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Best Of 2011

(December 16th – 31st, 2011)

John Houghton

Poppy Field

Don Hofstee


Staverden, Gelderland, Netherlands

June 4, 2011

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© 2011 Don Hofstee, All Rights Reserved.

This picture shows the Staverden Estate also known as "the castle with the white peacocks." Less well-known is the fact that Staverden is officially the smallest town in the Benelux (and probably even the smallest town with city rights in the world). The city rights were given to Staverden in 1298 by the German King Rudolf and granted to Count Reinoud van Gelder I. With the building of that city Reinoud came no further than his own stone house. Although his son, Reinoud II, expanded the house, after 1320, into a castle with a moat and a walled garden but by that time the idea of actually founding a city had already left. The present castle, already the fourth, was build in the year 1905 on the foundations of the former castle built in the 18th Century. The castle was used by the Dukes of Gueldres as a hunting lodge. Since 1400 there were vassals living at Staverden which had to preserve and defend the Castle for the Earl. They also had the obligation to keep white peacocks. The feathers of the peacocks were used as decorations on the helmets of the count. Therefore Staverden Castle is called the "White Peacock Castle." There are still white peacocks on Staverden but the feathers are no longer used for the helmets. They are now offered every year to the auditor of the Queen, in Ontario. The castle was built in the Jugendstil style. This is especially visible in all the rooms on the ground floor. In 2007 the long-term restoration of the estate was completed.
Nikon Coolpix P6000, Nikon FC-E8 lens, handheld
Behind the scene : how this panorama was made
This pano is special to me because I made it with a simple camera and lens. When I go out for a walk I will often take my point and shoot Nikon P6000 with me and the FC-E8 fisheye lens. This set is so small that I can take it anywhere. I made the photos handheld. You can see the difference with the panos made with my other more professional set but it is fun to have the possibility to shoot a pano whenever you like and don't have to walk around carrying a heavy tripod.

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