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A short history of Bolnes in the land of the great rivers..

The village of Bolnes, at the end of the 19th century, was a 2 km long agricultural village on a dike along the river "Nieuwe Maas" on the isle of IJsselmonde.

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Ringdijk along Boezemkade
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Bleaching of the wash

The geographical location close by the sea harbours and major wide rivers were attractive for many shipbuilders. At first there were the wooden ships with wind propulsion, thereafter the steam vessels made with rivetted steel hulls,followed by the welded steel modern motorized vessels.

The "Stoomboot"service company was set up in 1857 to carry passengers and freight. A regular service was set up of which Bolnes was one of the stops. The price for a ticket to Rotterdam was 12 cents (guilder currency). The farmers who took their cattle to the market paid half a cent for an ox or a cow. In severe winters, eg 1929, when rivers freeze, icebreakers would break open the ice in order to maintain the service.

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Icebreaker on the Nieuwe Maas I
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Icebreaker on the Nieuwe Maas II

Bolnes expanded in a short time, along the riverside, to one long industrial estate with shipbuilding and repair wharfs.

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Schipbuildingwarfs in Bolnes as seen from the air
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Tugboat "Pieter Boele"
The end of the shipbuilding activities, as a result of competition in the shipbuilding market, came in the 80's of the last century.

The Reformed Church of Bolnes built in 1880.

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The former Reformed Church (photo 1905)

The church in Bolnes became too small to accomodate the growth of the village after the Second World War. It was decided to erect a new church in the area of the expanded housing estate. The old church was demolished to make room for dike fortifications as a part of the national water defence "Deltaplan" (This plan was the result of the catastrophic gale-flooding of 1953)

The Boezemkerk and "the red organ".

The Boezemkerk was founded in 1957.


The Boezemkerk (photo 2007)

The organ was commissioned in 1960.
The organ was built by Willem van Leeuwen Gzn, an organbuilder in Leiden, using the purely mechanical VEKA windchest-system.
The organ has 18 speaking stops.
The organ is viewed as a good mechanical instrument, built along generally accepted norms of that period. Considering the specification as well as the construction year one would expect a neobaroque organ, but that's not the way the organ sounds. It has its own characteristic sound.

The organbuilder called it "the red organ" because the colour of the organ case.

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The organ of the Boezemkerk

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Permission to use the historic photos was given by de Oudheidkamer Ridderkerk.
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