The Dutch Korps Mariniers

Since living in the Netherlands, I have often seen the mariniers training throughout the city of Rotterdam. Training and hiking with their 40+kg backpacks or at the local swimming pool in all their gear. The Van Ghentkazerne Military Base is in Rotterdam near my previous school too.

The Korps Mariniers are the Dutch amphibious infantry component of the Royal Netherlands Navy, who can be deployed anywhere within the world within 48 hours in all circumstances.

Their motto is Qua Patet Orbis (“As Far As The World Extends”)

Their final week of training is the hardest, with no sleep hiking up to 125km a day, abseiling down the Van Brienenoordbrug bridge, peddling with a boat down to Zealand for different scenario trainings and also climbing up and abseiling from the Hef bridge. Unfortunately it was pretty much raining their final week too!

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Source: Defensie Magazine
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Source: Ad.nl
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Source: Ad.nl

On Friday July 14th I watched the ceremony at the Schouwburgplein, where they exchanged their training beret for the official Mariniers dark blue beret. It was pretty interesting to hear what they had gone through since February 6th, and how their final week went. They arrived at 12pm just as the rain got worse, carrying all their gear and weapon.

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DSC_4275The ceremony wasn’t too long before they were done, wearing the new beret and greeted by loved ones to celebrate. It was great to see the final ceremony in Rotterdam, even with the rain.

Copenhagen, Denmark 2013

With a week off from my previous studies we decided to visit Copenhagen as the destination in April. It was frosty, out of the touristic period and therefore cheap but it was a great choice for us!

Reserving a room at the Generator Hostel was a great choice as it’s right in the center of the city with very welcoming staff. One of the best hostels we have stayed in based on price, location to city and facilities offered. We stayed in a private room with bathroom. Highly recommended!

Since we were visiting in early April, the temperature was around -5°c so when visiting the popular Nyhavn, there were hardly any places open and realistically too cold to enjoy a beer outside! The beautifully coloured haven was still pretty to see without the busy scene of the summer months.

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Exploring the city throughout the week we came across the Rosenborg Castle and the beautiful grounds. We never went in but carried our walk towards the Amalienborg Palace and further around the city.

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One thing we were recommended not to miss was the freetown of Christiania, unused army barracks that were taken over by hippies in 1971. Since we were travelling during February it wasn’t as lively as we had expected. Walking around this area was rather quiet and most stands were closed, plus we only saw the odd person who would walk past smoking weed or playing music to themselves. We can imagine this would be 10 times more busier during the summer months, but still enjoyed the experience to be there.

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Walking from Christiania we visited the Church of Our Saviour and decided to climb the 400 steps to the top of the spiral tower. A very pretty church, totally worth the visit and experience!

Some famous statues not to be missed are the The Little Mermaid and the H.C. Andersen Statue, writer of famous fairytales such as ‘The Ugly Duckling’, ‘The Nightingale’ and of course ‘The Little Mermaid’. It was good to see that the statue wasn’t vandalised with paint or decapitated, which has happend in previous years.

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As it was so cold we also visited Den Bla Planet, a pretty impressive aquarium and easily to reach with public transport. It has a very pleasant walkway throughout to follow and it’s perfect for families and couples.  It ends with a massive tank where you can just sit and watch, enjoying the different species swimming around you.

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We enjoyed the visit, even with the freezing weather. Maybe a small weekend back in the summer time would give us the full experience of Nyhavn, as well as visiting things we didn’t have time for such as Trivoli.