Local Heart, Global Soul

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)

April 2, 2020

A Stunning “Window Dressing”…

The last of the glass windows at the “Raad voor de rechtspraak” (Council for the Judiciary) was the most difficult to photograph. The child looks out at me, and yet I see a man looking though it too. The last photograph shows another man with a street scene behind. A stunning “window dressing”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 1, 2020

Windows! …Stained Glass?

Following yesterday’s post I am in the “Raad voor de rechtspraak” (Council for the Judiciary) building in the Hague. The windows on the left hand side of the large entrance area of the building are not stained glass as I first thought. These are more like painted or photographic images on a clear Perspex, which are then mounted in front of the windows. The “sort-of stained glass” illusion is then enhanced by the grid of security bars on the real windows behind.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 31, 2020

Letting In The Light…

My ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) visit to the “Raad voor de rechtspraak” (Council for the Judiciary) in the summer of 2019, showed me somewhere where I would usually never see.
Along one side of the main area is a seating area next to windows, some of which look a tad hazy. A closer look reveals that some of these windows are actually beautifully decorated…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 30, 2020

Impressive, Innovative, Inspirational…

The floor of the main large entrance room in the “Raad voor de rechtspraak” (Council for the Judiciary)’ in the Hague has a special “insert” within it. The dark triangle we saw in my earlier post turns out to be a sort of clear glass / perspex cut-out of the main floor, where it’s then possible to look down onto the multiple floors below.

This view downstairs gives a glimpse of some of the amazing tilework in the literal floors of the floors benieth. The lights shining on the thick glass / perspex make photographing the scene below rather tricky but I did my best. It’s clear that it’s not just me who finds this beautiful, there is a near constant stream of visitors gathered around this section, and I hear comment after comment about how impressive, innovative and inspirational this is.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 29, 2020

Judical Architecture…

Following yesterday’s post, I have arrived in the “Raad voor de rechtspraak” (Council for the Judiciary) in The Hague. Standing in the central space I am torn between looking up, at the beautiful balconies, or down at the amazing floor. At this moment the balconies win. The skylight above give light, bright views, I love the space, materials, patterns and shapes.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 28, 2020

Raad voor de Rechtspraak,(Council for the Judiciary): And The Pillars Of Justice…

My 2019 ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) tour has bought me to the “Raad voor de rechtspraak” (Council for the Judiciary) in The Hague. Once inside, the entrance hallway opens up into a large central area, surrounded by a beautiful pillared gallery. The central floor area appears to be tiled in various motifs but it’s the large triangular area in the center that attracts the attention…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 27, 2020

COVID19 And The “New Normal”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have had a few readers ask if we are OK during the current Covid19 / Coronavirus Crisis, so decided to make a post to let everyone know at once.

I have to say that we are doing ok… cautiously though.

Many of you know I have COPD, having lost 35% of my lung function to printing industry chemical damage due to a faulty air-co system, and also have severe asthma.

For this reason I actually started “social distancing” over four weeks ago since Himself and I expressed private doubts very early on that this was  “just a flu” as some people said was the case. At that stage the Netherlands didn’t even have it’s first case and Italy had a dozen or so cases..

Because even a ‘normal’ flu can put me in hospital, we thought it wise to take no chances.

As frequent air travelers we also know how quickly you can get sick from air travel, how quickly this was likely to have spread, especially working out that there were probably “carriers” of COVID19 moving around the world during the time that China was trying to stop word getting out about the diseases’s existence. We were skeptical about the numbers China first admitted to as well.

My colleagues thought I was a bit too cynical, and bonkers for getting permission to be excused from meetings, asking them to phone or email instead of making personal visits etc… I am sad that Himself and I had to be proven right.

Himself ran a very popular half marathon  (21km) in the city of The Hague three weeks ago (…with not nearly enough training as he should have done, due to work and family stuff) and the next day had a cold. Actually he has a cough, but a wet one, NOT the dry COVID19 cough, and no temperature.

Because  his cough sounds bad (clear out a supermarket in 10 second bad) , he decided to self isolate, as not to worry other people, also, “just in case” from me.  Therefore he’s been banished to sleep in the guestroom, we keep 2 metre distance as much as humanly possible, etc. If he is in out tiny galley kitchen, then I am not. We also disinfect door handles, light switches every day and have gone from being a habitual hand-washing family, to an OCD fanatical one.

Luckily we have a Calvinistic government who learned from the 2008 financial crisis and tightened down the banks afterwards with a heap of regulations. They heavily reigned in borrowing and actually have a current 90 Billion Euro surplus. The 1st Minister went on TV early on and guaranteed funds for everyone who would be effected by this, self employed people, small-middle businesses with staff etc. It’s taken Tax dept between 48 hours and four days to get first payments into bank accounts after proof that you are self employed etc. It probably helps that like most of Europe, we don’t do cheques, It’s not even possible to have a chequeboek here, we operate on bank transfers for decades.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Several supermarket chains have now put in place a sort of “early-bird hour”, where from 07;00 a.m. to 08:00 a.m. they are only open for people with health problems like me and elderly people.

I was there yesterday and staff severely told off a 40-ish year old man in painters overalls wanting to buy lunch on his way to work whilst I waited making it clear in no uncertain terms that these early opening times were to protect the vulnerable against people like him, so he wasn’t welcome.

This morning slot was chosen to that shelves would be as stocked as possible and there are limits on how many are inside at once. The Cashiers now have a large sheet of perspex between them and the customer, you put your stuff on the end of the moving band, then go to the other end to pack, coming closer to the cashier only at the moment when you need to pay at the card terminal.

At work I work with paper dossiers (too many to take home) and with treatment and codes from those, convert the work into electronic form to supply about 100 other people, who can use that to work digitally from home. To that end the office has done an emergency roll-out of laptops, large screens and equipment for hundreds of staff to work from home, I am one of the last.

I was still safe though because now there were only three of us in two entire wings, the office is empty, and I have my own isolation! Yesterday, they started sorting out a way for me to receive electronic lists of files and not the actual paper files, so now I’m about to work from home too.

I’m assuming that if they can get everyone home then they may even close the office doors? Not sure if that’s possible yet. One thing I am fairly certain of is that this is not going to be a short time thing, I’m sad to say that I think this could easily go six months or longer. … or maybe until a reliable vaccine can come to people like me.

I am deeply saddened to say that I fear greatly for countries like the USA and Brazil who’s leadership is not taking this nearly seriously enough, or who’s healthcare systems will be over run. The poorest people will suffer the most, and the self employed, small/middle sized businesses, those with the least savings. I fear that USA Govt will bail out big businesses and not the “little people”. I really worry for America.

I know it’s a luxury to live somewhere like the Netherlands, a society which is far from perfect (no society is) but where people are coming before all else and who’s Government is stepping up in a way I can be proud of right now. “Socialism” doesn’t mean “communism”, it means a society acting like a Family who all chip in to look after the weakest members: the disabled, Grandma’s and Grandpa’s, small children, mentally impaired, and those who can’t find work, or can not work because they found themselves with health issues like cancer etc.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Right now “Socialism” means not having to have sleepless nights worrying about hospital bills, I pay about Euro240,- a month for our entire family of four to have one one of the best health insurances in Europe (it’s the one designated in my work contract) and we are 100% covered for hospital bills, 80% of most drugs.

It’s mandatory to have health insurance in The Netherlands, even the unemployed have it taken out of their benefit. It’s a system where everyone looks after one another … and that’s how entire countries need to be now, looking out for it’s own Citizens and then, if at all possible, stepping up to help other, poorer countries in need.

From what I see the New Zealand Prime Minister has also stepped up, taking proactive steps to safeguard Kiwi’s. I worry about the citizens of other countries who’s Governments are listening less to the science, the pleas of Italy to learn from their experience, and to leader’s who are in denial.

Humanity needs to be kind to one another right now, we need to work together, not hoard any PPE product that could keep a health worker on the front-line safe. We should be stocking the fridges of Doctors and Nurses with fresh fruit and veg so that they can stay healthy because they are exhausted, they should be coming home to supplied home cooked meals that can be heated up.

We should all be doing whatever we can to protect those who need protecting, phoning the elderly who live alone so that they are not lonely, getting the message through to young people that they need to do their bit to keep others safe. We need to offer assistance to our fellow countrymen and to our fellow citizens of the world.

Last weekend we had friends do shopping for us since Himself is able-bodied but self isolating.  We are lucky to have an excellent support system and lot of people asking to help us if we need it.

Himself got strong medication yesterday from the Dr. for his cough so will hopefully see a breakthrough in his illness within a few days. I think we need to err on the side of caution since so much about this terrible virus is yet unknown. I don’t want to be pessimistic, but rather realistic. Many counties will have to to a LOT more if they want to save as many citizens as possible. Let’s hope that humanity rises to the challenge this disease presents. Please stay safe one and all.  We need to take the view that we are all global citizens of the World Family and work in everyone’s best interests. Take care. Virtual HUGS.. kiwi 🙂

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 26, 2020

An Architect Surveying His Work?

Entering the “Raad voor de rechtspraak” (Council for the Judiciary) I admire the ornate entrance and take a moment to rest (there was a small staircase to be negotiated) and try and take in the images sitting in the shadows of the “backside” of the grand doorway entrance. I see for example a stone image of a man at centre top of the door.

He “looks” into the building and somehow it would not at all surprise me if this was a portrait of one of the Van Nieukerken brothers who designed this building. As a detail fanatic is he maybe watching over his work to make certain that his efforts are looked after down the ages? An Architect surveying his work? The ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) continue to surprise and amaze me…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 25, 2020

Detail Right From The Front Steps, What’s Not To Love?

I’ve arrived at the “Raad voor de Rechtspraak” (Council for the Judiciary) building, located at “Kneuterdijk 1” in the centre of the Hague. The first part of the ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites) guidebook tells me:

This office was built between 1920 for the Nederlandsche Handelsmaatschappij (Netherlands Trading Society). The neo-Renaissance style building was designed by the brothers Van Nieukerken, who revived traditional building styles and meticulous detailing.

It’s clear that the detailing starts on the outside of the building… as a fellow detail fanatic, it looks very much like I’m going to adore this place…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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