It is the ideal outdoor hobby in the 1.5-meter society: going for a walk with a metal detector. And you will find something again. Likewise, Walter and Clim Tiemessen (63) from the YouTube channel The Happy Treasure Hunters, who are browsing the Goois nature reserve. “After the first coins, the archaeologist in me woke up.
Walter and Clim Tiemessen (both 63) are looking for treasures on the heath near Hilversum. They publish videos of their experiences on Youtube.
Walter Tiemessen (63) came home from a day of searching near Lage Vuursche and had cleaned his find in the sink. After brushing it thoroughly, he was still not sure whether the heavy thing was really the counterweight of a clock, as he suspected. He decided to send a photo to the police and before he knew it, two police cars and one car from the explosives disposal service were parked on the street.
“No,” he lied, still standing in the kitchen with the counterweight in hand. “In a bag in the car.”
The grenade continued and half an hour later they heard a bang in the distance. The bomb had been detonated near Hilversum. “I don’t like this whole war thing at all,” says Tiemessen. “There are groups of people who are only concerned with World War II. I prefer to look for historical material. “
“One of the officials said that magnet fishing (looking for metals underwater with a fishing magnet on a rope, ed.) Is even more dangerous than what you did,” adds his wife Clim – “Van Clementine” – Tiemessen (63) added. “The explosive pull on the rope can cause an explosive detonation. Fortunately, you didn’t have that.
Looking back, Walter can laugh about it. “It turns out that I was looking in the wrong place where it is not allowed. From that moment on I started checking the search locations more thoroughly. “
You can view online where and when you can search in different ways, for example via the General Local Ordinance (APV) per municipality. Anton Cruysheer (44), chairman of the De Detector Amateur Association: “Every year it happens dozens of times that someone comes across an explosive in a field or in the forest. It can happen. However, it is important that everyone obey the rules to avoid accidents.
Cruysheer: “There are a few important points like digging no more than 8 inches, getting permission from the landowner before searching, not searching during the breeding season and areas where fierce fighting took place during WWII, and when you have dug them up, close the pits again. “
“The nice thing about this hobby is that anyone can buy a metal detector and just get started. Some very special finds are made every year, so they’re still worth checking out. Just don’t expect it to make you rich. The gasoline costs to get anywhere are often higher than the value of the material found. “
Metal seekers often come across metal buckles. The buttons (below) are from a military uniform.
Walter and Clim Tiemessen get out of their car in a parking lot near the Goois nature reserve. The pages are covered in stickers from their YouTube channel: The Happy Treasure Hunters. Both wear hiking pants, sturdy shoes, a belt pouch, a hand shovel in a holster around their waist, gloves, a fleece jacket and a fisherman’s jacket with pockets that reveal everything during the treasure hunt.
A magnifying glass, for example a penknife, all kinds of cloths, medicines for heart failure, reading glasses, car keys, coins. This time they go out without main cameras, but with a metal detector and a shovel. Walter, a television maker in a previous life, has started their own YouTube channel with his wife, where they publish videos about the treasure hunt with English subtitles. The videos are edited to make it look like you have been searching with them for an hour. Ideal slow TV for those who don’t have the time or equipment.
“There is something attractive about it, according to the responses we received,” says Clim. “Every time you stick a shovel in the ground, dhe question: what will it be? That makes it exciting on television. “
“It is pointless to just look somewhere,” says Walter and leads the way to today’s treasure hunt. He’s holding the metal detector in one hand and a shovel in the other. “You have to know where to find something, just immerse yourself in the history of the area. In the 17th century the postal route ran from Amersfoort to Amsterdam. “
Here in the Goois nature reserve, as a detector seeker, you shouldn’t just scour the ground, says Walter. “We are one of the few who get a permit, so we don’t often meet other treasure hunters. Our most beautiful finds are a silver Rijksdaalder from Wilhelmina, a Willemsmunt from 1848 and a hundred other special ones, including one from 1600. “
During the search, curious hikers regularly ask if they have found something. The critical guys who ask if they’re allowed to do what they’re doing are more annoying. “You can see it from afar -” Sir, you shouldn’t be looking here at all. “” Walter raises his eyebrows. “I’m employed by the church, I say then. From the metal removal service. People make a mess of it. We clean up cans, clips and other rubbish. “Oh yes,” they say and move on. I have to tell the real busybody that I have permission before they leave. “
Although Walter and Clim Tiemessen regularly walk alone across the heath with their detector, it gets busier elsewhere. The number of treasure hunters in the Netherlands has increased significantly. It’s exciting, good for your condition (because there is a lot of walking and bending) and the perfect Corona hobby: 1.5 meters apart in the open air. “The number of detectors sold has increased enormously, as has the number of members of our association,” says Cruysheer.
“I’ve been into archeology since I was six, ever since my parents bought a metal detector for me and my brother and sister. The fun of chasing started after I found my first old coin and discovered historical objects to figure out what they were used for. I see metal detection as opening a door to the past in an unexpected way. You never know where you will end up. Many members build a reputable collection and specialize in a particular period – Roman times or the Middle Ages. I didn’t keep my finds in showcases at home, but entered them online in the PAN, the national registration office for archaeological finds. As an amateur archaeologist, you can contribute to the historical knowledge of the Netherlands and view your own collection online. “
Walter Tiemessen developed a treasure hunt three years ago after being attacked by a heart attack bomb – in his own words due to an overly Burgundian lifestyle. “I miraculously survived the operations, after which I immediately stopped smoking and drinking. I had to move and walk the dog a lot. I was so bored that out of curiosity I bought a metal detector to see if it felt like that. My first copy was one from Alibaba, a kid’s thing. I waved as I left. After the first coins, the archaeologist in me woke up. “
His wife Clim was an elementary school teacher for over forty years and stopped working after a series of burnouts. She has been going to the moor with her husband for a few months. “The first time I found four out of eighteen coins within half an hour. Walter was a real beginner’s luck and said: What is that ?! “
“The nice thing is not only to find special coins or other items, but also to find out exactly what you found at home,” says Walter. “Cleaning is also a job in itself. For example, you have to derust silver with soda and store it in aluminum foil. And if it turns out that you’ve found something unique, something of historic value, I’ll keep it and report it online to the PAN. We also find a lot of chaos. Ninety percent is garbage, we see that as a useful cleaning. “
Cruysheer agrees, “Tons of toxic metal are extracted from nature using metal detection. We are the largest association for hobby archeology and metal detection in the Netherlands and have around two thousand members. They’re all very active, that pretty much clears up. “
Walter and Clim Tiemessen set out at least twice a week. “The advantage of the Goois Nature Reserve’s arable land is that it is gigantic. For variety, we also look for variety after doing research online and getting permission from the farmer. If you find something in his field, you have to share the poet, that is the rule. Particularly interestingnt are the newly plowed fields where you can find lots of historical furniture. “
Tiemessen (almost) always has a magnifying glass to check the year of a find. Red Klaas’ treasure
In 2018 a treasure hunter in the polder area between Dirksland and Sommelsdijk came across the jackpot in the Zeeland clay. There with the metal detector a loot of 700 loose silver coins and almost 2300 coins found in a glass, op
a plowed field. The youngest coin dates from 1526, the oldest from 1305, and the total value is estimated at around half a million euros. The coins come from various European countries, including the Netherlands, Italy, England, Germany and France. The story goes that it is a treasure trove of the mythical pirate Rode Klaas, a 16th century Amsterdam captain.
“I do not know the history of this coin treasure”, says the archaeologist Peter Kranendonk (55). “In Amsterdam all kinds of material came in from all over the world via international trade and it could have ended up anywhere. It is forbidden to search in much of Amsterdam. “
As the chief archaeologist, Kranendonk was responsible for the seven hundred thousand finds made while working on the north / south line and is now involved in a late medieval excavation in Uitdam. “In 2016, the Monuments Act was changed to what is known as the Cultural Heritage Act, which says that you can use a metal detector to search the top twelve inches of the ground, but not everywhere. For example, it is forbidden to search for archaeological monuments. The city center of Amsterdam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so you are not allowed to search there, even on the top layer. Magnetic fishing in the canals is also prohibited and dangerous as there may be ammunition and grenades. “
According to Kranendonk, the good news is that the treasure hunter can still find medieval household items from Amsterdam – or a pot of silver coins – in plowed fields in Drenthe or Friesland via a detour. “Since the late Middle Ages, people have met their needs in the cesspool, and broken and superfluous household items have also disappeared there. This cesspool was emptied, and this material ended up on the poorer, flat-bottomed sandy soils to be used as fertilizer. Pipes and other things are still often found in fields. Topime cards show what happened two hundred years ago where you want to look. “
Walter Tiemessen has already seen online that there was a lot of activity on the heath hundreds of years ago. He points across the heather to the raging A27. “There were buses with post and trade to and from Amsterdam. That’s why we think this area is worthwhile. “
It’s time to search so the metal detectors are cranked up. They swing a few feet apart above the ground. After a minute you will hear a low beep, followed by a high one. Walter bends down and hacks a hole in the sand with his shovel. “You have to get to know these beeps a bit; that could be something. “He skilfully skims the detector over the pile of sand next to the hole. After another high beep, he picks up another device: the pin pointer. A couple of pricks in the sand with the squeaky rod and he’s got a bite: a metal bowl from a wine bottle. “We’ll take this for the trash.”
Walter goes on. After an unearthed wire, a used shotgun cartridge, and a corroded wheel supposedly from a watch, Clim makes the first serious find: a penny with Juliana on it. Walter wants to take his magnifying glass out of one of the pockets of his fishing jacket, but has an “older moment” and cannot find it.
If he has searched in vain for all the bags, he looks carefully at the coin with his reading glasses. “You don’t think it’s possible: your year of birth, Clim, 1956! This is just a moment because we didn’t have it in our collection yet. “