When the Waters Rise

catharijnesingelI mentioned recently that they’re in the process of rejoining the ring canal that circles the old city center of Utrecht. Most of the canal has remained, but a section on the western side of town was turned into a highway. However, that road was closed in 2010 and the process of turning it back into a canal (and connecting it with the canal that remains) then began. It’s part of an ongoing project to rebuild that part of town, making it more attractive, inviting, and useful.

This is the view from the Hoog Catharijne mall, looking down on what will eventually be a canal once again. This photo is from a few months back, probably around early July. It doesn’t look like it is ready for water, and to be honest, I’m not sure if that section is yet, but they’re getting closer to filling in the water in one section of the rebuilt canal. I haven’t found any specific dates, but someone did pass along a handy link to a live webcam you can watch where the water will be added relatively soon. If you enjoy a good webcam it’s worth checking out.

I’m slightly disoriented, but I think this is the northern bit that will be filled in first. If the camera were to keep panning to the right, I think it would eventually be facing the spot where I took my photo. Essentially, the webcam view is of the construction in the far distance of my photo. I think. Maybe. Perhaps.

Catching Up with Boats and Monstrances

Thousand-year-old boat
After a day spent wrestling with Firefox (which refused to play nice with the other programs I needed), I’m going to simply attempt a quick roundup post to cover a few things of interest.

First up, you may remember the post I did about the recent theft of a monstrance (religious doodad) from the Catharijne Convent Museum. Well, it turns out that they caught the three people responsible and recovered the missing bit. The museum hopes to have it back on display soon.

In other news, they’ve found the remains of another old boat near the Catharijnesingel. (Honestly, Utrecht isn’t like Atlanta where everything is named Peachtree, or in this case Catharijne. It’s just a coincidence.) The canal, which became a highway, which is reverting back to a canal, was the site of the recent archaeological excavation. In fact, for my British readers, you may appreciate the fact that it was found near the Boots pharmacy over by the train station.

Anyway, the remains of the ship are oak and measure around 8 meters long and 2.5 meters wide. American (and some British) readers will have to do the metric to imperial conversion on their own, but trust me, it’s a good size. The boat dates to sometime between 500 to 1000 AD. It’s one of many boat remains that have been found in the general area in recent years. In fact, the really poor photo at the top is of a thousand-year-old boat that now stands in dry dock in the Utrecht Centraal Museum. You can literally smell the history when you step into that room. For what it’s worth, history smells a bit funky.