Sunday 28 November 2010

What is a huneligger ?

Quite a few times now I've posted about rides with the Huneliggers, but I think some people are a little confused about what a "huneligger" is. I've seen some refer to the velomobiles that many of us ride as "huneliggers".

Actually, the name comes from Hunebed and ligfiets. Huneliggers is the "Drents Gronings toerligfiets club". i.e. A group of people who like riding recumbent bikes here in Drenthe and Groningen. Ligfiets is the Dutch word for a recumbent bike. The hunebedden deserve a little more explanation:

One of the hunebedden is shown in the photo above. The word literally means "giant's beds", but actually these rock formations are ancient stone tombs. There are 54 of these in the Netherlands, 52 in the province of Drenthe and 2 in Groningen.

The information board explains how the Hunebedden were built around 5000 years ago by the "Trechterbekervolk" (in English, Funnelbeaker people - both languages name ancient people for the artifacts that they left behind). These structures were built to accommodate the dead and were originally covered in soil, which has eroded over time. The stones weigh from 2000 to 20000 kg and were arranged by tens of people working together with levers, sleds, rollers and ropes.

Today I rode my Mango velomobile to visit one of the hunebedden:

I have two recumbents. My velomobile is a Sinner Mango, and I also have a Pashley PDQ.

Many thanks to Théan Slabbert for sending me his music to use. It was -5 C as I set off today, which makes it very much Mango weather. Inside the Mango I was warm with just a T-shirt and leggings and no gloves, but to keep my head and neck warm I had a warm hat and a scarf knitted by my Mum. We organise tours in the area which include visits to the hunebedden.
Read my review of the Sinner Mango Velomobile.


WestfieldWanderer said...

We look forward to seeing these when we (eventually) visit the area.

Frits B said...

In case anybody of your foreign readers wonders, as the Netherlands have no mountains: the stones were deposited here by a Scandinavian glacier. During the last Ice Age, Drenthe was the southernmost tip of a glacier extending all the way from Norway. As the glacier retreated, it left lots of rocks, boulders and stones behind. Many stones were used to build hunebedden but after the people that built them disappeared, the idea that hunebedden were in fact burial places also faded away and many hunebedden were dismantled for use in dikes, as foundations for roads or as ballast on ships; Groningen used to have a large fleet of coasters carrying freight to and from the Baltic seaports. It's only about 150 years ago that people started to see the hunebedden as cultural heritage. There is a hunebedden museum in Borger, East of Assen.

Anonymous said...

We have them in Northern Germany, too. Here they are called Hünengräber ("graves of giants").