This Is Utrecht

Animation Film Festival
This is hardly the best photo of Utrecht that I’ve ever taken, but I love what it represents. There’s a group on Flickr called This Is Europe, and it’s meant to show the reality of life in Europe, not just the typical postcard shots. For me, this photo fits the bill.

Sure, there’s the Domtoren rising up in the background, and the spire of the Willibrordkerk, and a university building dating back to 1834, but those buildings are all a part of normal life here. The reality is that we pass these buildings often enough that it can be easy to take their hundreds of years of history for granted. I’m reminded of an Eddie Izzard sketch, in which he jokes about Americans thinking that people in Europe all live in castles. He quips that, “It’s true! We do all live in castles. Sometimes I long for a bungalow.” I think that sums up the reality of having so many historic buildings all around you that you almost don’t notice them at times.

On the other hand, equally representative of life here in ancient Utrecht are the banners for the Holland Animation Film Festival. This is an annual festival held here in Utrecht every year. The best and brightest show off their animation work, often using the latest in technical advancements to create amazing works of animation.

So this is Utrecht to me. A combination of approximately 2000 years of history that is still growing and developing and branching out into new ideas and forms of art and culture. Utrecht is a vibrant, living city, not a relic or museum. This is modern Europe; this is modern Utrecht.

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7 thoughts on “This Is Utrecht

    • I think your post about your Terminator Angel statue in Zwolle must have stuck with me and inspired me when I took this photo. I do love the mix of old and new in so many cities. Sure, not everything new works out well, but it’s important to encourage the best of growth.

  1. Good point, because Utrecht has such a beautiful old centre and such a rich and long history as a city, it’s often only for that historical side that this city is mentioned. But there’s that modern side as well, it’s a living, modern city as well as a piece of history. Good of you to point that out.

  2. this is my new city and I love it. I know it is a big city, but it does not feel that way. there are now, for me, so many familiar places and images. and one of the best things about this city…is that the banners are in english. that says a lot right there.
    this is my kind of town….

  3. I actually had an American once ask me if we still built castles in England. I was so tempted to tell him yes :)

    And I for one also love living in Europe and having so many amazing historic buildings around us as part of every day life.

  4. I personally don’t get why the banners are in English. What’s wrong with “Nederlands animatie film festival”, since it’s aimed at a Dutch audience? I love English, it’s a very beautiful language, but sometimes I do think it gets used in cases where plain ol’ Dutch would do just fine. Somehow a lot of people seem to think that putting something in English gives it a bit of ‘extra’, or a more international allure, perhaps. I think in some cases that’s not doing a lot of justice to our own language. Somehow it bugs me, yet I find myself doing it as well at times (using an English word when a Dutch one would do the job just as well).

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