"Rixt van het Oerd"
The story of Rixt of the Oerd or 'Ritske Moai', as many call the statue in Buren, is a well-known story on Ameland. Not without reason is the story used frequently during school trip colorful evenings. It is an exciting story, which allows everybody to imagine the circumstances in which Rixt and her son Sjoerd found themselves.
The story of Rixt of the Oerd
After the death of her husband, Rixt – a poor Fisherman’s widow – left the Frysian coastal village Wierum.
Together with her son Sjoerd she settled in a ramshackle hut on the Oerd, in the rugged dunes of eastern Ameland.
They lived off beachcombing. Day and night the old hunched figure of Rixt was seen on the beach and together with Sjoerd she carried these recovered goods through the dunes to their little hut.
However, Sjoerd heard the calling of the ocean and he wanted to work on a ship. Rixt tried to change her son’s mind. After all, the perils of the sea were plentiful: she could witness that daily on the beach.
Still, Sjoerd followed through and one day just left home. Alone and crushed, Rixt stayed behind.
Beachcombing became harder for her by the day…. Struggling and trudging, she continued to bring the found goods back to her hut. Exhausted and completely worn out, she peered out of her window for hours on end. The sea didn’t give up many more treasures. Not a single ship ran aground. On top of it all, the sea had lured Sjoerd off the island!
Rixt started plotting a diabolical plan:
REVENGE, revenge she needed to get even with the sea!
The revenge of Rixt
In the dead of night, whilst the storm was raging , Rixt took her lantarn and went on her way. Het target was the highest dune on Oerd. After intense climbing, which took much of her strength, she reached the top of the dune. She ignited the lantarn and waved it around, whilst dancing and screaming hysterically.
At sea a ship was slogging against the storm: it was heavily swaying. More and more the ship inched toward the Dutch coast. The captain peered anxiously into the dark night. Did he see it well? A light? A little while later, he noticed it again, more clearly this time. Thinking of a safe harbour, the captain gave orders to change course.
Then came the unexpected catastrophe. Epic white waves emerged in front of the ship. Orders to and fro: “Change course…!”
But it was already too late. The ship had run aground on a sand bank… near the Oerd.
Relentlessly, the groundswells kept pounding on the ship and when dawn came there was nothing left of the ship but driftwood. None of the crew survived. Rixt had her revenge!
Daylight had barely broken and Rixt was already roaming the beach. Between the washed up debris she was searching for “treasures”. But….what was that? Her heart was in her throat, she struggled to breathe. There she found the lifeless body of Sjoerd… her own son! Again, the sea had claimed victory! Screaming and hollering Rixt disappeared into the dunes…
never to be seen again. Only when the nights are dark and a storm rages across the Oerd, the wandering spirit of Rixt revives. Those who listen carefully will hear: Hoe-oe-oei…. Sjoe-oe-oerd….
The statue of "Rixt van het Oerd"
Since 1980 a statue of Rixt of the Oerd can be found in Buren, complete with stick and lantarn. The statue is made by artist Annet Haring. It was placed on a round hard stone plateau on a brickwork base, with a small plaque bearing the name "Ritskemooi".