Local Heart, Global Soul

August 13, 2018

This Building Should Ring True To Tradition…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Christchurch Town Hall was famous around the world because it had been built to have superb acoustics.

In my youth I was chosen to take part in a major production held in the Town Hall and despite the rigors of rehearsals and the roughly twenty four public performances, it remains a sharp memory to this day, one that I cherish.

It was certainly an insight into the theatre world and whilst I was too invested in other career possibilities to follow it up at the time, it could have changed my life if I had chosen that path.

I also whent to both the main auditorium and the James Hay theater on many other occasions for many other events, so it will be interesting to see inside the Town Hall complex once earthquake repairs have been completed.

I see that the section of the building I can currently view, has bracing at the top, plus it looks like new windows are in place, sill with their protective clean plastic over them, waiting for the final reveal.

Who knows what surprises this building will have once it reopens, but I am sure of one thing, they will surely be making certain that the acoustics are still so good that every note from the stage is as crystal clear as in pre-quake days. That would be ringing true to the Town Hall tradition.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Where the yellow crane is, is where the Park Royal once stood.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Looking behind me, up Colombo street…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 12, 2014

Going To The Stadhuis To Get Married…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes there is a place, the mention of which always conjures up and instant image. In Delft this image is for me that of the Stadhuis (City Hall).

It stands in the central square of Delft, the “old centre” the sort of which can often be found in old European cities.

The building used to be the main building of Delft’s city council (city hall) but these days most of the civic duties are held elsewhere and just the wedding ceremonies are held here.

Such is the popularity and beauty of the building that there can be a waiting list of up to a year to get married here, although that depends entirely on the day of the week, with Saturday’s being the most popular. In the Netherlands you are “legally” deemed married by the State after a ceremony that takes place in the Gemeente Stadhuis (City Hall) and a religious ceremony is an optional extra that has no legal standing.

My Sister in Law was lucky enough to be able to change her second choice venue to her first choice of the Delft Stadhuis only due to a late cancellation by another wedding party, and having attended the ceremony inside I can vouch for the beautiful historic interior.

Wikipedia tells me: “The City Hall in Delft is a Renaissance style building on the Markt across from the Nieuwe Kerk. It is the former seat of the city’s government, and still today the place where residents hold their civic wedding ceremonies. Originally designed by the Dutch architect Hendrick de Keyser, it was heavily changed over the centuries and was restored in the 20th century to its Renaissance appearance.

In the town hall from 1618 are some group portraits, and portraits of the counts of Orange and Nassau, including several by Michiel van Mierevelt (1567–1641), one of the earliest Dutch portrait painters, and with his son Pieter (1595–1623), a native of Delft. The oldest part of the complex is the tower covered in “Gobertanger” limestone from Wallonia, a building material used often in important renaissance buildings in the Netherlands up to 1600.The tower, called “De Steen” or “The Stone”, was originally built around 1300 and has decorative clockfaces from 1536 and the bells were made by Hendrick van Trier and Francois Hemony. The facade has a “Justitia” statue. Under the tower is an old city prison where the assassin of Willem the Silent, Balthasar Gérard, was kept before sentencing.”

It’s of course an imposing and beautiful building, but in this respect it’s not alone because facing it at the opposite end of the square is another especially imposing building that vies equally for the attention of the visitors and residents of Delft….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Hall_(Delft)

October 21, 2013

The Weather Is Glorious, But Kiwi Daughter Is Thunderous…

Filed under: BELGIUM,Bruges,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This page of my diary finds me in Bruges, Belgium and is a journal of our travels last summer.

We now walk for lunch and a well earned rest  to the Bruges  market square and Gementehuis  (City Hall). Again the area is thronged with tourists, horses and carriages plod by  regularly, but we are pleased to be here on a market day, so browse the stall under the deep shade canopies.

We find some steps to sit on in the shade with a bag of fresh cherries and strawberries and sit people watching as we eat.

Himself and Little Mr  went off earlier to do some other things and to catch an extra dip in the pool, Kiwi Daughter isn’t in a good mood after opting to stay with Velvetine and I at The Chocolate Line shop and then later wishing she’d opted for the pool option instead.

She’s got her nose out of joint that we won’t now take time out to walk to the other side of the central city to deliver her back to the hotel, and I’m annoyed because I want her to realise that once you make a decision you should live with the consequences and not expect everyone else to change their plans to accommodate your  change of heart. I also want her to accept that then turning on a tantrum and trying to ruin my day definitely isn’t the way to get me to change my mind either. Velveteen tries to talk sense to her and also fails, we try phoning Himself but he’s not at all pleased at the prospect of  dragging Little Mr away from his swim just to please Kiwi Daughter so he declines to come to us (and fair enough too, I totally agree with him).

It’s a physical impossibility for me to manage a back-and-forth to the hotel and back so Kiwi  Daughter will just have to suck it up on this occasion. She’s not doing that particularly well so this day is turning out to be not such an easy one. As a consequence the photos we took around the Bruges market square and Gementehuis  were a bit rushed. We were distracted and a little too tired and hungry. A rest was certainly in order and after some stern words, a few tears (mine and hers) and a good sit down, she and I calmed down and got ready to go where Velvetine and I wanted to go next.

(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)

July 14, 2013

The Dutch Stadhuis: Where Marriage and Judgement Sit in Adjoining Rooms…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I didn’t know anything about the history of the “Stadhuis” of Veere  (City Council Building / City Hall) so went to google for some help… I found a Dutch text there and translated the most interesting bits into English for you here:

The Stadhuis of Veere can be found on Marktstraat (Market street) in Veere, Zeeland.

It is built in the gothic style and features in it’s ornamentation statues of the four men and three women of Veere.

The Stadhuis is one of the top one hundred UNESCO monument buildings in The Netherlands. On the ground floor is the “Vierschaar” (this translates literally as “four square”) which was the term used in Dutch for a tribunal, or early court.

Before national laws were introduced each town had a committee of seven men (noted townspeople and sheriffs) who acted as judges and “vierschaar”referred to the four-square dimensions of the benches in use by the sitting judges.

Many historic Stadhuisen had a room set aside for this purpose, which were also distinctive because they were often decorated with scenes from the Judgement of Solomon. Construction of the Stadhuis began in 1474 and was completed in 1477.

It’s undergone two restorations during it’s history the first in 1885 and the second in 1930-1935. Since 1591, the Stadhuis has had a tower with a set of carillon bells.

The melody of the carillon is changed four times a year by changing the drum, a process that used to be a two day process but now takes about five hours with modern tools.

The Stadhuis has a wedding room on the first floor, and today the Vierschaar Museum is also located inside the building where a permanent collection of art and the silver cup of Maximilian of Burgundy are on display. The building also hosts annual exhibitions.

Kiwi’s Note: Many people are surprised to find out that you have to be married by the Gemeente (city council) for your marriage to be legal in the Netherlands. A church ceremony may be done as an additional and optional “extra” but is not the legal ceremony.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

For this reason every Stadhuis in The Netherlands has a wedding room where marriages take place and often, especially in an old historic Stadhuis, these rooms are beautifully and ornately decorated.

Due to the narrowness of the streets and the arrangement of building around the Stadhuis in Veere, it was difficult to take photographs that captured the building as a whole.

In the end I came to the conclusion that maybe this was a good thing because by taking photographs of the “pieces” we can better appreciate the detail of this amazing building.

There are a mixture of photos here, a few are from the first trip we made to Veere four months ago and the rest are from last weekend’s second visit.

In case you are wondering about who the “four men and three women” are who are depicted in the statues, I have no idea, and couldn’t any documentation to tell me either (most likely because any information will be on local Zeeland sites). I intend to ask our friend if he knows.. but I do find it interesting that there are seven statues and there were seven judges… a coincidence?  I’ll try and find out.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stadhuis_van_Veere

May 30, 2013

Er…I’ve Temporarily Run Out of Funds, So my Building Will Get Finished in 400 Years….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During my recent trips to Mechelen, one in fine weather and one in foul,  I still tried to investigate as much of the city centre as I could even in the rain.

Opposite the main entrance of the Cathedral (on the side away from the Square) I find several beautiful buildings that caught my eye and later, on the trip in fine weather  in a little side street

I found a stunning wooden door, massive in size and character.

At one end of the Grote Markt square there are a group of buildings, the largest of which of course is the Cathedral, at the other end there is a beautiful building that upon enquiry turns out to be the Stadhuis (City Council / City Hall).

I searched for some more information about this striking Hall of Mechelen and found some interesting information on Wikipedia (in the Dutch language only) so I’ve translated the most interesting bits into English.

“The town hall of Mechelen started out as Old Hall with Belfry and is located on the east side of the Main Market Mechelen and consists of the Palace of the Grand Council, the belfry and the Cloth Hall. Since 1914 the complex has been used as a city hall.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Palace of the Grand Council was built in 1526 by Rombout II Keldermans to accommodate the Great Council of Malines.

Financial problems prevented work progressing past the ground level and the building was left unfinished for nearly 400 years.

Between 1900-1911, led by architects Van Boxmeer and Langrock the building was completed according to the original 16th-century plans and it therefore decorated in neo-Gothic style.

The belfry is on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the other Belfries of Belgium and France.

It’s in the Gothic style from the 14th century but also contains several baroque elements from the 17th century.
The central tower section was never fully completed as planned. A later addition to the building was demolished in 1526 to the north so that there was enough space to construct the Palace of the Grand Council building. The Cloth Hall was built built in the 14th century and was used to trade in textile products. In 1342 it was extensively damaged by during a fire and later drastically remodeled.”

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stadhuis_van_Mechelen (Dutch language only)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 23, 2012

The Pain of Just Doing What Needs to Be Done…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes the discovery of a change is a shock that your were totally unprepared for.

Such is the case when we went a little further down Papanui Road and Rugby Street Church came into view.

I have been part of this church family and part of the youth group in years gone by.

Even more disturbing than the obvious damage to the Church was the almost complete absence of the church hall that once stood to the rear of it.

I was shocked to see that of the entire structure, only a remnant of the foundations remain. This was once a beautiful brick building, full of character, with very wide steps and heavy double wooden doors.

I have fond memories of meetings here, the musical we put on, parties and dances.  One such dance was a fancy dress ball, it was an eventful evening fron the start, with a flat tyre in the midst of Papanui Road weekend evening traffic, myself in costume standing on the pavement holding tools, whilst my friend tried to get the spare tyre  installed on the traffic side without getting his costume fouled up.

Passing cars tooted and passer-bys on the footpath made humourous comments so clearly we provided some laughs.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Later, at the end of the evening there was a strange tooting noise and in response we opened the double doors onto the wide steps to find headlights on full beam facing us just centimetres away.

My friend had driven the car  up the steps as far as it could go and we then proceeded to cram as many of us into the car as possible so that we could all be dropped off home.

It was an alchol free dance but we still had fun and we almost literally danced our feet off that night.

As was the usual routine, everyone bought a plate of food to share for supper and the evening was full of so much laughter that we were exhausted at the end of it.

We had a dinner there once that also had a little drama. Everything had been beautifully set out on trestle tables, there were flowers and candles… the  food was served and then one of the girls hair caught fire when she leaned over a little too close to a candle,  first there was an awful smell of burning hair for a few seconds  and  as we looked to see what was burning, we saw a bluish flame completely cover one side of her head …

…luckily the guy next to her reached out and ran his hand quickly over the flame and amazingly put it out in one swipe before she even realised that it was her hair that was burning.

He said later it was just an automatic raction that he didn’t even think about doing, he just instinctively did what needed to be done.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The girl however,  did freak out somewhat in the ladies loo’s later when she saw the singed damage but was very very thankful it wasn’t far worse.

Just doing what needs to be done seems to be the new theme for Christchurch citizen’s and their city… clearly the old hall was beyond repair and needed urgent demolition so it’s been done and it’s gone.

Murphy’s Law  struck and it appears that the Google Street View vehicle did of course make it’s way down the very busy thoroughfare of Papanui Road, but didn’t make it down the quieter Rugby Street from where there would have been a far better view of the old hall.

Oh well… just seeing a glimpse of it in the background has appropriate parallels to just seeing what’s left of the foundations now I suppose.

The church sits in it’s broken state with the spire braced on the ground in the front yard… a not too unfamiliar sight in Christchurch these days.

Oddly enough if Iook at the foundations of the old hall and then close my eyes, I can still see the building in all it’s glory in my mind’s eye. It’s as solid in my memory as it is absent in real life.

Writing about it helps with letting go, it lets me jot down the memories so that they don’t get lost in the jumble of all the other stuff that you have to cram into our brain on a daily basis. If one day my memory fails, at least the echo of what was before will remain.

(sigh) Ghosts of buildings and echo’s of memories past… sadly there will be all too many of those in Christchurch from now on.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The spire being on the ground gives me the  change to take in some of the detail I’d never noticed before…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Thank You Google Street View)

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