Narrator: Meet Jan van der Hoek; he is a fisherman in Enkhuizen.
A village on the shores of what was once the South Sea.
13.10 - Assignment
Play: Jan van der Hoek. A fisherman.
Jan is preparing his boat, picking
up the nets, fixing some holes, and getting ready to take his boat out to see.
It is the year 1935, three years after the completion of the Afsluitdijk,
which turned this sea into a lake: Ijsselmeer.
Jan is one of the last fishermen here, he does this out of habit. His
father was a fisherman, his grandfather, his great grandfather, and his great-great grandfather before him.
In 1916, after the big flood, a decision was made to build a dike.
Turning the salt water into fresh water.
Ja, lekker, what a beautiful day. But it no
longer smells salty, I guess it is the price you pay to stay afloat…
Narrator: This means that Jan cannot catch herring or
anchovies any longer.
Jan gets on his boat and starts to
travel into the water. He closes his eyes and faces the sun.
Water: Jan! Hello again…I missed your boat. What is
keeping the rest of you from coming back?
Jan: Water, you are turning sweet, and we cannot
continue to catch the herring.
Water: Men like to put things where they don’t belong.
The land is swallowing me up.
Jan: I remember when I was a child, you came into
our homes, drowned our gardens, and tore down our walls. But you also give me
my life, I am sad to see you go.
Water: I will no longer stay the same, the same fish
do not accompany me, and the land is keeping me still, not even the moon moves
Jan continues on his boat.
Fish: Jan! We have swum under your boat, your
father’s boat, your grandfather’s boat, and your great grandfather’s boat. We
cannot swim any longer.
Narrator: Says the fish.
Jan: But you must keep swimming! I need you to live,
to feed my family, so that my children and grandchildren, and great
grandchildren can continue to catch you.
Fish: We have no food, the water tastes sweet, and
the tide no longer moves. They have put land in our water and sealed our
Jan catches the fish and puts it in
Fish: You are freer than we, you can sail away,
take your family to the sea.
Land: Jan! You can stay here with me…I was put here
for you, your children, and your great-grandchildren. I will feed you better
than the sea has, you will have milk, meat, wheat.
Narrator: Beckons the land
Surprised, boat moves, and he almost
falls, looks around aimlessly to see where the voice is coming from.
I am Jan van der Hoek! A
fisher man, a man of the sea! I was born a fisherman and will die one.
Land: You know gold glitters more than fish scales…and
that this is no longer a sea. This fresh water will feed cows and fields.
Jan: But…this is how it has always been. I need to
Land: Who are you to fight me? The dyke was put here
to protect you. In me lies your future. Look around! Your neighbor has already
bought a cow.
Jan: Peter has never been a good fisherman; he has
Land: Jan…I will see your hands in the earth.
Jan rushes back to shore.
Narrator: Jan brings back his catch. He wonders if
tomorrow there will be more. He sees Peter’s cow and breathes in the air