Eighth Wonder? Texel ship diorama Part 1

I was almost incontinent with excitement on seeing this level of detail.

I am an unashamed Naval Nut and always have been. It doesn't matter what the subject is, if its in the water and looks remotely interesting I'll be all over it.

Den Helder is home port to the Dutch fleet - Belgian frigate Leopold I in centre

Having accidentally come across some pictures of the ship diorama at Texel about a year ago I put it on my buck list. On our recent trip to Tactica, Toggy and I managed to cram Texel in on the way north east. A minor diversion from Ijmuiden? No. We drove for an hour or so and reached Den Helder without any pre-knowledge of its significance in Dutch Naval tradition.

The Wee flat-bed which took us across to Texel - two of these run simultaneously

We thought, two minutes on a wee flat-bed from Den Helder across the stream to Texel and job would be a good 'un. Texel is several miles across a cold North Sea from Den Helder. The 'wee Flat- bed' turned out to be a super modern, clean, fast, well appointment Ro-ro.

Where to start? Every cm of this monster had some miniature work of art

The icy cold wind fed by the incoming Beast from the East - Storm Emma added a new phrase to the LoA Lexicon - The Texel Test. All cold is now measured against the east-head wind experienced crossing from Den Helder to Texel. Standing on the open bow viewing platform provided the necessary wind-chill factor. It was nearly off the scale despite the crystal clear sky.

A battle damaged and captured English man o'war is towed into Texel Roads

Anyway, it was all worth it. This sleepy museum on 'Party Island' Texel is full of nautical magnificence. In two parts I will share some of the absolutely breathtaking excellence of model making at its apex. The detail on these ships is peerless and whoever the model makers were are in my opinion at the top of the military modelling mountain.

Beached but salvagaeable - the shipwrights are at work

The detail and realism of poses, activities and expression are astounding

Linger over these works of art from the Golden Age of Dutch naval success, you are never going to see anything better.

One of the Dutch flagships
A merchantman - possibly an East or West Indiaman
One of the more than 100 models in the massive diorama