Local Heart, Global Soul

April 27, 2015

Windows, Statues And A Last Look Around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is my final post from Sint-Jankathedral (Sint John’s Cathedral) of s-Hertogenbosch (a.k.a. Den Bosch).

The remaining windows are also beautiful and some feature the names of the donors who helped make or restore them.

I find one modern window tucked away in a side alcove, and more 19th Century windows that feature various coats of arms, all stunningly worked in glass.

Lastly there are the statues that line the main pillars of the cathedral, the ones that separate the nave from the side aisles.

As much attention has been given to the stone as is evident in the stained glass windows: flowing robes, palm fronds, staffs and swords, amazing craftsmanship given that one slip of the chisel could so easily ruin an entire statue.

There is also a wooden statue of a male figure, standing on a plinth with flowers are pot plants at his feet and I’m assuming that this might be St Jan (St John) , the cathedrals namesake because there is also a stand in front of the greenery where worshippers can add a lit candle.

It’s now time for me to rejoin my friends,  we have arranged to meet out the front of the church at a set time and now, all too soon that time is upon us. In fact the morning is racing away and there are still things to do…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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April 26, 2015

More Beautiful Shimmering Panes Of Light…

A Photographic post today…More beautiful stained glass…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(Sint-Janskathedraal) of ‘s-Hertogenbosch

April 25, 2015

Take A Little Piece Of Coloured Glass…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Regular readers know that I love stained glass.

Visiting churches and cathedrels in Europe gives me an inside into stained glass from centuries past, some medieval glass remains, others are mostly 18th and 19th century additions.

Then, in the 20th century there are also some very modern additions alongside their ancient counterparts.

The glass in each church is different, the general idea of central panels with figures, each telling a story from the bible is a central theme, as are ornate borders and corner pieces.

There are also small panels that are personal to the area, details pertaining in certain people and dates, sometimes important people in the area or the church and sometimes benefactors.

Sint-Jankathedral (Sint John’s Cathedral) of s-Hertogenbosch (a.k.a. Den Bosch)  is a cathedral that has all of the above. There is amazing detail in the picture windows that tell the various biblical stories. but also in the detail of the surrounding “frames” and the strip along the base of the windows that depicts various coats of arms etc. and in some ways these outer sections fascinate me as much or sometimes even more than the central parts of the windows.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(Sint-Janskathedraal) of ‘s-Hertogenbosch

April 24, 2015

The Vines On The Ceiling are Growing On Me…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The roof  of the nave in medieval cathedrals almost defy imagination given their height and decorative elements, especially given that they were all made without the modern tools.

when I visited Sint-Janskathedraal (Sint John’s Cathedral) of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in Noord Braband, there happened to be a wedding taking place at the alter, so I took a seat on the isle and listened whilst the couple took their vows.

Just before that however there was a small sermon by the priests about marriage and during that, I pointed camera skywards as I listened.

With the camera on maximum zoom and being without a tripod, seated, I steady myself by leaning back and being as still as I possibly can take photographs of the ceiling high above me.

I first thought that the enter-twining vine like decoration was a “set” repeating pattern, but once I can see them in more detail I find that each section is unique, even opposite sections are not mirror images as I first assumed.

The wonder of this is that “balance” is still perfectly achieved, nothing is seriously lop-sided and it takes a good long look, or a zoom lens to see that each section is really an individual piece.

I’m assuming that this isn’t the original version of the decoration because the original paint has probably been refreshed and given a new layer with each major renovation that cathedral has undergone.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Sint Johns Den Bosch 1k (Small)

(Sint-Janskathedraal) of ‘s-Hertogenbosch

April 23, 2015

A Pulpit, Organ And Icons… St John’s Cathedral, Den Bosch.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Also in the (Sint-Janskathedraal (Sint John’s Cathedral) of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in Noord Braband are several separate prayer areas open to the public to use for that purpose.

I looked into the doorway of one of these areas and spied some wonderful icon images, but not wanting to disturb the people inside the room, kept my distance in the doorway and silently took some photographs without using the flash (as is my custom anyway).

One of the other beautiful things in the cathedral is a wooden carved pulpit, it’s situated in the main body of the church and not up by the alter, and in the same style as the other European churches and cathedrals I have visited, the carved decoration covers every centimetre from top to bottom.

Even the very functional stairs are richly ornamented and it took some very skilful people many months or even maybe years to achieve this amount of detail.

From Wikipedia (link at bottom of this post) I learn that the organ in the cathedral:  ” is one of the most important organs of the Netherlands. The organ case of this organ is one of the most monumental of the Renaissance in the Netherlands.

This organ has a long history that begins with the construction in the period 1618-1638 by Floris Hocque II, Hans Goltfuss and Germer van Hagerbeer. The rood loft and the organ case were built by Frans Simons, a carpenter who probably came from Leiden.

The sculpture of the organ case was carved by Gregor Schysler from Tyrol, who, however, like Floris Hocque, was originally from Cologne.

The organ was renovated, expanded and improved in past centuries by several organ builders, according to the latest fashions.

The last renovation took place in 1984 and was conducted by the Flentrop firm. The organ was restored to about the situation of 1787, as the German organ builder A.G.F. Heyneman left it. Use is made of many pipes of that era, but also of pipes from later periods. In late 2003 the organ was thoroughly cleaned “.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(Sint-Janskathedraal) of ‘s-Hertogenbosch

April 22, 2015

Generations Entombed In Beauty And Bathed In Light…

One of the things that the Sint-Jankathedral (Sint John’s Cathedral) of s-Hertogenbosch (a.k.a. Den Bosch) is famous for, is the collection of beautiful decorative gravestones in it’s floor. They aren’t just flat engravings of names and dates in the floor either, there are some carved in decidedly high relief, and visitors have to be careful not to trip over them. I didn’t have any problem with that, after being this long on crutches I’m constantly looking at my feet. My photographs really don’t do these justice, there is a lot more detail in reality and they are really raised, a small wonder especially considering that some of them are now hundreds of years old. (btw: the splodges of colours in the photographs is light from the stained glass windows).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(Sint-Janskathedraal) of ‘s-Hertogenbosch

April 21, 2015

I’m Suddenly Part Of The Audience As A Wedding Takes Place…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m in the city of  ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch), North Brabant and visiting the Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of St. John (Sint-Janskathedraal).

I’d read on Wikipedia (information in italics and link at bottom of this post) about it’s amazing Gothic architectural exterior but sadly that was under wraps due to containing renovation.

My visit is not in vain however, because the Cathedral has an extensive and richly decorated interior. With a total length of 115 metres (377 ft) and a width of 62 metres (203 ft).

Its tower reaches 73 metres (240 ft) high and was originally built as a parish church and was dedicated to St. John Evangelist.

In 1366 it became a collegiate church, and in 1559 it became the cathedral of the new diocese of ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

After 1629, when the city was conquered by the Protestants and Catholicism was banned, a Protestant minority used the church, which came to be in a heavily dilapidated state.

When Napoleon visited the town in 1810, he restored the building to the Catholics. A Romanesque church used to stand on the spot where the St. John now resides.

Its construction is thought to have started in 1220 and was finished in 1340. Around 1340, building began to extend the church, from which its current gothic style came.

The transept and choir were finished in 1450. In 1505, the romanesque church was largely demolished, leaving only its tower. Construction of the gothic St. John was finished about the year 1525. 

In the year 1584, a fire broke out in the high wooden crossing tower, more majestic than the current one. Soon the whole tower was set ablaze, and it collapsed upon the cathedral itself, taking with it much of the roof up to point where the organ was situated. In 1830, another fire damaged the western tower, which was repaired by 1842. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I start to look around the beautiful interior, and at first I wonder why the area around the chapel is roped off.

As I slowly move down the length of the cathedral and get closer it all becomes clear, it’s a Saturday and there is a wedding taking place at the alter.

I need to rest frequently so take a seat on the isle and take a photograph as the newly married pair, and then their guests follow the priest out of the church.

The groom, who is on  my side of the isle and sees me smiling at them with my camera, gives me a broad smile as I give them the thumbs up as they pass me by.

I have no idea of their names, but I wish them a long and happy marriage and am delighted that they have had the opportunity to get married in such a stunning building. I am certain that they probably are too.

Afterwards I can zoom in on the area behind the alter… the zoom is stretched to it’s limits, especially in the low light further away from the windows. Let’s look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(Sint-Janskathedraal) of ‘s-Hertogenbosch

April 20, 2015

Sint-Janskathedraal: Looking For An Angel With A Mobile Phone…

Filed under: Noord-Braband: 's Hertogenbosch,photography — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whilst my friends enjoy riding themselves giddy at the s-Hertogenbosch fun fair, I opt for a more sedate attraction that I know I will far better enjoy alone: a visit to Sint-Janskathedraal (St. Jan’s / St. John’s Cathedral.)

I fully understand that whilst there are people like myself and my friend “Velvetine” who can think of nothing better than happily spending hours in awe of the spiritually serene atmosphere of a church, admiring the beauty of the stained glass work and architectural detail, that these visits aren’t for everyone, and certainly not for parents of a highly energetic toddler. Especially one who jumps at the chance at bumper cars and dizzying fairground rides.

Regular readers will however know that this is my cup of tea, and I have to confess that there are several reasons that this particular cathedral is on my visit wish-list.

From the comments of friends and family and aterwards from Wikipedia I found out that: it’s the height of Gothic architecture in the Netherlands, it’s a so-called ‘Kanjermonument’ (whopper-monument, loosely translated) and being such, it receives financial support from the Dutch government, that there are some of the most amazing gargoyles to be seen on the outside of the building (not just the detail but also the sheer volume of them is one of the largest in the Netherlands and in Europe).

I’d also heard about a tower walk that’s supposed to give stunning views of both the surrounding area and the gargoyles but obviously that’s completely out due to my limited mobility. In the end I completely missed seeing the outside detail on the building because a whole section of the church is cloaked in scaffolding and undertaking extensive renovation. Wiki tells us:

The first restoration of the cathedral lasted from 1859 to 1946. A second attempt at restoration was executed from 1961 to 1985.

The third and most recent restoration started in 1998 and was completed in 2010, costing more than 48 million euro. Major parts of the building are once again covered by scaffolding erected for restoration of the outer stonework, but also, ironically, to remedy mistakes made by earlier restoration attempts.

Ans then there is a old image that’s gained a modern twist:  The angel with a mobile phone. During the restoration 25 new angels statues had been created by sculptor Ton Mooy, including the one with a modern twist. The last angel in the series holds a mobile phone and also wears jeans. “The phone has just one button, says the artist. – It dials directly to God”. The mobile-using angel had to be first approved by the cathedral’s fathers, who rejected earlier designs with the jet engines on the angel’s back. (Note: if you’d like to see a photograph of this angel then click on the link at the bottom of this post)

It’s already clear that if I want to get gargoyle photographs then I need to come back once these newest 2014 renovations have finished.  Never mind, a return trip one day is a good thing, especially since we have already decided that there is so much to see in the historic centre of the city anyway.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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A horse drawn tour starts outside the Cathedral entrance, I get frantically waved at by some members of a hen’s party who are enjoying themselves rather loudly…(in readiness for the evening ahead, or in continuation of the evening before isn’t entirely clear) They were certainly very friendly…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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The photographs on the scaffolding banner gives an idea of what I would have seen…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sint-Janskathedraal, s-Hertogenbosch

Angel with a mobile phone

 

 

 

 

April 19, 2015

Squeezing The Fun Fair Into Town Is An Art Form…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On my visit to Den Bosch last year I saw something that is a truly uniquely European sight: a fun fair quite literally squeezed into one of the little squares in the centre of town.

The fun fair is called a “kermis” in the Netherlands and the people who run them have turned squeezing in as many attractions as possible into an art form.

My car and sea sickness notoriety extends also to motion sickness on anything like this, so big dippers and swinging arms like these are my idea of hell.

Instead I take photographs of my friend’s toddler on a carousel, which pleases both of us greatly, him for the joy of the ride and me because the painted decoration on the horses, carriages and the carousel itself is stunningly beautiful. The photographs that include him are not posted here for reasons of personal privacy, but I did get some photographs of the carousel horses.  I’m also surprised because this is a double-decker carousel, the first I have ever seen. It’s not busy enough at the moment for the upper level to be open, but there is a small second floor that has a single row of horses around it, and you can see this in a few of my photographs here.

After we have prised my friend’s youngster, several rounds later off the carousel, he makes it clear that he’s ready to advance to more stomach churning rides, none of which are my cup of tea. His parents and their visitor are also game for some giddier action, therefore we discuss our plans for the next hour or so, and since I have seen somewhere else that would delight me to visit,  decide to split up for a little while. They will come and collect me when they have had enough of the fun fair rides.

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April 18, 2015

Getting Exactly What You Paid For, … (Or Didn’t !!!)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whilst Himself and the kids were away last summer, I made a Saturday day trip with some friends to the city of  ‘s-Hertogenbosch  (which translates asThe Duke’s forest”) or, the cities less formal name: “Den Bosch” (which translates as  “The forest”) in the Dutch province of North Brabant.

We have just done one of several boat trips that take visitors through the medieval canals and canal tunnel systems, and exactly opposite the Molenstraat embarkation point  for the boats, there is a curious statue on the wall.

It’s known as the “Half Pear” which translates as “De Halve Peer” in Dutch.

Created by  Ton Bruijn in 1988, the statue is the result of a local controversy. I found a website that contained some rather awkwardly worded Dutch, entitled “Half the truth of d’n whole Pear or … the whole truth of juice half a Pear.

Himself, a translator by trade had a look at the text after I got frustrated reading it and came up with this succinct text that sums this true story up far better than I could (Thanks Sweetie).

Statue  of the half ‘ Peer’. Made by sculptor Ton Buijsters in 1988 it resembles very much Frans Vennix who was carnival mayor of Oeteldonk (den Bosch) from 1976 up to and including 1987. When  a conflict between two  carnival associations ended in a court case the judge, in style, ordered  one association to pay compensation to the other being: one decent barrel of beer and two bottles of Jägermeister. Besides, the judge ordered  them to erect a memorial. However, one association never paid its share and therefore the other decided to erect ‘half a memorial’. Hence this half statue.

Then there is the bronze plaque depicting Jan van der Eerden and Hein Bergé. These men were the driving force behind the restoration and renovation of the Binnendieze inner city canal systems and their tunnels, which have become such a tourist attraction in the city today.

Another piece of  local artwork is a poem on a wall… the shame of it is that the wall is a very pale blue and the text of the poem is in white, so it was even more difficult to photograph than it was to read.

…And yet another wall poem, this time in black text on a light background, was far easier to read.

This is another statue very close by, on the corner of Korenbrugstraat and the Hinthamerstraat. Called “Zoete Lieve Gerritje” (sweet/ gentle little Gerrit)  which depicts a singing woman flanked by a cockerel.  In fact, it turns out that “little Gerrit” was not a woman at all but a man, and not a sweet or gentle one!

He used to steal from the farmers and would celebrate that by taking the stage dressed as a farmer’s daughter. The statue is actually of Gerrit in a woman’s dress.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

De Halve Peer,”

Zoete Lieve Gerritje ”

 

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