Local Heart, Global Soul

August 15, 2017

Blink And You Miss It, But A Little Experience Not To Be Missed…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Visiting Gouda’s “Stadhuis” (Town Hall) you should know that the building has a special treat for young children if they are present two minutes after the striking of the hour and half hour of  the “Het klokken en poppenspel” (carillon  / chimes / glockenspiel).

On one of my visits here a man arrived in a hurry with his two children, the half hour chime having alerted him to the fact that if they wanted to see the puppets, they had better be quick.

Luckily they were on time and arrived just as the little red and white doors were opening.

I had arrived eight or nine minutes early, but having taken the wheelchair to get around with, I just sat patiently waiting to capture the action.

Despite visiting Gouda many times I’d never seen these playing before, so was not certain what to expect. There is a Wikipedia page on the Stadhuis but it’s in Dutch, so I translated into English the relevent information here:

The “klokkenspel” (chimes) on the side of the town halls date back to the 1960’s and was donated by a managing director of a Gouda insurance company, therefore not part of the original town hall. T

he Gouda locals refer to then as ‘ the Bouwmeesterrvue” (the chimes of Bouwmeester’).  The leading figure in the carillon is Floris V,  and the puppets depict the ceremony where he grants Gouda its city rights.

Every two minutes after the hour and half hour, the carillon will provide a lovely spectacle, as the puppets begin to move.”

The man with the small children sees me waiting poised with my camera and warns me there is not a lot of action in the puppet show and it will all be over rather quickly.  He hopes it will not be a disappointment.

He is a local who has seen it many times and now his kids (about 2 and 4 years of age) love coming to see the doors open and the little figures move. Eventually the final seconds tick over and the “performance” starts.

The little doors open first, the figures outside turn to greet their VIP guest Floris the 5th, who bows ever so slightly as he hands over the documents that grant the city rights. Then without much ado he retreats back inside, the doors close and the crowd turn to face outwards again. I had the camera on “sport’ mode and the shutter clicked almost continuously as the short show took place. I edited out most of the photographs as there were of course too many for this post but at the same time noticed something interesting: even in miniscule increments at no time did I manage to catch the outside figures making their inward and outward turns.

After the little doors close the two small children clap their hands applauding the show before heading away with their Dad. I am reminded by the Dutch Wiki page that other events here would also delight children. “at Christmas time, the Stadhuis and surrounding Markt buildings are lit only with candle light  on “Kaarsjesavond” (Candles’ evening) a yearly event that delights thousands. After this the Stadhuis is turned into a ‘canvas” for art light projections.  Called “Gouda bij Kunstlicht’ (Gouda by Light) this has grown to include not only the Stadhuis, but other monument buildings in the city, such as the “St. Janskerk” (Church of St. John).’

The little dolls of the klokkenspel carry out their little show every half hour, if you blink you might miss it but for me it was a new experience not to be missed for the world.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The outside groups of figures turn to face the doors as they open… and the middle figures move forwards…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Floris V hands over the documents confirming Gouda’s city status…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the next photograph Floris V gives the smallest of bows …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… before his quick retreat, along with whoever he gave the document to (they probably had stuff to discuss over lunch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

they retreat…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I don’t catch the groups on the left and right turning around between the photo above and the one below…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

… or the two middle figures turning either, as they slide back…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia:  Gouda Stadhuis  (City Hall) / (Dutch language)

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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 13, 2017

The French Are Ousted But Are Saved…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After an extended period of enforced quiet in the house due to his sisters big Exams, Little Mr earned a series of weekend trips to Gouda, resident city of his favourite Lego shop.

Whilst he, accompanied by Himself took part in the long study as to which items in the shop were to relieve him bit by bit of his built up birthday, holiday and Christmas savings money, I availed myself to visits to some of Gouda’s historic sites.

Several of these visits involved a look at Gouda’s “Stadhuis” (Town Hall), and it’s beautiful exterior.

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; ” You can see statues of the famous counts and countesses who lived in the Middle Ages in Holland, on the front of the Town Hall.

They were added in the 20th Century. Above the entrance is the motto “Audite et alteram” (listen to the opposing side”,  motto that was meant for the judges in Gouda. the imposing flight of stairs was added in 1603 by Gregorius Cool.

There is one unique detail that you must not miss, on the left hand side of the roof above the stairs you can see the coat of arms of Louis Napoleon (dated 1896). on it are the Dutch lion and the French Eagle. this was must unusual because after the period of occupation by the French, all references to the Bonapartes were rigorously removed, except in Gouda.”

One of the Ladies in the “VVV” Tourist Information office mentioned on an earlier visit that the reason for this was because many of the people of Gouda as a group, protected many of their buildings from desecration and vandalism after the French left whereas other cities let people to vent their anger by vandalizing all traces of their occupiers.

The Wikipedia page on Gouda Stadhuis (Dutch language only so I translated the relevant parts of it here):”The statues in the city’s current facade were only placed in 1960/1961. On the lower row are Karel de Stoute, Philip de Goede, Filips de Schone and Maria of Burgundy.

Above are the scenes of Floris V and Jacoba of Bavaria. Until 1882 there were two statues on the front of the town hall. They were both female figures, one a symbol of  “Wijsheid’ (wisdom) and one “Standvastigheid” (steadfastness), made by the sculptor Jan Gijselingh jr in 1695. 

In 1882 they were removed because their niches were converted back into windows again. The statues were donated to the Gouda museum.” I haven’t been to the Gouda museum yet, so no photographs of these two statues yet but these of the Dutch gentry stand beautifully in their place.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia:  Gouda Stadhuis  (City Hall) / (Dutch language)

August 12, 2017

The Roof Alone Keeps My Camera Clicking…

The “Stadhuis” (Town Hall) in Gouda is a beautiful building with many details. The roof alone keeps my camera clicking…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 11, 2017

Simplicity And Detail Together…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Leaving “de Waag” (Weigh house) I start looking at the left hand side of Gouda’s Stadhuis.

Covered with windows typical of the mid-1400’s, the red and white wooden shutters with their ironwork attachments, make a colourful as well as practical use.

There are also later edition pieces here too. The first is a set of diamond shaped art pieces on near the end of the Staduis close to the scaffold which is called: “Salomonsoordeel” (Solomon’s judgment). Wikipedia put it better than I could:

“1 Kings 3:16–28 Two mothers living in the same house, each the mother of an infant son, came to Solomon. One of the babies had died, and each claimed the remaining boy as her own.

Calling for a sword, Solomon declared his judgment: the baby would be cut in two, each woman to receive half.

One mother did not contest the ruling, declaring that if she could not have the baby then neither of them could, but the other begged Solomon, “Give the baby to her, just don’t kill him!”

The king declared the second woman the true mother, as a mother would even give up her baby if that was necessary to save its life. This judgment became known throughout all of Israel and was considered an example of profound wisdom.’

Also on this side of the Stadhuis is an arched stone doorway with and heavy arched ironwork studded door. At the cornerstone of the stone arch is a little surprise: a stone carving of a whale, complete with water spout!

At the base of the stone door way are carvings that look a bit like sword handles. Close by is a water pipe, unusual too because part of it is in the shape of a face.

A little further on again you can find a large metal ring embedded into the stonework. Probably for the hitching of horses but who knows? Simplicity and detail together make a beautiful façade.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia: Judgement of Solomon / Bible

August 10, 2017

Gouda Stadhuis: Disastrous Beginnings Lead To A Gem…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

‘In the Middle Ages the Van der Goude family built a settlement and fortified castle alongside the banks of the Gouwe River, and it is from this that the city of Gouda took its name.

Located on the Market Square Gouda’s fifteenth century “Stadhuis” (town hall) is one of the oldest Gothic town halls in the Netherlands. 

In the summer of 1438, a devastating fire reduced Gouda almost to ashes.

The wooden town hall was very badly damaged.

The town council decided that the new town hall should be a freestanding stone building, well away from other buildings in order to protect it from the danger of future fires.

A market field, little more than a peat bog was bought and in 1448 construction began, having been postponed many times due to the  poor financial situation of Gouda city.

One of the stonemasons was Jan III Keldermans, a member of a Brabant family of architects Keldermans from Mechelen. The building was built from Belgian limestone.

The foundation did not use piles as was common in many places, but rather frames of heavy oak beams.

Construction was officially completed with the completion of the turret in 1459 but the building was already in use after 1450. 

According to the historian Walvis, the town hall was surrounded by water by 1603 and could be reached by means of a bridge. In that year (1603), the current renaissance style borders were made by the city sculptor Gregorius Cool.

During 1692-1697 a major refurbishment took place again and the present stone scaffold built at the back of the town hall. Before that time there had already been a scaffold made of wood for public executions at the town hall as evidenced in texts as far back as 1525.

Until 1897 access to the scaffold was made by means of a wooden staircase on the outside of the town hall. It was not permitted to walk prisoners inside the Stadhuis.‘  The information was not available in English so I translated it from the Dutch wiki page. This is a beautiful building with a long history… the events that have happened during it’s time here, if only the walls could speak. Even better this is just the back side of the building. As you can see, the Dutch weather varied considerably between visits, in the last photograph I like to think that the clouds were tying to emulate the “stepped” roof of the building!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia:  Gouda Stadhuis  (City Hall) / (Dutch language)

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