Local Heart, Global Soul

March 9, 2020

Beautiful Grate In The Brickwork…

Leaving the The Sociëteit “De Vereeniging” (Private Member’s Club) behind, my next ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ destination is not too far away. On my way however I spy this beautiful ventilation grate in the wall of an old building. The symmetry grabbed my attention, as did the fact that it was round and not just a grated square shape.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 22, 2020

Wall To Wall Beauty…

More of the beautiful Pompeii inspired stencilled painting on the walls of the Sociëteit “De Vereeniging” (Private Member’s Club) in The Hague.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 20, 2020

Pompeii Comes To The Ball…

During the 2019 ‘Nationale Monumentendag'(Open day for Historic Places sites around the Netherlands), and I visited the Sociëteit “De Vereeniging” (Private Member’s Club) in the Hague. There are regional booklets produced for this event, my guidebook is an A5 sized book where each page showcases one of the sites, shows a photograph and gives a short blurb about the history / main features etc. The text is in both Dutch and English, the English reads:

The Sociëteit De Vereeniging meeting room is decorated in an eclectic style, in which the walls and ceiling are covered with ornamental and figurative paintings. In the architecture sections of the walls one can clearly see the elevation that occurred in 1885. The paintings were stencilled onto the walls in-between the marble pillars. They depict elegant Baroque figures that are based on wall decorations in Pompeii.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 18, 2020

The King’s Ballroom: Look Up!

Catching our attention in yesterday’s post, the King’s Ballroom boasts a skylight that immediately captures the attention of whoever enters. I was visiting during the 2019 ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ sites.(Open day for Historic Places), and as an enthusiast of old architecture, the Hague’s Sociëteit “De Vereeniging” (Private Member’s Club) this sort of thing is exactly up my street!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 30, 2020

One Street, Five Names…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the summer of 2019, I took my wheelchair and my sticks and made a few visits on ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites).

This allows visits to places that are not usually open to the public, and since I didn’t want to travel far between sites, I tried to visit just a few in close proximity to one another.

Travelling between Javastraat and Parkstraat, several things caught my eye.

First: the tallest building on the right in the photograph below, used to belong to the Gemeente (City Council) and it was possible to have weddings here as well as in the (old) Gemeentehuis in the very centre of town.

The “old” building is no longer somewhere where you can take your vows,

Himself and I were lucky and were married in the old building right before the Gemeente’s new building opened and they closed the old one to marriage ceremonies.

That was extra special because I married in the same room as my Dutch Grandma did in 1916.

I loved her to bits, and miss her wit and the twinkle in her eye still.

Back to this building: notice the front door, that thing is massively tall.

Sadly it’s partly obscured by the tram pole in this photograph, but I can assure you that the top of this door goes all the way up to the top of the windows either side of it.

I was sitting in a tram one day, heading home from work and a wedding party were posing in the doorway for their wedding photographs, the brides big dress only seemed to emphasise the height of the doorway they were standing in. That image has stuck in my mind and I remember it every time we pass by here.

(Below) Another building and a stork, the emblem of The Hague.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Corner of Mauritskade and Parkstraat, although technically the building we see here is standing on the Scheveningseveer due to the very odd Dutch habit of changing street names after every major intersection.

To illustrate this: This one long street starts out as Dr. Kuyperstraat, then becomes Mauritskade when a canal turns a corner and appears next to it (the “kade” part of the name indicates the presence of a canal, or body of water), then it changes to Scheveningseveer (even though the canal is still next to it), then it becomes Hogewal, and then finally, Elandstraat until it’s end.

I have no clue why they have this habit especially since the Laan van Meerdervoort is maybe the cities longest street and has no name change for almost it’s entire length (until it becomes Javastraat right by Masonic House/ by the section of the first photograph.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 29, 2020

Angry Birds Next Door ?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer I visited some of the Hague’s National Historic Places as part of a national event called ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (National Historic Places Day).

This allows public access to parts of buildings usually closed to the public.

There is a published booklet with a short blurb about each destination and maps in the back of the booklet to help you find each address.

I accidently started off the day arriving at the Hague’s Freemason’s House an hour earlier than planned but members there took pity on someone using a wheelchair and sticks and let me in anyway, so in essence I got not only a head start but also a private viewing.

I am very grateful for their kindness, since I always have to spend time waiting patiently for people to move out of shot when I’m photographing in museums etc, it was massively appreciated that I could take photographs without needing to wait.

Believe me, it was an opportunity I did not waste.  Therefore I owe Many Thanks to these kind people in Freemason’s House for letting me make exceptionally good use of my errant time.

Upon exiting Freemason’s House into the warm blue skied day, I was packing things into the wheelchair bag, and then the building next door caught my eye.

It’s not part of the Masonic building but looks like it may have been built around the same time (around the turn of the 20th Century). There are emblems on the building that are very impressive.

I can’t believe I used to take a tram past here every working day for more than five years, would “architecture gaze” out the windows as much as I could because I have a fascination with old buildings, and I never noticed these details before!

The flag outside is from the province of Zeeland in the south of the country, if it has any other meaning than the inhabitants/ owners / business within have Zeeland connections I don’t know.

A bird, (stylised eagle?) sits majestically on top of the building, while just below are pair of left and right facing stone creatures. Due to the flag getting in the way on the opposite side which I did not take into consideration at the time, the only proper illustration of them was in the shadow of the first photograph, not exactly a close-up, or good quality but enough to give you the idea.

I tried my best to do an edit/cut from Paint because I was totally unsure how else I was going to describe these. “An angry bird with it’s mouth wide open, art deco wings spread out behind it and a snake-like tail raising behind it?” Then it dawned on me that using the words “angry bird” would give you a completely different image in your mind! Closer inspection shows me that this creature appears to have ears… and the tail is a little like that of a sea-horse. It’s like a patch-work of creatures. …No wonder it’s angry.

Unusual ornamentation or not, I will be sure to remember to check this building out now that I have finally “discovered” it. It just goes to prove that a city I have lived in for more than 25 years now, and on a route that I used twice a day at one time, can still surprise me with it’s beautiful details.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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)

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