After living in sprawling, overcrowded capitals for most of my adult life, I am thoroughly enjoying life on a small island in the North Sea, living in a converted barn outside a village of 1300 souls. Or to be precise, 650 souls from the Dutch Reformed Church and 650 souls from the Restored Reformed Church.
They don’t talk to each other, and each has their own baker in the village. The origin of this latest schism in the historically flaky Dutch church is unclear, but to outsiders it is probably on a scale of importance similar to the introduction of sesame seeds and ciabatta.
Yet the presence of the church is strong here, with street signs welcoming visitors to “The Reformed Community of Northchapel”, with nary a soul on the streets on a Sunday afternoon, and where the tallest buildings around are the church steeples, visible for miles across the flat landscape of the weiland.
And even though the wind may howl all night, the dawn brings its own reward.