Local Heart, Global Soul

September 21, 2020

Beauty Further Than Glass…

Apologies for the messy posts of late, I put some half finished stuff in the WordPress Schedule, put in the photographs, added partial text in some cases and then forgot to go back and finish them after going further and loading more things into the schedule.

In this third post about windows, this one is also in the Art Deco style, yet completely different to the other two. The centre of Leiden boasts many beautiful buildings, and this beauty goes far further than the glass windows too.

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

September 20, 2020

Déco Too, But Cleaner And Less Fussy…

This  next set of shop windows in Leiden is also of an Art Déco style, but (in my opinion) cleaner and less fussy in execution than the other ones in yesterday’s post. I have to confess that this one is a favourite of mine… love it!

Primera” is the actual name of the shop here, I’m guessing that there may be a conservation law that protects the original “P.J. van Kampenhout” name across the top, since it is part of the entire Art Déco frontage, and I’m delighted that it’s being kept in such good shape, not just left to fade out like I have seen on some other buildings. The owner of this building clearly values the heritage of the building here.

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

September 18, 2020

The Strong Masculine Style Of Fussy…

Sitting on top of a very normal shop in the centre of Leiden, the uppermost portion of this building exhibits all of the details of the 18th or 19th Century. A “Step” gable and beautiful contrasting white stone and red brickwork.  Attention to detail, and plenty of detail without being overly fussy. I don’t find that these buildings are very feminine at all, there are for instance no wooden fretwork, floral tiles or abundance of carved faces. Instead this is more of strong masculine style of fussy, and it’s just as beautiful as it’s more feminist fussy counterparts.

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

 

September 16, 2020

Messing With Their Heads…

This Leiden side street looks rather nondescript, plenty of bikes, not really anything interesting going on… but between the bicycles, a little graffiti that is quite an interesting artwork. One funny side point thought, I accidentally clicked the wrong button when I was sorting my photographs and ended up with the last photograph as my computer’s background photo.

My kids were shocked, perplexed that I had something of this style as screen saver… and a bit annoyed in that typical teenage fashion: “Ugh, mam, that’s sooo ugly, what are YOU doing with THAT as your screen saver? you are too old for that! take it off! Now! ” Naturally that was my cue to keep it as my screen saver for some months and it made me smile every time the computer started and it popped up as my background image. “Down with the kids?!” err, Ha ha ! maybe not at all, but I can still have some fun winding them up and messing with their heads.

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

September 14, 2020

A Real Eye Test…

It’s probably a little ironic that the shop next door to this Eye Fashion shop is called “Going Nuts“, because I thought I was for a moment when I came across this sign in one of the central shopping streets in Leiden in Spring 2020.

People in the western world are used to reading from left to right, so vertical street signs sometimes present a problem if they are placed in close proximity with other vertical signs with no clear boundaries. This was one of these occasions.

These signs read: “Brillen” (Glasses), Oogzorg” (Eyecare) and “Lenzen” (Lenses). The trouble is that in the initial seconds of seeing these signs my brain was trying to make sense of words I thought read; ” Bol /Roe /Ign “etc. I quickly realised my mistake and wondered how many other people had also been caught out by this.

I get that space on the shop frontage is tight and they want to stand out from the crowd, but somehow I feel that they missed the mark. It would probably have worked of they had reduced the letters in size from top to bottom so that it looked more like the eye chart of their trade, or reduced the size of the letters enough, or used colours and borders could more easily used to differentiate the signs from one another. Or is it just me who sees this as a set of jumbled letters at first glance? My fail or theirs? Or do I just need glasses?

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

September 12, 2020

The Tragedy Of A Short Life…

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

This poem is by Hans Lodeizen and translates into English as:

We will treat life seriously

like we deal with a murderer among us.

I don’t like art that dies

in the mouth of a much beloved poet

now that Nijinsky is dead we have

to put flowers in all windows, because

beauty only survives that way

we want a handful of children, wine and

a playground well worn by the sun.

HANS LODEIZEN (1924-1950)

Wikipedia tells us that Hans Lodeizen  ”

Born “Johannes August Frederik Lodeizen” into an influential family, and raised in great privilege as the son of the director of Müller & Company.

He was the author of one book of poems (The Wallpaper Within, 1949) and a quantity of miscellaneous work. Despite his very short life and modest output, his minimalist lyrics, which are generally constituted of short, unrhymed lines without capitals or punctuation, strongly influenced a post-war generation of Dutch poets, including Gerard Reve.

(Reve being, together with Willem Frederik Hermans and Harry Mulisch, considered one of the “Great Three” (De Grote Drie) of Dutch post-war literature.)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

Lodeizen had what seems to be a troubled and turbulent life, attended Het Haagsche Lyceum, and when he failed the fifth form, ran away.

Gone for two days, he stayed in Amsterdam and Ede, and wrote sonnets. He graduated in 1943 but went in hiding to escape the “Arbeitseinsatz”.

(German conscription of mostly young men of slave or forced labour in munitions factories, the German war industry, repairing bombed railroads and bridges, or work on farms, general manual labour).

Starting in 1946, Lodeizen studied law briefly in Leiden, but took an interest in biology and pursued graduate study at Amherst College in the United States in 1947-1948.

There he befriended the poet James Merrill who, after becoming “smitten” with Lodeizen, would describe him many years later as “clever, good natured, solitary, blond, / all to a disquieting degree”.

Lodeizen lost interest in his graduate biology program and returned to Europe to work (reluctantly) for his father’s firm.

Either gay or bisexual; as a young man he had proposed marriage to a woman, but his poetry speaks of his love and desire for other men.

In 1948 he was arrested for having had sex with another man, but his father’s money and influence likely prevented a trial.

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

His father disapproved of his life in many ways: Lodeizen wanted to write poetry, to not study law, didn’t want to enter the family business, but at the same time desperately wanted his father’s approval, while his father refused to accept his sexuality.

This tension is, besides lost romantic love and the ephemeral nature of the world, the most important theme in his poetry.

Lodeizen’s “ben ik nu werkelijk zo slecht” (am I really this bad) cites the disapproving words of his father: “wat jij me al niet in mijn leven / hebt aangedaan kan ik niet vergeten“, (all the things you’ve done to me in my life, I cannot forget them).

After his death, when his remaining poetry was to be published, his father wanted thirteen of his son’s poems scrapped, though the editors did include them.

After his diagnosis with leukemia, he spent his last months sustained by blood transfusions in a Swiss sanatorium. He was 26 when he died.

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

September 5, 2020

Three People Changed Their World…

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

During the Spring of 2020 I came across a building in Leiden labelled as a “Volkshuis” (House of the people).

The website of “Erfgoed Leiden en Omstreken” (Heritage of greater Leiden) tells us: “The building housed the “Stichting Het Leidse Volkshuis”.

Founded in 1897 by three professors from the Leiden Faculty of Law.

With the aim to increase the level of education and happiness among lower socio-economic classes.

This was therefore basically a school to allow people to gain further education and work their way out of poverty, and presumably at no, or very little cost.

The building gave place to the ‘Stichting Het Leidse Volkshuis‘, which was founded in 1897 by three professors from the Leiden Law Faculty, Drucker, Greven and Van der Vlugt. 

The objective wasto increase development and happiness in life among workers and classes equated with it in Leiden‘.  It was one of the first institutions in the Netherlands to practice club homework. The most diverse courses were given. The original interior was dark with a lot of oak and will certainly have impressed the working class. The interior has been modernised a number of times over the years. The artists’ association ‘De Stijl’ has established its secretariat there for many years.  

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

The entrance porch on the Haarlemmerstraat is framed by bluestone pilasters with stylized capitals and diamond heads. 

Above it a segment arch with the inscription ‘Volkshuis’.

The main entrance is located at Apothekersdijk 33a. 

The building was designed and built in 1899 by the Leiden architect WC Mulder. 

The building shows the influence of Berlage on Mulder’s work, he shows the construction and layout in the appearance of the building.

Natural stone accentuates the important parts of the building.

Next to the entrance on the Apothekersdijk is a memorial stone with the text (translated into English):

XXII October  MDCCCIC  MCMXXIV. With respect and gratitude the names of  Hendrik Lodewijk Drucker, Hendrik Barend Greven, Willem van der Vlugt .

Professors in the Faculty of  Law at the Leidsche Hoogeschool. Origin and continued existence of this foundation is owed to their insight, their trust and their sense of community. This memorial stone was placed in 1924 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Volkshuis.

Everything about this building speaks to the character of the three Professors who founded it. It is not named after them, they named it after the people they helped, everything was about making a difference in their community.

They used the skills they had between them and built something amazing. Imagine the impact that they must have had in their student’s quality of life and in turn these people’s families. These are the sort of people who quietly changed history in their community.

A beautiful building with a beautiful purpose, the Professors should be proud.

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

September 4, 2020

When You Are Old, You Get To Lean…

Shopping streets in old Dutch towns are interesting places. The buildings are mostly old but sometimes even a combination with an older series of top stories and more modern shops on their ground floors.

The variance in roof lines, and even the vertical (the often less than vertical) position of many buildings are good indicators that the building is enjoying a long life.

Sometimes neighbouring old buildings seem to partake in leaning competitions, not just out of true in the north-south position but also on the east-west one as well. Himself and I are currently trying to get our new kitchen cupboards to co-operate with the wonky walls of our 90 year old house. I hate to think about the agony of trying to find one single 90 degree angle in your home if it was 200-300 years old.

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

September 2, 2020

Stepping Up Design…

Close to the Hartebrugkerkin the Dutch city of Leiden, is another building that is instantly recognisable as being in the “typical historic Dutch style”. It’s “stepped” roof design has been copied on tiles, plates and all sorts of tourist paraphernalia. As one of the icons of this country, these beautiful buildings deserve all of the recognition they get.

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

August 26, 2020

Architectural Great, Great Grandchildren

Progressing down the Lange Mare towards the Leiden city centre, I discover various side streets that are filled with buildings of every variety and age. There are ones centuries old leaning a little in their old age, sometimes alongside their architectural great, great grandchildren: the new build apartments.
I realise that cities do, and probably need to evolve, but hope too that they never completely loose the older buildings that give this city it’s charm.

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

(photograph copyright © Kiwidutch)

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