Local Heart, Global Soul

January 31, 2014

A Very Palatial Art Exhibition…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another post detailing our travels and adventures during the summer of 2012.

Regular readers will know that as usual we are packing in as many new experiences as we can manage… new places, new sights, cultural and culinary experiences, what’s not to like?

For privacy reasons I never advertise on my blog when I’m away from home…

…and of course sorting the thousands of photographs I take and then doing research for various topics afterwards takes time so I have to confess I currently have at least two years worth of blog material on my hard drive.

I hope you settle into your most comfortable chair and join me for the journey ahead.

Although I try and make the annual sculpture exhibition in the Lange Voorhout every year, it  isn’t  actually the only reason I have bought our visiting friend “Velvetine” to  this address. She doesn’t know it yet, but there is a building at the corner of this “L” shaped street  that is my next surprise destination for her.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve just called this address a “building” but in fact it’s rather more than that: it’s an art gallery that’s housed in a former Palace, one that was once upon a time  the winter palace home to  the Queen Mother Emma of the Netherlands.

The exhibition we have come to see is one that’s on permanent display, and for good reason: this is Lange Voorhour 74,  home of  Maurits Cornelis Escher, also known as M.C. Escher collection, called “Escher in Het Paleis” (Escher in the Palace).

Now it’s time to take a detailed look at more of this work and find out more about the man, and Queen Mother Emma’s former winter Palace that the collection of his works is housed in.

I’ll start with a few of the details of the rooms themselves: naturally since this is now primarily a public art gallery most of the furniture has been removed, but in places they have projected old photographic images onto the walls to show what the room looked like in days gone by.

I previously wrote about wanting to visit this exhibition:  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/new-462/  and Escher also featured on my blog when he was one of the chosen artists who had works displayed as a detailed sandcastle  piece here:  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/new-304/.

(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)

escher outside inside 2l (Small)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://www.escherinhetpaleis.nl/

January 29, 2013

Breaking News: Handing Over the Reigns of a Reign…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

I’m jumping out of my Harderwijk Dolphinarium posts to bring you some breaking News:

Last evening we switched on the Dutch News at 6.00 p.m. to find that there was only one item of news on the News that evening: The Dutch Queen, Queen Beatrix was scheduled to address the nation on all TV and Radio channels simultaneously at 7.00 p.m.

The Press, Royal watchers and everyone who might be in the know all speculated for the next hour on what the big announcement would be, but only one topic was likely: the news that she would be announcing her abdication.

Unlike English Kings and Queens who as one Dutch commentator rather literally put it:  “die in harness”,  the last three Dutch Monarchs have chosen to hand over the reigns of the job of Head of State whilst their oldest child was still young and strong enough to take over the strenuous duties of constant travel and public engagements. The Dutch Monarch still plays a strong role in Government and affairs of State, so much so that Queen Beatrix has a working place and offices close to the Dutch Parliament.

Some speculated that since not even privileged Royal correspondents who are often privy to inside information had been forewarned of the announcement or it’s contents that possibly there might be a different reason for the broadcast (with reference to the fact that Beatrix’s second oldest son Prince Johan Friso has been laying in a coma in a London hospital since the beginning of 2012 after  being transferred there after being buried  by an avalanche in Austria whilst on a skiing holiday.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

It was correctly assumed that even if there was bad news concerning Prince Friso, that it would not warrant the Queen making the announcement over all TV and radio channels simultaneously.

Indeed the news did turn out to be notification of abdication: Beatrix  will  be 75 years of age in a few days and is choosing to hand the throne over to her oldest son: Prince Willem-Alexander.

Beatrix herself gained the throne when her own mother, Juliana abdicated in 1980 at 70 years of age, taking her lead from Wilhelmina before her who abdicated in 1948 at 68 years of age.

Some Royal watchers already wondered if it might have been expected to  happen a decade earlier when Beatrix’s husband Price Claus passed away in 2002, or when her mother and father passed away in 2003 and 2004 respectively but Willem-Alexander only married in 2002 and I assume she wanted him to have some quality time,  less in the public eye with his new wife and subsequent new family of daughters.

Dutch Monarchs are not “crowned”, but instead inaugurated, and since much of Royal life takes place in and around The Hague where the Queen lives and works and were she opens Parliament each year or Delft where Royal monarchs are buried, it’s traditional that this inauguration takes place instead in Amsterdam and so spreads a royal event a little further around the Netherlands.

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

The reason for an inauguration and not a crowning is that the Dutch monarch is the Head of State but not head of the Church (as is the case with the Queen of England) and Crowning a Head of State is apparently linked only to those who are also head of the Church in their nations.

The date chosen for the inauguration will be 30th April, already the national holiday in the Netherlands called “Koninginnedag” (Queen’s Day) and since this is traditionally the day when anyone in the Netherlands may hold a flee-market without the need for the usual licence, it become the traditional day of street markets up and down the country where especially children can sell their old toys for a little extra pocket money.

Himself and I are not generally supporters of Monarchy (and to spite me for this I get two of them: Queen Elizabeth as Head of State of New Zealand on my Kiwi passport and Beatrix on my Dutch one) as I find it hard to reconcile the fact that someone who is not democratically elected gets to live a life of privilege on taxpayer expense and worse, that if Lizzy or her offspring chooses to take a jaunt to New Zealand the New Zealand tax payer is expected to pick up the very hefty bill for these travels …for one of the richest women on earth.

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

At least the British can say that their Queen earns her keep a little by bringing in a few tourists to the UK, meantime she brings the grand total of zero tourists into New Zealand and thanks to the tight knit regulations of the Club called the European Union, no trade benefits either.

It’s not to say I wish them ill, but if I were ever given the chance to vote for a Republic, I would be one of the first at the voting booth to cast my vote. Naturally I might change my tune if Lizzy would be so kind as to return the favour and pick up my bills for a trip to to United Kingdom, hey I’m even cheap because I don’t require half the countries police force to provide security during my visit.

Whilst Himself and I wanted to watch the Queen’s address because it was a historic moment for us as Dutch citizens, Himself’s own republican leanings couldn’t help themselves when it came to light that the inauguration would be on 30th April. He ruefully lamented that technically it’s brilliant timing because Koninginnedag is probably the most nationalistic day in the Dutch calendar, but it will be an especially lousy sales day for about a million Dutch kids as all the adults stay indoors glued to their television sets to watch the Netherlands loose a Queen and gain a King.

The least they could do is to have the ceremony later in the afternoon so that everyone could happily do both but I’m not holding my breath for that one.

Of course we know what will be Page One News throughout the Netherlands tomorrow and in the next months as preparations for the abdication and inauguration take shape… but agree with having a monarchy or not, History is in the making.

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

Beatrix’s mother: Queen Juliana (who was in ill health when she abdicated)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

Beatrix’s grandmother: Wilhelmina

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

(photograph © Kiwidutch via NOS TV News)

November 8, 2012

Victoria Enjoys a Long Reign Over Dutch Square…

Filed under: Landmarks,MALAYSIA,Melaka,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In continuation of recent posts I’m still in Dutch Square, Melaka, Malaysia: and having marvelled at all the surrounding buildings my attention now turns to the fountain in the middle of the Square.

A Malaysian tourist website  called “Attractions in Malaysia” (link at bottom of this post) gave me some background and history of the fountain, although our guide had filled us in on some of the details whilst we were there.

The  Queen Victoria’s Fountain was built to commemorate  Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and from the website I learned:

The Queen Victoria Fountain was built in 1901 by the British and is still standing as elegant as ever until this very day.

Although more than a hundred years old, this fountain is still functioning well and is probably the only functioning colonial water fountains in Malaysia.

Queen Victoria surpassed George III as the longest reigning monarch in the history of England and Scotland history on 23rd September 1896.

The Queen requested at the time that any special celebrations are to be put on hold until 1897 in order to coincide with her Diamond Jubilee which was later made a festival of the British Empire.

The fountain is a famous backdrop for visitors who come to Malacca as it is so near the Stadhuys and the Chirst Church.

On the tip of the fountain says ‘Victoria Regina 1837-1901, erected by the people of Malacca in memory of a great Queen.”

The Queen Victoria Fountain is probably one of the last traces of the British colonial era in Malaysia and it symbolizes the glorious days of the British colonization in Malaysia in the yesteryears.

Hmm the phrase “glorious days of the British colonization of Malaysia”  was only probably glorious in reality if you were on the side of the colonizers and not one of the colonized… as usual around the world, the locals probably didn’t get an awful lot of say after they were taken over.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As an aside: Queen Victoria  reigned for 63 years and 7 months, and the current British Queen, Elizabeth II at age 86 has been on the throne for 60 years as of 2012, so would have to be close to 90 years of age if she wants to break Victoria’s record.

(Elizabeth began her reign at 26 years of age, whilst Victoria was only 19  when she began hers but died aged younger at age 81, so literally time-will-tell if history will be rewritten in four years time).

I love this fountain as a work of art too… it’s hard to get the true detail amid the cascades of water but I find the garlands, grapes, ribbons, flowers (and I think might they be pomegranates?) beautiful, with a portrait of Victoria outlined in what I am sure must be raised ceramic tile with a blue glaze background.

I first thought that the larger decoration on the column close to the shield was carved stone, but on closer inspection I now think that it’s also raised ceramic tile.  So readers, stone carving or tile, what do you think this is?

The detail fanatic in me couldn’t resist taking a ton of photos of the fountain for my “arty inspiration folder” which one day when I get a spare moment (Ha!) I will indulge in.  Also I was pleased that  the second photo shows the radio mast, pylon thingy in the background, proof that it definitely hadn’t sprouted out of the little clock tower just behind me.

http://malacca.attractionsinmalaysia.com/Queen-Victoria-Fountain.php

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 6, 2010

Landmarks in The Hague: Orange-Nassau Huis Archief en Bibliotheek..

Orange-Nassau Huis Archief en Bibliotheek

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m in the centre of the Hague, The Netherlands.  Behind  the Queen’s working Palace, Paleis Noordeinde is the Paleis Garden called “Paleis Tuin”.  It’s more like a small park and is open to the public.

From inside the garden I am making a photo tour of the area. Next to Paleis Noordeinde there is a beautiful building … it’s physically separated from the Palace but connected to it in a practical and historical sense.

Above, written in stone are the words “Orange-Nassau”  This is the Family name of the Dutch Royal family, and below, also in stone  are the words ” Huis Archief en Bibliotheek  which literally translates to ” House/Home  Archive and Library”

So, this is the Queen’s private family Archive.  Naturally it isn’t open to the public, but I can at least enjoy the architecture as it stands neatly in a corner of the Garden. The building is beautiful, I love stonework and detail.

Orange-Nassau Huis Archief en Bibliotheek

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Orange-Nassau Huis Archief en Bibliotheek

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Orange-Nassau Huis Archief en Bibliotheek

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Orange-Nassau Huis Archief en Bibliotheek

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Orange-Nassau Huis Archief en Bibliotheek

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 5, 2010

Landmarks in The Hague: The Royal Stables

The Royal Stables The Hague

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At the far end of the Paleis Tuin are the Royal Stables. It’s tricky  to take photos of them because as part of the Civil Household they deal with the transport of  Royal household and are subject to a  high level of security.

The Stables were established by King Willem I as an independent service in 1815 and in 1878  moved to its present location on Hogewal in The Hague. They comprise a riding stable and a stable for the coach horses and carriages used for ceremonial and recreational purposes.

The Crown Equerry manages the day-to-day affairs of the Stables.
The saddle horses  are ridden by members of the Royal House and the aides-de-camp to the Queen.
The coach stables are home to the carriage horses, which are traditionally all black Pedigree Frisian horses or Gelderland  and Groningen horses.

The carriages are generally maintained by the stable’s own staff. For this purpose the Royal Stables has a team of specially trained craftsmen, including a saddle-maker, a carriage painter and an overseer in charge of the trappings.

Sadly I could only get a glimpse… so here’s a glimpse for you.

The Royal Stables The Hague

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The path circles around in a beautiful arc…

The Royal Stables The Hague

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Royal Stables The Hague

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 2, 2010

Landmarks in The Hague: Paleis Noordeinde, The Queen’s working Palace…

Prinsestraat towards centre and Kerkplein

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Late last summer I was out on one of my walks in The Hague.

If you are in the centre of the Hague standing at the back of  the Kerkplein  where the  Groot of  Sint Jacobskerk (also known as  St. Jacobs Church or Grote Kerk). stands then you  need to walk down the Prinsestraat  towards Noordwal. ( the photo at left is the view on the Prinsestraat looking back towards the centre and Kerkplein).

When you reach the intersection of Prinsestraat and Noordwal  you will find on the right hand side the Paleis Tuin which translated means: The Palace Garden.

This is a bit more than a garden, it’s rather large so  it’s more like a Park, enclosed by high walls it is a beautiful and quiet spot very close to the very heart of the city.

People come here for a quiet picnic lunch, to sit, contemplate, read, and to enjoy this little gem of  greenery set in leafy mature trees and  shrubs.

Just to the right of the Paleis Tuin is Paleis Noordeinde … so let’s take a look around this area and learn a little about the centre of The Hague. Our first stop is a look at the Paleis Noordeinde, which is the Queen of The Netherlands’ working Palace.  This is the rear of the building that backs onto the Palace Park:

Paleis Noordeinde rear view

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Paleis Noordeinde rear view

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Paleis Noordeinde rear view

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you are in the Noordeinde (street) on the other side of the Palace then this is  the view that  you will see (and this is where all the tourists take their photos)

 Paleis Noordeinde

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 Paleis Noordeinde

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Apparently this is the wing where the Queen carries out her daily work.

 Paleis Noordeinde

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I will look deeper  into the subject of  Paleis Noordeinde in the future… but this was a quick look around the outside of  Paleis Noordeinde. I want  at this moment to focus more on my walk on the rear side of the Palace and the beautiful garden/park at stands quietly and serenely behind it. Ah… tomorrow…

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