Medieval Boat Discovery

(photo courtesy Gemeente Utrecht)

As I posted yesterday, the remains of a boat have recently been found in the Leidsche Rijn part of Utrecht after the heavy rains washed away the cloaking dirt. A good story was promised to be revealed in today’s press conference and they didn’t disappoint. Not only is there one boat that’s been uncovered, but there are actually two boats. More impressive is the fact that these boats date back to 750 AD and 950 AD respectively. Amazingly, these are the first boats from this era to be uncovered by archaeologists in the Netherlands. Score!

The older of the two boats measures approximately 50 meters long, while the newly discovered boat from 956 measures in at approximately 20 meters long. This newly discovered ship is so well preserved that some of the moss that was used to keep the ship watertight is still in evidence. There are even marks still visible in the wood from the shipbuilders themselves.

The ships lie in the bed of what was the medieval Rhine River, which flowed through Utrecht on its way to the North Sea. The river was a busy spot during these early years, with Viking incursions, as well as Utrecht’s role as a principal market town. The route of the river has changed since then, so now the Leidsche Rijn, the old site of the Rhine, is providing quite a bit of archaeological bounty. Previously, the remains of six Roman ships were discovered in the area.

You can see some of the photos that have been released of the ships and the site at the Gemeente Utrecht website.


Randstad Rant

Please excuse me while I rant for a moment.

*deep breath*

Why do so few expat/event-related websites recognize Utrecht? There are four main cities that make up the Randstad of the Netherlands (with their surrounding cities, of course), AKA the four main cities: Amsterdam, Den Haag (The Hague), Rotterdam, and Utrecht. You’d never know Utrecht exists to see some of the websites. Even the Democrats expat group has events in the three other cities, but not in Utrecht.

It’s not as if we don’t have stuff going on, either. We’ve got the monthly Cultural Sunday, all sorts of other festivals and theater events, and this month we have the big Uitfeest event, but none of that ever gets mentioned on the websites that tell expats (and others) about what’s going on in the various cities.

We’re not some dinky, backwater city, either. We’ve got one of the major universities, so that means lots of international students and professors. There are big international companies in the general area, with international workers living in the area in and around Utrecht. There are plenty of other random expats in and around town here for a number of reasons. And as I said, we are one of the four major cities. So why do we always get left out of stuff?

I know there are numerous other cities in the country with their share of expats, and they don’t get much attention either, but they’re also not as centrally located as Utrecht. We’ve got the central train station! Everyone has to go through Utrecht! (OK, a slight exaggeration, but not that far off. Anyway, it’s my rant and I’ll exaggerate if I want to!)

Sorry, this is a pointless rant, but I received another monthly expat-related newsletter today with a listing of various events in other cities, and once again Utrecht was not on the list, even though the Uitfeest really should be on there, if nothing else. And yes, I did write to them (politely and calmly) and point out the upcoming event, which they will most likely add to their site’s calendar. It’s the principle of the thing, though.

*calming breath*

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, stay tuned for the boat story that is the continuation from yesterday’s breaking news. They weren’t exaggerating when they said it was an interesting story!