Local Heart, Global Soul

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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 27, 2017

Poking Out His Tongue At History…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just behind the Lazarus Gate in Gouda is the Katharina Gasthuis museum.

I noticed when going past the Gate that there was a face starting at me on the wall nearby.

This face was not of a real person, and more specifically, it was wooden, or maybe stone, head.

The face of the male head is poking his tongue out towards the viewer. Whilst photographing this an older couple walk past, and I say “Good Morning” in Dutch.

The gentleman asks if I know the meaning behind this head. I tell them I don’t so they explain that it’s an old fashioned sign for an apothecary.

I know that an apothecary is someone who prepares and sells drugs for medical purposes, but didn’t realise that this was a sign for one.

The couple tell me that these “signs’ told people what various shops sold, for instance the poking out tongue of this face is a gesture of taking a pill, and signs like this were because the vast majority of people could not read, so needed a visual guide rather than a written one. I think it’s a brilliant solution, and delighted that this one still survives. I take photographs of the surrounding buildings before I move on.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 25, 2017

Lazarus Gate, The Only “Warning” Needed, Is That This Is A Beautiful Building…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At the beginning of the Willem Vroesenplein in Gouda, I come across a sweet little building.

Called the “Lazaruspoortje” (Lazarus Gate) it is a small but imposing piece of architecture.

There is an information board on the wall, in Dutch text only, which translates as: “At the end of the 16th century the German Gregarious Cool (approx 1570-1629) came to Gouda to work as a stone mason.

He made beautiful pieces, amongst others the “Bordes” (steps that go both in two directions) of the Gouda Stadhuis (Town Hall), the entry gate to the “Vroesenhuis” (sorry, I could not figure out this word, it’s “something”.. house), the facade of the Museum De Moriaan and this gate.

A long time ago it provided access to the Le Prozenhuis (lepers house) elsewhere in the city.

The relief shows the bible story of poor Lazarus and the rich man. In 1939 the gate was taken apart and rebuilt here in 1964.

Against the back wall is another gate coming from the old women’s house at the Kleiweg which was demolished in 1938. Inside the entry way there is also a “Gevelsteen” ( literally means “gable-stone”, but it is a pictorial or text facade stone that gives information)  also made by Cool of the former Looyhal” (a place used to check and inspect fabric).”

I also found a Wikipedia page that was in the Dutch language only, which gives more information. Translated into English it reads:

The Lazaruspoortje was constructed in 1609 as an entry gate for the then lepers house at the Gouwe in Gouda, by the sculptor Gregarious  Cool. Initially the lepers house was located outside the “potterspoort” (potters gate) in Gouda at the Wachtelstraat.

In 1579 the then Saint Maria convent at the Gouwe which was within the city walls, was the designated place to house lepers. In 1609 the gate at the Rotterdamse Veer was constructed which provided access to the lepers house at the back.

The picture on the gate depicts the rich man and poor Lazarus, who asks for the crumbs left over from the rich mans meal, but all he gets is the care of the dogs who lick his wounds.  The man and woman from both sides of the picture are lepers holding a “Lazarusklepper” (which could be some sort of warning sign ‘here is a leper, stay away”) and a “aalmoezenschaaltje” (a small begging bowl).

Above is a picture of Lazarus, after his death, in the lap of Abraham. Lazarus became the patron saint of Lepers. In 1940 the gate was taken apart as a result of the  expansion of the Municipal energy company. In 1965 it was rebuilt in it’s current location at Achter de Kerk. At the moment it provides access to the garden of the museum Het Katharina Gasthuis.”

I would love to come back here when the gate is open, not just to see the additional stone carved ornamentation within the entry way but also to visit the Katharina Gasthuis museum. Lazarus may have made a noise to warn people to stay away, but this place needs one to summon people to see this beautiful sight.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Wikipedia: Lazarus Gate / Gouda / The Netherlands (Dutch Language site only)

August 24, 2017

Halt ! Artisan At Work…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The narrow street that almost encircles St Janskerk (St Jans Church) in Gouda has the ‘original’ name of “Achter de Kerk” (Behind the Church).

At one point, this little street widens into a sort of regular street size and it’s name changes into “Willem Vroesenplein”.

It is at this point that several exceedingly old buildings can be found, they lean in the fashion of centuries old subsidence problems but stand strong in spite of this.

The closer of the two has an open door and an interesting display in the front window. Always interested in ‘arty’ things, I of course wheel myself over for a closer look.

There is a man working in the back, a vast array of tools fastened neatly to the rear wall and amazing sculptural works of art everywhere. I request permission to photograph his work, and once given, set about snapping what I can from the doorway.

The man is cordial but even when I admire his work, doesn’t invite me in, so I do not presume that I may.

My eye is caught by round and square towers of all sizes, some of them taller than I am, which are crammed full of architectural details.

A kind of cross between the leaning tower of Pisa, the pyramids, an echo of Escher and the spiral of sea shells, these pieces are full of arches galleries, tall doorways, colonnades and staircases. They are fascinating to look at, but other items also clamber for my attention.

There are the wide eyed, colourful little birds, the squares of equally wide eyed faces (which had a sort of “Grover-esque” quality to them … the artist remembers Sesame Street fondly perhaps?). There is even a larger piece that incorporates both of these ideas, and it’s been broken up so that it could be fitted back together mosaic style into a wall, path or floor.

The front window is made up of little panes, these even extend over the door. The man continued to work on the small conical tower in the back, but just as I finished taking photographs he starts putting tools back into their spaces on the wall and drapes a cover over the work that is in progress. This is to stop the clay from drying out too much. This is very much a “made from scratch” workshop, each piece made under one roof front start to finish. That in itself is getting more and more rare these days. The building is interesting too, even the pattern, texture, colour and style of the old roof slates fascinate me. It’s an old workshop in an even older building, and a little quirky discovery. Interestingly, the Google map screen shot also features the multi-roof pattern in St Jans Church, a brilliant additional touch I thought. I’ve marked on the map roughly where this little workshop can be found.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 21, 2017

Detail From Top To Toe…

The detail on St Janskerk (St Jans Church) in Gouda is so prolific that it’s taken several posts here to cover it. I probably could have zoomed in on even more had my visits been longer or more in number, but that said, my visits here are far from over so who knows. I want to photograph the inside of this church though, so these will take priority over future exterior photo shoots. Much of the detail is unexpected, like the squirrel stone carved decorations under several alcoves. In short, the outside of St Jans Church is full of detail from top to toe.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 20, 2017

So Much Detail, Almost At A Loss To Start…

The exterior of St Janskerk (St Johns Church) in Gouda has so much detail I am almost at a loss at where to start. This photograph post shows just a small amount that caught my eye, starting up high with some of the churches amazingly diverse roof details…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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August 14, 2017

Climb The Stairs And Tie The Knot…

Apologies, Apologies! I accidently messed up the date for this blog post in the schedule and morning readers ended up only seeing a blank page. I have now fixed it so that you get the post that was intended. Apologies again… kiwi.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The “Stadhuis” (Town Hall) in Gouda is one of the oldest in Holland.

There is detail everywhere, plus a few added additions of recent times.

One of these additions is a sundial clock, located up by the statues of yesterday’s post.

Time moves on however and ‘new additions” eventually become ‘old” ones, like the steps at the front of the Stadhuis,  “added” in 1603.

The lion is the symbol of the Netherlands and it features heavily in historic Dutch architecture, the Gouda Stadhuis being no exception. Here several fierce lions hold and maybe guard the heraldic emblems, which in Dutch are called  “wapen” (coat of arms).

I love how the lions look from different angles. Lions also feature in the posts at the bottom of the steps.

They have their mouths open but rings are featured, which in the first instance I thought should maybe go through their noses. The truth is probably more one of artistic license,  especially considering the chance that any stone-mason in 1603 had of having ever seen a lion. Shields of the military variety, plus various items of amour feature in the upper stone work, two (maybe Apostles) stand at the very bottom with their arms crossed. An imposing stone canopy tops off the staircase and gives shelter from the weather.  Church weddings are possible in the Netherlands but it is only the Stadhuis where your marriage ceremony is legally binding, so couples must come to the Stadhuis to make their marriage official. The ceremony, in this building or one like it, is definitely a stunning and memorable venue to tie the knot.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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