Dungrace in the Netherlands: October 20, 2008
Netherlands Baglady Evelien Boskma visits the small Frisian town of Workum, for the annual Dungrace, from Workum to Warmond.
Evelien writes: Yes, dung! Let me explain.
Before the Industrial Revolution, ships would sail from Workum to Warmond with manure (cow-dung) for the bulb-fields in the West of the Netherlands. Later lorries took over the job.
But in the seventies oil became really scarce. A Frisian named Reid de Jong then came up with the idea of re-introducing fuel-free transport. He wanted to use the Workum-Warmond trade route as an exercise. The first exercise took place in 1974.
Although Reid’s suggestion didn’t catch on at the time, the exercise is now repeated every year and is hugely popular, as I witnessed today.
What happens is this:
Because the ships are not allowed to use their engines, people will have to pull them out of the harbour into the lake (see picture). Very hard work, especially if there’s head wind, like today! The ships set sail and use wind power to reach their destination. So, totally eco!
Fortunately Reid de Jong is still able to watch the races. He lives in the Workum lighthouse and is entirely self-sufficient. Very eco.