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Articles in category "National"

Belgian ports hit by 24-hour general strike

‎All Belgian ports are suffering serious delays due to a general 24-hour strike. The ports of Ostend, Zeebrugge, Ghent and Antwerpen are all being affected by the nationwide strike with knock-on effects likely all week.

The Berendrecht and Zandvliet locks have been blocked by unions since Sunday evening. Three vessels are now stuck in the Berendrecht lock. Reportedly, the Royers, Van Cauwelaert and Kallo locks are back in operation. The Boudewijn lock remains unmanned.
There are less port tugs available and pilots are currenlty unable to board vessels.


As of 0600hrs today workers in the port of Zeebrugge have stopped all their activities. Ships are no longer loaded/discharged.

The Zelzate bridge has been partly raised preventing ships to enter the port of Ghent.

The "Pagaddertoren"

The Belgian word "Pagaddertoren" refers to a small watchtower used by shipowners in the 16th century (Antwerp. Ghent, Bruges).

Days before the anticpated arrival the owner would camp at the top of the tower scanning the horizon waiting for his ship (usually loaded with spices)  to appear.

The name "Pagadder" is derived from the Spanish word "pagadores". Pagadores were responsible for paying the wages to the Spaniards garrisoned in Antwerp. Beause they were of short stature they were not allowed to participate in the actual fighting.

At present the habit of nicknaming small children "Pagadders" is still in use.

It must be said that different interpretations have been given for the origin of the name "Pagadder". We have highlighted only one.

Pictured above is the Pagaddertoren situated at the courtyard of house 'den Rhyn' in Antwerp, a former exchange for spices.