Local Heart, Global Soul

February 28, 2019

An Interesting Monument…

Before leaving Zierikzee in the Dutch province of Zeeland, I find another “Monument” or, as it known in English, a Historic building, or building of special historical significance. This one carries some sort of plaque that explains it’s history but sadly it’s one of those phone codes which gets me stumped. Never mind, the building is clearly old, still beautiful and interesting.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 12, 2014

Unexpected Views Of The Stunning Stones…

Filed under: ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Salisbury,South Coast,Stonehenge — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Often in life you have  picture in your minds eye about how something will look, it’s not necessarily a mental image based on fact, but rather just an idea that you get planted into your brain for no particular reason and it sits there as “fact” until reality comes along and  either confirms your idea or blows it out of the water.

Such was the later when we took a camper-van along the English south coast last summer.

We had driven through Salisbury and then out into rural countryside and were on a busy highway when all of a sudden we rounded a corner and low and behold, there on the crest of a small rise opposite us were the world famous stones of Stonehenge themselves.

I was even able to zoom in on them as the road curved and we marvelled as the early morning light picked out details, even from far away.

I had always assumed that the world famous monument was somewhere remote, far from things like normal highways, and I also thought that if it was a historical attraction, then surely that would mean it would have some sort of barrier around it.  Yes there are fences, but no massive screens or the barriers that I had imagined.

We had deliberately set out early this morning, Stonehenge is somewhere I have always wanted to visit, but we hate still crowds so my condition of coming here was that we would be here when the gates opened in the morning because even one or two hours later, the place would be invaded by the masses.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Although you get a surprise viewing of Stonehenge from the main highway, the actual entrance to it is further up the road and off a side road, so we followed the signs and were there a short while later.

The parking attendant wanted us to park the camper right at the end of the field, but allowed us to park up right by the main gate when I mentioned that I was on crutches and that a shorter walk would be greatly appreciated.

There is an upper car parking area that’s utterly empty which we would have liked to have used, but it was explained that that’s for tour bus companies and not for private vehicles.

There is already a small crowd by the entrance patiently waiting for the gates to open and we only had to wait a few minutes before we could go in.

Once past the ticket area there are microphone packs that we can use to tell us all about the stones, and then a tunnel takes you onwards so that you leave the entrance area behind and emerge out by the stones  with no real sight of the entrance or parking area. The effect is magical, it heightens the effect of the stones, their size and imposing presence.  So far, even though I am walking slowly, there are only a few people scattered around in front of us, so we can take our time and spend time looking at this amazing piece of architecture.

There is a sign that says: “The great and ancient stone circle at Stonehenge is unique stone circle of Stonehenge is unique: an exceptional survival from a prehistoric culture now lost to us. The monument evolved between 3,000 BC and 1,600 BC and is aligned with the rising and setting of the sun at the solstices, but it exact purpose remains a mystery. To this day Stonehenge endures as a source of inspiration and fascination and, for many, a place of worship and celebration.”

The sign is right, this place is spiritual…

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 6, 2013

Our Fears are Extinguished As we Leave a Morning of Fire and Ice…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

For my last post in Schoonhoven we are being treated to  multiple displays from the Schoonhoven Brandweer (Fire Service) as part of National Open Monumentendag (Open Monument Day).

This is where numerous organisations open their doors for the day so that the public can learn more about what they do.

Little Mr. has discovered that this fire station is hosting all manner of activities and so we’ve stayed here to take a look and it’s turned out to be very interesting and well worth the detour.

There’s a trailer here too where two of the sides  drop down and the fire service can take  it out for demonstrations in the community. In this demonstration involves learning what to expect if you ever should need to use your home fire extinguisher and is an excellent way to do it in a controlled environment.

We first watch a teenage girl have a go and then I ask the fireman if he could please do a demonstration so that I can take photographs for my blog,  something he is more than happy to do. He says that if anyone ever has the opportunity to have a go in a controlled situation like this one, that they should do so because it will given you real confidence and an extra element of calm that can be a life-saver should a fire break out in your home or workplace.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m a bit too tired after all the walking I’ve done on crutches today to attempt this, but directly after these photos were taken Himself had a go and said that the experience was a real  revelation: knowing  afterwards what to expect definitely made him far more confident that he could handle our extinguisher at home without hesitation if ever the need arose.

Lastly there was the decompression diving tank, with the duikteam (diving team) divers inside.

It was difficult to get photographs because reflections in the very thick porthole windows showed the background behind me, but I managed a few interesting shots, even right to the other side of the tank where people were looking in windows on the opposite side.

We manage to see everything on display and are only a little behind schedule in getting back to the car and back to Den Haag (The Hague) for our 2.00 p.m. appointment. The whole family is unanimous  this day out has been a total success, even with the combined themes of Fire and Ice (cream)!

(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)

January 5, 2013

When Fundraising Reaches Scary New Heights…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Continuing from the previous day’s post, we are enjoying the displays and events put on by the Schoonhoven Fire Service as part of  “Open Monumentendag” (Open Monument Day) where various organisations open their doors so that the public can gain an insight to what they do.

One of the things that this local Fire Service also does is to raise funds for various projects and for this  they have an brilliant  idea.

The public can take a ride in the cherry-picker “basket” on the end of the biggest extension ladder and in an ingenious twist the ladder extends from the vertical great height to a horizontal one over the roof of the fire station where a large red bucket (or is it an old oxygen tank?) sits waiting for their donation to be deposited.

Himself and I asked the kids if they wanted a ride in this too and confessed our secret relief to each other afterwards when both children looked horrified at the idea and swiftly declined.

Having no head for heights ourselves we reassured them that not wanting to go on this was absolutely fine with us too and I told Kiwi Daughter afterwards that I found the height that this ladder went to rather scary, so didn’t blame her in the least.

It’s certainly a brilliant idea, and I wish I was brave enough to have enjoyed what must have been some fabulous views from so high up. Maybe if the opportunity ever arises again I should stop being a cowardly lioness and summon some courage to give this a go.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 4, 2013

Pincers to the Rescue: a Coconut Crab Would be Proud…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our family day out in Schoonhoven has taken an unexpected detour as we discover that today is also “Open Monumentendag” (Open Monument Day) when Little Mr. found a local Fire Station giving displays and information.

We arrive just in time to see a crash dummy in a car that’s been in a car  “accident” and a demonstration of how the fire service use their tools and training to cut the car open to extract the “victim”.

It’s amazing to see that sometimes a low tech solution is the best one as a firewoman sticks what looks like a wide roll of heavy duty sellotape onto one of the car windows, after pressing it to the glass she then smashes the glass with a special mallet and hey presto, lifts off all the broken pieces of glass (still in the shape of the window) stuck to the tape for clean, easy and swift disposal.

On the other side of the car a fireman is in the back seat keeping the head and spine of the “victim” stable whilst colleagues use massive hydraulic snipper claws (yes thére’s probably do have an official name for them but I have no clue what it might be) to first remove both the doors from the car body and then chop through the pillars between the front and rear seat section of the car.

There’s a dull thud as the hydraulic claw crunches through the metal… children, definitely not a hands-on toy for you to play with, as it would make rather literal short work of fingers or limbs. The spinal board is levered expertly into the back of the car and I’m surprised to see that once al hands are on deck that getting the “victim” out is a smooth operation that only takes a few minutes.

Mission accomplished, the “victim” is stretchered away for “treatment” and we turn out attention to the “claws” used to extract him…

Humans regularly steal brilliant ideas from nature and Tasmanian King or Coconut Crabs may be two of the biggest crab species in the world, but I dare say they would be very jealous of the pinching power of these man-made claws…

(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)

January 3, 2013

A Monumental Turn Of Events…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are still in Schoonhoven and have sampled the ice-cream and had a look around.

We take a look at the bricante second-hand bric-a-brac market that was advertised in the sign nearby.

We walk back to the car, well at least I’m walking, bringing up the rear as the kids run ahead and  Himself  jogs to keep up with them.

They disappear out of sight but after ten minutes or so Little Mr. runs puffing back and can barely speak he’s so excited.

By sheer co-incidence today when we were in Schoonhoven (the 8th September 2012) happens to be “National Open Monumentendag” in the Netherlands (Open Monuments Day) but it’s not just monuments that are open to the public but all sorts of local, national and international organisations as well.

By sheer chance the parking space that Himself secured earlier is right next to the local fire station and the Schoonhoven Fire Service is talking part in Open Monumentendag too, so there’s a whole display of vehicles and a heap of activities.

This certainly did not escape the attention of our seven year old Emergency Services fanatic who’s arrived back smothering me in hugs and  begging and pleading for me to let him detour there.

We have an appointment back in Den Haag (The Hague) at two, so need to leave at 1 o’clock at the very latest to get there on time, and with our spare hour had intended to stop somewhere for a quick toasted sandwich or pancake on the way back but decide that if we are really quick then we could see the events here and then just grab a sandwich to munch in the car on the way home instead.

Little Mr. almost bounces up the street with joy as he dashes back to tell Himself that Mama didn’t mind having her lunch plans shelved in favour of looking at fire engines. O.K.  what actually what really happened is that he ran back screaming  “Ik mag! ”  (I may!) over and over on the top of his lungs and Himself worked out the rest without any difficulty.

I’ve a good mind to tell the Fire Service that they don’t actually need sirens on their engines and that the “greener” version would be the shrieking joy of seven year old boys who appears to easily outdo the siren in decibels. Behind the Fire Station are a grand assortment of vehicles, and actually it’s an education for me too as I see the huge variety of equipment on board.

I knew that axes and cutting equipment would be standard issue but was surprised to see rakes and brooms there too (for clean up after road accidents or something else?) So much to see … Let’s take a 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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 22, 2011

Plein 1813 …is also a Place in History…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another dig into my archive files from last summer… this time I combine History with amazing craftsmanship…

If you wanted to go directly from the very centre of the Hague out to the beach then the route you you want to take goes down a relatively short, but very busy street called the Alexanderstraat.

(Ok the rest of the stretch of this same stretch of  road has other names such as Parkstraat, Kneuterdijk and Buitenhof,  true to dutch tradition of changing the street at every turn or large intersection, but it is the Alexanderstraat section of the road that we are interested in today.)

Long long before automobiles were invented, the city Father’s plonked a very large memorial in the middle of a very large Plein, called simply “Plein 1813”.

(a Plein in English would be called a “Square”, but a  Dutch Plein never actually has to be square in shape, many of them being in fact round, but how can I call it a “round” without totally confusing people? )

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In due course the horses that would have detoured around this oval shaped Plein transformed into horses of the motorised kind and this place, by default became one of the cities few roundabouts.

History of the city tells us that on November 19th 1813  Jacob baron Fagel set sail in a “pink”  ( fron the Dutch “pincke” a small  flat-bottomed, narrow sterned boat)  from the sea-side town of Scheveningen. Probably in secret,  his mission was to report to The Prince of Orange in England about the state of the Nation at home.

On the 30th of November 1813 the Prince of Orange returns to Dutch soil and lands in Scheveningen. It was said, that in this spot it was possible to see the Prince approaching the city of The Hague.

At the time, this spot on the Alexanderstraat represented the very outer edge of the city limits, and is close to the famous “Scheveningseweg” which both then and today is the ancient and historic road connection between the Hague and  Scheveningen.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This monument commemorates the Dutch victory over Napoleonic occupation that heralded the foundation of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in 1813 and it’s subsequent independence.

King Willem III laid the first stone on the 17th November 1863 and Prince Frederik of The Netherlands dedicated it on the 17th November 1869 when it was completed.

The overall design was the work of architect Willem Cornelius van der Wayen Pieterszen, but it also features the work of Belgian sculptor brothers, Jacques and Joseth Jaquet, who are responsible for the four substantial pictorial friezes around the bases of the four plinths.

On each of the plinths are  represented in turn: King Willem I, taking the oath of the constitution, a female figure representing History,  the grouped figures of Gijsbert Karel van Hogendorp, French Adam of of the Duyn van Meuse dam and Léopold of Limburg Stirum, who prepared the return of William of Orange,  and a second female figure that  represents Religion.

(Sadly these are replicas from the Rijnland Foundry since the originals sustained substantial damage in 1954.)

The entire monument underwent renovation in 2004 and the bronze figures underwent special weatherproofing in 2007  to protect them from pollution and the weather.

The “triumphal stedenmaagd” (triumphal maiden/a.k.a. The Dutch Maiden) is the name given to the female figure  who adorns the very top of the monument.  During the “Dutch Revolt”  a single maiden represented “The Netherlands” as a collective entity.  The Dutch Maiden continued to be used as a symbol for a while, after the creation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The symbol of the Netherlands, The Lion stands beside her and represents the Burgundian Netherlands (formerly land that is today The Netherlands and Belgium)  and lion imagery first appears as a crest on the tomb of Philip the Handsome.  The Lion traditionally symbolises bravery, valour, strength, and is also the symbol of  royalty.

(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)

I find the history of Plein 1813  fascinating, but  must say that personally, the amazing mastery of stonemasonary of Jacques and Joseth Jaquet steals the show and takes my breath away. Every time you look you see new detail. The beauty they have left here for us to enjoy is  …Monumental!

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