Local Heart, Global Soul

October 30, 2011

May I have This Dance Please Madam…?

Today’s post is a simple photographic post. I was out on one of my ‘walking tours”  summer before last, camera in my pocket as usual, when this little pair  of frogs in a shop window caught my eye and then, naturally enough, my camera lens.

They stand in a ballroom dancing pose… a Foxtrot? a Quickstep? … a Tango maybe?

I’ve just finished watching “Strictly Come Dancing” on the BBC, (The UK version of “Dancing with the Stars“)… I don’t even believe in or celebrate Halloween, but I do believe that these two dancing beauties have bewitched me completely…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 21, 2011

Statuesque Compositions in Music Too…

In partnership with my post of yesterday there is a another statue in the Sweelinckplein,  just a short distance across the grass from the fair lady in stone.

This one is a male figure and is called  ‘Nude Orpheus ” and the dedication below is a simple one to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, the renowned Dutch composer. They are very different but also, I think rather complimentary. After all, some music inspires your imagination and makes your spirit fly, other music is calm and reflective.

This one sits close to where the trams and cars go past so will be the better known of the two… but both, I think are beautiful.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 20, 2011

A Most Beautiful Composition…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On one of my many walks last year, my camera and I stopped by the Sweelinckplein in the  Duinoord area of The Hague.

Most Pleins (squares) in The Netherlands  have streets running around the outside edge of them, or maybe one running through the centre of them but the Sweelinckplein is like a softly squashed oval with pointed ends and has been cut into three parts by a busy road and tram lines  on either side of the middle section.

Because of this, people tend to know the busy centre section of the Plein very well, but may never have never discovered the quiet ends and looked around.

Sweelinckplein  (‘ee’ in Dutch is pronounced as an ‘a’ sound so it’s pronounced as “Sway link pline”)

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562 –  1621) was not only a famous Dutch composer, but also one of Europe’s first major keyboard composers. Wiki tells me that: “he was the first to write an organ fugue which began simply, with one subject, successively adding texture and complexity until a final climax and resolution, an idea which was perfected at the end of the Baroque era by Bach” .

Each of the buildings  on the Sweelincksplein is a  ” Rijksmonumenten” (national monument / listed building) and many believe this to be one of the most beautiful Pleins, not only in The Hague but also in all of The Netherlands. The homes here all date to around the 1880’s and were popular with the wealthy elite who built their fortunes on Dutch East Indies shipping, export and import trades at the time.

Venture down to the  corner closest to the  1e (1st)  Sweelinckstraat and the Banstraat and you will find a lovely statue of a lady. She sits on a small brick and stone plinth in a restful pose and is quietly serene.

A most beautiful composition don’t you think?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 12, 2011

Three Beautiful Figures…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On one of my walks last Summer,  I crossed over the Conradkade Bridge, situated at the junction of The Hague’s longest street:  The Laan van Meerdervoort.

The bridge is a favourite of mine because it’s beautifully decorated with these simple but stunning  figures of a young woman who accompanies two children…

There is extra detail too, like the car at the base (best seen in the  second to last photo) and although I searched I didn’t find a plaque or date anywhere.

I’m no car expert but might that style of car be from the 1930’s ?

The older female looks almost too young to me to be the mother of the children, an older sister perhaps? … a nanny?

I wonder about who this sculpture might have been based on every time I pass by here.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 29, 2011

The Lady who sits on the Anna Paulownastraat…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

No walking this summer so I’m diving back into my photo archives of last summer.

This little statue sits on the Plein on Anna Paulownastraat.

Anna Paulownastraat is named after Anna Paulowna Romanov,  the Grand Duchess of Russia, wife of King Willem II of the Netherlands.  Anna was born on January 18th, 1795 in Saint Petersburg and died in The Hague March 1st 1865.  Anna’s Father was Tsar Paul I of Russia between 1797 and 1801  and in February 1816 Anna was married to the Prince of Orange in Saint Petersburg.

The newlyweds first lived in Brussels  but were then required to move to The Hague which Anna found to be more provincial than she was used to  and she had difficulty adjusting since she used to the more formal and ritualistic style of the Russian court.

When her husband succeeded his father Willem I as King of the Netherlands in 1840 she was a supportive Queen but did not get overly involved in political affairs. They had five children together,  the oldest of which became the future King Willem III.

This statue sits under the centre-most tree of the plein by the intersection of  the street that now bears her name: Anna Paulownastraat, and the  Bazarstraat in The Hague.

Each summer some of the local cafe’s put out benches and seats onto the Plein for their patrons, and I thought it rather amusing as the statue looks like she’s sitting in the middle of  them as one of the patrons.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 28, 2011

The “Darling” of Amsterdam doesn’t have a Heart of Stone…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There’s a statue  by sculptor Carel Kneulman that stands on the  Spui (Spui is the name of the street) in Amsterdam that’s called “Het Lieverdje

lieverd” is a dutch word that doesn’t translate nicely into a single English word, the closest word would definitely be “darling” but it could also be used as  “sweetie, honey, lovey” … and in this case “Lieverdje” (little darling) is not even exactly meant like this…  it refers to the statue of a unkempt boy and the title is meant in an ironic way to some degree.

The statue represents all street urchin boys who are looking for trouble  to get into (in more of a playful way though and not anything menacing).

So the name is kind of means ” little darlings? yeah right!” ” in a light hearted tongue in cheek way but  not too sarcastic.
The phrase in English “butter wouldn’t melt…”  would sum him up quite nicely I think.

These kids were naughty but with a heart of gold and this statue came about because of a story in the paper “Parool” around 1947 and tells of a ten your old street kid who rescued a drowning dog.

It was eventually decided to celebrate the story with a statue that’s become one of  the  feature of the Amsterdam landscape.

Sometimes at party goers play dress-up with “Het Lieverdje” , and it’s been kidnapped a few times too. (Someone’s added the brooms for fun, they aren’t normally there)

If you are a regular reader you will know of my love of architectural detail, Deco, Art Nouveau, or Neo Classical…. Amsterdam has more than you can poke a camera lens at.  There are also quirky things that appeal to me like the brilliant way that five staircases can be put together in a very small space.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You’ll spot the first three quickly enough, but there are two extras  in between them, that lead down below the level of the footpath to reach the kelder  (basement) apartments. A more ergonomic design would be hard to match.

And then there are the quirky windows and the stone plagues that show what were the traditional trades of the neighbourhood… tailors in this case.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

So here’s a tour of some “darlings”  that don’t necessarily have hearts of stone.

(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)

December 31, 2010

Statuesquely Watching the World rush By…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m sitting in bed, fairly immobile with my foot in plaster so new photos from around and about my home city are not happening any time soon.

However I do have some photos in my stash from walking adventures around The Hague earlier on in the year, so this post is about a small series of those photos.

There are some figures in The Hague that many the locals will recognise but might be less well known to visitors.

They are not situated in the centre of town or near any prominent tourist attraction, and are on a busy road, well above people’s eye-line and set back just a little so if you are just looking straight in front of you out of the car or tram window then you might not even realise that they are there.

I’m a detail fanatic and love looking up at the decorations on old buildings when I’m a passenger in a car or on a tram.

Sadly many of the oldest buildings on this street  and in this neighbourhood were rather dilapidated and run down and so were in recent years demolished to make way for newer, more modern houses and shops.

If you find yourself on the Loosduinseweg, between the intersections of  the Asmanweg and the Gaslaan, heading towards Loosduinen, then you will have on your left hand side a tram track that runs though a narrow avenue of trees and which divides the road and the traffic heading in the opposite direction and on your right hand side, a large block of Flats that sport some small business premises out the front.

The Flats take up a good proportion of the area between the Asmanweg and the Gaslaan and more or less in the centre, there are two columns,  that mark a small parking and drop off area that comes off the Loosduinseweg and service the flats.

My statues are a jaunty couple seated upon these columns and if you are not looking for them, are dwarfed by the flats behind them.

They are a figures of a man and a woman,  1930’s style (I think) and they are casually posed, nonchalantly looking down at the traffic that passes by on the busy road.

Perched up high, it’s not so easy to get photos from different angles, but I’ve done my best.

I love them…   take a look and see if you do too…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 24, 2010

Jesting, NO, Oops, JOUSTING in Arcos de Valdevez…

Filed under: PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

During our wanderings out and about in northern Portugal we happened upon the small town of Arcos de Valdevez.

It was a welcome break from the narrow winding roads that we had been on for quite a while and as an added bonus we discovered several great points about the town that we liked very much indeed…

But first let’s look at a beautiful feature that stands by the river that runs right though the town.

Close to the centre of town, and running alongside one o the main streets we spy a wonderful scene in stone  and bronze.

These jousting knights are magnificently set into a massive stone base, and directly behind them are a series of fountains that gush water at irregular intervals, just like the cut and thrust of battle.

I was delighted to stop and  get some photos of this amazing art form. I was certainly captivated by the beautiful forms of both the horses and the riders… ok, the horses here have no legs, but that leaves you to imagine the thunder of the hooves and the kicking up of the dust…

Supporters wave the ribbons in the colours of your favourite knight…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 26, 2010

Whoa!, Pull Over, I feel the urge to Dance!

Filed under: PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We decided to take a look around the area of Northern Portugal close to where we were staying, so piled the family into the car and let the little Portuguese lanes lead us in a meandering journey of the local vicinity.

We rounded a corner , just outside one of many small villages close to Valença  to find ourselves overlooking beautiful rolling countryside, fields and vineyards and then to look to our left and see an amazing statue of a couple dancing, situated on the side of the road.

Not surprisingly, Himself know me well enough to be already applying the brakes and pulling over before I could even finish my squeal of excitement at our find and tell him that I’d love to get photos of this.

It’s not a lay-by,  just a small paved area surrounded by a low wall. There’s a stone water fountain with a tap on the side, and the statue of the dancing couple are in the middle.

The figure of the man appears to have what are castignettes in his hands so are they flamenco dancers?  Their costumes remind me of gypsy costume.

S0, are they gypsies passing through?  Locals celebrating a successful harvest?  Do they commemorate a  specific event? or a tradition special to this area?

Who knows?

In the end it doesn’t matter, they make me smile and delight me…

Don’t they make you feel like lifting your feet?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I found a plaque with some information… but naturally enough, it was in Portuguese…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Detail… attention to detail …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Dance On  little friends, Dance On….

March 2, 2010

Hey Birdie ! .. come live with me ?

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

I like wood, I like stone, I like metalwork… I like quirky, whimsical things that are hopefully not too kitsch. Some days  you just stumble upon something you fall in love with.

This belongs to one of my neighbours. If  it ever goes missing  they know to come search my house first LOL.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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