Weekly Photo Challenge: Today (in Utrecht)

Kabouter Bloemen
Today is a beautiful day in Utrecht. Perfect for celebrating the city’s 890th anniversary of its official city status. There are a variety of events going on around town and I visited some today and took a few pictures along the way. Here are a few of the highlights, although I’ll probably expand on some details in other posts.

To start the day off, I walked through the bloemenmarkt (flower market) at Janskerkhof, which is where I saw the flowers above. I’d seen someone else post a photo of them on Twitter earlier in the morning and couldn’t resist seeing them for myself. So pretty! They’re called kabouter something or other, which is fun, since kabouter is the Dutch word for gnomes. It’s a great name for them!

Rode Loper Dagen
I also walked a red carpet! One of the streets has lined its sidewalks with red carpets. I think there are a lot of sales on this particular street this weekend.

Then it was over to the Buurkerk (kerk=church) to see the specially opened Buurtoren (toren=tower), with information on bell ringing. The tower is part of the bigger church, which is now a museum dedicated to musical organs, music boxes, and similar musical items.

Little Blue Auto

Then it was on to the Domplein, the historic center of the city where the cathedral now stands, and where the Romans first built a fort almost 2000 years ago. The city has been an official city for 890 years, but it’s been an important site for much longer! There in the Domplein (plein=square), I saw this cute little blue car. More to come about that in another post.


From there, I headed into the cathedral’s cloister garden to enjoy the view and take in the wonderful gothic architecture, as well as the flowers. It’s a wonderful spot to sit and relax. From there, I could also hear the bell concert coming from the Domtoren, which was decked out in the city’s official flag.
Celebrating 890 Years

To go along with the concert, there was also some dancing as a preview of the Cultural Sunday dance events taking place tomorrow. This group of dancers was dancing along to the bell concert, moving around the memorial statue.
Utrecht Danst

Finally, I decided to head down Zadelstraat to visit one of the local bakeries that has a special chocolate treat that seemed perfect for today. This bakery has been making a Domtorentje chocolate since the early 1900s. I’ve been wanting to try one since I first heard about it recently. In the shop, I was not the only buying the Domtorentjes! I’m sure they’re selling a lot today!

Next door to the bakery is a furniture shop that I mentioned recently. They’re famous for their bulldogs who like to lounge on the chairs placed out front. I posted photos of one of them last week and couldn’t resist another shot of one of them today. He looks so happy on his throne with his tongue sticking out!
Shop Dog

I hope you enjoyed my photographic tour of what I saw today in Utrecht. It’s been a beautiful day and I’m glad I got to help celebrate the city’s anniversary.

Nederlands Film Festival Opening

Gouden Kalf

Nederlands Film Festival
Wednesday saw the opening of the annual Nederlands Film Festival at the Stadsschouwburg. I’ve taken photos of the Gouden Kalf (Golden Calf) in the past, but never gone to one of the big events, despite the proximity. This year, I figured I’d go check out the red-carpet opening. With camera in hand — and supposedly freshly charged batteries — we wandered over to see what was going on.
Red Carpet
I wasn’t sure how crowded it would be. Would there be throngs of screaming fans? Would there be a constant blinding flash of paparazzi flash bulbs? Would there be fancy cars and fancy gowns?

Well, no. Not really. There was one fancy gown, worn by the star of the film that was premiering, though. Sylvia Hoeks showed up in a pretty dusty-pink, tiered-ruffled, full-length gown with a bit of a swooshy tail. She also has the perkiest of pretty noses. If it’s real, she’s incredibly lucky. If it’s a nose-job, she should thank her surgeon daily.
Sylvia Hoeks

The Dress
As you can see, I got pretty close. In fact, I got up right behind the row of press interviewers and photographers. As for the screaming fans, well, there were fans, but they weren’t screaming. In fact, they were quite calm and friendly and very polite and sweet. I wasn’t really there as a fan, since there was only one person there I recognized, but they didn’t know that. Sometimes one of the fans would see me or another fan trying to get a shot and they’d say sorry and move out of the way to help you get a better shot. It was really quite a nice experience!
Almost a Papparazza

As I said, there was only one person whom I actually recognized. Carice van Houten was the one Dutch actress that I knew of, and I thought she might be there that evening, but I wasn’t sure. As I was turned around to talk to G — explaining that I was kind of hoping Carice would show up — I turned back to the red carpet and suddenly there she was, right in front of me. I’m pretty sure I said something like, “Oh! That’s her!” loudly enough for one of the girls in front of me to turn around and give me a smile.
Carice van Houten

Carice van Houten

Besides being the opening of the film festival, which goes through September 30, the event was also the opening of the film De Bende van Oss (The Gang from Oss). The film is about a woman (played by Sylvia Hoeks), who wants to get out of the life of crime she’s living in the 1930s. In looking up the film, I realized that a woman I know of — a fellow Southern expat who now lives in Rotterdam and plays a mean ukulele — was involved with the film, gathering up extras. I remember seeing her post about it a while back, so it’s fun to see it all come full circle in a way.

There were other stars of the film at the premier, of course. I eventually managed to figure out who most of them are.
Daan Schuurmans
Daan Schuurmans

Interview met Benja Bruijning
Benja Bruijning (in profile)

Matthias Schoenaerts
Matthias Schoenaerts

Frank Lammers en Matthias Schoenaerts
Frank Lammers and Matthias Schoenaerts

There were other actors there who weren’t necessarily in the film, but who have films premiering at the festival, so they came along to the opening. Along with Carice, there was Anna Drijver, who is in the film Loft, which looks like a sexy murder thriller.
Anna Drijver

There was also Halina Reijn, who is in the upcoming film Isabelle, about a woman kidnapped and held hostage, perhaps with hints of Stephen King’s Misery.
Halina Reijn

We had a fun time watching the arrivals, even if we didn’t recognize that many people. You could still tell who the “important” ones were by the sudden rush for photos, not to mention the longer interviews. And now I know the names of some more Dutch actors! I even managed to get a lot of photos, despite the fact that my rechargeable batteries weren’t holding the charge. The camera kept shutting down on me after every couple of photos. Frustrating! I know I could have gotten better photos if I’d not had to take them so fast. Maybe I’ll go to the closing event. I keep hoping to see Michiel Huisman (Treme) or Rutger Hauer. A girl can dream!

Here’s the trailer for De Bende van Oss. FYI, there might be one scene that isn’t the best thing to be caught watching at work.