Because I seem to be incapable of going out without passing through the Domplein, we were lucky enough to come across a performance by the Fanfarekorps Der Genie (Engineers Regiment Fanfare Corps) on Sunday afternoon. We had just begun to approach Achter De Dom when we suddenly heard the sound of drums. There, behind the cathedral, they began to perform and we raced up to get a good view and listen.
In 1888 the Royal Dutch Army Engineers Regiment Music Corps was first formed by NCOs and volunteer soldiers in the city of Utrecht. Now, 118 years later, volunteers from the Engineers Regiment again uphold the musical tradition of the Engineers Regiment (1748 – 2006).
Due to a re-organization within the defense department, the “Engineers Regiment Fanfare Corps” was disbanded. At the beginning of 1997 the idea occurred to breathe new life into the “extinct” music corps. After discussions with the headquarters of the Engineers Regiment Corps, we started to correspond with almost all of those earlier recruits of the Engineers Regiment Fanfare Corps.
In September 1997, the first meeting was held at the “Lunetten Barracks” in the town of Vught, a terrain well-known to us. From this moment, the band was named “Old Members of the Engineers Regiment Fanfare Corps”
Presently, the band consists of 50-65 musicians, all dressed in the historical 1888 uniform.
As we were watching, we couldn’t help noticing two women in their ranks with small casks. It seems that it is a tradition that a small tot of brandy be poured from the cask carried on shoulder straps by the serving girls. Special guests are now usually the recipients of the glass of brandy. The group also sells special bottles of the brandy to help raise money for uniform maintenance.
Finally, here’s a brief bit of the drummers performing.
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.