazi occupation.
German miniature submarine
The third picture shows one of the exhibits on display as part of the liberation memorial. In this container is a German miniature submarine which contained a small supply of fuel and two torpedoes. These submarines were used to disrupt shipping in the river Schelde off Flushing in the final stages of the war. These miniature submarines were towed into the vicinity of the river by tugs and were not expected to return from their mission.