2 December 2017
Every year, the CVN choose an interesting venue to hold their annual reunion. This year was certainly no exception and accordingly the venue for 2017 was the Pannenkoekenbakker (Pancake House) in Heusden.
Heusden is a picturesque small town situated in the rural countryside by the River Maas in the province of Brabant. And for (some of) the British contingent - 3 hours drive from Calais! Just so easy to get to...
The Agenda: meet up at 11am for coffee and cake and introduce all the Centurions present. Then it was a tour of the town - including the windmill, museum and castle ruins. Lunch at 3pm followed by presentations at 4pm. Dash back to Calais at 5pm...!
Congratulations to Frans Leitjens, Herwin Westraate and Gerrit de Jong for organising such a brilliant day. Shame they couldn't organise the weather as well!!!! It was sub zero temperature and freezing fog on the day...and, yes, minus 3 degrees is pretty cold! So we were all grateful to get back to the warmth of the Pancake House after our tour of the town.
And so, after a delicious pancake, presentations were made by Centurions Captain Kathy Crilley, who handed out certificates to the newly qualified Centurions from Bury St Edmunds along with trophies to the youngest Centurion to qualify and the team prize. Flowers were presented to those walkers who participated but didn't quite reach 100 miles.
From the UK Chris Flint (Hon Secretary), Kathy Crilley (Captain), Sue Clements (Archivist) and Jill Green (Centurion) travelled to Heusden and it was certainly well worth the journey.
A bit of history...
The settlement of Heusden on the river Meuse (Maas) started with the construction of a fortification to replace the castle destroyed by the Duke of Brabant in 1202. The city of Heusden received city rights in 1318.
At the beginning of the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648), Heusden was occupied by the Spanish. In 1577, however, following the Pacification of Ghent, the people of Heusden allied with William, Prince of Orange. William consolidated the town's strategic position near the river Meuse, and in 1579 fortification works to be constructed. Work started in 1579 with the digging of moats and the construction of bastions, walls, and ravelins, and was completed in 1597.
In 1579, Prince William of Orange, issued instructions to fortify Heusden in order to halt the advance of the Spanish troops.
Heusden's castle had belonged to successive dukes of Brabant. The donjon was later used as a munition depot, but on 24 July 1680, a thunderstorm hit Heusden, and lightning struck the donjon. Sixty thousand pounds of gunpowder and other ammunition exploded, destroying the castle. It took seven weeks to clear the rubble and debris.Heusden is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Models of the town (below) are on dispay in the local museum.