Eerste Paasdag

Signs of Spring
Vrolijk Pasen (Happy Easter) to those of you who celebrate. Here in the Netherlands, you get Eerste Paasdag (First Easter Day), which is today, and tomorrow is Tweede Paasdag (Second Easter Day). Since the weather is sunny but cool today, we decided to take a long walk around part of town and enjoy the sunshine before the rain returns. First we headed over to the Spoorweg Museum, so I could take a couple of photos, then we walked along the Maliebaan, a long, straight, picturesque, and historic street. Then, we decided to walk over to Wilhelmina Park, with the hope that it wouldn’t be too busy yet.

Just before you cross the roundabout to enter Wilhelmina Park, you will see this charming house. With the tree in bloom against the house, I couldn’t resist a photo. On the way back, we passed next to the house and I took the following shots. It’s wonderful seeing the tree in the first stages of blooming. It was a lovely way to start the day.

We had Pippo with us, of course, and after a long walk with an energetic dog, we’re all a bit tired. I’m glad dinner doesn’t require too much work tonight. An afternoon curled up on the sofa is a lovely way to pass the afternoon!

Vrolijk Pasen!

Spring Blooms

Street Style

A couple of Sundays ago, Pippo and I headed out for a walk to get some photos of the posters and setups that were going up for the Nederlands Film Festival. I figured a quiet Sunday was a good day to take a big dog out into the city center while still being able to get some decent photos without him tugging my arm at the wrong moment. After getting the shots I wanted, we started to head back home, but we took a route different to what I usually take. There’s a lovely little street that I’ve passed numerous times, sometimes almost daily, yet I’ve never walked down the street itself. It’s called Jansveld and it turned out to be a fascinating short architectural walk.

This older building on the left (also seen in the first photo) is known as De margarethenhof and dates back in some part to the 1300s, when a structure went up in this location to serve as a hospital. Later it became an almshouse in 1562. I think the building is a series of private apartments now and there’s a courtyard area, as well. I’m not sure how much of the structure dates back to its original foundation, but regardless, there has been a structure here since at least 1371. I found some information here, but it’s in Dutch, so the translation got a bit confusing.

To the right of it, you can see a tall narrow house with an unusual roofline, almost like the bow of a ship pointing skyward. It seems to have been wedged in between existing buildings. I don’t know if it was built in 2002 (the date mentioned on the front of the building), but I figure the major renovation was at least done then.

Further down the street is another fascinating older structure. I think this one might be the Grote Vleeshal, or the Great Big Meat Hall, as I like to call it. Based on the name, I’m guessing it was a meat market originally. From what I’ve been able to find out, it was a children’s library for many years in the 1900s, up until 1974. I’m not really sure what it is now. It has a great bull’s head (which fits with the Vleeshal name) over the entrance.

As the street progresses toward Voorstraat, some of the buildings become more modern in appearance. This next building caught my attention because of it’s simple, clean white lines — rather Bauhausian — which are juxtaposed against the older, more traditional stepped rooftop rising up behind it. I think this image describes this street perfectly. Old and new blending together surprisingly well.

At the end of the street, where Jansveld runs into Voorstraat, there’s a large, simple brick building with some modern elements to it. At ground level, it seems fairly straight forward, with a few hints of more modern design.

But when you look more closely — or simply look up — you see this fantastic series of circular windows rising up to the top of the building, breaking up the expanse of plain brick.

I hope you enjoyed this little photographic tour down a relatively short street. As I walked along it, starting at Lange Jansstraat, it was almost like walking through history, getting progressively more modern and recent. It’s interesting to think about the changes and evolution of this one street, starting back in the 1300s through to today.

They Do Exist!


Perhaps one of the most iconic images of the Netherlands is the windmill (de molen). I know other countries have them, too, but they still just seem so very Dutch.

We saw both the old-fashioned ones, as well as the new wind turbines when we first arrived here and drove from Schipol to Utrecht. I’ve seen others when taking the train to Amsterdam or even driving to Oudewater. I knew that there was at least one here near the center of the city, but didn’t actually know where it was, until we drove to Oudewater last Friday and there it was, not far away at all!

I saw it again from a distance on Monday when I went for my inburgering meeting — it’s just down the street from the offices I visited. I’ve been wanting to go back all week to take some photos, but it’s been horribly cold and a bit icy and just not the kind of weather that inspires long walks.

The weather is no different today, but I was feeling inspired, despite the fog and cold. Pippo and I set out to go tilt at some windmills. Along the way, we passed one of the bigger canals and saw just how much of it was already freezing over. You can see some of those photos on my Flickr stream. For now, I leave you with a few more shots of de molen.

Let's Go Tilt!


Goede Dag

Row House

Today has been one of those perfect days that just make you smile. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, people are out and about enjoying the break in the cold and the rain. A perfect day for photos.

This morning, Pippo and I went out for a walk as an excuse for me to try and get some photos of the buildings seen in the picture here. I see them every day when I take Pippo out, because they’re across the canal from the spot Pippo likes to do his business. There’s something charming about them, particularly when seen from the street side (the far left bit, aka the short bit). There’s something so European about them, I guess, at least from my perspective. I never did get a photo of them from the angle I wanted — there were big dogs in the area both times we went past, and I figured I’d never be able to take my eye off Pippo long enough to get the shot. Another excuse to go another time, though!

I’ve got many more photos to get uploaded from our wanderings, so you’ll have to keep checking back. We had an amusing run-in with the neighborhood cat. Pippo couldn’t be bothered by that point, but the cat wasn’t taking any chances. He’s not always as placid as he was today, so I don’t blame her for being wary.

This afternoon, G and I went for a walk down Nachtengaalstraat (Nightingale Street) to pick up ingredients for dinner tonight. We stopped by a wine shop we’d visited before, in order to get some prosecco to accompany dinner. They sell one that’s not as sweet as the one at the grocery store. We also stopped in a few odds-and-ends shops that were fun to explore. We found some orange terracotta dishes that we were quite taken with, even if they weren’t square. 😉 We may go back and get some eventually.

We also stopped in at Fishes, the lovely fish shop of which we’ve become quite fond. The people working there are friendly they have some great seafood. G’s making pasta a vongole tonight. It turns out that the little clams they sell actually do come from Italy. Meanwhile, from what I understood, the same kinds of clams, called cockles in Dutch, are caught here and then exported to Italy. The allure of the exotic, I guess.

I took a few photos outside while G was getting the fish, because I couldn’t resist getting a shot of the hairdressers with their chairs outside, cutting people’s hair while enjoying the nice weather. Carpe Diem!