"Gone" Oterdum by nighthawk

Oterdum Travel Guide: 4 reviews and 4 photos

From time to time we take a drive to Delfzijl and from there on drive further to the east, following the coastal route.
The city of Delfzijl has many industries, and as a result of their expanding drift, some small villages have disappeared. Sometimes only the church remains, or you can see some farms, marks of a village that is no longer.
On the (dijk), where once was the village called Oterdum, the gravestones have been placed together with a monument as a remainder of the village.
In the old days, when there still was a village and a church, many (jutters) lived here.<BR><font color="brown">As written in a local paper:<BR>Bluntly said, fact is that Oterdum just wasn't on the right place. It was as if the little village clang on to the dam. The gutters of the house almost reached the top of the dam and it was as if the little white plastered church stood guard.<BR>But the village had to be demolished for industries that never came, for promises never kept. All for a dam on delta height.<BR>Oterdum was demolished. Oterdum, once a fortified place, regained from the Spanish troops in 1583 to be never given away again, was simply wiped of off the face of the earth. Gone nowhere. Gone with the wind.<BR>Once it was a lovely little village, cosy cuddling up to the dam and partially on the dam. At the preaching chair the reverend had a splended view over the sea which has resulted in a locally very known story about the reverend giving his followers a whole new perspective in the midsth of his preaching: "You gathered, it is good to be here, for overthere on the sea a ship goes down with man and mouse." Within minutes the church were empty.<BR>So the story tells, but most likely not many people will have left the church for the people of Oterdum where not a true church going community. If there were 7 souls in the church on a Sunday it meant that the reverend had a good day.<BR>Most people came to the last service that was held in this church on September 7th, 1969. A suitable text was read and when he was finished, the Holy Book was dramatically closed with a loud bang.<BR>Church and village seized to exist. The 200 residents that were left, went away quietly, without protesting, without resistance. The complaints came far more later.<BR>The graves remained on the dam. About 50 total, standing up and lying down. One with a butterfly engraved in it, as a symbol of mortality, another with a sand clock or a (zeis) and some even with a skull. Names you can see here are: Toxopeus, Steenhuis, Lesman and Nijhoff. Only the older graves, for the newer ones were just replaced to a cemetry in another village.<BR>A former resident recalls: "My little brother and my father, both gone far too soon, were re-buried in Siddeburen after Oterdum had gone. I was only eleven when our farm went down, I thought it quite exciting, but now I say they demolished Oterdum for nothing. So sad. I was back in Oterdum last year. Look, I could say, here s where I was born. Here, where you can see nothing. I have no roots. I am cut off from my past and that hurts the most when I am standing there at the dam."<BR>

*The place has become a pilgrimage place. For former residents when they pass by or for a day out with the family. A spot to remember those who had to go. A place to think back or to relive. On that spot now is a monument.<BR>An open hand, with in the palm that little church.<BR>It's no fist, for the fight has been fought long time ago and they lost.<BR>It is the Hand of God, comforting old-residents......<BR><BR><BR><font color="green">Dancing Alone<BR><BR>It came on a Tuesday, and why I remember<BR>Tuesdays are not days in early November<BR>for international calls<BR>not usually . . .<BR>Tuesdays are days for dancing with sheets<BR>for folding fat clouds into perfect white pleats<BR>when God's in his laundry and the earth smelled of soap<BR>like it did in a dream when I skipped with a rope<BR>and watched someone else do the wash dance of old<BR>Step two three cross<BR>Back two three fold<BR>No--Tuesdays are not days in early November<BR>for long distance calls, but I'll always remember<BR>the faraway voice saying--"Sorry to phone"<BR>Step two three cross<BR>Back two three home<BR>The call I'd long dreaded had finally come<BR><BR>Janet Humphreys<BR><BR><font color="brown"size="3">Copyright 2001 Janet Humphreys

  • Intro Updated Feb 16, 2003
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