Local Heart, Global Soul

August 8, 2017

Character, Charm and … Cheese!

Filed under: GOUDA,Gouda: De Waag / Weigh House,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post, I am taking a look around the Gouda “VVV‘ (Visitor information center) which is located in one of the cities’ most stunning buildings: ‘de Waag” (Weigh house).

For centuries it was used for weighing  cheese and giving these cheeses their certifications for sale, and indeed, fittingly, cheese  can still be bought here.

Of course all of the ‘usual” tourist stuff is here too: postcards, magnets, books, knick-knacks, even brightly coloured wooden tulips.

There are volunteers at the information desk  at the back who will help you with your questions, give directions and who were exceedingly friendly.

There is also a museum upstairs where the original relief from the front of the building is on display, I took one look at the spiral staircase and decided that I was never going to manage that.

It’s a pity because it’s the kind of thing that interests me a lot but I also understand that there are probably regulations against putting lifts into Listed buildings that are centuries old and National Monuments. The recommendation of the ladies at the Information desk is that it is well worth a look if you are able, so I will pass that message on in case someone can visit and that is helpful. I like this building a lot, it has character, charm.. and cheese!

(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)

Wikipedia: “Waag” (Weigh House) / Gouda/ The Netherlands / (Dutch text only)

August 7, 2017

Milk Maids Bring The Milk Destined To Become Cheese…

Filed under: ART,GOUDA,Gouda: De Waag / Weigh House,PHOTOGRAPHY,Stained Glass — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Looking through the ropes that suspend the large weigh scales in “de Waag” (Weigh house) in Gouda, I spy a large leaded window.

Sitting on the floor and resting against the wall, this stained glass piece depicts two milk maids bringing milk back to the dairy.

Their buckets are suspended from the wooden yokes they are wearing, they are closing the gate of the field (or indeed they may be opening it) it’s difficult to see if they have just arrived to bring fresh buckets to the man milking the cows in the field or if they are leaving with full buckets from cows previously milked.

Both the man and the milk maids are dressed in simple regional  farm working clothes of a style that could probably date from anywhere between the 17th to 19th centuries.

Rural clothes were usually practical and simple and apart from their Sunday best and possibly one or two other special costumes, the working clothes were lived in for most of the week. I attempt to get close-up photographs but the proximity of the weigh scales, and my efforts to avoid them and the intruding ropes,  mean that some of the photographs were taken on rather a strange angle. The style of the stained glass suggests that it not really “old” old, certainly not medieval.  I’d estimate that it was made around 1900-1910 but that’s just a pure guess, based on the style of other stained glass pieces I have seen. Then again, now that I have said that, someone will probably come forward and tell me it was made a few months ago!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia: “Waag” (Weigh House) / Gouda/ The Netherlands / (Dutch text only)

August 6, 2017

A Huge Weigh Scale Needed For Heavy Duty Lifting…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Visiting Gouda and going inside “de Waag” (Weigh house) I find that it is now a “VVV” (Tourist information office).

Of course the first thing I need to see are the massive weighing scales that have weighed cheese here for decades or even centuries.

Supported by thick ropes and iron chains, and kept in place (so that it doesn’t swing about) by large weights, wheels of cheese sit on it as many have done before them.

I suspect that they are not just for display either, the VVV has a cheese counter so these may be their spare cheeses for when the cheese on the shelf runs out.

There are a multitude of weights of different sizes in the corner,  each with a large ring on the top so that they can be put onto the large hooks located on the four corners of the scale.

Who knows how many hundreds of times these have been used but they have the patina of age.
It is difficult to get close or at the right angle because there are racks of tourist stuff around the weighing scale but I find it a beautiful machine.

(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)

Wikipedia: “Waag” (Weigh House) / Gouda/ The Netherlands / (Dutch text only)

August 5, 2017

Awning Wings And Worn Out Stone…

Filed under: Architectural Detail,ART,GOUDA,Gouda: De Waag / Weigh House,SCOTLAND — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of the striking things about “de Waag” (Weigh house) in Gouda is not just that it is a stunning historical building but that it is also one with four impressive side awnings that stick out like wings.

I am not certain of they were designed that way in consideration of the fickle Dutch weather,  to protect the scales, the merchandise, a combination of all of these factors or just because Pieter Post, the architect liked to design that way.

If the weather was the reason then it was an excellent measure; with large double doors open on two sides of the building, the inside would be at the mercy of the elements without them.

A closer inspection reveals that they swing open on massive metal hinges, one single and one double because one of each of the doors has a smaller door built into it, thus a hinge on that side for each of the  two doors.

It is also obvious that the smaller door was the one more often used and open: given away by centuries worth of foot-fall wearing down the stone step into the street. The large arches above are substantial pieces of architecture but manage to appear light in appearance. The area under the arches house semi-circular windows the let much needed light inside.

I am not sure how much of a challenge it was to have built a substantial two story building that opened out almost completely with double doors on two sides, and had large central doors on each other two sides, this would have taken some engineering skill. Needless to say, as handy as the awnings were in inclement weather, the possibility to open doors on all four sides of a square building on the warmest days of summer must also have been appreciated.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia: “Waag” (Weigh House) / Gouda/ The Netherlands / (Dutch text only)

August 4, 2017

Standing Out In Stark Relief…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There were more detail photographs and text from “de Waag” (the Weigh House) in Gouda than I could fit into one post.

This post covers the detail on the front of the building, where we find a very white, ornate relief stone-work panel.

Between the information plaque on the side of the building and a dedicated Wikipedia page (both only available in Dutch) I found out, and translated into English: “‘The sculptures were made by sculptor Bartholomeus Eggers from Amsterdam.

Probably to the design of architect Pieter Post. The depictions clearly show the functions of the building: the weighing of cheese.  People are depicted in a space with columns and arches, weighing cheese and making notes. Curiously, on the right side, an Arabian is also shown behind a second standing person, probably a merchant.

In 2000 the relief was replaced by a copy in the same type of  ‘bianco carrara’ marble in the quality ‘statuario”. The ‘cords” holding up the weighing scale in the relief were made of specially prepared copper tubes, painted white.

At the restoration, initially it was not clear what the person depicted as an Arabian held in his left hand. After source research, it was chosen to give the man a parchment roll.  Initially there was some commotion about the very bright white colour of the new sculpture,  even though it was in the same material as the old one.

Marble is a material that weathers so the old sculpture had turned grey over the years. Additionally,  marble has a characteristic called “saccharification” which means that it becomes brittle and grainy.  When the original was removed from the wall, it turned out to be broken so was removed in pieces.

After restoration the old relief was placed inside so that people can view it. Being located inside also means that further deteriation is prevented.

On either side of relief there are the coats of arms of the four mayors of Gouda who, in the year of construction in 1668, fulfilled the mayor’s function. Left the arms of Floris Cant and Gerard Sterre and right the Donatus van Groenendijck and Jacob Bonser.

In 1799 the family coats of arms were taken away by the French occupiers. The reliefs of the coat of arms themselves were saved. During the restoration in the 1950’s   the family coats of arms, commissioned by mayor James, were reinstalled.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia: “Waag” (Weigh House) / Gouda/ The Netherlands / (Dutch text only)

August 3, 2017

Weighing Up The Details…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve been making semi-regular weekend trips to Gouda and one of the places that I visited is called “De Waag” (Weigh house).

This post zooms in on some of the details around the building.

There is a Wikipedia page dedicate to the building but it’s only available in Dutch, so I’m providing an English translation.

The “Waag” in Gouda (also called the cheese weighhouse) is on the Market, facing the back of the Town Hall.

The was designed by Pieter Post in 1668 after Gouda managed to lease the weigh house for 15 years from the Dutch Court of Auditors (i.e. a branch of the then national government).

This meant that the city of Gouda didn’t own the building. This lease agreement was silently renewed after that.

The city of Gouda’s attempts to buy the weighing right failed and the annual payments to the Government only ended in 1806. In May 1670 the balances were suspended in the new building. Pieter Post died one year before the completion of the building. The booklet: “A walk through history”, by the Gouda Gidsen Gilde and for sale (Euro 2:50) at the VVV (Tourist information office)  tells me; ‘ A large weighing scale, a bascule, has hung in this building where at least 5 million pounds (a Dutch pound weighs 500 grams) of mainly cheese was weighed annually.

The amount of tax to be paid was based on the weight of a cheese. After weighing the cheeses were marked so that a trader woud know that it was a legal batch of cheese. The cheese farmers sold their cheeses to dealers who waited in front of the Waag on the market place. A deal was sealed with a definite price and agreed by the farmer and the trader with a handshake

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia: Weigh House
Wikipedia: “Waag” (Weigh House) / Gouda/ The Netherlands / (Dutch text only)

August 2, 2017

The Waag Weighs In Beautifully…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Walking around the corner of Gouda’s ‘ The Agnietenkapel” (Agnes Convent) in the direction of the Market square, you will be instantly captivated by a beautiful and imposing building.

Called “De Waag”  which literal meaning in English is “Scale”, this is Gouda’s Weigh House.

Wikipedia tells me that  “Weigh Houses were usually established before 1800 prior to the establishment of international standards for weights.

As public control of the weight of goods was very important, they were run by local authorities who would also use them for the levying of taxes on goods transported through or sold within the city.

Therefore, weigh houses would often be near a market square or town centre’

An information plaque (in Dutch only, I’ve provided a translation) on the Waag walls tells me: “In 1667 the city was granted the “Right to Weigh” and therefore decided to build a building designed by Pieter Post.”

(Kiwi’s note,  this architects name should be pronounced to rhyme with ‘cost’) “Post designed a square building in the Dutch classical style with both side walls provided with awnings.

Since walking for any great distance is difficult and one occasion my wheelchair was in for repair, I used Little Mr’s trips to the Lego shop as a means to visit the Waag more than once. The weather on one of these visits was less than accommodating, but that said, the dark threatening skies bring out details that you don’t notice when it is sunny. Photographs in this, and my next few posts are a compilation of these visits.

(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)

Wikipedia: Weigh House
Wikipedia: “Waag” (Weigh House) / Gouda/ The Netherlands / (Dutch text only)

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