Saturday, 11 January 2014

King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy as an early car driver

King Victor Emmanuel III (Italian: Vittorio Emanuele III , 1869 – 1947) enjoyed driving around in his automobile already in 1905:

King Victor Emmanuel enjoying a drive, with his aide-de-camp as passenger. (Photo probably from 1905)

The ladies from Dalecarlia

The young ladies of the historical province of Dalecarlia (Dalarna in Swedish) were famous for their love of independence - and beauty - already in the 1890s:

Two young ladies from Dalecarlia, dressed in Rättvik costumes. (About 1890)

A young lady dressed in the Rättvik winter costume. (About 1890)

A Still-Leben on a Rainy Day

A Still-Leben on a rainy day, with my "coast artillery":

Ecological food

It is nice that there are now so many ecological food products available in my local store.
Here are a few of them:

Friday, 10 January 2014

My sharpest ever bird photo

I definitively find it easier to get sharp photos of this kind of birds!


In case you wonder, the sculpture is by Veikko Haukkavaara, a Finnish artist who was well known for his sculptures, welded out of pieces of metal.

Cargo ship Virtsu in the Sound

General cargo vessel Virtsu (90m x 16m, UK flag) was this morning going northwards in the Øresund strait, loaded with parts of a wind turbine.

Buoy-laying vessel Scandica in Øresund

The Swedish Maritime Administration's buoy-laying vessel Scandica (57m x 12m) was this morning doing what it supposed to do in Øresund:

Scandica this morning close to Hittarp in Øresund. The ship can also be used as an icebreaker.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Portsmouth - Caen ferry Mont St. Michel on its way to Gdansk

The Portsmouth - Caen ferry Mont St Michel was early this morning in Øresund on its way to Gdansk. The 173 m x 30 m ferry, which can carry up to 2,200 passengers and 800 cars will probably undergo some kind of maintenance/refurbishment while in Gdansk. A look at the Brittany Ferries timetable shows that the Mont St. Michel will be back on its normal route on February 4.

The Mont St Michel approaching Helsingør early this morning.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The meeting between Tsar Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm II in the Gulf of Finland in July 1905

Tsar Nicholas II on board Kaiser Wilhelm's yacht Hohenzollern in 1905.

This photograph shows Tsar Nicholas II arriving at Kaiser Wilhelm II's yacht Hohenzollern on July 23, 1905. On the following day the Tsar signed the Treaty of Björkö (in Finnish Koivisto), a secret mutual defense accord with the German Empire, a treaty which was never to be ratified by the Russians. (And as a matter of fact the treaty was also rejected in Berlin.)

Below is an account of the event from Lamar Cecile's excellent book Wilhelm II: Emperor and Exile 1900 - 1941:

"At the end of October 1904, Wilhelm supplied the tsar with a draft alliance, and this led to a flurry of exchanges between the two sovereigns. What emerged from these negotiations was a treaty in which both powers provided the other with military aid in the event either was attacked in Europe or elsewhere. Nicholas, however, was unwilling to commit himself without first consulting his French allies, and Wilhelm's insistence that confidences were properly to be shared only between princes or rulers made no impression on the tsar. The matter therefore lay in abeyance as 1904 turned into 1905. The new year, however, brought a series of grave reverses for Nicholas II: the loss of Port Arthur on 2 January 1905; the colossal defeat of the tsar's Manchurian army at Mukden early in March; and finally, on 27 May, the annihilation in the Sea of Japan of the Russian fleet, which was laboriously making for Port Arthur. In addition, at the end of January 1905, Russia had exploded in what the Kaiser called the "Jew Revolution". Nicholas II's ability to resist Wilhelm's importuning to enter into an alliance was therefore considerably weaker than it had been during their negotiations in the fall of 1904, and he agreed to meet the Kaiser off the island of Björkö in the Gulf of Finland. After the Hohenzollern and the tsar's Polar Star dropped anchor off Björkö on 23 July 1905, Nicholas boarded the German yacht for dinner, in an unusual show of affability, stayed until 3 o'clock in the morning. He assured Wilhelm II, that with the Maroccan crisis defused by Delcassé's fall, there were no further barriers to Franco-German accord. Moreover, the tsar declared that he would never enter into an entente with England, most specifically not one directed against Germany. At nine the next morning, Wilhelm boarded the Polar Star, and he and the tsar retired to Nicholas II's cabin to affix the signatures to the so called  Björkö treaty."                                                   
However, as mentioned above, the Björkö Treaty was never ratified:

Although the treaty was signed by the Tsar, it was inevitably a "dead letter" because of Russia's commitment to France. The Russian statesmen Sergey Witte and Vladimir Lambsdorff, neither present at the yacht nor consulted beforehand, insisted that the treaty should never come into effect unless it was approved and signed by France. The Tsar gave in to their pressure, much to the consternation of the Kaiser who did not fail to reproach his cousin: "We joined hands and signed before God, who heard our vows!... What is signed, is signed! and God is our testator!" 

The lieutenant who introduced ambulance dogs in Sweden in 1905

Dogs have since ancient times been used in warfare in different ways, e.g. as "war dogs" in combat, as scouts, sentries and trackers. The use of ambulance dogs, which were trained to locate wounded soldiers, was quite common e.g. in Germany in the early 20th century.
In Sweden, lieutenant E. B:son Lilliehöök was the first person to train ambulance dogs in 1905:

Lietenant E. B:son Lilliehöök together with two of his ambulance dogs in 1905.

In World War I ambulance dogs saved thousands of wounded soldiers:

Red Cross dogs – also known as mercy or ambulance dogs – played an important role in World War I, as they were trained to locate wounded soldiers and bring back help. Injured WWI troops were known to crawl into thickets and concealed areas, which made it difficult for medics to locate them. Owing to their excellent sense of smell and keen hearing, dogs were able to find these wounded soldiers and alert their masters. During the war, it was often only possible to carry wounded soldiers out at night, so Red Cross dogs proved especially effective. The Germans, Italians, French, Russians and British all used ambulance dogs during the Great War. In fact, in his book Scout, Red Cross and Army Dogs, American writer Theo Jager estimated that there were around 10,000 Red Cross dogs in use by the end of the war.

Tanker Stena Performance in Øresund on a Misty Day

This is the oil/chemical tanker Stena Performance (183 m x 40m) on its way to Ventspils on January 3. The ship's distinct "graphics" makes it easy to regognize even on a misty day:

Tanker Stena Performance in Øresund on a misty day. Stena Performance is one of ten sister ships built by Brodosplit shipyard in Croatia.

Monday, 6 January 2014

King Gustaf V of Sweden as a hunter

King Gustaf V (1858-1950) of  was an avid hunter, who regularly took part in hunts in different parts of Sweden as well as abroad. He still participated in a duck shooting in Drottningholm at the age of 92, just a few months before his death. Particularly King Gustaf enjoyed hunting on the island of Öland, in Scania and in the traditional royal hunting grounds Halle- and Hunneberg.

King Gustaf V (third from the left sitting) and his hunting party in Hunneberg in the fall of 1908. Eric Trolle, then minister for foreign affairs, sits on the King's left side and the man on the right side is count Hugo Hamilton, then minister of the interior.
In November 1908 King Gustaf (who had succeeded Oscar II in 1907) and Queen Victoria made official state visits to Great Britain and France. Hunts were part of the programme in both visits.

In Britain King Gustaf's hunting partner was the Prince of Wales (the future King George V), and in France the hunt, which took place at the Château de Rambouillet grounds, was hosted by Clément Armand Fallieres, then President of the French Republic:

King Gustaf V of Sweden at the hunt in Rambouillet in the fall of 1908.

King Gustav together with his host, President Fallieres.
King Gustaf shot 107 animals of the total of 695 at the hunt in Rambouillet.
(Fortunately, this kind of mass hunts are not anymore organized for royals or politicians).

Halle- and Hunteberg in the province of Västergötland, where King Gustaf often hunted, has quite an interesting history:

Halle-and Hunneberg are two unique tableland mountains in the province of Västergötland. They are like islands in the flat lands and differ from the surrounding area both in history as well as in their rich and unique nature. The mountains are composed of several layers of sedimentary types of rocks which were formed at the bottom of the sea several hundreds of millions of years ago.

In 1351 King Magnus Eriksson made the mountain "a royal park" and 200 years later king Gustav Wasa made a decree that all hunting on the mountains was reserved for the king. As time passed the rules became even stricter. The rights of country people to fetch firewood and timber were suspended. In a way, stricter rules were necessary because the mountains were overused during hundreds of years. In 1830 the first forestry plan was erected. Its purpose was to restore the forest on the mountains. In connection with this, access to the mountains was restricted through gates, and guards were hired to make sure theft of wood ceased. Some of the old cottages in which the guards lived are still there. The mountains have remained in the ownership of the federal government ever since the time of king Magnus in the 14th century. Today, it is still the right of the King to hunt for elk on the mountains, but otherwise many changes have been made. Nowadays, the mountains have become an attraction for tourists and are at the same time an important recreational area for approximately 100, 000 people in the surrounding area.

The ro-ro passenger ferry Gotland on its way to Gothenburg for repairs

The ro-ro passenger ferry Gotland in Øresund this afternoon.
The Oskarshamn - Visby passenger ferry Gotland (198 m x 26 m) was late this afternoon on its way to Gothenburg for repairs. The slowly going Gotland was accompanied by a tugboat, which probably means that the ship has a steering or engine related problem.

According to the information on the Gotland ferries webpage, the Gotland should be back in service on January 20.

A 1908 New York street musician

A 1908 New York street musician, playing the cello and the violin at the same time:

One could speculate about what he was playing. Perhaps e.g. Beethoven's Rondeau Concertant No.2, Op.51
 for violin and cello ? Probably not, as the cello part would have been rather difficult to play with the technique
used by the musician in the picture.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Two young kings: A 1909 photograph of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and King Manuel II of Portugal

You might think that this is an old picture of an early gay couple. However, the two elegantly dressed young gentlemen in the photograph from 1909 are King Alfonso XIII of Spain (1886 - 1941) and King Manuel II of Portugal (1889 - 1932).

The photo was published in the Swedish weekly Hvar 8 Dag in 1909 with the subtitle "Faithful Friends and Good Neighbours".  In the 19th century and the early 20th century it was not at all uncommon for men to show friendship and pose in this way.

Hvar 8 Dag also mentions that there were rumours about a planned revolutionary uprising in Portugal.

The rumours proved to be true. The reign of Manuel II ended with the dissolution of the monarchy with the 5 October 1910 revolution. Manuel lived in exile the rest of his life.

Alfonso's reign lasted longer - until 1931 - after which he fled the country as the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed.