Harbor Lights

Stavoren, Netherlands | C.1884

Photo Credit: @makivyphotos

The two harbor lights (‘low lights’) of Stavoren Harbor are beacons that mark the entrance to the old port of Stavoren in the extreme southwest of Friesland in the Netherlands.

Standing on the ends of the southern and northern dams of the harbor, they were manufactured in 1884 by the Brothers and Co. from Birmingham, England. The two lights are identical, consisting of a single story formed by six open cast iron panels on a natural stone band – but the southern light is green & white and the northern red & white.

International agreements have been made about the color of port lights by means of the IALA Maritime Ordering System that has been designed by the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). Port Heads are among the lateral marks where the colors red and green are used to light the harbor lights.

Due to historical reasons, there are two regions worldwide that apply the use of the color differently. In Region A – Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and most of Asia – if you use a port from the sea, you will be red on port and green on starboard. In Region B – North America, Central & South America, Japan, Korea – this use of color is exactly the opposite.

Since 1999, the harbor lights in Stavoren have been protected as a national monument because of their cultural and architectural importance, aesthetic quality and location, connected with the development of the port.

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