Local Heart, Global Soul

August 16, 2017

“La Place” Takes It’s Place As A Dutch Favourite…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The weather in the Netherlands can be fickle, and one of my trips to Gouda was no different.

Having looked around the Waag and whilst inside at the “VVV” (Visitor information office) the heavens opened and it poured torrents.

After waiting a few minutes and seeing that the showers were not going to let up quickly, I decided that it would be a good moment to stop for lunch.

A phone call to Himself  let me know that Little Mr was far from finished at the Lego shop so I should get something for myself and we would join up later.

Feeling tired, I literally wheeled myself into the nearest place available: “la Place” located next door.

La Place” (pronounced: la plass)  is well known to Dutch locals,  since it was the long time restaurant / café section of the more than one hundred year old “V&D” (Vroom & Dreesmann) department store chain. Sadly the rise of internet shopping and cheaper (especially clothing) shops meant that the main V&D business went bankrupt in 2016. The restaurant /café section however had always been popular and profitable so was sold off as and continues as a separate entity.

I therefore knew the “brand” well, and an early lunch there was most welcome. Having omitted to have breakfast I opted for a meatball sandwich and a small portion of fries, neither of which I had had in mind when I went in, and can’t quite explain why I ordered. (I went in for a “brodje gezond and a fresh orange juice”, so go figure). It didn’t matter because both were excellent and the staff were brilliant, carrying everything to my table and checking if everything was ok, rather than let me balance a tray on my lap in the wheelchair. Since the main lunchtime rush had not begun and my table was close to the cashier, I could even get my money out at the table and they bought my change back to me there. I did stand to take most of the photographs, since my seated level didn’t give me as nearly a good view. I would go back any time, both food and service were brilliant. This chain is still in business all around the Netherlands and with a very decent range of very reasonably priced food it deserves it’s reputation as a perennial dutch favourite.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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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)

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

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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)

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

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they retreat…

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

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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

August 9, 2017

A Very Fishy Feude…

Filed under: ART,GOUDA,Historical,PHOTOGRAPHY,Stone Carving,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you think that neighbourly disputes are a new phenomenon then you would be very much mistaken.

Next to “de Waag” (Weigh house) in Gouda is a large white building called “de Zalm” (The Salmon) and a permanent reminder of the neighbourly dispute between the two that took place in 1670 is set into the wall of “de Zalm’ that faces “de Waag“.

There is an information plaque on the wall but it’s only in Dutch so I’ve translated it into English.

The text is also a little bit higgledy piggledy so I’ve added some information so it makes sense and then marked out the original translated text in italics.

With the construction of the “de Waag” by famous architect Pieter Post, and in order ‘to guarantee the prestige of their new building, the city council demanded that it’s height become a benchmark for other buildings in the area.

The roof of the adjacent building,  the Inn called “de Zalm”, built in 1670 was required to be at least 6 feet lower than the Waag (also completed in 1670) according to city government regulations, much to the displeasure of it’s owner.

  This displeasure is recorded in stone with a picture of an angry looking salmon and the text (in old Dutch:)”Niet te hooch niet te laech van passe’, which means ‘not too high not too low, just right’.” It’s certainly a statement that the owner may have been forced to comply with the regulations but he didn’t have to like it.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My weird sense of humour gives me a thought: what if all of today’s neighbourly disputes were recorded in such a way too? You (and your descendants) could walk around a neighbourhood and have a laugh at all of the petty things that get on people’s nerves.

I’d love to see walking tours that visit the houses of ” yappy dog, tall trees, untidy gardens, noxious weeds, party house” disputes and see appropriate pictures in stone with a well thought out text below. It might also make people realise that life is short and that many of these disputes could be settled amicably.

Strangely, benieth the text relevant to “de Zalm” is another paragraph that relates to, and in my opinion would be better included with other information plaques for, “de Waag“.

Again it’s only in Dutch, and even though it’s completely unrelated to the story of “de Zalm“, I will translate it here in case visitors find the Dutch and go looking for a translation. ”

‘The Gouda historian Ignatius Walvis  reports that for “de Waag”  to be built, several buildings on, or very close to the market were bought and demolished. The upper floor of  “de Waag’ was not important for the weighing and was used from 1668 to 1907 by the Gouda weapons / firearms  store.

Thereafter the space was used in succession as an exhibition room, Vet’s office, office of  a cleaning service,  local tourist office and a branch of the Dutch dairy board. Since 1995  “de Waag” has housed the Gouda Cheese museum (formerly known as the Gouda Cheese and Professional Craft Trades museum)’

I then found further information about “de Zalm” on a Wikipedia page (but in Dutch only.) Interestingly, “de Zalm” Restaurant’s own page does not appear to have a history page at all. I have translated the Wikipedia page:

‘In 1551 this inn had gone by the names of ‘de Oude Salm” (Old Salmon) or “de Vergulde Salm” (the Gilt Salm).

The owner feared that  the building of  “de Waag” (Weigh house) would overshadow his establishment so decided to build a new (and bigger) Inn. The city council permitted this but under strict regulations.’

‘The Inn was required to be six feet lower than “de Waag“. Displeased with this the innkeeper has laid down this requirement in 1670  with the text: Niet te hooch niet te laech van passe’,  (not too high, not too low, just right).

The premises has held a catering / hospitality function from 1551 until the present day, and could be the oldest inn in North and South Holland.  “de Zalm” was also an important station for the postal service between Amsterdam and Antwerp in the 19th century. To this end, a horse stable was built behind the hotel, which was converted into a “pannenkoeke” (pancake) restaurant in the 20th century.

On 5th May 1945, the District Commander of the National Armed Forces made the proclamation in “de Zalm” that the war was over and transferred power over the city. The liberation of Gouda was thus official. The building is listed as a Dutch national monument.  Finally, I notice that another fish has been added to “de Zalm’s” wall. It is two thirds of the way up, and an advertisement for the establishment. In a small twist, this fish has a smile instead of a frown: maybe the message is that after almost 350 years the feud is over?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Wikipedia: “de Waag” (Weigh House) / Gouda/ The Netherlands / (Dutch text only)
Wikipedia: “de Zalm” (the salmon) / Gouda/ The Netherlands / (Dutch text only)
Brasserie – Bar / De Zalm  (The Salmon) / Gouda

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)

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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)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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

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