Local Heart, Global Soul

April 6, 2013

Big Houses, Cramped Houses and Feathered Homes in the Smallest of Nooks and Crannies…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m taking you on a retroactive tour of Utrecht’s canals… we did this trip with one of my New Zealand cousins and his family a few years back and it’s taken me until now to sort through the photos and tell you about our adventures . We’ve left the inner city canals with their distinctive upper and lower “streets/ quays”  behind, and have now branched out to where the smaller waterways join larger ones.

The houses around the canals here are generally far bigger, the exception being the smaller rows of alms houses built by the rich for the poor, widows and the like (first two photographs).

They sit in the shadow of their rich owner dwellings, small in comparison and first I thought “nice to get a house if you were poor and in desperate need”…  except it wasn’t actually a house the poor would get… it was just one single room and no matter how big the family of the widow or poor person was, all had to be squeezed into their one room.

I supposed that in the centuries before welfare benefits and social housing, these cramped conditions would have been most welcome since the alternative would have been the street… but all the same,  it can’t have been comfortable or easy living for people who were already at the bottom of the heap.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just a low and unassuming bridge marks the junction of “Nieuwegracht” (New Canal) and “Oudegracht” (Old Canal), much of the New Canal having been dug by hand.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There’s a lock that marks the main waterway connection with Amsterdam, as well as many smaller waterways that connect to various nearby districts.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This bridge is  called ” The Ladies Bridge”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back in the city centre, we learn that a large building on the upper street level is the ancient  “Kastel Utrecht” (Castle Utrecht)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A multitude of bird-life inhabit the canals too, we saw many riverbank nests on the more open and grassy parts of the canal, but also a next of chicks tucked neatly into a crevice deep under a bridge, and a crow who was being a tad fussy about the position he needed to be in, in order to drink from one of the rain water drainage pipes that  empty water from the street above, into the canal below.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Everything we saw from the water gave us a new perspective of how the water transport system used to work here, and since we also learned that some of the larger refuse collections are still made using barges on the canals,  evidence that the water transport system is still effective indeed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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