Time Travel: Janskerkhof and Bikes

janskerkhofhua(photo via Het Utrechts Archief)
This photo from 1959 shows the Janskerkhof during one of the weekly Saturday flower markets. That aspect hasn’t changed at all and it’s a stunningly beautiful spot to hold a flower market. In the shadow of the church and the trees throughout the square, the flowers in the market are just gilding on this historic space.

I love the hustle and bustle and bursts of color that fill the space on Saturdays, but I also love the serenity of the area on a quiet Sunday morning, when the only remains of the market are a few fallen flower petals and a new bouquet at the feet of the Anne Frank statue in front of the church. My present-day photos were taken on one of these quiet Sunday mornings. To be honest, I was interested in the row of bikes and the scooter that day. I only saw the old photo of the spot recently and knew I already had a comparison photo.
Janskerkof Fietsen
The area today looks much as it does in that photo from 1959, though they’ve gotten rid of most car parking in the square in recent years, though you will see the odd scooter. Even the lamp and bicycles look much the same, though the bikes now face the other direction to allow for a separated bicycle lane. Today, you’re just as likely to see people walking away with the same bouquets of flowers as cycling away, with flowers in hand, under the arm, or in bags or baskets. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone leaving the market with a small potted tree strapped upright onto the back of their bicycle.
Janskerkof Fietsen
Janskerkof Fietsen

Pleasant Bicycle Parking

Pleasant Bicycle Parking
Sunday was a magical day, as the sun returned for a brief visit, and when I saw the sign in the photo, I suddenly started to feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland. We had been out for a walk along the canals, enjoying the sunshine and scenery. On the way back, we passed the Stadsschouwburg, the city theater, which has its front lawn decorated with stages, tables, and more as part of the new cultural Spring Performing Arts Festival. Not surprisingly, they also had a specially dedicated space for bicycle parking.

When we saw the sign (I am a pleasant bicycle parking. Please use me.), we couldn’t help but do a double-take and then burst into laughter. Sure, it could just be an error in translation, but I suspect it’s meant to be intentionally funny and welcoming. Regardless, how can you get upset with something so pleasant.

Pleasant Bicycle Parking

An added bonus is that it also reminds me of the Polite Dance Song, by The Bird & The Bee: