Despite having a variety of topics I’ve been meaning to blog about, my allergies have been sucking the energy right out of me. Thus, the recent blog silence. Hopefully, I’ll get some actual content up this week, but in the meantime, here’s Springweg, a street off Mariaplaats, looking lovely in the sun and dappled shadows.
Sure, I still have Queen’s Day photos to upload, and sure I still have a few more photos from Den Haag I could post, but instead you’re going to get a cat post. It’s my blog and I’ll post about cats if I want to! 😀
So, that creature in the top photo there, luxuriously rolling on the terrace is Lola. Lola never rolls, at least not in the house. Luna, our other black cat, is the roller. She’s never met a piece of carpet she won’t roll and twist around on, which is dangerous when I then go to pet her and we shock each other. Anyway, yesterday, Lola decided to roll around on the terrace. That’s when I discovered just how much pollen is still on the terrace, despite the recent sweeping. We haven’t had any rain in a while, so all the pollen just hangs out on every surface. That means that after Lola’s roll, this is what she looked like:
I suffer from allergies, so when I saw her, all I could think about was all the sneezing and misery I was going to be suffering if she got into the house like that. I quickly ran inside, shutting her out on the terrace, and got a paper towel that I soaked. She wasn’t happy, but fortunately she didn’t really fight the impromptu bath, either. I’m not sure Luna would have been so accommodating. Not that it really seemed to help. I still ended up with a bit of an allergy attack last night. I’ll blame that one on the dog. He’s been stretched out on the terrace, too.
Yes, that’s Lola leaping over Pippo. A very lucky shot!
Finally, I want to leave you with a photo I took of both cats the other week. We’ve been having some of that glorious Dutch light recently, especially early in the morning, and I was as entranced by the light as I was amused by the cats stalking each other.
One of the first things I discovered about Utrecht once I knew we would be moving here, was the fact that it was the location of the famous Rietveld-Schröder House. With all the architectural history I studied at university, I was very familiar with this De Stijl house and I was thrilled to know that I’d have the chance to see it in person. Fast forward a couple of years to this past week, when I decided it was time to finally go see this architectural gem. It is, after all, Rietveldjaar (Rietveld Year), so this morning I finally decided to go see it for myself.
Built in 1924 by Gerrit Rietveld, an Utrecht architect and designer, the house was built for — and designed with the input of — the owner, Truus Schröder, a widow with modern tastes. The house, which was named an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, is the only building designed and constructed according to the principles of De Stijl.
For the record, some of the main principles of De Stijl included a focus on pure abstraction and a simplicity of form and color, reducing all things to basic horizontal and vertical lines, squares and rectangles, asymmetrical forms, and primary colors. Certainly, one of the most famous artists of the style is Piet Mondrian, famous for his black-and-white grid paintings with squares and rectangles of red, blue and yellow. Looking at the Rietveld house, it’s as if one of Mondrian’s painting has come to life and moved into a realm of three dimension.
The house itself is a square shape primarily colored in white and grey, with small touches of red, blue and yellow. The lines of the house are straight horizontal and vertical lines, intersecting to create smaller squares and rectangles, while avoiding straight symmetry. The interior of the house, as well, was simple and open, but with movable walls that could change up the layout of the interior space, creating new rooms and flow patterns.
You can take tours of the house organized by the Centraal Museum, or if you just want to look at the outside — as we did — you can simply wander around admiring the different views and angles. As I moved around to the side and back of the house, I started sneezing repeatedly. I’m obviously allergic to something growing in that area, because it was an immediate reaction! But a little sneezing never stopped me from admiring a beautiful building! If you can’t make it to Utrecht, you can also take an online guided tour of the house.
It’s a lovely area to walk around, just to the east of Wilhelmina Park, which is a gem unto itself. The street on which the house stands, Prins Hendriklaan, is full of lovely architectural surprises, from the St. Antonius Gasthuis to some of the more modern structures on nearby Gerrit Rietveldhof. The juxtaposition of the Rietveld-Schröder House against the larger, but more traditional style of architecture makes a visit more than worth it.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you a bit more about Rietveld’s chairs.