Local Heart, Global Soul

July 14, 2013

The Dutch Stadhuis: Where Marriage and Judgement Sit in Adjoining Rooms…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I didn’t know anything about the history of the “Stadhuis” of Veere  (City Council Building / City Hall) so went to google for some help… I found a Dutch text there and translated the most interesting bits into English for you here:

The Stadhuis of Veere can be found on Marktstraat (Market street) in Veere, Zeeland.

It is built in the gothic style and features in it’s ornamentation statues of the four men and three women of Veere.

The Stadhuis is one of the top one hundred UNESCO monument buildings in The Netherlands. On the ground floor is the “Vierschaar” (this translates literally as “four square”) which was the term used in Dutch for a tribunal, or early court.

Before national laws were introduced each town had a committee of seven men (noted townspeople and sheriffs) who acted as judges and “vierschaar”referred to the four-square dimensions of the benches in use by the sitting judges.

Many historic Stadhuisen had a room set aside for this purpose, which were also distinctive because they were often decorated with scenes from the Judgement of Solomon. Construction of the Stadhuis began in 1474 and was completed in 1477.

It’s undergone two restorations during it’s history the first in 1885 and the second in 1930-1935. Since 1591, the Stadhuis has had a tower with a set of carillon bells.

The melody of the carillon is changed four times a year by changing the drum, a process that used to be a two day process but now takes about five hours with modern tools.

The Stadhuis has a wedding room on the first floor, and today the Vierschaar Museum is also located inside the building where a permanent collection of art and the silver cup of Maximilian of Burgundy are on display. The building also hosts annual exhibitions.

Kiwi’s Note: Many people are surprised to find out that you have to be married by the Gemeente (city council) for your marriage to be legal in the Netherlands. A church ceremony may be done as an additional and optional “extra” but is not the legal ceremony.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

For this reason every Stadhuis in The Netherlands has a wedding room where marriages take place and often, especially in an old historic Stadhuis, these rooms are beautifully and ornately decorated.

Due to the narrowness of the streets and the arrangement of building around the Stadhuis in Veere, it was difficult to take photographs that captured the building as a whole.

In the end I came to the conclusion that maybe this was a good thing because by taking photographs of the “pieces” we can better appreciate the detail of this amazing building.

There are a mixture of photos here, a few are from the first trip we made to Veere four months ago and the rest are from last weekend’s second visit.

In case you are wondering about who the “four men and three women” are who are depicted in the statues, I have no idea, and couldn’t any documentation to tell me either (most likely because any information will be on local Zeeland sites). I intend to ask our friend if he knows.. but I do find it interesting that there are seven statues and there were seven judges… a coincidence?  I’ll try and find out.

(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)

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stadhuis_van_Veere

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