Photographer's Note

‘Wenduine - Washed ashore’

This artwork in the dunes of Wenduine is called 'harbour porpoise' (‘bruinvis’ in Dutch) and is a work of Manon Huguenin.
It is multicoloured and on the partitions you will find poetic texts. I didn’t find any more information.

I used the title 'washed ashore' here because sometimes harbour porpoises and other large fishes do wash ashore and die on our beaches.
But also because the locals of the coast give the name 'the washed ashore' to those who come from more inland to live at the coast.

Just like many Americans from the north of the US move to Florida after their retirement, there are many retirees in Belgium who go to live by the sea.
As a result, the permanent population in the coastal towns is the oldest in the entire country.
In the summer season there are of course a lot of young people and people of all ages who spend their holidays by the sea.
But as far as permanent residents are concerned, every municipality there has an older population.

The term 'the washed up' was familiar to me and I had also heard that it wasn't very easy to make friends with the locals.
When I got into a conversation with an elderly couple on a terrace, I wanted to check that out.
That couple had moved to the coast from an inland town after their retirement and they admitted that it took years for them to make real friends among the locals.
Even when we speak the same language, the difference in accent quickly reveals which part of the country one comes from.
Personally I find that quite disappointing but the couple answered me that they did not experience this as a problem because they had quickly become friends with other 'washed up persons'...

That reminds me of an experience in the south of Spain a few years ago.
I had made a reservation for a few nights in a small bed and breakfast in a town not far from the Mediterranean.
Upon arrival, the owners of this B&B turned out to be Dutch. They were people about the same age as me. They had quit their job in the Netherlands to start a B&B in a sunnier place.
However, they didn't speak Spanish very well and when I asked them if it wasn’t difficult to live there, their answer was that many pensioners from the UK and Scandinavia lived in that town and that they had made several good friends with Britons and Danes.
Apparently there lived almost as many people from the north of Europe as Spaniards.

Perhaps I’m too sensitive as to whether or not I will be accepted in another region or country.
I can travel in other countries and other cultures without any problem and also for a longer time as long as I know that I will go back home someday.
But living somewhere where I'll always be considered as a foreigner by the locals doesn't appeal to me at all. And a life among only other expats is for me even less attractive.

Are there in your countries also people who move to another part of your country after their retirement?
I’m not talking about moving abroad but to another more popular part of your country where people of the same nationality and with the same culture live and where you’re not necessarily easily accepted by the local population.
Just to clarify: I don't mean that the inhabitants of the Belgian coast react negatively when you make contact, but you still have the feeling that you’re not one of them.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6892 W: 24 N: 16206] (63456)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2022-03-09
  • Exposure: 30 seconds
  • Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
  • Date Submitted: 2022-04-14 8:07
Viewed: 0
Points: 42
Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6892 W: 24 N: 16206] (63456)
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