Local Heart, Global Soul

December 30, 2012

The Myriad of Styles that is the Schoonhoven Stadhuis…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Schoonhoven,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s often a shock for visitors from anglo-saxen countries to find that in the Netherlands a couple are only legally married by a ceremony in the Stadhuis (City Hall /City Council) and not legally married by a church ceremony.

You may of course still have a church service but it’s just an “extra” event that takes place after the official ceremony has taken place in the Stadhuis.

Luckily many Stadhuisen  in the Netherlands are stunning buildings rich in history and the Stadhuis in Schoonhoven is no exception. (we can also tell by the deflated pink and white heart balloons tied onto the statue that there’s been a wedding here recently).

Here is some background information about the Stadhuis at Schoonhoven and they city itself:

Schoonhovens Stadhuis has fifty chiming carillon bells (these are also known as Glockenspiel bells in German), making it one of the biggest sets of carillon bells in the Low countries.

The Stadhuis building was originally designed in the Gothic style and dates back to the 15 century but during renovations in 1776 and 1927 it was changed considerably with the result that much of  it’s original character was destroyed.

There is still a lot of character in the building, an old carved lion, and stone insert face decorations either side of the door that I assume represent “birth” and “death”.

In front of the Stadhuis there is an arched and vaulted area built over the waterway and also a star shaped mosaic in the pavement, possibly denoting an old place of court. Like the Stadhuis itself, today both of these are national monuments.

Schoonhoven (now with 11.000, inhabitants) was founded in the 13th Century on the border of Holland and Utrecht.

The Lords of Schoonhoven were powerful noblemen who reigned from their castles. The 14th century was the cities most affluent century. Schoonhoven is one of the Netherlands fortified cities and was besieged several times.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In 1572 it was occupied by the Geuzen (a Dutch group who faught the Spanish) and in 1575 the Spanish took the city again. Between 1582 to 1601 the walls of the city were reinforced. In 1672 the city was part of the Dutch water-wall defence system against the French and five bastions were constructed around the city.

Between 1573 and 1795 Schoonhoven was the tenth most powerful city in Holland, with many prominent people from city government, including the cities two mayors also involved in the national government.

In the city there were many trades, including brewers and rope makers  and there was a lively trade in hemp. In the 17th century the city boasted a fleet of 30 inland waterway ships, and in the 18th century copper and silversmiths arrived. The Silversmiths become famous nationally, their main product was small jewellery for farmers all over the country at the end of the 19th century a school for gold and silversmiths was established.

Between 1861 and 1921 Schoonhoven boasted a military training school and after the Second World War many soldiers left for Indonesia via Schoonhoven. In 1857 a scheduled steamboat connection was established with Rotterdam, and between 1914 and 1942 there was a train connection with Gouda.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

4 Comments »

  1. Thanks for the beautiful tour of Schoonhoven. I enjoyed learning about this place and viewing the lovely photographs.

    Comment by mairedubhtx — December 30, 2012 @ 4:29 pm | Reply

    • mairedubhtx,
      Glad you enjoyed it… I am to take you LOTS of new places too very soon 🙂

      Comment by kiwidutch — January 6, 2013 @ 11:23 pm | Reply

  2. Love the “grinning” lions 🙂

    Comment by Carrie — January 4, 2013 @ 12:36 am | Reply

    • Carrie,
      Little Mr. got particularly attached to it too and I have multiple photos of him try hard to out-grin it LOL. There was just one lion, but it was hard to photograph so I got it from two different angles 🙂

      Comment by kiwidutch — January 6, 2013 @ 10:56 pm | Reply


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