Local Heart, Global Soul

May 22, 2013

Whole Sections Are Closed to The Public, But I Still Have The Feeling I’m Being Watched…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Old buildings  are invariably  money pits when it come to keeping up with the renovations.

Family Kiwidutch live in a 1930’s home that was untouched for years before we bought it and know only too well how the funds we set aside each month in the “house fund” seemingly melt away like water into a sponge when the roof need repairing, the heating needs upgrading and the electrics need redoing.

I can’t begin to imagine the repair bills for a medieval building that’s a zillion times bigger than our apartment  or the scale of the work considering that everything has to be meticulously kept in the style and  a large group of specialists need to be involved.

Sint-Romboutskathedraal (St. Rumbold’s Cathedral) in Mechelen, Belgium was undergoing major repairs whilst I was there so major sections of the north and south Transepts and the Apse (or in other words: the top part of the “t” shape of the church) were closed off to the public.

There’s a sectioned off area in the Nave too, where the tower meets the church and a bright red mini crane was inside, although not actually working when I was inside.

In the apse there were massive chunks of stonework being taken out of the floor, probably in order to strengthen the foundations or the crypts below and I’m yet again stunned at the size of the masonry bits being moved and seriously in awe of how the people who built this place got them into place  in the first place concidering the technology available in the 12th Century.

It’s hard to take beautiful serene photographs when construction equipment is in the way, so I zoomed in instead on some of the detailed pieces of stonework that surround me in all the cathedral’s nooks and crannies.

Often the zoom lens belies the fact that there are barriers and construction equipment just fractionally out of shot,  so I’ll leave you guessing which of the photos were heavily cropped for this very reason. I also suddenly realise that in this particular cathedral someone had an intense fascination with angels.

(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 19, 2013

Mauritshuis, A Work of Art…(Presently Under Construction)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In continuation  of yesterdays post and upon the discovery of a camera chip full of photographs taken in 2008  inside a camera that Little Mr. destroyed as a toddler, I’m taking you on a tour of part of the Hague city centre.

There’s a beautiful building standing next to the complex of Parliament buildings called the Binnenhof.

This building is called the Mauritshuis  (Maurice House) and was originally built in 1641 as the home of army officer Count John Maurice, who was also Prince of Nassau-Siegen  and cousin of stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange.

Prince John Maurice had a distinguished military career and Wikipedia tells us:

The Dutch Classicist building was designed by the Dutch architects Jacob van Campen and Pieter Post. The two-story building is strictly symmetrical and contained four apartments and a great hall.

Each apartment was designed with an antechamber, a chamber, a cabinet, and a cloakroom. Originally, the building had a cupola, which was destroyed in a fire in 1704.

In 1675 Prince John Maurice’s health compelled him to give up active military service, and he spent his last years in his beloved Cleves, where he died in December 1679. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After his death the house was owned by the Maes family, who leased the house to the Dutch government. In 1704, most of the interior of the Mauritshuis was destroyed by fire. The building was restored between 1708 and 1718.

In 1820, the Mauritshuis was bought by the Dutch state for the purpose of housing the Royal Cabinet of Paintings.”

The Mauritshuis now houses a large art collection, including paintings by Dutch painters such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, Paulus Potter and Frans Hals and works of the German painter Hans Holbein the Younger.

The Mauritshuis was opened as a public art museum in 1882 but is currently closed to the public due to long term renovation work taking place between 2012 and mid 2014 that will include a new underground foyer.

It is still possible to see many of the Old Masters though because they have been temporarily re-housed in Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

On the day of our April 2008 walking tour we didn’t go inside the Mauritshuis, but the outside is still beautiful…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Maurice,_Prince_of_Nassau-Siegen

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

http://www.gemeentemuseum.nl/en/exhibitions/highlights-mauritshuis

There is a time-lapse clip of the work being done so far on this YouTube video uploaded on the Mauritshuis website.

Billboards outside in 2008 featured Frans Hals “Laughing child

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Rembrandt van Rijn’s “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp”(1632)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 21, 2011

Just Close your Eyes to the Mess: Organised Chaos reigns…

Filed under: LIFE,The Hague,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family KiwiDutch are undertaking some  big renovation projects at home at the moment.

I have to confess that my only contribution is sitting in bed with my foot on cushions with the laptop, comparing and choosing products from internet sites and overseeing the budget since my asthma and lack of mobility make D.I.Y. something for Himself to always tackle alone.

We’ve been having professional help in for the Electrics… the whole house now sports wiring capable of not only running the new heating system but also extended for our future needs.

Namely that entails all the necessary connections for when we can update our three solar panels on the roof to many more, and to connect the solar panels into the heating system so that our heat can (eventually) be totally solar powered.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then the heating company guys moved in with a ton of equipment to install the heating system… eight heat pumps, four on each floor, powered by a large unit on top of our flat roof, and cabled downstairs via some large cupboards that are an original feature of our 1930’s house. (I will explain what’s special about this feature in a future post).

Then we got a specialist Gas man to come and put special plugs into the walls to terminate the gas pipes safely… he ended up wanting  to buy four of the six gas heaters,  it wasn’t strictly part of the plan but they had to go sometime so we made a snap decision and now  Himself has a new task to add to his long list: blocking up the holes where the gas heaters went into the chimneys.

Downstairs, in what will eventually be the master bedroom, Himself has sanded and varnished the wooden floor, painted the ceiling and touched up the woodwork around the cupboard doors.

The downstairs shower  is ready for painting, the upstairs shower is in the process of being painted, and a special anti-mold  sealant added to the ceiling,  but since we are in the process of working out what to do with the sink and cabinets there,  and plumbers may need to be involved, we think we might come back to the bathrooms to finish them off  properly at a later date… next year probably when the renovation budget has recovered a little.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Meantime, Himself’s “to do” list is long…

– both  the upstairs and  downstairs hallways and doors need painting, that’s 15 lovely paneled doors in total…

– the two parts of our main living area need a total repaint, ceilings and walls, woodwork on four cupboards.

– the wooden floors upstairs need some repair work (fault of the builder who laid them badly, then moved to France with our cash, and it’s been a ten year thorn in my side to look at them without frowning),

– we need to install window locks on the upstairs windows to stop children from the possibly disasterous novelty of having a window the drops clean down to the street below… ( and Little Mr. sleepwalks)

–  we need to box in all the computer cables and box that gives wifi upstairs …

– we need to box in the solar panel meter and control panel (it’s deep inside another cupboard)

– we need to put the ceilings back into the cupboards where they were taken out to install the heating equipment, and fix the shelves so that they will accommodate the pipes at the back. (notice that you can actually see the reeds on the original roof in the photo I took in one of the cupboards… in the next few years a major roof  insulation job will be added to our house improvement list).

– and once all that is done, there is the small matter of:

– moving the guest double-bed from the big room to the small one downstairs (it fits literally by millimeters)

– adding a large antique cupboard to the new smaller guest-room from the big room.

– Moving our bed downstairs (it’s extra long  just like Himself, who’s feet stick out the end of a regular sized one) plus my desk, computer and a wardrobe…

Once we have moved our bedroom downstairs,  Himself will paint the ceiling and walls in our old room

– fix the floors (laid by same rotten builder now in France)… then move both kids into it,

– so that he can then paint what was the kids shared small room, and turn it into Kiwi Daughter’s dream bedroom.

She wants wall colours of her own choosing, and a total revamp of furniture. ( she has to earn the furniture she wants by doing house chores because her choices are above and beyond what we originally budgeted for) .If she hasn’t done enough, then we have “make-do” furniture from the former small downstairs guest-room until she does (yep, I am a tough Mama, and she has to learn to keep her promises if she has a big wish-list!).

Then when her room is painted and ready (with new furniture or make-do) she can move out  from sharing with her little brother into her “own” room and in turn we can banish the Lego and Playmobile  that’s currently invading the Living Room, to his, the larger upstairs bedroom.  Whew!!!

Last but not least, we have two families from France coming to stay  with us in August… so the race is on… I will be taking over all kid homework and general supervision and Himself will be and sanding and painting  like a crazy man.

I’m still not caught up with a raft of computer things…  blog comments included, and the house mess will be monumental for quite a while yet…

Never fear:  I will still be blogging and Normal Service will  be resumed as soon as possible!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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