Local Heart, Global Soul

January 8, 2020

Stepping On Words…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During the 2019 I visited some of the ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for the public for National Historic Places sites around the Netherlands.)

I arrived at the ‘Freemason’s House’ on the Javastraat, and since Himself dropped me off on time, I was about to ring the doorbell when a man stopped on the street next to me and retrieved some keys for this door from his pocket.

I wished him Good Morning and joked that I must be their very first visitor for the day.

He looked surprised and told me that I was an hour early! It turns out that the booklet gave an earlier time to that which they actually opened so I was a little in shock when I heard this, thinking that I would have a long wait outside.

Luckily the man, who was quickly joined by several other colleagues, agreed with them that I may come in and begin my visit earlier. I Thanked them profusely because standing outside on crutches for an hour had been a daunting thought. The first thing that struck me as soon as I entered was that fact that the steps leading upstairs had words etched into the risers of the staircase. Not wanting to keep the kind gents outside waiting, I didn’t have time to work out what it all said but took a few quick photographs…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 7, 2020

Monumental Days, And FreeMasons…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have been back in New Zealand for Christmas, and just touched down in the Netherlands again.

The time differences, my tiredness and stupidity are the reasons some of my recent posts entered the world a tad unfinished.

I write texts in one place, have pictures in another and apparently keep my brains elsewhere completely so my deepest apologies for the mess.

I’m currently deep in the first fuzzy days of jetlag where your mind, sleep rhythms, stomach and the rest of your body are all in different time zones and not quite adjusted or agreeing to working together yet.

These posts were mostly finished before we left but seeing that I can not be trusted to get things in the WordPress schedule correct, I’m, coming back and doing some double checking.

The Netherlands has a national event called ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) where many buildings around the Netherlands that are usually closed to the public are open for one or two days of the weekend for visitors.

I try and get around as many as I can, usually selecting several sites close to each other. Sadly I need to tank up heavily on additional pain medications in order to mange these heavy days out, something not normally advised but the results are worth it.

My first destination is what I think is ‘Freemason’s House’.

I know next to nothing about the Freemason movement, and have passed by this building at the beginning of the Javastraat hundreds of times without giving the symbols on the blue shield outside much of a thought.

It’s an impressive historic building and I’m finding it intriguing to get a glimpse into a world of which I know so little.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 6, 2020

Old And Older…

Apologies for the recent mess in sorting out my photographs… we have been travelling and some of my posts were not complete… apologies! There is a beautiful statue in the centre of a large roundabout in The Hague that is called Plain 1813. There happened to be an antique tram travelling by at that moment and the view of the beautiful tram passing by a beautiful monument was too good to be missed. I grabbed a photograph a quickly as I could, beautiful!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 3, 2019

Beating Depression With…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Architecture has always been a fascination for me, and the older the building the better.

Often though, there are a myriad of details in brick, stone, wood and wrought iron that are no longer replicated in the “fashionably modern” buildings of the late 20th Century and now in the 21st.

I feel that the world would be a far less happy place if all building were just plain, grey boxes, barren, featureless and soulless.

Tourists rarely, if ever, stop and photograph the “box” buildings, but queue and crowd by the busload whenever a town or city boasts beautiful, ornate buildings where the history of hand crafted details are layer upon layer a feast for the eye.

Heading out to Leiden for a medical appointment, I am keen to discover new architectural treasures to add to my digital inspiration files: excellent for my mental health. Indeed I find more buildings had detail, colour, and were an inspiration to walk, cycle or drive past.

When we see streets lined with grey concrete, pattern-less brick or massive panels of steel or glass, I think we as human beings shut down a little. In winter in the rain they become dark, sombre obstacles that we feel like we have to hurry past as fast as possible.

I believe that today’s architects have missed the point, I get that they want to do something different,  rebel against tradition, to be something “radical”, to be the “go to” guy  for innovative minimalistic cubes, but for our mental health and inspiration of our souls I think that somehow we have to return to incorporating colour, and making a massive “U-turn” so that beauty is incorporated into every new building and renovation.. Mosaic, paintings, murals, plants,

I believe that when we see something beautiful, our brains kick into “happy” mode. Probably we will not smile visibly, but out souls will feel lighter, and we become more positive. It’s all subconscious of course, but imagine your town or city transformed in style-appropriate buildings that fit in with the age of it’s oldest and most beautiful buildings

During the Rennaiscence period (Between the 14th and 17th centuries), creative times exploded: massive leaps forward were made in technology too because the “creative process” was in full swing. Artists were sponsored by their patrons, their skills, craftsmanship, talent highly valued and cultural life blossomed.

Imagine if we gave the Arts a chance for a second “Rennaiscence” period. Music, art and anything with a creative outlet would be encouraged, free thinking could literally take architects “out of the box” in their design, and it’s already a scientific fact that when the brain is in this “inspiration mode’ that leaps and bounds in technology is also possible. Wouldn’t it be amazing of we could ditch pills and be creative. Who knows? maybe we could even beat Societies crippling and engulfing levels of depression …with creativity.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 1, 2019

Building Those Little Extras…

The beautiful buildings of the Hague often have even more beautiful details that take a keen eye and a second look to find. I adore the fact that in the first photograph for instance, the builders of old took the trouble to insert colourful tiles directly beneath the turret. This really is ‘extra” to the design because it’s hardly at street level where most pay attention after all. Thank goodness for this kind of aesthetic decoration from the past, during a time when the smallest of details were important contributions to the overall design.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Below: It says “anno 1914″ (another name for ‘year 1914”)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 30, 2019

Beautiful Shapes And Styles…

Himself and I do quite a bit of travelling around the Hague for various medical appointments and visiting friends. I try to keep my camera on hand to photograph some of the beautiful buildings in the city. I love the architectural detail and beautiful shapes and styles.

(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)

April 26, 2019

The Hague Again…

I often have a camera with me as Himself and I transverse the city of The Hague, travelling to medical appointments or to see friends. There are often interesting buildings to see and enjoy. Let’s look around…

(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)

April 6, 2019

Carving Up a Storm In The Mauritshuis…

The Mauritshuis in the Hague is more than just  place where Old Masters from paintings Golden Age are displayed. It is also Dutch national Monument building in it’s own right. It’s fixtures and fittings are also a work of art on display…

(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)

March 26, 2019

From House To Museum… The Mauritshuis.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Visiting the Mauritshuis during the Summer of 2017, was a long overdue delight.

I’ve been here many times before, but almost all of those visits were between ten and fifteen years ago.

I did go once about five years ago but we didn’t allow nearly enough time to look around, having underestimated how long we would stand and drool at each painting so we saw less than we would have liked.

Wikipedia tells me that the Mauritshuis {link above) is an art museum in The Hague, Netherlands. The museum houses the Royal Cabinet of Paintings which consists of 841 objects.

These are mostly Dutch Golden Age paintings and includes works by Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, Paulus Potter, Frans Hals, Jacob van Ruisdael, Hans Holbein the Younger, and others.

Originally, the 17th century building was the residence of count Jan Maurits (John Maurice) of Nassau. It is now the property of the government of the Netherlands and is listed in the top 100 Dutch heritage sites.

In 1631, John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen, a cousin of stadtholder Frederick Henry, bought a plot bordering the Binnenhof and the adjacent Hofvijver pond in The Hague, at that time the political centre of the Dutch Republic.

On the plot, the Mauritshuis was built as a home between 1636 and 1641, during John Maurice’s governorship of Dutch Brazil.

After the death of Prince John Maurice in 1679, the house was owned by the Maes family, who leased the house to the Dutch government. In 1704, most of the interior of the Mauritshuis was destroyed by fire. The building was restored between 1708 and 1718. In 1774, an art gallery open to the public was formed in what is now the Prince William V Gallery.

That collection was seized by the French in 1794 and only partially recovered in 1808. The small gallery space soon proved to be too small, however, and in 1820, the Mauritshuis was bought by the Dutch state for the purpose of housing the Royal Cabinet of Paintings. In 1822, the Mauritshuis was opened to the public. In 1875, the entire museum became available for paintings. Privatized in 1995 the foundation set up at the time took charge of both the building and the collection, which it was given on long-term loan.

This building, which is the property of the state, is rented by the museum. In 2007, the museum announced its desire to expand. In 2010, the definitive design was presented. The museum would occupy a part of the nearby Sociëteit de Witte building. The two buildings would be connected via an underground tunnel, running underneath the Korte Vijverberg.

The renovation started in 2012 and finished in 2014. During the renovation, about 100 of the museum’s paintings were displayed in the Gemeentemuseum in the Highlights Mauritshuis exhibition. About 50 other paintings, including the Girl With the Pearl Earring, were on loan to exhibitions in the United States and Japan. The museum was reopened on 27 June 2014 by King Willem-Alexander.

(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)

March 24, 2019

Towards And Around The Mauritshuis…

During the summer of 2018, Himself and I headed towards one of the Hague’s most beautiful and well known buildings: The Mauritshuis. We approach from the Lange Vijverberg where we also have a great view of the old section of the Parliament buildings, and the Prime Minister’s offices in the turret in the corner of this section of the building. Eventually when we go around to the entrance of the Mauritshuis but before I go inside I take some photographs of the surrounding buildings and the details they contain. I also get some photos of the Prime Ministers office from along the small canal that runs between the Parliament buildings and the Mauritshuis.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There is even a bird coming in for a landing on the top of the President’s turret…

(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)

There are little details too: like these two portraits in the stone arches of the parliament building…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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