The Amelander cultural histiry is very interesting and when you want to know everything about it, this is the place to be. In Hollum at the Sorgdrager museum one shows you a great collection from the past within a farmhouse and two connected commandeurs houses. On of the last has a authentic "style" room with painted tiles on the walls. The museum is telling the story of Ameland step by step and also pays attention to it's dialect and cultural aspects, by showing manuscripts, taditional clothing etc.
It's very clear that the Baptist (Doopsgezinde) community has strong roots on Ameland as they are represented in three out of four villages. Hollum too has a house of worship within this religious christian group. It is one of three churches in Hollum and is across the street at the Sorgdrager museum. A simple temple as their house of prayer.
The old Dutch Reformed church has a tower that is exactly like the belltowers in Ballum and Nes. The church was built in 1678, before the tower in Ballum, but after the one in Nes. It's tower however is from about the same time as the one in Nes. The towers have a so called "saddle" roof and are therefor easy to be recognised from sea. In the cemetry surrounding the church are many intresting gravestones from whaling caommandeurs. Among them the famous Hidde Kat with a very simple last resting place.
Historically seen the most famous inhabitant of Hollum was Hidde Kat. This commandeur (captain on a whaling ships) became famous after he published his ships journals of his journey over the ice after his ship was crashed by the ice North of Iceland. Only a few survived the long march through bare cold that ended up with the Inuit at Greenland. A year later he arrived back at Hollum, never to set sail on a whaling expedition again. The story is not as famous as Moby Dick, but still gives a great impression about what it was to go hunting for the largest animals in the world.
Like in Nes, Hollum has numerous commandeurs houses. With their significant tooth rows in stones at the upper front facade, they determine the scenery within the village. Another typical thing at them are the year numbers made out of the iron anchors stuck into the facade. Commandeurs were captains on whaling ships that roam the Northern ice sea in the 17th and 18th century.
Hollum is one of the four villages in Ameland and lays the furthest to the West at almost the end of the island. Here the dunes from the Northern flanks meet the dike that protect the Southern polder shores. The village is very pictoresque and has been protected by state as a complete monument. The commandeur houses, the farms, the windmill and it's three churches make up a cosy small village where history is still felt when walking through it's winding and narrow streets.
Nes itself is a very pictoresque village and I have tried to make many pictures to proove this on this page. In the enclosed travellogue you can see some more examples of the specific islander architecture, that brought the village centre a few centuries ago into it's present shape. Especially the "commandeurs" houses are attractive, but there's much more to see in Nes.
Especially the Catholic citizens of Nes are very proud about the fact that their little village brought a cardinal into the vatican. Born at the 10th of September 1885, mgr. De Jong of the holy Saint Clemens church left to Utrecht to become later bishop in this place. Pope Pius the XII "created" him to cardinal at his side in the Vatican within Rome in Februari 1940. He died in Amerfoort in the nunnery in 1955 and lies burried in Utrecht.
From the "Veerdam" (Ferry dam) in Nes there are a few possibilities in setting sail on the "Wadden" sea. Hot item is to go to a shell sand bank, but above all the trip to the seals is popular. These animals are like a symbol from the "Wadden" sea and of course anyhow adorable. The boats often leave at certain times, so make sure you book out front in the high season.
There is a complete sceleton of a pot fish (whale), one that was washed upon the shores of Ameland. One can also step into the inside of a whale, though Ilja was a little bit afraid in doing so. A film that is hosted by a seagul that tells about the island is very funny and nice. Outside one can step back in time in the ice age tunnel.
Already long before going Ilja was talking about seeing the seals. On TV he is crazy about a commercial about the seals centre at Pieterburen. However, during the "robbentocht" Ilja fell asleep and missed the real seals. In the museum he made that up. Well, okay, they were stuffed. To make it up, we bought him a T-shirt with little seals (his favourit at the moment).
In Nes there's also one of four museums of Ameland. This is the nature museum, giving a perfect view about the natural and geological beauty of the island. Ilja and me went there and it seemed also to be a place that Ilja liked very much (he is now - two weeks later) still talking about the whale and the talking seagull. The museum really gives a good impresion about the special nature that Ameland has and also in a very clear way and has many ways in explaining things.
In Nes the school has a very special entrance gate. Here the jaw of a whale is standing up straight and showing what huge animals the whale actually is. The one that is standing here is from a whale that was shot in 1959/1960 by captain Flotten of the AM8. This Southern Rightwhale was exceptionally large (27 meters long) and weighted around 150 tons!
On Ameland there used to be many windmills, but only two are left (one in Nes, one in Hollum). One needed an "octrooi" (permit) to built a windmill on the island and only The Lord of Ameland could give you this. In 1629 this mill was built, the costs for the permit were 60 guilders (quite the amount in those days). In 1833 the windmill was blown apart in a fierce storm. In the same year it was rebuilt, baring the name "De Hoop" (The Hope). However, in 1880 lighting struck and the mill burned down to the ground. Pieter Boelens, the miller, didn't give up and another windmill arose, now baring the name "Phenix" (arisen from the ashes). Restorations in 1952, 1980 and 1991 resulted in the windmill we see today and also the inside can be admired.
Of course, on Ameland too agriculture was of life importance to the islanders. Small farms with cattle (often sheeps, see local customs tips) provided in milk (and so also butter and cheese), wool, meat etc. Also vegetables were being grown here, but not that successfull. The salty sea air and seawater drenched earth resulted in louzy harvest in this matter. Farmers however were poor in excistance and often took up "jutterij" besides the agricultural business. "Jutterij" was the search for washed up goods on the beach. The law provided in a "finders keepers" principle in the old days.
On the other side of Nes is the other cemetry. It is situated in the natural recreational area "De Vleyen". On this church there are also some specific graves, the white rounded stones of the well known common wealth wargraves. In the sea and in the polder of the island bombers were crashed after being hit by German "FLAG". The pilots are burried here.
Finally, the Catholic church also houses a cemetry.