Local Heart, Global Soul

April 13, 2015

Gliding In A Boat UNDER The Cathedral…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In follow up to my yesterday’s post, I’ve come with friends to the Noord-Braband Dutch town of  ‘s Hertogenbosch for a day out of the house.

They also have their son and a visiting family member along for the trip, and since there are several boat trips, we decide that the historical inner city trip would suit our group well for today, and that a return journey would be needed if we wanted to do more of them.

As mentioned yesterday, the fortified city ran out of space when the population grew and so the inhabitants built over the canals. Interestingly it wasn’t just homes and businesses that were completely or partially built over the canals, in a stunning feat of engineering, a cathedral was too.

The boat takes us underneath and whilst in the tunnel we get to see parts of the foundations and also sections of the historical city wall that was unearthed when the canal system was opened up and renovated on the 1970’s.

Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera on the best setting in order to get the best photographs of the beautiful arches that line the canal underneath the church.

We come out the other side and all of a sudden we find ourselves in a larger waterway on the outside of the city walls. We follow the walls for a short distance and then re-enter the city via a set of double lock gates… the journey continues.

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The white tabs dotted along the city walls are part of a lazer monitoring system that checks for movement, damage and deterioration.

(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)

November 30, 2014

The Water We Play With And Then Throw Away…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,Traditionally Dutch — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Today’s post is a yet another illustration of something else very typically Dutch: the aqueduct.

The national stereotype  of a country filled with canals is there for a reason, because the country is filled almost end to end with canals and waterways of all shapes and sizes.

Most people of course know about the famous Dutch sea defences, that’s lesser known is that in a country that is largely below sea level and thus with a water table that’s higher than the surrounding land, that it’s necessary to continually pump water off the land twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days of the year. And the extra day in Leap years.

There’s an entire Government department dedicated to water management. During storms, cloud bursts and long periods of rain, teams of experts monitor water levels around the country.

If it rains hard in the upper reaches of the Rhine River in Germany and flooding starts, all that water has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is going to to be further down-stream in The Netherlands. Every single Low tide, water that has been pumped off the land is emptied into the sea.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Netherlands is like a little boat with a slow leak that’s always requires bailing.  That’s why  twice a year we have a problem with the high Spring and Autumn tides. If these occur at the same time as large storms the sea level will be so high a low tide that the pumping out of the stored land water can not take place.

Many of the Dutch waterways are also used as commercial and recreational highways.  I’ve lost count of the amount of times in the last twenty years I’ve sat at a car at red light with the roadway in front of me tilted up to allow sailing vessels to go by. Sometimes though, when the road concerned is a motorway, a better solution than a tilting bridge has to be found, and this alternative is the aqueduct. This is basically where the canal goes over the road, ( or the road goes under the canal, take your pick) not a drinking water canal as per aqueducts of Roman times, but to carry  boat traffic. The one in my photographs is in Gouda (Yes, where the famous cheese comes from).

Make no mistake though, these canals are also very expensive feats of engineering and are not just there to benefit the whims of recreational boaties, the water in them is also very conveniently some of the water extracted from the land and is on it’s way to the sea to be pumped out when the next low tide comes around.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

November 9, 2013

A Canal Walk And Detailing The Views…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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My Singaporean friend Velveteen and I have been doing plenty of walking around Brugge (Bruges) in recent days… one of our walks  took us along some of the inner city canals, where we checked out the beautiful buildings and watched a procession of horses and carriages go by. A photographic post detailing the views…

(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)

(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)

November 3, 2013

As We Leave The Water, The Heavens Open…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges: Canal Trip,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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We are about to leave the tourist canal trip in Bruges, Belgium, but before we go, I have one more photographic series of pictures of the beautiful buildings we saw    …the weather was closing in fast… and just as the dock came into sight at the end of the tour, the heavens opened and it started to rain buckets. In one of the departing boats, a forest of black umbrellas suddenly popped open  as the passengers ducked below them for cover,

Velveteen and  got out of the rain as quickly as we could and under the cover of boat tour ticket entrance area, and waited for the rain to abate a little before making our way as quickly as we could (in my case, not so quick) to the Church of Our Lady where we had arranged to meet back up with Himself and the kids.

(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)

(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)

Bottle shapes in a brewery building…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 30, 2013

Squeezing In A Jaunt On The Water…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges: Canal Trip,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Our Singaporean friend “Velveteen” and I have just enough time before dinner in Bruges, Belgium, to squeeze in one of the tourist boat trips on the city canals. The weather isn’t the best but it’s more rain on the wind and threatening than actual precipitation so far. Here is a photographic post  from Velveteen’s photos  (used with permission) of our trip around the city waterways…

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

Our tour guide…

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

April 5, 2013

Crypt-ic Brewing and Other Peculiarities…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,UTRECHT (Province) — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are browsing though a post I have made using my achieve photos of a trip Family Kiwidutch made with the family of one of my cousins, visiting us from New Zealand a few years ago.

In yesterdays post I mentioned that in centuries gone by, the bad state of many roads meant that canals were a faster and easier mode of travel and that the haulage of goods, ingredients and livestock were usually done on the waterways.

For ease of transport  most breweries in the Netherlands were located on canalside and here is no exception, although we did also learn on our boat tour of Utrecht that the beer from the brewery shown in the first photograph supposedly had a rather “ peculiar” taste because they also used the canal water in the beer.

Since the waterways were also the dumping ground for anything and everything (mentionable and unmentionable) I hope that the alcohol in that beer was strong enough to kill off the certain nasties it must surely have contained.

Since this brewery managed to stay in business for hundreds of years, they obviously didn’t kill their customers with the beer… or maybe they did but it happened so slowly that people didn’t suspect the cause? … or is it simply that people  back then had cast iron constitutions?

We pass one spot of the “lower street” with not just a large wooden sculpture out the front but also a rather strange looking angel suspended from the tree…  This we are told is a sign that tells people that the crypts of wealthy people are located in the spaces behind.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A little further along we branch away from the smaller inner canals  where the “lower street”  idea is no longer present  but the warehouses and cellars still are, this time with doors directly on the canal front.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

These little canals in turn branch into the broader ones that were effectively the early motorways of the city. A large wall and a gate  mark the ancient toll entrance  into Utrecht.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We also pass a sturdy looking jetty that is the docking point for  boats taking visitors to the nationally known Railway Museum a short distance away…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We boat  and  people watch: other tourists passing by in a similar tour boat to ours, to locals messing around with their craft and pets on the water’s edge.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There is a large building  that dates from the 1700’s,  it started life as an orphanage then became a  home for the elderly and has now been converted into apartments.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Some photos just take my fancy: bridges, squeezing under bridges, houses and views from the water…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 4, 2013

You Take The Low Road and I’ll Take The … ….Lower (Canal) Road!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In continuance of yesterdays post, our train journey has bought us to the city of Utrecht. We had booked a boat trip for our two families on one of the canal tour boats and needed to find the place where the boat will be moored. Luckily the distance from the station is relatively short and we find it without problem.

The reason we have bought them to Utrecht is because these canals are unlike most other canals in Dutch cities. Basically the Gracht (canal) runs though the city centre, nothing new or different about that, but it’s like there are streets beneath streets here… what you might call the lower street runs along the canal and is lined with wharfs,  warehouses and commercial cellars… and then above those are the regular streets above, with  the usual things you’d expect to see: shops, houses etc.

In centuries past the canal was the main mode of transport, everything:  building materials, industrial goods, food, cloth, livestock and beer were delivered by boat, since the dirt or cobbled roads were narrow and congested.

These days some of the cellars and warehouses have been converted into artisan workshops, restaurants, cafés,  boutiques  and have found more fashionable and up to date uses than just storage of commercial goods. Even the space under some of the bridges has been used… one of them was the local jail… looking dark, damp and cramped, I hope it acted as a deterrent for some would-be criminals. A more recent, World War II addition to another bridge is a German bunker.

In a few spots there are some wide steps that lead up to the upper street level. We learn that the particular one in my photo are 34 such steps dating from the 1600’s that could be used to get water quickly from the canal to the upper street above whenever there was a fire:  no hoses or pumps or course, just a bucket line and a lot of frantic work.

Let’s take a closer look at this unusual configuration of upper and lower streets…

(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)

17 may 38 (Small)

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 30, 2011

No One Should Leave Before First Tidying up…

Filed under: Places and Sights,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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We are  almost at the end of our Amsterdam wonderings. These photos have, I suspect, been itching to get out of that archive folder on my computer ever since I took them.

Before we touch on our final destination , I have here a roundup post of photos that didn’t make it into any of the other posts. Enjoy.

(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)

March 23, 2011

The Ghosts of the Past Linger on the Water’s Edge…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

When Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants settled in Amsterdam in  the 17th century, they started trading on the streets because  Jews were not permitted to own shops.

The first stall was set up in what was to become the Jewish Quarter in 1783.

A  new city square called the “Waterlooplein” was created in 1882 after several canals in the area were filled in and stallholders were made to transfer to this new location under a compulsory order.

The move was met with anger and resistance since the new site was exposed and windy and there were fears that the new market area would not be able to attract customers, but these fears turned out to be unfounded as the market quickly grew in popularity.

By September 1941 Jews were  no longer allowed to trade in public markets but only on specially designated  places that were two former playgrounds.

On May 25th 1943  Jews were told to report to police on a voluntarily basis in response to a call-up that had been given. When only 500 turned up, the following day on May 26th,  a raid took place in Amsterdam that saw 3000 Jews deported by train to extermination camps.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In total approximately 107,000 Dutch Jews were to extermination camps in Eastern Europe, and only about 5,000 survived to make the return.

During the German occupation of  Amsterdam, the The German occupiers declared the Waterlooplein and the area immediately around it to be a Jewish ghetto.

Houses here were looted during the 1944 starvation winter and almost none of the Jewish market stallholders survived the war.

In the decades following the 1960’s the market began again as hippy culture took hold and more recently in the 1990’s a flea market returned, mostly dealing in bric-a-brack, trendy new and second-hand clothes, music, electronic and general items. You’ll find it at Waterlooplein, 1011 PG Amsterdam.

On the back-sides of the stalls, you will find large copies of archive photographs that show you what the Jewish market place looked like before the war changed life here forever.

At the corner of the Amstel and Zwanenburgwal  you will find the Jewish Resistance Monument.  Crafted  in 1988 by Belgian sculptor Josef Glatt  it’s a  tall black granite pillar, that on one side has text in Hebrew and Dutch that says: ‘Were my eyes fountains of tears then would I weep day and night for the fallen fighters of my beloved people.’ (this text being a quote taken from the lament of the prophet Jeremiah)

I very much like that something that been done to preserve the memory of an entire district that was almost entirely wiped out in the human madness that was one of histories darkest hours.

Naturally the best way to see these photos is from the water, so yet another ‘excuse”  (if you ever needed one) to take a trip with the St. Nicolaas  Boat Club of Amsterdam! Soon after this we find ourselves making our way back to our starting point… We have had a fabulous time and already decided to do it again some time soon. Next time we will bring a picnic lunch  to enjoy during the ride.

Diego has been a fabulous Captain and we’ve been puttering up and down the canals for hours so clearly a generous donation towards running costs of the little tuindersvlet boat is a fair way to say “Thank You“.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 22, 2011

Where there are Flowers, Floating on the Water…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Netherlands and the flower markets of the world are a trading combination that is centuries old.

Whilst the Netherlands grows  between 7 and 8 billion blooms per year and has been the biggest producer of cut flowers in the world, in the more recent past, it’s role as a Trader of the World Flowers has quite literally “blossomed”.

The Flower Market at Aalsmeer is the biggest flower auction in the world, and the Dutch do not only grow and sell flowers, they also have  very strong  cultural and social links to them too.

It’s totally normal to see people carrying bunches of blooms home, especially on Friday after work so that your house is full of fresh flowers for the weekend, but it’s also customary when visiting, or going out to dinner at someone’s home, to bring  your host a bunch of flowers.

You will find flower stalls  in every suburb of the Netherlands, so it’s no surprise to find that Amsterdam, like many larger centers also has an even larger  “Bloemenmarkt”  (Flower Market).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Amsterdam Flower Market however is not like most in one respect: the  market “stalls” are actually floating on the canal and so you can walk along the canal side and look in and pick out your blooms.

It’s the only floating Flower Market in the world.

The back-sides of these “houseboats for flowers” that face the water have been decorated in many cases with photographic scenes of what the boat contains. In a few cases the backside of the boat is made or either glass or perspex panels so you can see directly inside.

Certainly it’s a tourist attraction, but make no mistake, the locals come here to buy their flowers in their droves (prices can be cheaper because having the “shop” on the water means lower overhead costs for the sellers).

We pass by in our little boat from The St.Nicolaas Boat Club, so first get a prime view at water level and later Himself and I we walk past and see it from “top-side” too.

These shops specialise in selling seeds, bulbs and cut  flowers and you will find them at: Singel, 1071 AZ / Tram: Muntplein: tram 4, 9, 14, 16, 24 & 25 Open: Monday – Saturday 9.30 am – 5.00 pm

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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