Last week I posted a photo with the top of the Neudeflat rising above — some would saying ruining — the skyline that typically features more traditional Dutch buildings and rooftops.
While out wandering around on Sunday, I couldn’t help but snap this shot of the Neudeflat from another perspective, actually in the square. Once again, it stands out in contrast to the more traditionally attractive building on the left. Interestingly, I had approached the square from a different street than I usually do, which gave me a new perspective on the square. In the photo from that perspective, you can see the red building (once again on the left) face on, rather than from the side. It’s the same red building in my blog’s header image. However, you can also see the square without the Neudeflat. Even with the tangle of bicycles, the Subway restaurant sign, and the large statue of patat/friets/fries in the foreground, there is a certain charm to the scene.
Utrecht is full of traditional Dutch architecture, with brick galore and stepped roof facades. But we also have a few more modern buildings, including the Neudeflat seen in the distance. This building, in particular, is pretty reviled throughout the city for being straight-up ugly, but there are a few who sing the building’s praises.
Me? I think I’d like it more if I could get up on the top floor to take photos of the city. If anyone knows how I can do that or when it will be open to the public the next time, please let me know. I will say that this Ode on the Neudeflat (in Dutch) did give me some new insight into the building that makes me like it much more now.
This week’s theme is reflections, and though the concept can be more esoteric, reflecting on life, the universe, and everything else, I’m sticking with the more literal sense. Mainly because one of the things I love to photograph are reflections of the city in the surrounding windows. It’s a fun way to look at the city from a slightly different perspective.
The sun was shining brightly yesterday and as I walked down Voetiusstraat to take a peek at the Domplein now that the construction tenting is gone, I found myself irresistibly drawn to the reflection of the classic Dutch buildings in the large window. The name on the window made the image look something like opening credits of a film (or an annoying watermark). I also like how the beams in the ceiling draw the eye into the image. Plus, I just love a good arch, especially with a stand-out keystone.
I tend to focus more on the old city center of Utrecht, since that’s where I live, but occasionally I venture outside the binnenstad. Looking for some new scenery, I took a walk last month over to the western side of town and the neighborhood of Lombok, which is just outside the center, next to the train station. I was specifically interested in seeing more of the new mosque that is under construction. I’d seen the minarets rising up into the sky while in the area last summer and was curious to see the full building. (That’s the view from a section of the bicycle parking by the train station, by the way. It’s only a small fraction. I’ll show you more in another post.)The minarets are visible from parts of the main road that runs through the center of town, but the mosque is located further out, past the train station, bicycle parking, and a few overpasses/bike tunnels. After navigating the construction and detours where the old city ring canal is being put back in (after about four decades as a road), we finally made it to the mosque.The Ulu Mosque project began in 2010 and was designed by Önen Architects. It should be finished this year. There are obviously many smaller, traditional buildings in the area, but there are also many other large, modern buildings, such as hotels, office buildings and more, so it’s not necessarily out of place stylistically. In fact, the red brick color was intentionally chosen to refer to the traditional Dutch brick used so extensively throughout the country. The mosque is just one part of an overall renewal of that part of Lombok. (Although not all of the renewal is appreciated or supported, but that’s also a topic for another post.)The mosque was built to serve the Dutch/Turkish population, although it’s open to everyone. One of the stated goals is to encourage conversation and perhaps better understanding. Not such a bad thing to aim for.
The weather has been surprisingly mild for the past week or so. Occasional days of overcast skies and hints of rain, but also days of bright, clear, blue skies. This weekend has had a number of hours of the sunshine and blue skies, so I thought I’d share a few of the snaps I couldn’t resist taking. After all, when you get skies this blue in winter, you don’t ignore them!
Friday was my birthday, and after a lovely evening out for drinks and dinner, we took a quick walk around parts of town before the rain came. Well, mostly before the rain came. I’m incapable of avoiding the Domplein, so of course I headed over to see what kinds of photos I could get. I got lucky with the lighting.