Local Heart, Global Soul

May 24, 2020

Female Figures…

The facade of Hollandspoor station in The Hague is ornate and beautiful.
I couldn’t resist zooming in for a closer look.

The female figures hold various objects: The staff of Hermes Caduceus/Rod of Asclepius representing Medicine, the artists palette (the Arts), a book (Literature), a bee-hive and cog of a machine (Industry?), an anvil and hammer (Labour ?) a Cornucopia,  (Plenty/Abundance?).

These are the kind of details that you have to stop and discover, something that the rush and bustle of the train schedule doesn’t always allow.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

HsporedetailOut1g (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

HsporedetailOut1i (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

HsporedetailOut1h (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 15, 2020

The Shop Display…

In the downstairs shop of the “Kloosterbrouwerij Haagsche Broeder” (Brothers of the Hague Kloister Brewery), is the shop that sells the beer (on a large old workbench), as well as various other products. Although I have faith, I am really not into religious figures for permanent display. Now though, upon further inspection, I may just spy a donkey (or am I mistaken and it’s a horse?) along with a baby Jesus on a bottom shelf that could fit nicely into a nativity display I have for the bottom of the Christmas tree. It was busy in the shop so getting photographs of the entire shop layout without “bodies directly in front of the lens” wasn’t possible.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below): An excellent piece of recycling…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below): leaded glass in the doors between the upstairs chapel and the shop below.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 14, 2020

Far From Sight, But Not Of Mind…

It is not usual to see in Catholic organisations to see candles lit in memory of those who have passed away or, in my case, to think of friends who are of the Catholic faith.

One of these friends is a Nun, so I am especially wish to light a candle for her. Therefore it was a no-brainer upon seeing this tray of candles in the private chapel upstairs from the “Kloosterbrouwerij Haagsche Broeder” (Brothers of the Hague Kloister Brewery), that I was going to light a few candles.

With the lighting of each candle I take a moment to reflect on the happy moments we have spent together, and how they might be faring, since they live many thousands of kilometres away. They may be far from sight, but they are definitely not out of mind.

The Statue in the background is bonus…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 13, 2020

Arty Statues…

I like art and I like arty statues. These statues of Mary and Jesus are located on a private chapel. This chapel can be found above the “Kloosterbrouwerij Haagsche Broeder” (Brothers of the Hague Kloister Brewery) in The Hague.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 14, 2020

The Man Who Changed A Nation!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this, my last post about the Johan Rudolph Thorbecke memorial statue, I am learning more and more about the man who effectively changed Dutch history.

I knew roughly that Thorbecke introduced democracy to the Netherlands, limiting the power of the King and turned the country into a constitutional monarchy.

I also knew that one of the main thoroughfares in the Hague is named after him: the Thorbeckelaan.

Now I also learn a lot more detail about this amazing man. (Wikipedia, in the above link.)

“Despite initial reluctance, William II appointed Thorbecke as formateur in late October 1849, and his first cabinet took office on 13 November.

In this cabinet, Thorbecke served as minister of the Interior and chaired the Council of Ministers, thus becoming de facto Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

Thorbecke’s first cabinet passed several acts of particular importance, including the Electoral Act and the Province Act in 1850, and the Municipality Act in the following year.

Despite these successes, Thorbecke’s reforms were increasingly subjected to resistance, and he was criticised for his haughtiness and his strained relationship with the King. In 1853, the Catholic Church sought to restore the episcopal hierarchy in the Netherlands. Common people, pastors and conservative notables showed resistance to this in an anti-papal movement known as the “Aprilbeweging”. Thorbecke, who remained passive in the issue in defence of the separation of church and state, was accused of catholic sympathies, and he was forced to resign.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Thorbecke spent nine years as leader of the opposition in the House of Representatives. He pleaded for neutrality in the Crimean War 1854, and opposed the religious nature of the Primary Education Act in 1857.

The collapse of the conservative cabinet in 1862 brought Thorbecke back in power. On 31 January 1862, he started his second term as minister of the Interior and chairman of the Council of Minister.

Thorbecke’s relationship with the King had improved because the focus of his reforms had shifted from politics to economics, and despite the increased disunity among the liberals, his cabinet lasted for four years because of the support of the Catholics.

One of Thorbecke’s first acts in his second term was the abolition of the governmental departments for religious services.

Other notable achievements include the construction of several canals, the Secondary Education Act in May 1863, several acts on healthcare, and the municipal tax reform in 1865.

The cabinet collapsed on 10 February 1866 and Thorbecke resigned after a conflict regarding criminal law in the Dutch East Indies.

Thorbecke returned to being leader of the opposition in the House of Representatives. In 1868, he formed the Van Bosse-Fock cabinet, but did not take part in the cabinet himself. Three years later, after this cabinet had collapsed over foreign policy, the 73-year old Thorbecke did not hesitate to start his third term.
In December 1871 fell ill, and never fully recovered. Thorbecke died at his home in The Hague on 4 June 1872, at the age of 74.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Hated by some (he was not a man of concessions), he is nowadays considered a towering figure in Dutch parliamentary history.
There are three statues of Thorbecke (one in Amsterdam, one in The Hague and one in Zwolle) and a room in the Dutch parliament building is named after him.

I am really pleased that I’ve ended up looking deeper into this astonishing man’s life.

I am amazed at how long and hard this man fought for so many changes to society, not just dealing with opposing political parties, but also the might of the Church and King!

Introducing constitutional monarchy and democracy is certainly accomplishment enough, but adding: separation of Church and State, Economic reforms, passing important Electoral, Province, Municipality Acts, advocated for neutrality in time of war, making canal construction possible, also Secondary Education, Healthcare and Municipal Tax reforms…

… That’s one heck of a Curriculum Vitae!

Now I “get” why Thom Puckey created this monument is in two parts: The marble section represents the actual man; Thorbecke, at his desk, looking at the very Parliament buildings he worked and held office. The marble maybe (I think) represents the past centuries, time, but also something natural that is very long lasting.

The other half of the statue is made of rust-free steel;  man-made, a visionary material from Thorbecke’s perspective. Times (and things) have changed but men and women are still free to discuss and debate the Constitution. Maybe the modern material represents Visionary thoughts, ideas??

Maybe it means these figures represent Future centuries, and that the progress that Thorbecke brought about, is still very much present and relevant in the here-and-now, and hopefully ongoing into future centuries too. For ALL of his work, Johan Rudolph Thorbecke truly deserves a more recognition, and a stunning memorial, for his… …Monumental achievements!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 13, 2020

The 2017 Thorbecke Monument Detail…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This 2017 Thom Puckey statue celebrates Johan Rudolph Thorbeke and is located in the Hague.

Wikipedia (link above) tells us: “Johan Rudolph Thorbecke (14 January 1798 – 4 June 1872) was a Dutch statesman of a liberal bent, one of the most important Dutch politicians of the 19th century.

In 1848, he virtually single-handedly drafted the revision of the Constitution of the Netherlands, giving less power to the king and more to the States General, and guaranteeing more religious, personal and political freedom to the people.”

During his Political life: “On 21 May 1844, Thorbecke was elected into the House of Representatives for South Holland. In the House, he developed into the leader of the liberal opposition and, later that year, joined forces with eight like-minded members in a vain attempt to amend the constitution in the so-called Voorstel der Negenmannen (“Proposition of the Nine Men”).

Four years later, with much of Europe convulsed by the Revolutions of 1848, William II agreed upon the formation of a committee for revision of the constitution.

Thorbecke was appointed as head of this committee on 17 March. The changes were virtually all created by Thorbecke, as the other members of the committee did little but approve of his proposals. The drafted constitution was somewhat reluctantly approved by the States General, and was proclaimed on 3 November 1848. The new constitution established civil rights and parliamentary competences, and introduced direct election of members of House of Representatives and ministerial responsibility, thus limiting the power of the King and turning the country into a complete constitutional monarchy.

I have now come to the conclusion that the item that the lady in the modern section of the statue is not a laptop as I first assumed, but rather a copy of the Dutch constitution and that the reason this statue is in two parts is because the “older” part is a tribute to Thorbecke himself and the “modern” section is a tribute to the huge part that his work plays in today’s modern Dutch society.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 12, 2020

Work Or Office Gossip?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) visits have come to a small halt whilst I get from one place on my vising list to another.

This beautiful statue by Thom Puckey stands before me and on one side of it I am looking at a scene where a female colleague sits on the edge of a desk, with might be an open laptop chatting to her two seated male colleague’s. The meeting looks very informal so who knows if they are chatting about work, or maybe swapping a little bit of office gossip?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 4, 2020

Art And Your Emotions…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Art at the  “Raad voor de rechtspraak” (Council for the Judiciary), doesn’t stop at the window decoration shown in my most recent posts.

In the seating area to the right of the main hallway (the one surrounded by pillars) is a spiral.

Not just a tiny decorative piece in the corner either; this is the biggest spiral I have ever seen, and even better, it’s hanging from the ceiling!

This, at least for me, is a visual wonder.

The design, the warm yellow-y colour of the light-strip inside it, smoothness of the texture, all of this goes against the grain and yet it evokes a feeling that makes me happy.

I can’t touch it but I feel like I want to.

I’m a detail fanatic and there is no detail here, and yet it somehow ticks all of the boxes I equate with stunning Art.

It just goes to show that Art is not just tactile or visual, it also connects with your emotions at some point too.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 16, 2019

The Sculptor’s Workshop…

Following on from yesterdays post, I am lucky enough to have been given a glimpse into what a sculptor’s workshop looks like. This shed-converted-to-studio is perfect solution for someone who needs a specialist environment for their hobby. After all I can’t see any of this going down well on the kitchen table or in a corner of anyone’s living room!

I love tools, metal with wood handles rather than plastic, chisels here of the size, shape and feel that any medieval stone mason would recognise if he stepped into the future several hundred years and landed in the twenty-first century. Some things never change because the “improved” version has already been found, and no further improvements have been needed. The shelves sit lined with stone from which the final image has yet to be extracted. This is the perfect space to make this possible. Tools with wooden handles are just bonus.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 15, 2019

A Treat In Store Or at Least …In The Shed.

I get inspired when I see the workspaces where other artists work. After visiting a sculptor during one of the “Parels” (Pearls) events, I got not just a look at their art, but also the workshop where it was made. The Parels events are held at different times of the year in many neighbourhoods around The Hague. Artists, collectors and people involved in many other activities (yoga, aroma therapy, musicians, choirs, furniture restoration, churches, libraries, to name but a few) open their doors and homes to the public and share their hobbies/art/activities with the wider world of their neighbourhood or city.

Here the treat is that I also get to see the spot where an artist makes their creative choices, how they want to shape a piece, how to in this case, handle the stone and produce the item they had imagined within it at the very beginning. This studio is in a shed at the bottom of their garden, a perfect spot apart from the world to sit and craft stone. Magic!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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