I just saw the sad news about Dick Bruna, the creator of Nijntje/Miffy passing away yesterday. Discovering his work was one of the many joys I got out of living in Utrecht. As well as the Nijntje books and related pieces, he also did some great graphic design for other book covers. I picked up some of my favorites when I visited the Dick Bruna Huis (now Nijntje Museum).
I think I have one last Nijntje statue that I never shared. This one seems appropriate today, as it is half Nijntje and half Dick Bruna. It stands in front of the conservatory at Mariaplaats.
It depends on the side, which one you see:
At the base is a short poem dedicated to them both:
Hi! It’s me again. I haven’t been doing anything interesting, so there’s been a lack of drive to post anything. This post, though, is all about the potential to finally get some content for this blog again!
There’s a new exhibit at the Centraal Museum that I’m really excited to see. It’s all about the Domtower and the rich history of what has become a symbol of the city. In fact, Domstad (Dom City) is one of the city’s nicknames. Utreg, as seen in the picture above, comes from the local dialect (don’t forget the G is more of a guttural sound and not that far off the “cht” sound in Utrecht). When I eventually get to see the exhibit, I’m sure I’ll post about it.
What you see in the photo here is some sort of power/who-knows-what box along Nobelstraat that is covered in stickers. Charlie (giving it a sniff in the picture) and I couldn’t help but stop and appreciate the city pride in this batch of stickers, not to mention the international flavour. Too bad part of the sticker on the right is gone, but you can still see the ever-glorious Domtoren.
Speaking of which, the Secrets of Utrecht page on Facebook is doing a contest this week. They’ve posted various pictures people sent in of the Domtoren and the photo with the most likes will win two tickets to the DomUnder exhibit that is literally underneath the Domplein. DomUnder opened a couple of years ago, but when I tried to see it while some friends were visiting, it was fully booked. Since then, I haven’t gotten around to going. I’ve been planning on going soon, and winning the tickets would offer the extra impetus to go, plus I’m more likely to get G to go with me.
So if you don’t mind going to the post with my picture of the Domtoren and “liking” it, I’d be ever so grateful. Plus, it’s something else that I’m sure to write about once I’ve gone. Content! Real content! Two thousand years worth of content, in a sense. Romans! Tempests! And so much more!
Gerrit Thomas Reitveld was born on this day, 24 June 1888, here in Utrecht. The son of a joiner, he would go on to become a world-famous architect, designer, and principal player in the development of De Stijl artistic movement.
In celebration of his birthday, I thought I’d share a few (okay, probably a lot of) photos of his work. Although you can find numerous works of his on display at the Centraal Museum here in Utrecht, you can see a wide array of his architectural works here in Utrecht and throughout the country, and you’ll often be surprised when you learn it’s a Rietveld.
This is a Rietveld …
… but this white building is also a Rietveld.
This is a Rietveld …
… and this is a Rietveld. He even lived on the upper floor for a while.
These are all Rietveld.
These are also Rietveld:
Even this is Rietveld:
As always, it’s a joy to celebrate the birthday of this tremendously talented artist and native of Utrecht.
It’s that time of year again. Utrecht is celebrating its 894th year as an official city. On June 2, 1122, Keizer Henrik V officially recognized Utrecht as a city. (Of course, Utrecht’s history goes back much further. The Roman fortifications date back to around 50 CE, and people may have inhabited the area during the Stone Age, going back to 2200 BCE.)
There are usually some festivities each year. I think the ones this year are more about family history. However, throughout the year, you can find a marker along the Oudegracht commemorating the event.
In honor of 894 years as a city, I thought I’d post a few photos of some of my favorite, unique places that make it such a wonderful city.
While visiting the Centraal Museum the other week, I came across two more of the Nijntje/Miffy statues as interpreted by various artists. The first one, appropriately, now stands outside the Nijntje Museum, which is across the street from the Centraal Museum. (One ticket gets you into both museums.)
The second Nijntje is a bit harder to see (thus the 1/2), as I took a photo of it through a window in the museum. It stands in the newly renovated courtyard. This one is particularly interesting, as it’s about four Nijntjes creating one. Unfortunately, I don’t have any artist information for these, but it’s nice to see a few Nijntjes still hanging around her home city.
The Centraal Museum has undergone some renovations and expansions recently and they’ll be officially unveiling them this coming Friday and over the weekend, as part of the National Museum Weekend. To raise awareness about the museum and it’s collection of Utrecht artists, they have put up murals of some of the museum’s collection on walls around the city. Today, I went in search of one.
Charlie and I headed out for a nice walk in sunny weather with deep blue skies overhead. I took a slightly different route than I usually do to end up at the Van Asch van Wijckskade. When I got to where I thought it was supposed to be, I was clearly in the wrong spot. There was a building with a painting on it, but it wasn’t the one I was thinking of. Slightly confused, I decided to keep walking. Turns out I had stopped a block too soon. But there she was, the Portrait of Amalia van Solms (1602-1675) by Gerard van Honthorst. With the trees starting to bloom and the glorious blue sky, she was in the perfect setting. Nor was I the only one admiring her. Another girl had approached just as we did and she walked up close to pause for a moment and admire Amalia.
There are two other murals to see, but they’ll have to wait for another outing. I do have two tickets for the museum’s grand opening on Friday. I would take Charlie, as he seemed quite interested, but I suspect he may not be so welcome. I guess I’ll just have to take G instead. Charlie is disappointed.
I regularly see things related to Utrecht on Twitter or Facebook that interest me. As a reminder, I open up a separate tab in my browser and hope to get around to following up on it in the not too distant future. I’m not always successful, as I kept one tab open for more than a year before finally giving up on it.
Today, however, I’m able to close two tabs. One was for the Heksen van Bruegel (Bruegel’s Witches) exhibit at the Catharijneconvent Museum. I may or may not post on it, as it was mainly for a bit of research for an article I’ll be writing on Bruegel in the future. However, today was the last day of the exhibit, so it was now or never! The other tab I can close relates to the Huize Molenaar and more specifically, a viewbox on a lamp outside of the building.
I’d seen the viewbox somewhere online and was curious to see it myself, so I’ve had the Huize Molenaar website open for around a month. I’d forgotten about it while I was showing my friend around the other weekend, otherwise I could have checked it off my list earlier. I had honestly forgotten about it again today, until I was walking past the building itself and suddenly from the deep recesses of my mind, I remembered that there was something specific related to this building that I wanted to see. Finally, it clicked, just as I was about to walk past the lamp to which the viewbox is attached.
Huize Molenaar is used for private events, ranging from meetings to wedding receptions, and they offer fine dining for any of the events. They’ve been hosting private events since 1892. The viewer shows what looks to be an old photo from one of those earlier events. Ultimately, it’s just one of those cute, quirky things that makes walking down the streets of Utrecht that little bit more interesting.
A friend of mine came for a visit yesterday, but before meeting up with her, I took Charlie out for a walk to try to make up for the fact that I was going to be gone all day. We’d had a very light dusting of snow during the night, but nothing to make walking around treacherous. We had the added benefit of some glorious sunshine, but that’s more relevant to the photos I took later in the day.
Anyway, as Charlie and I were wandering around, I decided to finally go in search of the Camera Obscura I’d seen recently on Instagram. This house on the Kromme Nieuwegracht once belonged to photographer Frans Ferdinand van der Werf (1903-1984). He settled in Utrecht in the 1930s and became well-known for his photos that ranged from comic scenes in the city to the liberation of Utrecht by the Allies.
There is currently a free exhibition of his work at the Utrechts Archief, which is running through 21 May. I suppose I’ll have to leave Charlie behind again for that one, but I really do want to see the exhibit. Maybe I can get some fresh photography inspiration.