Sometimes you see things that really make you wonder what’s going on … just off the canal in the centre of Schoonhoven is a small alleyway path, with a row of typical Dutch buildings next door.
In the case it’s very old typical Dutch buildings and also typical in a country with an ever constant battle with the water-table, subsidence is a centuries old issue.
Dutch buildings are of course mostly of the “joined-up” variety so your side walls left and right are also that of your neighbours left and right, so naturally like a house of cards, it’s important that any significant shift in the deck doesn’t result in a domino effect.
Ok, I’m mixing domino and card games metaphor ideas a little much, but you get the idea.
Here, at the end of an entire block of shops and houses, it’s evident that there’s been a significant structural problem… but it’s also clear that drastic steps have been taken to remedy the situation too.
The Dutch have become rather good at restraining Mother Nature,and here is a prime example, if rather a dramatic one.
A network of massive beams and ironwork bracing have been inserted deep into the fabric of the buildings, counteracting the severe bowing of the building. This bracing acts like a corset, restraining the excess bulges, like seriously industrial Spanx.
Usually you wouldn’t see work this intrusive or extensive in a set of “regular” shops or dwellings, so I’m assuming that there is special historical importance in the buildings, or that in fact the “domino effect” is so pronounced that if they didn’t shore up the end of the row then the entire block would have been lost.
It was very hard to photograph due to the narrowness of the alley and the obstacles around me, but if I think I have a hassle closing my 1930′s balcony doors in winter because the house is groaning and sticking with the cold and damp then imagine what hassles these owners must have with cupboards and doors in winter in these houses.
Trying to hang a painting up straight must be a nightmare! This is certainly one set of pins you wouldn’t want to think about pulling out of their holes…