It’s that time of year again. Utrecht is celebrating its 894th year as an official city. On June 2, 1122, Keizer Henrik V officially recognized Utrecht as a city. (Of course, Utrecht’s history goes back much further. The Roman fortifications date back to around 50 CE, and people may have inhabited the area during the Stone Age, going back to 2200 BCE.)
There are usually some festivities each year. I think the ones this year are more about family history. However, throughout the year, you can find a marker along the Oudegracht commemorating the event.
In honor of 894 years as a city, I thought I’d post a few photos of some of my favorite, unique places that make it such a wonderful city.
We went to the Inktpot today, as part of the national lead-up to the official Open Monument Day in September. Between now and then, a different monument will be open each month (week?) throughout the country as a bit of a teaser to the main event. Utrecht kicked things off with the opening of the ProRail head offices, which are housed in the building known as the Inktpot because of the shape of it (notice the main tower in the center). The UFO was a leftover from an art installation back in 2000 and has become just as recognizable a landmark.
The building is a mass of bricks and quite heavy in appearance, but it’s full of little decorative details that make it surprisingly interesting and attractive. I really enjoyed visiting the building and seeing things like these office numbers, done in a stylish font and placed on the ground.
There were a couple of towers that were pretty impressive, as they rose, brick after brick, sometimes as high as 25 meters. I’ve got more photos to upload to Flickr. Until I do, these will give you a taste of things to come. I’ll end on a high note, with a view looking up the main tower to the skylight at the top.
I’ve already made my plans for Saturday. I’m going to the Inktpot. It’s the big brick building with the UFO on it. You see, this weekend, the building, which serves as the head offices for ProRail, is going to be open to the public as part of the Monument Day Relay. As a way of celebrating 25 years of Open Monument Day, a different monument will be open — throughout the country — each weekend until the official celebration in September. This weekend, it happens to be the Inktpot.
The Inktpot, as it is affectionately nicknamed, was built between 1918 and 1921 and designed by railway engineer G.W. van Heukelom. The building features a contemporary design with elements of Cubism and German Expressionism. It stands 60 meters high and is the largest brick building in the Netherlands. The entire building contains approximately 22 million bricks. There’s a history of the building in one of the main halls, and the interior itself is supposed to be quite stunning, especially the view when you look up to the top of the tower. I’ve seen photos of the interior before, so I’m particularly looking forward to visiting.
The building is open this Saturday, from 10:00 to 17:00, and is located at Moreelsepark 3, Utrecht. If you’re in town or nearby and interested in architecture and design, it’s probably worth a visit.
It’s a UFO! Oh no! Alien invasion! V is real! Run for the hills! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry, didn’t mean to go all War of the Worlds on you. Don’t worry. I may be an alien, but I’m a legal one and I come from Florida, not outer space. Still, that is a UFO you see on the roof of that building. However, it didn’t come from outer space either; it’s from an art project back in 2000. It was popular enough that they left it there after the exhibit was over. It’s on top of the building known as De Inkpot (because of its shape). The building, which used to be the headquarters of the Dutch Railway, is the largest brick building in the Netherlands.
I saw photos of the UFO before I moved here, but somehow, I never got around to checking out where exactly De Inkpot was located. Obviously, I don’t spend much time on that side of town! I’ve been thinking about it recently and kept meaning to look it up, but never got around to it. Yesterday, while out shopping with my mother, we left one of the shops where I get my favorite Marimekko tins and suddenly, there it was! It’s hardly the first time I’ve been in that spot (as it’s hardly the first time I’ve been in that shop on the Oudegracht), but this was the first time I noticed that I had a view of De Inkpot and the UFO! It’s almost embarrassing how oblivious I’ve been!
Speaking of my mother, my parents are here until Tuesday, but after that, hopefully my posts will be a bit more regular and not quite so poorly written. My mother just asked me if I was drunk when I wrote the post about the Giro D’Italia. I wasn’t, but I keep getting interrupted when I try to write a post, so it ends up a complete mess. Sorry for any confusion and headaches my writing may have caused recently.