Monday, 31 January 2011

A. de Jong-Blom: Hogebeintum

A. de Jong-Blom
(den Helder 1918- Langezwaag Fr. 1986)

Dutch amateur linoleum block printer

(new biographical data and some added examples of her work below: 
december 2011 from Mrs. de Jongs' son Titus) 

The linoleum print, below, a recent local flea market find. Mrs. de Jong, the most common name in Friesland ("Young") and in fact in the entire Netherlands. So there is no easy way finding out who she was. Maybe a Dutch reader recognizes. Maybe it was just made as an evening pass-time in 1962. People did, before television took over.

She choose to depict Hogebeintum (Hegebeintum) the highest (8+ meters) of man made mound or Tumulus (dutch: “Terp”) in the North Seas' tidal mudflats stretching from the Netherlands to Denmark. It’s located just 40 miles from my home. And 5 miles south of my beloved Island of Ameland. Now safely guarded behind modern Delta Dikes but once exposed to Nordic winds and floods blowing from as far as Greenland and the North Pole itself.

These mounds were build as refuge against the North Sea and were inhabited from about 800 BC. The first communities, later kingdoms sprang up from these mounts. Far before the Frisians and the Christian monasteries started building dikes, claiming new land and taming the sea.

The asterix must have been were Mrs. de Jong in 1962 choose her view of Hegebeintum.
Many were excavated and mined in XIX century for their fertile soils created by centuries of acumulating waste and dung. The linoleum print showing the scars on the remaming body of the mound. Without enough support these excavated mounds slowly slide away. In need of restoration and repairs. They yield up Roman and Scandinavian artifacts. The 13th century church and cemetery is but all what is left of this one, the mound Hogebeintum. But many are still intact. They are part of the Frisian history and legacy dominating the otherwise completely flat landscape.
This was as far North as the RomanEmpire grew on mainland Europe. Read Pliny's (Caius Plinius Secundus or , Pliny the elder, AD 23-79) great eye witness account on what he thought of this God forsaken land and its lamentable people "were the land rises from misty seas twice daily": After having seen Hogebeintum, leaving these worthless provinces unconquered Pliny died in action, giving yet another eye witness account of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in his native Italy in AD 79. A true frontline reporter.
Now these Northern provinces, produce (Frisian) cattle “from the best and richest land on earth”), dairy, potatoes and wheat to feed millions of Europeans and for export. And homeland of the proud never conquered Frisians, from Amsterdam to Hamburg to Kopenhagen. West Frisians, East Frisians, and North Frisians.

Visit and listen to the wind in Hogebeintum, Friesland, Netherlands

These new examples of prints by Mrs. de Jong were added december 10th 2011. They are typical products of amateur artist in the 1950-1960's when there was hardly television and people still created their personal Xmas cards. Both Mrs. and Mr. de Jong  were vicars and were called to Hogebeintum in 1958 and lived there until retirement. The second one is a new church seal for the parish of Ferwerd.  

Christmas cards  and a new church seal 


  1. I love it when you do posts like this. You get similar sorts of mounds with farms and villages on top in Syria and Iraq.

  2. Charles, I simply love doing it, glad you liked it.

  3. I like the personal element in this post, your passion for the landscape and its history, but I also like the linocut - the artist was probably an amateur as you say, but it's a powerful piece of work nonetheless.

  4. I think so too, but I know how hard it is produce something as (good as)this. And this is indeed "ma patrie" and yes I love it.

  5. And this is a part of what makes your blog so unique and fascinating.

    1. Karen, you have been reading backwards. It's stream of consciousness writing. And I love Friesland as much you do the valley" It's "the best land on earth" as the Frisians (dairy farmers)say. Thanks.