Day Eight: Dordrecht, Netherlands

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After a quick trip north east from Bruges, the GLASSMEN finally arrived in Holland late Wednesday night, in preparation for the full rehearsal day Thursday, and the upcoming show in Dordrecht on Friday. The corps had first-hand experience with the narrow streets in the Netherlands, normally meant for bikes and people on foot – or at least a small car. When the busses tried to navigate around the tiny road leading to the sports hall (the GLASSMEN housing site) – it was definitely a sight to see!

Everyone arrived safely – and all got a good night’s sleep – which was definitely needed! The members and staff woke up early to begin the process of shuttling back and forth to the rehearsal fields. Just on the edge of town are dozens of fields on the edge of farmland areas – just like back home in the Midwest! The corps took over a few of these fields (used mainly for soccer), and proceeded with a full 12 hour rehearsal day – including a huge barbecue dinner sponsored by Jean Paul Ratajczak. Though the sound ordinances limit us to 10:00 p.m., the sun still hasn’t full set below the horizon, and it’s amazingly light outside at that time of night. Even moreso early in the morning!

The GLASSMEN rehearse in Dordrecht – the pit keeps on keepin’ on – and the corps enjoys a huge barbecue for dinner.

Here in Dordrecht, people are used to hearing the sounds of drum corps waft from the fields – the city is home to the famous dutch corps, Jubal – which will be touring the US later this summer. Some of the GLASSMEN staff were able to enjoy a quick visit to the Jubal corps’ hall and music center. Jubal was founded in 1911, and they have an impressive number of photos and artifacts from their 95 years of history. And we thought our own 45th Anniversary sounded pretty darn good! Unfortunately, the GLASSMEN will only be spending two short days here in Dordrecht, so they won’t have as much of a chance to check out this unique little town – but we thought we’d fill you in on a few of the details…

GLASSMEN Staff hang out at the Jubal corps hall, filled with decades of memorabilia.

Dordrecht, the oldest city in present-day Holland (circa 1220) has a population of about 120,000. The city is on the Northwest part of Dordrecht Island, surrounded by the junction of three rivers, the Beneden Merwede, the Noord, and the Oude Maas. Standing on the wharf, you can look out over the busiest river junction in Europe. In 1421, a great flood destroyed 17 surrounding villages, covering 50,000 hectares. Dordrecht was the only city to survive. Primarily a medieval mercantile city, there is a also enormous cultural heritage, as many artists have spent time in Dordrecht. For centuries, the cloudy Dutch skies and wide river divide have both been a source of inspiration for painters and poets, including Vincent Van Gogh.

The only windmill left in the city of Dordrecht; and the characteristic Grote Kerk (Great Church).

More tomorrow from this beautiful city and the GLASSMEN’s first drum corps show in Holland. Goede nacht! See you tomorrow on

Posted by on Saturday, July 1st, 2006. Filed under DCI World.