This one works as both an Utrecht Daily Photo and as a Different Donderdag entry. The original photo I took today wasn’t so hot, since it was taken with the camera phone on a very rainy, humid, dark day. Not the kind of weather that inspires an outing with the proper-ish camera. Instead, I found this older photo I’d taken, which shows it all off much nicer.
I pass these buildings on Wittevrouwenstraat on an almost daily basis. I’ve been inspired by them, as well, particularly the buildings with the curving rooftops. Yet there’s something about the Garage that I find so appealing, as well. Perhaps it’s the straightforward labeling, or the wagon-wheel-type window at the top. Regardless, it’s a building that always makes me smile. It’s also been a bit of a puzzlement for the past few months as the ground floor seemed to be turning into a second-hand shop, yet the shop never seems to be open. According to the sign in the window right now, it will be open on Saturday, at least.
As for why I thought of this to include in a Different Donderdag posting, it has to do with the building’s former purpose as an actual garage. One of the little differences is that in a downtown in the US, you probably will find working garages, but here in the Utrecht city center (the binnenstad, aka the original historic city center), you’d be hard-pressed to find a gas station/garage these days. They’re all on the outskirts now, probably for a variety of reasons, including beautification of the old city center.
In trying to find some information about this building, I came across a fantastic blog about the Ridderschapkwartier, which includes this part of town. I really wish my Dutch were better, because it seems like it has a lot of interesting information about this neighborhood. There’s a posting which mentions the Garage (and the buildings next to it) in relation to their former owners, a couple of prominent Dutch insurance families. You can read it here in the first entry (if your Dutch is good).