Local Heart, Global Soul

August 15, 2017

Blink And You Miss It, But A Little Experience Not To Be Missed…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Visiting Gouda’s “Stadhuis” (Town Hall) you should know that the building has a special treat for young children if they are present two minutes after the striking of the hour and half hour of  the “Het klokken en poppenspel” (carillon  / chimes / glockenspiel).

On one of my visits here a man arrived in a hurry with his two children, the half hour chime having alerted him to the fact that if they wanted to see the puppets, they had better be quick.

Luckily they were on time and arrived just as the little red and white doors were opening.

I had arrived eight or nine minutes early, but having taken the wheelchair to get around with, I just sat patiently waiting to capture the action.

Despite visiting Gouda many times I’d never seen these playing before, so was not certain what to expect. There is a Wikipedia page on the Stadhuis but it’s in Dutch, so I translated into English the relevent information here:

The “klokkenspel” (chimes) on the side of the town halls date back to the 1960’s and was donated by a managing director of a Gouda insurance company, therefore not part of the original town hall. T

he Gouda locals refer to then as ‘ the Bouwmeesterrvue” (the chimes of Bouwmeester’).  The leading figure in the carillon is Floris V,  and the puppets depict the ceremony where he grants Gouda its city rights.

Every two minutes after the hour and half hour, the carillon will provide a lovely spectacle, as the puppets begin to move.”

The man with the small children sees me waiting poised with my camera and warns me there is not a lot of action in the puppet show and it will all be over rather quickly.  He hopes it will not be a disappointment.

He is a local who has seen it many times and now his kids (about 2 and 4 years of age) love coming to see the doors open and the little figures move. Eventually the final seconds tick over and the “performance” starts.

The little doors open first, the figures outside turn to greet their VIP guest Floris the 5th, who bows ever so slightly as he hands over the documents that grant the city rights. Then without much ado he retreats back inside, the doors close and the crowd turn to face outwards again. I had the camera on “sport’ mode and the shutter clicked almost continuously as the short show took place. I edited out most of the photographs as there were of course too many for this post but at the same time noticed something interesting: even in miniscule increments at no time did I manage to catch the outside figures making their inward and outward turns.

After the little doors close the two small children clap their hands applauding the show before heading away with their Dad. I am reminded by the Dutch Wiki page that other events here would also delight children. “at Christmas time, the Stadhuis and surrounding Markt buildings are lit only with candle light  on “Kaarsjesavond” (Candles’ evening) a yearly event that delights thousands. After this the Stadhuis is turned into a ‘canvas” for art light projections.  Called “Gouda bij Kunstlicht’ (Gouda by Light) this has grown to include not only the Stadhuis, but other monument buildings in the city, such as the “St. Janskerk” (Church of St. John).’

The little dolls of the klokkenspel carry out their little show every half hour, if you blink you might miss it but for me it was a new experience not to be missed for the world.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The outside groups of figures turn to face the doors as they open… and the middle figures move forwards…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Floris V hands over the documents confirming Gouda’s city status…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the next photograph Floris V gives the smallest of bows …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… before his quick retreat, along with whoever he gave the document to (they probably had stuff to discuss over lunch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

they retreat…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I don’t catch the groups on the left and right turning around between the photo above and the one below…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… or the two middle figures turning either, as they slide back…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia:  Gouda Stadhuis  (City Hall) / (Dutch language)

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