Monday, April 23, 2012

Bats in the Belfry

You already know about tree huggers and how they can make or break a project, but in this post, instead of trees, keep thinking BAT HUGGERS.

For several years now, even before I arrived at the end of 2009, our city here in the Netherlands has planned renovation of old neighborhoods.  Call them eyesores.  It so happens one of them is situated on two sides of our beautiful senior-living complex.

As a reminder, this is the front of our beautiful complex, in white, where we live.

At first the renovation project got started and then stopped because of lack of funds.  Welcome to the real world, right?!  Renters in the apartments were asked to leave, and then suddenly the bat huggers said NO, the buildings could NOT be torn down.  So things were put on hold and renters were allowed back.  All this since I've been here.

Apparently the city found a solution for the bat huggers because finally renters were asked to leave again and, as of a month ago, the buildings were cordoned off for renovation.

First stage:  FREE THE BATS!

 One morning a couple weeks ago we heard some pounding across the street behind us.
These guys are almost at eye level from our balcony on the backside of our apartment.  In the top middle image you can see our apartment complex on the left, the street between us, and the building being renovated.
That's how close they are to us.
See the bat holes?!

And then on the other street, adjacent to one wall of our complex,
another section of apartments got pounded and punched.
See what I mean about an eyesore?

But how fun to watch these guys at work!
Were they having fun, I wondered?

Did you notice all the brick?
It so happens building with wood in the Netherlands is considered a luxury.
Brick is so much cheaper and readily available.

Speaking of wood, one morning I walked behind the apartments 
from the first collage at the top of this post.
I had heard more commotion going on and this time guys were cutting down a tree.

And that's where I saw the most trash.
In the middle image above, you can look through to OUR apartments on the other side of the street.
And for some reason, these bat holes were punched all the way through the wall.
Don't ask me why.

Don't you wish you knew all the ins and outs about such things you've never seen before?  For one thing, we both had to ask about the holes in the first place.  Supposedly they are escape hatches for the bats!  Are you kidding me!  There are that many bats living inside the walls of these apartments???

And now we wait for the next stage...when the buildings will be torn down.  When that happens, we'll have an open view from our back balcony to the river...until the city has enough funds to build new apartments a few years from now.

Until then, at least the bat huggers are happy!  I guess?

ADDENDUM:  Astrid Googled and found out the bat has been a protected species in the Netherlands since 1973.  For one reason, the mama bat has only one baby per year!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

  Another Jan van Haasteren puzzle completed:  Motorbike Race (1000 pcs).


  1. To me, it is just amazing that bats have that much power. I know, I am not a wool-socks/sandals figure, but I do take care of the envirement. But sometimes it goes too far (in MY humble opinion)
    It is fascinating to see what is going to happen to those houses. I trespassed into the deserted houses. Fun and creepy.
    I know you will keep us posted in your blog, what will happen over the next few months.
    That Puzzle was great fun to you, I could tell. I love it for you that we have these puzzles (and late shifts ;) )
    Wonderful pictures again!!

  2. Astrid: The funny thing is that with tree huggers you can see the trees, but with bat huggers, you wonder what they're talking about! Makes you wonder what will happen next. Not much activity lately. But once it starts up again, I definitely plan to keep a running commentary on the situation. :) Hartstikke bedankt.

  3. Ah well... Since I missed last week's post, it seems that I commented on both the last post and this one all in one comment form (for LAST week) plus a correction for my bad grammar. I imagine you laughing as you read THIS comment since I'm going to tell you how wonderful it was to see the exquisite orchid flower macro image in last week's post! :-)

    As for tree huggers, I will share an image I saw on FB as soon as I find it again. :-) but first, breakfast and coffee to get my brain going.

  4. Victoria: LOL. You really crack me up! Do you ever know for sure if you're coming or going??? :)

    I'll check you out later on FB....

  5. Haha I am smiling at Astrid's wool socks-sandals comment. :-)

    I don't remember seeing that white facade of your apartment building before!

    This is quite a resonant post for me! My university building will be torn down in the coming year, and some of us are in mourning. The bats in the building are notorious, and I have heard several people say they want to, or don't want to, be present to see them whooosh out when the bricks are torn down. Did I tell you we had a literary graffiti event, in which we wrote on the walls inside? I have to post about it one day soon.

  6. Ruth: That Astrid makes me smile/laugh all the time. Seriously. :)

    You'd love what the front of our complex looks like. I've shown it before in collages, probably. Hmmmm. I'll have to find it again for you.

    Anyway, YES, I remember about your graffiti event at your university building. Thank you for reminding me about it because I defintiely want to see some of the graffiti!

  7. Karen: HA! I should have expected that from someone! :)

  8. Eegads, you are rekindling old memories of my childhood on Java. My sisters and I were always creeped out when we visited our aunt's house because her clothesline would fill up with a row of huge bats every day and then they would venture out when it got dark. We always felt like we had to sleep with one eye open. If you don't believe how huge they are, here's a picture of how I remember them:
    I still shudder at the thought of them.

    Having said that, the biologist in me feels compelled to tell you that bats are essential pollinators in the ecosystem. I'm guessing that the powerful horticulturalists in Holland had a say about the fate of your neighborly bats.

    Great post!

  9. DB: OMG, Diana. Those bats are HUMONGOUS. I don't think ours here are anywhere that big. I do know that bats are important, no matter what size, so I'm glad the huggers won out. Thanks for stopping by again!

  10. I'm quite surprised about the bats! I hope they could all escape.

    What "fun" for the renters of those appartments to move out, then in and then out again. I guess they were thrilled...

  11. Carola: If those bats couldn't escape, I'm sure it was THEIR problem and no one else's. HA!

    For all I know, the ones who moved out were not the ones who moved back in...different ones? Who knows for sure, though. No possibility of it ever happening again in its present condition, that's for sure.

  12. Looks like quite a show, Ginnie! I did hate to see them cutting down a pretty little tree. I hope your view to the river is there for a long time!

  13. i thought that the last image was a mural before i read it is a puzzle.

    i'm sure bats are not endangered species, right? i'm surprised they are quite careful with them :) although i can understand where the bat huggers are coming from :)

    have a great week.

  14. I get the bat concern. I was always trying to attract bats to my last house to eat the darn mosquitos and gnats. I found a bat in my table umbrella when I wanted to open it and sit outside. But no, I left the umbrella down and quietly tiptoed away so as not to disturb the darling. It takes all kinds...

  15. WS: I'm not sure why they cut down the tree, Susan, unless it was dead? The leaves were still brown like from last year. I had questions about it, too. And yes, we'll be very interested to see what our new view will be and for how long!

    PC: Astrid says bats are protected here in the Netherlnads since 1973 and thus all these procedures in place. They obviously serve their purpose for a reason. Mama bats have only one baby/year, so it takes a long time to multiply. Most interesting!

    Maery: Awwww. What a sweetie-pie, you, to appreciate a good thing when you see it. As I just told PC, bats are protected here in the Netherlands because of their importance for the environment!

  16. It's so cool to learn the reasons for certain activities, isn't it? Who would have known? So interesting! I love learning so much about your country!

  17. Robin: I love stuff like this...figuring out how things work and why they do things the way they do. YES, I love learning about "my" country, too! :) Thank you.

  18. Wow, you really took an awesome picture series there, of the workers and the apt building. How interesting with the bats, even though I don't want them in our building... yikes.

    Another puzzle?! You're incredible! I really don't know how you do it - it seems like you do it so fast too. Impressive indeed!

  19. LCT: All of this is happening right under our nose, which makes it very easy to document what's going on. At first I didn't like the idea of the bats, which are surely also in our apartment complex. However, we never hear or see them and we know they're very important for the environment. So let them stay! :)

    The puzzles are very addicting for me...and therapeutic, especially after being at the laptop for long periods of time. I'm doing a 500-pc one now from Jan van Haasteren. It seems so fast!

  20. If the bats are losing their homes, it stands to reason that they are going to look for new homes, and as they love the neighbourhood so much, they'll probably move across the street to your buildings. But perhaps there are already a number of established bat families already there? Bats are quite harmless I suppose, but I don't like to think of the walls filling up with stinky bat droppings.
    I'm back from vacation, and I'll be posting pics on the blog from time to time.

  21. It all just reminds me of a demolition zone and a lot like down the street. They have done this to the cement construction and then the new buildings going up all around our area..... Odd the things we see sometimes!

  22. Sham: I'm guessing we'd be very surprised by how many bats there are everywhere! This is when what we don't know doesn't hurt us? I haven't smelled a thing yet! HA!

    I'm looking forward to picturs of your trip. YAY.

    ET: I'm guessing everything gets to an age when it has to be torn down or at least renovated. To be hoest, we're surprised they didn't go the renovation route...but what do we know! We'll be interested to see what takes its place...if we're here that long!

  23. Hmmm.... I'm confused ... surely all this battering holes is going to scare the bats so much they will not breed even if they did make a bid for freedom. So much for conservation.

    We look out onto an amazingly derelict and decrepit, but wonderful old factory building and are rather hoping it houses rare bats and other wildlife so that it can't be pulled down.

  24. Anne: Sometimes you're damned if you do and damned if you don't, as we all know by now. Hopefully we'll both get good photo ops of our respective derelictions. :)

  25. people lived in the buildings with the bats? I assume they never flew inside, go inside the buildings? And what makes them think the bats will leave just because of a few holes? Won't they will just climb back in and find a dark space? And, if they are in those buildings, why not all the buildings surrounding this one... meaning yours? Fascinating.

  26. Margaret: As Astrid would say, I didn't study the subject, but I'm sure there are good answers to all your questions! And yes, I'm sure there are bats in our building too, but they don't bother us and we don't bother them. No, they don't come inside! :)

  27. Well, on one level we (you know ... the collective 'we') took away the bats habitat and built houses on instead .... where were they to go? They may not be the most attractive of species but they fill an important ecological niche and they deserve our protection. I'm impressed that the relevant powers went to such lengths to assist the bats relocation :-)

    I'm no 'wool socks and sandals' man either (yes, we have them here in Australia too :-) )

  28. Geoff: How fun to see you here at this site. Thank you. I totally agree with you about being impressed by how they've taken care of the bats. If everyone did that about everything, we'd have no global warming, I'm sure!

    Astrid is so funny, isn't she, with her wool socks and sandals talk. :D