Campaign Appearances

Election Campaigning
The Dutch are going to the polls tomorrow to vote for the party/prime minister to lead the country. We had an election not that long ago, but the shaky coalition that had been formed fell apart earlier this year. I’ll leave it to others to comment on whether they think the government formed this time around will last for long.

Political campaigning here in the Netherlands is nothing like it is in the US. Here, it’s a much shorter period and it’s not the same full-on barrage that I experience in the US. It’s only been the last couple of weeks that it has really become more obvious as the political parties — of which there are 22 — have been hitting the streets and squares to encourage people to vote for them. The next two photos were taken from inside the Stadhuis, looking out onto the Stadhuisbrug where a large number of the parties had gathered, including the PvdA, VVD, and Groene Links. PvdA has been particularly active around the city the past two weeks, with signs, balloons, and large groups of supporters out campaigning for them. According to the news, it seems like PvdA is the big challenger to the VVD, the current prime minister’s party.

Election Campaigning

Election Campaigning

One of the national television channels has been hosting a political program with some of the politicians being interviewed. The program is called 1 voor de Verkiezingen (One for the Election, with 1 also being the tv channel). They have set up a temporary studio in the square in front of Het Utrechts Archief. That’s the building pictured in the first photo. They’ve been there for at least two weeks. You can see the building in the first minute of the program that is available on the website, if you want to see it in action, so to speak. Whether you want to listen to Gert Wilders is also up to you.

Election Campaigning

There are posters and big trucks set up around the temporary studio, as seen above. Fortunately, most political posters are limited to designated billboards that go up in a few locations around the city. It’s a bit neater and cleaner than the million and one signs I was used to in the US!

I may not be able to vote in the Dutch elections, but I can still vote in the US elections. If you’re an American living overseas and want to vote this November, make sure you sign up to receive your absentee ballot so you can vote from abroad! Hurry! Time is running out.

Windmill Day

Dutch Scenery
Just your average Dutch city skyline …

It’s Nationale Molendag (national windmill day) here in the NL, and the Molen de Ster (Star Windmill) here in Utrecht is participating. Basically, there are tours and music and various activities, all for free. This particular windmill is usually open to the public in one form or another, since there’s a small petting zoo next to it.

The event is mainly for kids, and as the weather keeps changing from sun to clouds to sun to clouds, I didn’t feel like chancing a visit. Really, this post is little more than a chance to post some photos I took of the windmill in January. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!
Molen de Ster

Windmill

Telling Time

11/11/11 at the Utrecht Meridian
Today’s confluence of ones in time and date is mildly interesting, but I knew there were some photo groups that would be posting photos from around the world, all on this one day. It’s a topic I generally find interesting, having participated in a past One Moment in Time project that the New York Times did a while back. Since I’m still taking at least one photo a day, I figured I’d try to come up with something vaguely interesting for this particular theme.

After a bit of thought, I decided to head over to the Sonnenborgh this morning. The Sonnenborgh is an observatory and museum that stands atop one of the city’s old bastion walls that used to ring the entire city center. After all, don’t forget that Utrecht, as a town, was already massively important one thousand years ago in 1111, and was granted city rights by Henry V a few years later in 1122.

However, the main reason I chose to photograph the observatory at the Sonnenborgh is because the museum is also the home of the Utrecht Meridian.

For centuries many cities had their own observatory in order to ascertain the time. The stylish Meridian Room at the Sonnenborgh was also constructed for this purpose. Up until the start of the 20th Century, the stars were mapped to measure the passing of time, with the aid of a special telescope positioned on the Utrecht meridian. Come and check what the actual time is at longitude 5° 07′ 46.67″!
Source: Sonnenborgh

Thus, it seemed appropriate, on a day when everyone was focused on the time and date, to choose a location in the city that had served as an official time keeper. I think that’s one of the many joys of living in a city with so much history. You can find a connection, no matter what the theme!

Sonnenborgh Observatory and Museum

Sonnenborgh