Jörg Nadler’s museum of ancient fishing gear

Ancient fishing equipment 7

Jörg Nadler's ancient fishing equipment Jörg Nadler's ancient fishing equipment Jörg Nadler's ancient fishing equipment

Jörg Nadler's ancient fishing equipment Jörg Nadler's ancient fishing equipment Jörg Nadler's ancient fishing equipment

Jörg Nadler’s museum of ancient fishing gear was one of the treats of the Nordhorn Fest der Kanäle in Germany last weekend – as was his demonstration of hemp rope making – but I’ll post on that later.

The first three photos show samples of eel spears – eel-catching tridents – through centuries. The first photo starts with the Stone Age on the left, while the second photo takes us up to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The spears laid out on the tanned cloth look very much like similar implements I’ve seen from Norfolk. The remainder are of various kinds of nets.

Jörg is a very practical historian, and makes his living fishing by ancient techniques in a German fjord that  runs from the Baltic Sea to the town of Schleswig.

Jantje goes back to work – at the zoo

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Jantje on the River Vechte, old church in the background

Manfred at the helm while passing low bridge, note the way the helm is put down passengers boarding Jantje Jantje leaving mooring

a warm welcome with local schnaps at the zoo Jantje a meeting on the lake Jantje on Lake Vechte

Jantje performing ferrying duties on the River Vechte and Lake Vechte – note the handy way Jantje’s tiller is lowered when passing under a low bridge

Jantje has been back to work raising money by helping to carry people to and from a local zoo after a freak summer storm raged through the Duchy of Bentheim causing severe damage and one death.

Regular correspondent Hans-Christian Rieck tells the story of how the tjalk got involved:

‘The zoo near Nordhorn was heavily hit, resulting damages valued at about €500.000. The Graf Ship Association, together with the local tourist board and the donors who enabled us to purchase Jantje, decided to organise a relief service for the zoo’s animals and staff.

‘Within a week we turned Jantje into a temporary passenger ship and even managed to obtain all the legal documents for this purpose from the district administration – this was necessary as the stretch of the  River Vechte that Jantje would need to follow to reach the zoo is normally prohibited for motor vessels.

‘So on Sunday the 15th of August a freight ship cruised the River Vechte upstream of Nordhorn for the first time since 1839.

‘At the end of the day, we collected about €2000 for the zoo – though I think we would have made more money if we had charged all the people who photographed Jantje from the banks of the river! Just €1 for each photo would have made the zoo rich!

‘Nevertheless it was a fine day and the popularity of Jantje increased further, with many people asking us to use her to provide a permanent ferry between the town and zoo. But, as the Graf Ship Association is a registered charity, it’s not possible.

‘By the way, plans to get her rig in working order are well on the way; we are in contact with our local sailing club to get a crew. Next year we will begin trials on Lake Vechte and maybe in 2012 we’ll have her sailing on Jantje’s traditional water, the Ijsselmeer.



Thanks Hans-Christian! I trust your leg is improving after your break some weeks ago.

Tjalk Jantje is back on the water and will soon have a new cotton rig

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Tjalk Jantje now, before she was restored, the celebration, and her sail arranged for tanning – and the pot used in tanning

In Nordhorn in Germany near the border with Holland, poor Hans-Christian Rieck has broken his foot working on his organisation’s tjalk named Jantje. Having broken my own ankle last year he has my heartfelt sympathy, and I can only hope his recovery is rather better than mine has been.

A small consolation is that he’s at last had time to tell us about the boat. Here’s what he has to say about Jantje:

Jantje is one of the Dutch Tjalks, in this case of a subtype called Steilsteven – it’s equivalent in England would be the Thames barge.

‘She was built in 1923 at Delftzijl on the Dutch side of the River Ems estuary and worked the Frisian Lakes until the 1960s, when she was laid up, being to small and to slow to be competitive. Sadly neglected, she spent 30 or so years on a mooring at Makkum on the Ijsselmmer.

‘Fortunately, some businessmen of our town Nordhorn came upon the idea to aquire a historic ship as a reminder of the glorious maritime past of our city, and when the treasurer of our association and myself were asked to find a suitable craft, we found Jantje.

‘She was bought, sandblasted, sprayed and then fitted out with an advanced system of ballast tanks to enable her to enter the city, as in recent times our city fathers have built bridges with very limited headroom over our canals and rivers.

‘The ship now floats at a jetty by the old town port and will frequently leave her mooring for special maritime events in our area.

‘I’ve added some photos of the renewed boat’s christening – the guy with the crutches is me by the way!

‘We have tanned Jantje’s sails the traditional way with the help of Hermann Ostermann, whom you may have heard of, one of the last guys to knows how to tan a cotton sail the proper way. We hope to have the traditional rig ready by next spring, so we can have a test sail on Lake Vechte at the next canal festival.’

Many thanks Hans-Christian! I look forward to hearing more in the not too distant future.