Local Heart, Global Soul

March 12, 2017

The Most Unlikely Shoe Collection…

(photograph © Kiwidutch )

This post finds us still at “Ijsboerderij Labora“, a dairy farm in Texel that uses it’s fresh milk to make the most delectable of treats: ice-cream.

The date was Easter 2016 and Family Kiwidutch were enjoying a much needed long weekend break with two other sets of friends and their children.

Our children were reluctant to leave, not just due to the fabulous ice-cream, but also the abundance of a large variety of playground equipment and toys,  and not least, the presence of at least four large trampolines.

The afternoon was getting on, and the crowd of other visitors who had smaller children suddenly disappeared as their kids dinner and bed times approached, so our party soon had all four of the trampolines almost to themselves.

With queues gone, I took photographs of them jumping for the family album, but their passion for jumping outlasted mine in the end and feeling a little bored after another rest, I moved back toward the car, where other things had caught my eye. I’d spotted some lovely clogs on display as I arrived and wanted to get some photos for my ” reference library” album.

After all, it’s always helpful to have a few studies to refer to should the sketching bug arise.  To this end I set to work making various photographs, attempting various angles and zooms so that the most could be made of these lovely “klompen” (clogs). To be fair, not having a tripod with me, especially in the strong wind, didn’t help and for some reason the colours are lighter and more washed out in the end results than they were in real life, but the “bones” are there. Regular readers will know I adore old stuff like this, I hope you like them too.

(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 )

March 6, 2014

The Very Strange Mixture Of Wonder And Disbelief…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Tourist shops are tourist shops: piled high with merchandise that can generally be classified as “the good, the bad and the ugly”…

…or more often ” the ugly, the useless and ugly and the both tasteless, useless and ugly”.

Here in Zaans Schans it’s running pretty much to the rule, there are a few tasteful  things and a ton of tat, but most of all there are shoes: tons and tons of wooden shoes.

I’m not an ornamental type of gal, the porcelain figures of the cute kitsch Dutch boy kissing the cute kitsch Dutch girl are light-years from what I would call a stunning addition to my home.

But each to their own… someone must like them and buy them or things like these wouldn’t be on sale in Dutch tourist shops.

Personally I wouldn’t object to a pair of klompen (clogs / wooden shoes) , but my pair of choice would preferably be old, even antique, very well used, plain in style and have been clearly worn. They would have ( preferably long)  history and character. Imagine my shock therefore when I came around the corner of the corridor in the museum and discovered the tourist shop. “Wall to Wall” clogs is n understatement… it’s wall to wall and floor to ceiling and the entire ceiling covered with clogs. The loft space of the building is visible and even that is a storage space for clogs.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You name a shoe size and they will surely have clogs here to fit, I can seriously say I have never seen so many clogs in one space, and in fact I hazard a guess that some regular Dutch shoe shops have less pairs than this. From a photographic point of view it’s fascinating,  from a personal point of view I’m cringing, it’s like a weird melange of  “Oh Wow!” and “Ew!” at the same time.

At one end of the room it’s possible to see a demonstration of how the clogs are made, as I stand taking photographs a young man comes and carves out a little more on a clog mounted on a lathe nearby. I find the rough, less hewn pairs more fascinating than the shiny, glossy, painted finished pairs.

I also like the decoration on the old metal till better than the little porcelain blue and white windmills.  Sigh, having confessed that must I now relinquish my Dutch nationality? Is this treason? These clogs are fascinating: I wonder on earth buys them all, do they actually try and wear them? ( I wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall when they did because surely these can’t be correctly fitted or comfortable?) …do they hang them on the wall? …do they park pot plants in them? .. or are they shoved in the back of a cupboard or adorn the cistern on the loo?

I have a smile on my face… one of wonder and disbelief, but each to their own I suppose: what scares me in this room obviously makes a lot of other tourists very, very happy indeed. Mind you, upon reflection maybe it’s me that’s the odd one out here, after all I adore old tools and patterns on street drain covers… One thing is for certain: The object that is one man’s nightmare is another’s dream, and wht not? … each to their own.

(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)

March 4, 2014

The Humble, But Hard Working Wooden Shoe…

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

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Here in Zaans Schans, located a short distance from Amsterdam an a short distance  past Schipol airport, the museums’ curators have tried to make as much of the historic buildings as they can.

In this particular area they have made a set of 18th Century storage barns and warehouses formerly used for storing grain and dry goods into museum, souvenir and catering buildings and have been laid out to form a central square.

The buildings themselves are wooden because this was the most convenient building material for the soft peaty soil in this area and they were tarred for protection against mildew. Now theta they are protected against the damp they have to stand up to the tourist hordes.

The weather has been fickle and so it’s quiet here today, so although some areas are busy we have other areas almost all to ourselves. In the “klompenmakerij” (wooden shoe / clog workshop) there is also a museum that details the history of  “klompen” (clogs) and shows just how much of an integral part of Dutch life they were. Certainly as “working shoes” they were owned by almost every man, woman and child and there were many companies making them around the Netherlands to keep up with demand. Klompen were also not just confined to The Netherlands in centuries past, as working shoes they were also worn extensively in Belgium, France, Germany and many other European countries.

One thing I did not realise before though were the regional differences in the styles and shapes of the klompen… the large glass display cabinets hold many examples of both local and even some international examples.  The wooden shoe may be humble but it’s got a long and colourful history…

(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)

June 1, 2013

Off To Heaven And Hell, um… With a Quick Stop At St. Joseph’s…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are enjoying a quick visit to the Belgian city of Mechelen: it’s essentially a business trip but we have just enough time to  have lunch and take a little look around.

Opposite the restaurant where we had the tagine there is a large footbridge and we ended up on the other side of the canal simply because that’s where the supermarket we wanted to visit was located.

Going home without some beer for Himself and a few friends and some waffles for the kids was not an option and I was keen to get a (dried) leg of ham … but the latter wasn’t stocked here  so I was out of luck.

Luckily we succeeded on the other two counts and tested just how much weight my little backpack could carry stuffed in as many bottles of local and unusual stouts as possible.  The other good thing was that since it was Himself’s beer, he got the job of carrying the now seriously heavy backpack  from then on.

We were just exiting the supermarket when we saw what looked like a tour group party making the rounds with their guide. They were short distance ahead of us and all were stopped at a corner a little way down the canal, and crowded around taking photos.

While Himself was busy (re) arranging beer bottles in the backpack so that the zip would close, I took the opportunity to ask a lady leaving with her shopping what the tourists were looking at please.

“Some of the oldest houses in Mechelen” she said, “… and the oldest wooden one, they are very nice, you should go and take a look“.

Needless to say this became the  next stop on our walk and thus we duly arrived at the same corner now deserted, as the bus tour tourists had departed rapidly to keep to their schedule.  There is a wooden information board on the canal side of the Haverwerf (street name where these stand) that gives some information:

“Houses: St Joseph, the Little Devils, Paradise:  These Facades are representative of the evolution of dwellings in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. First they were built of timber and later of stone. From left to right you see: baroque, timber and Gothic with early-renaissance features.”  

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I found quite a few websites where these houses were mentioned but most were just a line or two of the same information… so I’ve amalgamated all  the little bits I found. On several websites they were referred to as the “Heaven”and “Hell” Houses too.

The white and green house corner house  of a row of period buildings is called “Het Paradijs”  (Paradise) and dates from between 1525 and 1550.  

The style is transitional, with Gothic crockets and finials coexisting with Renaissance-influenced tympanum reliefs.  Its front shows scenes from the Earthly Paradise  and two of those reliefs are Adam and Eve scenes:  one representing the Tree of Good and Evil and the other the Expulsion from Paradise (hence the name of the house).

Next door to “Het Paradijs” house is the house called “Duivelshuis / de Duiveltjes” (Devil’s House / Little Devil’s)  and it dates from 1545-1550  though quite a bit of its original planking has been replaced.

Dark carvings depict the story of the Prodigal Son, including a couple of devils. Apparently, its original name (Prodigal Son) never caught on; “de Duiveltjes” or little devils stuck, probably because the fçcade is decorated with  three satyrs or devils.

On the other side of this the “Duivelshuis” house stands “Sint Jozef”. A statue of Saint Joseph showing you Jesus is incorporated in its front. Judging from their glum faces, the little devils are deeply unhappy with their neighbours. The houses are all privately owned.

The angle of the sun ( in our eyes as we looked at the front of the buildings)  made harder than I thought to get some detailed photographs of the façades but I did my best (a higher viewing point would have been handy too) and therefore in one blog post  full of photos I can literally take you from the houses of Heaven to Hell and St. Joseph and back. In this Blog you can sometimes travel veeery far indeed.

http://wikimapia.org/17024194/Devil-s-House
http://wikimapia.org/17024187/Paradise-House

(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)

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