Game On – Lake of Tears

2012.Jul.23 Monday · 0 comments

in Game On

Flevoland flag

There we were, humming along with Strauss and suddenly we find ourselves proudly flying the banner of Flevoland – which is not, despite your initial reaction, an imaginary country – I feel like I’m in training for a Wiki Race, only I don’t have an end target, and I keep stepping outside of Wikipedia. So, the skips and jumps, the turns and twists, how did we get here from Zarathustra?

Well the obvious reference, particularly for a sci-fi nerd, having started from a post entitled The Big Z, would have been to jump to Zaphod Beeblebrox, whom, as you all know, was the two-headed, three-armed briefly President of the Galaxy, a job which entails being just visible and entertaining enough to the public eye to distract the entire galactic population from wondering just exactly who was really running the show behind the scenes. Sounds like most modern heads of state, no?

But we’re not going to the obvious choice – instead, there were brief explorations into the letter Z itself, a vaguely interesting topic that involved the letter being added and dropped and added into the alphabet as we know it – that whole buzzing sound was given up as a bad idea at one point and then brought back by popular demand. And settling on the letter’s shape, well that’s a whole other kettle of fish.

But, “zee” led to various disambiguations that led to the Dutch word for “sea”, and on to the Zuiderzee, or southern sea, which we’ll come back to in a moment – and that led, you see, to the history of Lake Flevo, or Flevo Lacus (more properly, it appears, referred to as the Flevum Vliestroom) – you don’t want to go there (scholars arguing about Latin declension) – but basically translating as “Lake of Tears”. That led into a ten minute exploration of the “doom metal” genre of music as I listened to the vaguely depressing House of the Setting Sun and Raven Land – though I must admit that the latter video is actually kind of interesting to watch. But, I returned to Lake Flevo….

…which at some point in the history of the Netherlands since Roman times became a part of an inland sea called the Zuiderzee – this involves a whole series of things like waterwolf, a process where waters in low lying areas flood surrounding peat-lands and destroy whole communities and generally upset everyone which led to a system of creating polders, essentially reclaimed peat-lands by enclosing those waters with those famous dams of Holland (which almost led to Hans Brinker, silver skates, and Dutch speed skating, but I quickly backed out of that direction). The creation of this sea was overseen by a civil engineer named Cornelis Lely in the late 19th century – and which also reclaimed the surrounding sea bed as dry land, now known as Flevoland (which became an official region just back in 1986 and may disappear shortly, rendering this all moot, with the merger of three regions into a large South Holland, a proposal before the Dutch parliament), which brings us in a moment to the flag above – but first…

…I tried a brief tangent into Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise, the annual music festival held in Flevoland, for which I did not spend much time listening to all the various bands confirmed for next month (August 17-19th if you’ll be in the area), a few seconds attempting to listen to The Whitest Boy Alive and The Eagles of Death Metal – not that I expected anything of interest from them, but at least I’m expanding my music horizons, right? And, back to the region and the flag…

…and there I rested, with three lovely wavy stripes, the blue of the sea, the yellow of, depending on whose interpretation you read, either “transition”, or the color of corn and coleseed – which, at least in the US we know more as rapeseed, the source of canola oil (see, I’m tying in food here), and on to the green of the reclaimed lands for agriculture and living. The little fleur-de-lys in the corner of the flag was from the coat of arms of the above-mentioned Sr. Lely, who was not only a civil engineer, but the Minister of Transport and Water Management three different times in his career, bracketing a period when he gave it all up and headed to the Dutch colony of Surinam to be the Governor-General for a few years (tying in a bit of a South American theme – Suriname (why the “e” was added when it became an independent country, after being called Dutch Guiana (not Dutch Guinea, which was in Africa, nowadays Ghana) by the British for awhile, I’m not clear) and its capital city of Paramaribo are on my list for a short vacation sometime while I’m down here, just to be different.

More than you wanted to know?

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