Local Heart, Global Soul

December 11, 2017

Architectural Detail All Over Town…

Himself and I continue our car tour of the area around Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog. I take lots of photographs for my “architectural detail” archive files.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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December 10, 2017

Charm, Character And Differences…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During our driving tour around the district of Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog, I spotted quite a few interesting looking churches.

Traffic in some areas prevented us pulling over so that I could get some more agreeable compositions, so I did my best from out of the window.

A strange sort of canopy adorned the bottom section of one of the town churches, I can’t quite make out if it’s temporary and there whilst renovations are done or if it’s been added to the tower as a permanent safety measure (falling bits??).

It certainly makes for an interesting and memorable feature.

The brickwork and styles of the churches I saw were many and varied: the steeples different and each with a charm and character of their own.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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December 1, 2017

Brick Is Beautiful.

Baarle-Nassau / Baarle-Hertog, where I discover a building where brick is beautiful.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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November 21, 2017

Baarle’s Old Town Hall, And Sails Through The Air…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On the corner of the “T” intersection opposite the “Den Engel” (The Angel) Hotel, stands the old ‘Stadhuis’ (Town Hall).

Since I have a small obsession with weather vanes, I photographed this one quite a lot (please endulge me) after all what’s not to like when wrought iron and art come together?

This weather vane depicts a little sailing vessel navigating a rough sea, the black ironwork supplemented with gold highlights.

Not only is the building an imposing structure, I find the tower to be a wonderful piece of architecture too.

Both were difficult at first to photograph from close by and I only the next day found a better vantage point from across the street when we approached from the other direction.

An information board on the side of the Stadhuis tells us: “Baarle is one village. Baarle-Hertog is part of Belgium and is 748 hectares in area. This consists of a village centered around a church called Zondereigen and 21 enclaves surrounded by Dutch soil.  Baarle-Nassau is Dutch and has a total area of 7.638 hectares. This consists of the core of Baarle-Nassau with seven counter-enclaves (an enclave within an enclave) and one enclave surrounded by Belgian soil, the hamlet of Castelre  and the church village of Ulicoten. And finally there is a little piece of no-mans land of about 1.18 hectares. Baarle has grown from a settlement that already existed in 54 A.D. when Caesar came here. The  the name of Baarle appears for the first time in a deed in which Countess Hilsondis bequeathed all of her possessions on the 1st June 992 to the Abby of Thorn.”

The weather varied considerably even throughout the length of one day, but we were lucky most of the time and kept more or less dry. Taking the wheelchair we went back and forth around the center of town so these are a compilation of photos taken during our stay.

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October 22, 2017

The Beautiful Architecture Of The Hague…

A photographic post: from our many travels to and from medical appointments around the city,  another in the series on the beautiful architecture of the Hague…

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October 21, 2017

Who Can Resist Stopping And Getting A Photo?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sorting out my archive photo files brings many older folders to light.

The Hague doesn’t have the many canals that makes Amsterdam the tourist draw, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have it’s share of beautiful buildings.

Architectural detail is a passion of mine, old buildings, decorative elements, and things of beauty in brick, stone, wood, wrought iron and the like.

I also like that in the Netherlands bikes come in all shapes, sizes and styles: these ones both sport wicker baskets on the front, but the one on the left is twice as big as the one on the right.

In fact I haven’t seen a basket that big before (or since) so I was delighted to have my camera in my backpack.

I also spotted a map shop that looked inviting but we were in town for an appointment so didn’t have time to go inside. I did get a few quick snaps of one of the stunning old maps on a stand outside though. It’s a detail fanatic’s dream. Then there is a door that has decorative grate work incorporated into it and two caved figures into the stone above it, Who can resist stopping and getting a photo? Not me that’s for sure.

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October 15, 2017

I Mean, Seriously, Who Doesn’t Love A Turret?

Filed under: Architectural Detail,ART,BREDA,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Never one to miss an opportunity to photograph a beautiful building I ask Himself to pull over when we pass by what looks like a little castle surrounded by a moat.

We pull off the road, into a driveway where I can take photographs where the grand building is less obstructed by trees.

There is a Wikipedia page for Bouvigne Castle (in the Dutch language only) so I have translated it here: “Bouvigne Castle is located near the Mastbos south of Breda and has been owned by Waterschap Brabant Delta since 1972.

After it’s 1975-77 restoration the castle was reopened on September 13, 1977 by His Royal Highness Prince Claus. It is not known exactly how old the castle is or what the original building looked like.

It is known that from 1494 on the De Boeverie estate there was a watered stone house near one large and one smaller farm.

The small farm stood at the intersection of the Duivelsbruglaan and Bouvignelaan but went  up in flames during the siege of Breda by Spinola in 1624.

The large farm had been owned by the Prince of Orange since 1614 and after 1881 by the state. The large farm was destroyed in 1941 by a V-1 bomb but was  rebuilt after the war.

As far as can be determined, the stone house first appeared in publication in an official deed of 1554; the will of former owner Jacob van Brecht. In this testament the castle was described as a stately stone house surrounded by canals.

The home was expanded over time. It began with the stone house, then addition of the first floor of the tower (between 1554 and 1611). In the three years after that, some other renovations took place and the tower was raised with a second floor.

On October 8, 1614, Prince Philip Willem ‘Boeverijen’, along with his brothers Maurits, Frederik Hendrik and Willem II bought the home for 27,000 guilders to use as a hunting lodge.

In total, the castle has been in the possession of eight princes. In 1637 it was headquarters of Frederik Hendrik invaded the city of Breda to end the Spanish rule. Hendrik Carel van Naerssen gave up residence there in 1774 after deterioration of the building due to neglect.  The Nassause Domain Council agreed. Wealthy coffee planter George Ruysch turned up the castle and Frenchified the name to Bouvigne (and named as such in 1802 in a deed of sale).

From 1930 the castle was owned by the government and was rented for a long time to the Catechists of the Eucharist Crusade (Pius X Foundation). In 2007, the castle was regularly in local news in connection with controversial building plans for the castle. Since October 1, 2010, Bouvigne Castle is one of the official wedding venues within the municipality of Breda.” We have to get back to our friends home in Breda where dinner is waiting for us so I zoom in as best I can and capture as much of the detail as possible. With gardens open to the public, round turrets and a fairy tale quality make this building well worth a closer look. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love a turret?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Wikipedia: Kasteel (Castle) Bouvigne / Breda / The Netherlands. (Dutch language only)

October 10, 2017

A Monastery Where The Devil Is In The Detail…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing our visit to Meersel-Dreef, the information board describing the buildings history was so long that I have broken it up into two parts: posted yesterday and today.

The board was only in Dutch so I’ve translated it here: “The French revolution: When the French revolution spilled over into this area, the State taxed all religious goods.

In early 1797 the monks were driven out of the monastery. After the Belgium independence was proclaimed, Trappist monks from Westmalle started to use the monastery on 3rd May 1838.

About 30 years later the Kapucijnen monks returned and spiritual life in Meersel-Dreef returned. The Maria Park and the Lourdes grotto date back from 1895. Foundation of the “Valley of Mercy of Our lady of Lourdes”.

After the Maria appearance in Lourdes in 1858 and the renewed interest in pilgrimages, Meersel-Dreef was also given it’s ‘Valley of Mercy’.

Father Jan Baptist, Provincial of Belgium left on a mission to the Punjab in English India in 1895. On the way his ship came into a big storm during which he promised to make a grotto for Our Lady of Lourdes so that he would reach shore safely. He managed to arrive safely so he decided to stand by his promise. In June 1896 he laid the first stone for the Lourdes grotto at Meersel-Dreef in the garden opposite the monastery.

The watermill. In general it is thought that the watermill if Meersel-Dreef already existed in the 14 century, evidenced from a document which describes the renting of the mill “Meerselmolen’ and the farm de Eyssel from Jan IV Van Cuyck, Lord of Hoogstraten.

Like all mills in the duchy of Hoogstraten, the mill of Meersel was a “banmolen” (which means) a mill owned by the feudal lords where the locals where obliged to mill their grains (and pay for the privilege).

The mill was rented out early in the 17 century, and a canal was dug to bypass the mill allowing boats to sail further up the canal. At the beginning of the 20th century the mill burnt down (again) so in 1911 the mill was restored and modernised. This grinding installation is still operational. Opposite the mill is the mill house which was built in 1894. The old mill store house, next to the house, is still used as a house today.’

Try as we might, and with our short walk around just part of the buildings, we found it hard to pinpoint exactly where the mill now is. There was an abundance of outbuildings, some of them possibly dwellings but if one of them was the millhouse, or just part of the buildings and monastery from the Kapucijnen monks, we could not tell.

That said, there was probably a lot more possible to explore but we of course stayed where our hosts lead rather than branching out separately on our own. The Meersel-Dreef buildings continued to delight and as usual I was interested in not just the complex as a whole but also the details. For instance, I love that one window that has diamond shaped panes, opens with nine of the diamonds near the center opening out as one small window. It proves that function and practicality need not ruin the beautiful design, you just work with it and get a quirky diamond-shaped window! Brilliant!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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September 8, 2017

Today: Built On Sacrifices Of The Not So Distant Past…

Filed under: Architectural Detail,ART,Stone Carving — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In yesterday’s post I finally managed to see the remaining side of the “Stadhuis” (Town Hall) in Gouda that had eluded me for several visits.

Before I leave it completely there are several last pieces of stonework that grab my attention. They appear to be memorial plaques.

They are both in Dutch, and translated they read: “1940-1945” “Gouda remembers it’s men and women who died in the battle against the conqueror.

Two died as a soldiers in May 1940 and as resistance fighters W.M. Boelhouwer, W.J. Dercksen, A. de Ryke, W.I. den Burg,  A. De Korte, A.nieuwenhuysen, H.L. van Royen.

Eighteen did not return from prison or concentration camps.

Forty-six died when the city was bombed,  One hundred and thirty-seven Jewish citizens were deported and murdered, sixty citizens of the 2200 people who were forced to work for the enemy did not return. During the hunger winter the mortality rate tripled. Then when the crisis was at it’s worst God gave us liberation.‘ Then on another plaque close reads; “In the fight for order and peace in the Netherlands East Indies, the following soldiers from Gouda sacrificed their lives. J.G. Kisman, F.H.M. Visser, 1946, W. Boll, L.Hemes, J. Hofman, C.Verweij 1947, P. Deullemeijer, B.C.M. De Planque,P. Spa 1948. W. Breen, G.F. De Bruijn, J.j. Grootveld, M. Kortleven, S.Romeijn, J.C. Snaterse, J.J. Koroon 1949.”

There is also panel with a George and the Dragon style carved stonework piece, a more modern piece but still very decorative. I am always for remembering that our present day lifestyles were built on many sacrifices in the not so distant past.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 28, 2017

So Much To See, Even More To Make You Curious…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Gouda has some beautiful public buildings but there are some very interesting and quirky private ones there too.

Looking through the trees at the back of St Jans Church, I see something that catches my eye: a fish.

It’s a fish of the architectural variety not a real fish but why on earth am I seeing it on top of a building?

Later during my visit I wheel myself around to the street it is on (I was separated by a canal from it earlier, so I had to make a small detour to get to this house). There I find it standing on the corner of a canal and accompanied by some unusual architecture.

First there is a curved piece nibbled out of the corner wall. It’s not for a door, there is only a tiny round window here.

Internally this would mean that the building must surely lose quite a lot of space in this corner. Then there is the window on the side, some times  (I think) called a “hanging window”. Above the chipped out alcove corner is the decoration that is topped with the fish ornamentation. The front door  is around the corner on the bigger street, nothing unusual there. On the far side of the front door I find another fish ornament. It makes me wonder what this building’s history is… some link with the sea can I think be safely assumed: sailor? sea captain? fish monger? Who knows. I love discovering buildings like this: so much to see and even more to make you curious.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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