Local Heart, Global Soul

June 6, 2014

An Awful Idea… Or Rather Brilliant?

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

All around Europe, supermarkets are full of fresh fruit and vegetables, a good proportion of which have probably been grown in Dutch glasshouses.

Many flowers in shops around the world also possibly originated in one of the glass houses too, so intensive agriculture under glass is a massive industry in the Netherlands.

Sadly our country doesn’t  have a Mediterranean climate so the rapidly shortening days of autumn and the ever cooler temperatures of the approaching winter mean that not only are these glass houses  very brightly lit with row after row of  electric lights, but they are  very well heated as well.

As we drive home though some of back-roads via the Westland area,  (one of the most prolific areas of glasshouses in South Holland) we pass by row after row of glass houses.

At this time of year the lights need to be put on fairly early in the afternoon and as we drive by it’s like an early Christmas light display on steroids… I lost count of how many of these we passed by… so here’s a bad pun: is these buildings an awful idea… or rather brilliant?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

 

February 17, 2014

Beauty In Form And Detail, On A Scale I Never Could Have Imagined…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday and the previous few posts, Family Kiwidutch got the opportunity in the summer of 2012 to visit a commercial seedling operation here in the Netherlands.

We are here because our visiting friend “Velvetine”  is active in the specialised  Bromeliad horticultural society, and has helped host International conferences in Singapore for the same,  thus earning herself a very special invitation from another Bromeliad specialist here in the Netherlands.

Rarely open to the public, Family Kiwidutch as Velvetine’s hosts and friends, also scored this privileged opportunity to look “behind the scenes” at this very unique industry. One thing is for certain, I totally underestimated the scale of this sort of industry, there are literally millions of plants here.

Located a short distance from Schipol airport, there are are series of glasshouses, each one the size of several football pitches. Inside, “parent”  plants, mostly Bromeliads, are grown so that their seeds can be harvested and turned into thousands of tiny seedlings, which are then in turn exported around the world to nurseries, research institutions and various organisations. I know that Velvetine knows many of the “proper” names of  many of these Bromeliad flowers, but I am just trying to do their beautiful forms justice with my camera… the colours are often beyond intense, their structures delicate and stunning!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

September 30, 2013

The Coloured Glass, And A Mystery … Makes Me Linger…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page in my diary as I document our travels and adventures of last summer.

We are about to leave Canterbury Cathedral, in Canterbury, Kent, England, but I’m captivated by the stained glass windows and  can’t resist one last post before we go.

Interestingly  not all of the glass is medieval, in fact some is very recent as it features the current British Royal family in two large windows.

The first depicts Queen Elizabeth’s parents, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and George VI, with their daughters Princess Elizabeth (now the current Queen) and Princess Margaret as children and the second window depicts the now Queen Elizabeth with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles and Princess Anne as children.

One thing intrigued me about this second window, is the panel on the left depicting men who I believe are the heads of the Church…  there is a man in the background who has black hair and who’s face is depicted in almost photographic detail, far more than the detail given to any other figure in the entire panel, including the Royal family. Not being familiar with these people I am unable to put any names to the faces, but I am very curious as to who this person is and why his face is depicted in a different style to the rest. Other windows also show medieval Kings and Queens with what I assume to be their children in the side panels, so clearly this is a tradition that is centuries old.

So many beautiful windows and so little time… you can never have enough stained glass to look at in my opinion, and here in Canterbury Cathedral there is enough to keep me engaged for many a happy hour. I wish I lived closer so that I could come here regularly.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(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)

September 24, 2013

Where Do You Start? … And Where Do You Stop?…

canterbury cathedral stained glass windows 3k (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page of my photographic diary and I’m back to the stained glass.

Not only are the windows super-sized and immense, there are also so many of them, I barely know where to look and where to start.

Canterbury Cathedral, here in Canterbury, Kent, England, certainly knows how to put on a light show.

There are plenty of photographs to drool over, but let’s be honest: take a good hard look at the size, scale and detail contained in a single window, I think that showing the detail of several windows in one post is really hard, when do you stop when there are so many beautiful details taunting you for right of entry?

I think that with the aid of a cherry picker crane to get high enough, a tripod and a lot of patience, it would be possible to maybe produce a book on the stained glass contained in the windows here at Canterbury Cathedral.My worry would be however, that even with a single close up shot of each panel,  the resulting book would end up being thousands of pages long. I like the borders of the glass panels as much as the story telling panels that make up the inner section…  the glass painting on some of the pieces is of stunning quality,  these artists had amazing talent.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/visit/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canterbury_Cathedral

August 10, 2013

Piecing Together The Last Minutes of Our Stay…

Filed under: Ely: Cathedral,ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In Ely Cathedral last summer we discovered that they also have a stained glass museum.

Naturally there was stained glass to admire but there are also exhibits about the glass making process, For instance there is an oven for heating the glass, information on glass blowing and  small models of glass-making rooms with figures making the panels was they would do in real life.

There are also other things on display… a collection of very old and considerably weathered stone heads, plus one more modern one that’s a stark contrast to them.

High up across the Cathedral I catch a glimpse of a sectioned off part of the Cathedral where restoration work is taking place, pieces of what I think might be stone lay wrapped on shelves for treatment or replacement.

More photos of course but time is ticking away and we have our appointment with Himself’s cousins to keep. We take a last look around Ely Cathedral and I determine to try and finish touring the rest of this amazing and beautiful building on a future visit.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

stone heads Ely cathedral 1e (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ely_Cathedral

May 24, 2013

Scroll Down For Amazing Scrollwork… In Glass!

The stained glass of  Sint-Romboutskathedraal (St. Rumbold’s Cathedral) in Mechelen, Belgium has drawn me back like a magnet. This time the window I’m in awe of  is full of what I will call “ribbons”… flowing scrollworks that often contain text and are beautifully arranged into the design. These photographs are also here because they are part of my “art inspiration file” . I think I will let this post speak for itself…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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stained glass windows 2d (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 18, 2013

Society Took the Farm, and Farmed it Out…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is another post in my series about historical Den Haag (The Hague). Every city grows and changes over time, but some specific areas grow and change more than others.

When the Haags Gemeentearchief  (the Hague City Council Archive) put up billboards around the city  to celebrate their 125th Anniversary a few years ago and Himself and I made it my mission to try and photograph them all.

The Gemeente (Council) placed the billboards as close as possible to where the photos had been originally taken and they made a page on their website (Dutch language only) that showed where their physical locations were etc.

Sadly both the website and the billboards were removed afterwards and so I was delighted that we managed to photograph almost every one of them with not just the “old” views that were already displayed on the billboards, but also my own photos of the areas surrounding the billboards as they look today.

This particular photograph is captioned: “Uitzicht van Monnickendamplein 17 ” (View from Monnickendamplein 17) and shows the market garden / glass houses that apparently this area was well known for as they were in 1939.

Himself told me that he seemed to remember a few open spaces that featured gardening still in the district when he was a kid, but those have long since been built on, as various apartment blocks dating from the 1970’s and 1980’s will attest.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I tried to find some historical facts from the Hague city Archive, but since this area mostly consisted of glass houses (as opposed to old established buildings) there was no information to be found.

Granted I spent hours looking and not days, but at least I tried.

This is  one of the billboards where, if someone who lived the area in 1939 could step directly into 2013, they would get the shock of their lives.

So much has changed, and the food, instead of coming from a market garden or greenhouse a block away, now comes from supermarkets like the Albert Hein (AH) on the other side of the road.

The land of course rose acutely in value as new houses were needed, farmland and it’s earnings could not compete with the return value of residential land,  (market forces and all that)   … it’s fate was sealed.

Society took the farm, and farmed it out to way beyond the city limits.  How little our food used to travel, and how much further it has to now. They call this progress… but I’m not so very certain that it really is.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 26, 2012

Once In a Lifetime You Should Take The Plunge…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes you find a work of art that makes your heart sing…

I had the dream and put some savings away every month in the hope that one day I would find the piece that would be “the one”.

After years searching and signing  over prices well out of my reach, this stained glass window captured my heart and being within my budget completed a lifelong wish to own a real antique window that would make me smile every single time I would look at it.

Let’s just say that every time I look at this I am inspired about all things beautiful in this world, I appreciate the stunning workmanship and the colours never fail to brighten my day.

Of course this is a once in a lifetime purchase,  but maybe just sometimes once  in your lifetime you should take a plunge and do something mad, like buying a stained glass window.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 19, 2011

Going Going Dooown… …Going Going Upppp!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I know that I literally showed you the door of the Leerdam Glass Museum in the very last photo in my last post, but there is one last thing I still  need to show you from inside.

Remember that I needed to use the lift to get upstairs? well this lift is, I think worth it’s own post because  it’s unlike any other lift I’ve ever been in.

So what makes it different?  Well first of all you press a button (as you usually would for a lift) but the door has a red light and a green light, you can only open the lift door once the red light goes out and the green light goes on. Unlike most lifts where the doors open automatically, with this lift the door is manually operated and opens outwards from where you are waiting to get in.

Once you are able to open the door and step inside the lift,  it quickly becomes apparent why this is so …because this lift has no roof!!!  To operate the lift you simply press the “up” or “down”  button and release when you get to the floor you want to get out at.

It’s a tad trickier than it looks because the door won’t open at all if the floor of the lift  is not well enough lined up with the floor outside, and  on my first attempt with the lift I  apparently overshot  just enough that the door button stayed red and the door refused to open.  Himself and the kids had raced off up the stairs so I was left for a few minutes (um, or five)  trying to work out how to bring to lift to the right level to get the door to actually open and let me out!

Once I’d mastered it  on the first journey though, I had no problem with getting in and out of the lift after that.

It does look a little eerie looking up at the doors way up above you when you are on the lower ground floor. (The museum is on the side of a dyke, so the lower ground floor leads to the garden at the bottom and it’s also where the café area and restrooms are).

… and yes, the dark square at the very top is the second floor!

Looks quirky to me…   …take a look for yourself  and see what you think!

November 18, 2011

All Shapes, Sizes and Colours…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,THE NETHERLANDS,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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The Leerdam Glass Museum continues to surprise me at every turn. There is almost a century of styles here,  from Deco to ultra modern and in more shapes, colours and methods  of making  than I thought possible in glass.

Even the clock in the little café is delightfully made in colourful glass, and in the garden outside,  more glass art …housed in what? … why glasshouses of course!  Let’s take a  last look around…

(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)

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