Street Style


A couple of Sundays ago, Pippo and I headed out for a walk to get some photos of the posters and setups that were going up for the Nederlands Film Festival. I figured a quiet Sunday was a good day to take a big dog out into the city center while still being able to get some decent photos without him tugging my arm at the wrong moment. After getting the shots I wanted, we started to head back home, but we took a route different to what I usually take. There’s a lovely little street that I’ve passed numerous times, sometimes almost daily, yet I’ve never walked down the street itself. It’s called Jansveld and it turned out to be a fascinating short architectural walk.

This older building on the left (also seen in the first photo) is known as De margarethenhof and dates back in some part to the 1300s, when a structure went up in this location to serve as a hospital. Later it became an almshouse in 1562. I think the building is a series of private apartments now and there’s a courtyard area, as well. I’m not sure how much of the structure dates back to its original foundation, but regardless, there has been a structure here since at least 1371. I found some information here, but it’s in Dutch, so the translation got a bit confusing.

To the right of it, you can see a tall narrow house with an unusual roofline, almost like the bow of a ship pointing skyward. It seems to have been wedged in between existing buildings. I don’t know if it was built in 2002 (the date mentioned on the front of the building), but I figure the major renovation was at least done then.

Further down the street is another fascinating older structure. I think this one might be the Grote Vleeshal, or the Great Big Meat Hall, as I like to call it. Based on the name, I’m guessing it was a meat market originally. From what I’ve been able to find out, it was a children’s library for many years in the 1900s, up until 1974. I’m not really sure what it is now. It has a great bull’s head (which fits with the Vleeshal name) over the entrance.

As the street progresses toward Voorstraat, some of the buildings become more modern in appearance. This next building caught my attention because of it’s simple, clean white lines — rather Bauhausian — which are juxtaposed against the older, more traditional stepped rooftop rising up behind it. I think this image describes this street perfectly. Old and new blending together surprisingly well.

At the end of the street, where Jansveld runs into Voorstraat, there’s a large, simple brick building with some modern elements to it. At ground level, it seems fairly straight forward, with a few hints of more modern design.

But when you look more closely — or simply look up — you see this fantastic series of circular windows rising up to the top of the building, breaking up the expanse of plain brick.

I hope you enjoyed this little photographic tour down a relatively short street. As I walked along it, starting at Lange Jansstraat, it was almost like walking through history, getting progressively more modern and recent. It’s interesting to think about the changes and evolution of this one street, starting back in the 1300s through to today.

4 thoughts on “Street Style

    • My art history background means that I can’t resist trying to find out more about the various buildings I see around me. 😉 I love that even a small city like Utrecht can have so many hidden gems that I’m still finding.

  1. Nice photo tour of a part of Utrecht that you normally don’t get to see if you are a tourist or visiting for the day. I’ve only been once to Utrecht (shame on me!) but I plan to go there more often, I liked what I saw 😉

    • Thanks, Aledys! There are, of course, areas of Utrecht that are prettier and that stand out more, but sometimes it’s the little unassuming bits of a city that can really bring it alive.

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