Relaxing Walk in Thorn: The Little White Town – The Netherlands
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Hello dear scene walker,
Today we are in the Netherlands, near the Belgian border, in the small town of Thorn.
Thorn is known for its whitewashed houses, monumental buildings and authentic cobbled streets.
It is filled with a rich historical past and to learn more about it we have to go back to the year 990.
The year Count Ansfried founded Thorn Abbey, planned for his retirement and family after leaving public service.
Over the years, the abbey eventually developed into a secular marker or monastery.
Only unmarried women from the high nobility were allowed to enter.
Women within the order who did want to marry lived outside the monastery walls.
Thorn became the smallest independent state in the German Holy Roman Empire, with its own currency, legal system and army.
At a time when men ruled almost all of Europe, noblewomen ruled this region for 800 years.
High in the town center is the impressive Abbey Church of St. Michael.
The church was built over a period of 450 years, starting in the 12th century.
Thorn was a wealthy and successful state until Napoleon put an end to it in the late 18th century.
Under French rule, Thorn became impoverished as the abbess and other noblewomen escaped, while the poor residents stayed behind.
It was from this period that Thorn got its distinct white look.
A tax system was introduced that was calculated based on the size of the windows.
To evade high taxes, the poor residents bricked up the windows.
To hide traces of construction, “scars of poverty”, the houses were whitewashed.
Today, Thorn is known as the little white town, once a symbol of desperation.
Thorn’s main source of income is tourism.
In January 1976, the very first episode of Sesame Street was filmed in Thorn.
Thanks for watching, have a pleasant walk and until the next scene.
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