Today is the official Stadsdag (city day), commemorating the date that Utrecht became an official city. On June 2, 1122, Henrik V officially recognized Utrecht as a city. (However, don’t forget that Utrecht as an inhabited location has been around since at least 50 CE with the Roman fortifications, and people may have inhabited the area during the Stone Age, going back to 2200 BCE.)
Although today is the official date, the celebrations were held yesterday. Sadly, I didn’t get to get out and enjoy them. There were birthday cakes galore, with neighborhood baking competitions and a final round for the neighborhood winners. Appropriately, representations of Nijntje (Miffy) and the Domtoren were among the winners.
Numerous other events also took place yesterday, including the opening of a new exhibit, but I’ll save the details for another post. I’m hoping to squeeze in a visit of my own sometime this week. *fingers crossed* In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the news that the trompe l’oeil image that used to hang on the cathedral is back! It was a nice surprise that I noticed on Saturday while I was out. It’s good to see it back.
Despite having a variety of topics I’ve been meaning to blog about, my allergies have been sucking the energy right out of me. Thus, the recent blog silence. Hopefully, I’ll get some actual content up this week, but in the meantime, here’s Springweg, a street off Mariaplaats, looking lovely in the sun and dappled shadows.
It’s Stadsdag (City Day) once again, as Utrecht celebrates the day it was officially declared a city 891 years ago. It was 2 June 1122 when keizer Hendrik V (Emperor Henry V) granted official cityhood to Utrecht, although Utrecht’s history certainly goes back much further. Since the anniversary was on a Sunday this year, it was easy to tie in the celebration with the monthly Cultural Sunday events. This month’s theme was Vocal Kabaal, with singing to be heard almost everywhere you went. From small a capella performances to rap battles to thoughtful singer/songwriters, the options were numerous and in multiple languages. Dutch and English were obvious, but there was also a Portuguese fado singer performing at the Winkel van Sinkel.
We stopped first at the Stadhuisplein where an opening ceremony was taking place. The four singers we saw were impressive and I really enjoyed listening to their more operatic performances. As the Stadhuis was the location of the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, it’s perhaps no surprise that there were a few people wandering around dressed in period costume.
As the weather was cooperating and the sun was shining, we decided to head over to Mariaplaats and the Pandhof Sinte Marie (a lovely cloistered garden). There, we came across multiple groups of performers. A small group was doing a lively performance of 1950s-60s style classics. Lots of fun and appealing to fans of all sorts!
Just around the corner, another group was performing in front of the conservatory, with numerous international music students watching the performance.
We also stopped in briefly at Flora’s Hof to enjoy yet another performance in a lovely garden area. The weather just seemed perfect for outdoor performances with nature providing a lovely backdrop. In all, it was a great day to celebrate a wonderful city!