Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Merksplas ...

... hiking: the Vagabond path - 5,8 km
and the Escape path - 11,2 km ...

Cairina moschata ... (EN)
by en.wikipedia.org
... The term "Muscovy" means "from the Moscow region", but
these ducks are neither native there nor were they
there before they became known in Western Europe.

It is not quite clear how the term came about;
it very likely originated between 1550 and 1600,
but did not become widespread until somewhat later...

EN: muscovy duck - NL: muskuseend
FR: Canard musqué, Canard muet, Canard de Barbarie
DE: Moschusente

... young Laetiporus ...

Laetiporus sulphureus ... (EN)
by en.wikipedia.org
... sulphur shelf, chicken of the woods, the chicken mushroom, or
the chicken fungus because many think they taste like chicken...

... the Great Farm ...

Landlopersroute (Vagabonds route) - 55 km
... Vagrancy by bike? It’s also possible.
The Landlopersroute passes by the former vagabonds
in Merksplas and Wortel – Hoogstraten.
You will enjoy a wonderful view over the rural expanse
of the north Kempen. A green circuit along four prisons ...

... the prison's chapel, today used as the visitor's center
with the Museum of the Loss of Liberty ...

... the Great Farm, nowadays
in a dilapidated condition ...

Merksplas ... (EN)
by crwflags.com
... is mostly known for its prison,
one of the four prisons located in Northern Kempen...

... The prison is surrounded by a big domain, officially protected
by law
since 1999, which makes of Merksplas a place unique
in Europe.
The 600-ha domain, surrounded by a circulary canal,
was designed
according to a grid pattern including open fields,
pine and beech woods, moors and remains
of peat bogs
as well as a few clay pits,
used today as storing places or fish ponds ...

the Merksplas vagrancy Institution ...
... was established in 1822 as a place where
physically fit beggars
could be institutionalized
and put to productive work.

And 245 of the nearly 800 inmates at present are vagrants.
(April 1975)

Vagrants usually turn themselves in to the authorities
when in desperate straits. Institutionalization of vagrants
in such places as Merksplas is not a punishment but
a protective measure. A vagrant can ask to be released
when he has earned 7.000 BF (175 euro) by working
in Merksplas. Merksplas offers work in various

occupations, including farming. Work is not obligatory,
but inmates who work receive remuneration.
source: Merksplas prison, sister institution
to the Veenhuizen Prison - Netherlands

by R H De Vries - April 1975