Time Travel: Voorstraat

(photo courtesy gertvr on Flickr)

Voorstraat is one of those streets that you can’t help but spend a lot of time on if you live in the north/eastern part of the city center. It’s got a variety of stores and services, and is an easy way to get from one part of town to another, since it ends up at Neude square, which can then take you to numerous other spots.

Here’s what it looks like now:
If you look at the buildings themselves, they really haven’t changed much, although the ground level businesses have changed. The biggest difference is the front left corner. The old building has been replaced by the City Movie Theater.
City Animation

The only other difference, outside of the absence of tram tracks and the appearance of cars is the church steeple in the far distance. In the old photo, it’s simple rectangular. In the new photo, there’s a pointed steeple on top. What I can’t tell is if the steeple was simple under repair or if it hadn’t been added yet. Not knowing when the old photo was taken, I must say it looks more as if the steeple is simply covered in protective scaffolding.

I’m sure Voorstraat was probably just as useful last century as it is now. Nowadays, besides being home to two grocery stores, Plus and Albert Heijn, it’s also home to Plato Record Store, Tattoo Magic Store, travel agency offices, a Chinese massage/reflexology sort of place, hairdressers, a sewing supplies shop, multiple coffee shops (of the cannabis variety), Taco Mundo, multiple vintage clothing stores, along with higher-end clothing stores, a used/antique book store, a florist, an organic grocer, formal wear shops, clothing repair stores, a shoe repair shop, a locksmith, fancy furniture and lighting stores, along with numerous restaurants and cafés, with many new places opening regularly. It’s not always the prettiest street, but for daily life, it covers a lot of bases. And there are pockets of grace and whimsy along the street.
Street Scene

Sushi and Books

There’s even the occasional horse.

And don’t forget the rabbit!
The Thinker

11 thoughts on “Time Travel: Voorstraat

  1. I agree with the scaffolding idea on the church, it would be a LOT higher otherwise I think. The height appears to be the same, only the shape changed.
    I AM sad to see the tramlines gone… sigh, I like trams.
    We too have several shopping streets like this on various sides of us, and not too far away. It’s amazing just how much we CAN avoid going into the Centre for (and when people get to know you the service might even be better).Another plus: more of the smaller family run businesses that we try hard to support.
    You know I LOVE these “then” and “now” photos, local history is always taken so much for granted until sometimes it is inadvertantly lost. (or just melts away, one building at a time)

    • Many of the other postcards from around this same time show some other structures, including the Domtoren, under scaffolding, so I guess there was a bit of cleaning/reconstruction going on at the time. Plus, I’m pretty sure that church has been around for a while!

      Some shops seems to stick around forever, which is great. Many of the restaurants, however, seem to change weekly. On the plus side, there’s always something new and interesting showing up, such as one of the new coffee/tea cafés that even serves breakfast of some sort!

  2. Is that a rabbit? I always thought it was a donkey! Of course now I’m looking at it and wondering how in the world I came up with that…

  3. Without knowing it you made a connection with your earlier post about the storm that made the Domkerk collapse. Guess what… the very same 1674 August storm made this tower’s steeple collapse too. 😉 It was only in 1953 that the church regained its original height again. Don’t know how your 17th century Dutch is… but this is the story: Het was den 1 augusti nieuwe stijl dat een vervaarlijke orkaen veele landen in Europa treften, als mede dit Nederland, maar bijzonderlijk dese stadt Uytrecht, want nergens hier omtrent mogt het haalen bij de schrikkelijkhijt, die men tot Uytrecht ende omliggende dorpen vernam. … De hooge spits en ’t kostelijk speelwerk van de Jacobikerk, wierd tot het uurwerk toe omverre geslagen, of storte schuyns tussen de huysen en de kerk neer, sonder de huysen veel te beschadigen. …
    According to Wikipedia it was even only in 1954 that the tip of the tower was rebuilt.

    • Fascinating! And how funny to realize my posts tie together! I was so busy trying to find out some history of Voorstraat that I didn’t get around to looking up the story of the Jacobikerk. I suppose that helps date the old postcard then, as well! Thanks for sharing this information!

  4. I was going to say I wasn’t sure about the church, whether they had just added the steeple or the height had been modified as well, but now I read the info. that Mark posted and the mystery is solved. How interesting to know all this!
    I think the first time I saw the rabbit sculture I was walking around the city centre with you as a guide 😉

  5. I was surprised that beautiful cityscape was well kept.
    The design of the City Movie Theater must be discussed by various points.
    That is why new buildings are difficult to match old towns.

    • You’re right. Technically it is a hare. I tend use rabbit as a generic term. I didn’t realize he used that motif regularly, although I knew this version of the statue is a copy. I’ll have to look at more of his work.

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