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Frederic Logghe
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Breskens is a harbour town on the Westerschelde in the municipality of Sluis in the province of Zeeland, in the south-western Netherlands. Its population is 4,280 (as of 2001).
The lighthouse of Breskens is the oldest remaining cast-iron lighthouse in the Netherlands. It was built in 1867 and became a monument in 1982.

In early 1487 Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, granted the coastal region of the Scheldt as a fief to Philip of Cleves. The coastal areas were drained and the village of Breskens was founded in 1510.

On May 14, 1940, with the German army approaching, the Dutch government fled to London. Queen Wilhelmina initially ordered the British captain removing her from the Hague to set sail for Breskens from where she wished to lead the resistance against the invading armies. One of the reasons was that Breskens, having two fortresses in the vicinity, could be well defended. She was however, much against her will, delivered on British soil hours later.

On 11 September 1944, during Operation Switchback, the town was carpet-bombed by Allied forces, leaving very little of the historical centre intact. After the war, the town was rebuilt and became a centre for the Dutch fish industry and other maritime-related businesses.

In the nineties, with the fish-industry in terminal decline, tourism became the main economic focus and a number of high-rise apartment blocks were built on the waterfront. (Source: Wikipedia)
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The port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe. Since 2004 Asian ports like Singapore and Shanghai have taken over its world-leading position. In 2004 Rotterdam was the seventh-largest port in the world in terms of containers (TEU) handled.

The EECV-quay of the port has a draft of 24 meters (78 feet), making it the only available mooring location for the iron ore bulk carrier Berge Stahl, the largest bulk cargo ship in the world, apart from its loading port Terminal Mar?timo de Ponta da Madeira in Brazil. The ship's draft of 23 meters (75 feet) leaves only 1 meter (3 feet) of clearing, therefore it has to abide a tidal-window advice before access to the port is granted.

Most important for the port of Rotterdam are the petrochemical industry and general cargo transhipment handlings. The harbour functions as an important transit point for transport of bulk and other goods between the European continent and other parts of the world. From Rotterdam goods are transported by ship, river barge, train or road. Since 2000 the Betuweroute, a fast cargo railway from Rotterdam to Germany, has been under construction. Large oil refineries are located west of the city. The river Meuse and Rhine also provide excellent access to the hinterland.

In the first half of the twentieth century the port activities moved from the centre towards the North Sea. The Nieuwe Waterweg was dug from Rotterdam to the North Sea, a canal to disembogue the shallow Rhine and Meuse. The Nieuwe Waterweg was ready in 1872 and all sorts of industrial activity formed on the banks of this canal.

Rotterdam's harbour territory has been enlarged by the construction of the Europoort (gate to Europe) complex along the mouth of the Nieuwe Waterweg, and by the Maasvlakte in the North Sea near Hoek van Holland. The lay-out of a second Maasvlakte was the subject of political debate in the 1990s, because it would be partly government-financed. Construction started in the summer of 2004. (Source: Wikipedia)
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REM island was built in the Republic of Ireland and towed to a position off the Dutch coastline in 1964 to serve as the pirate broadcasting home of Radio and TV Noordzee. Both of the stations were knocked off the air by a sea and air raid by the armed forces of the Netherlands. (Source: Wikipedia)

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(c) 2009 Frederic Logghe GNU Free Documentation License Birds in the sky
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