The Tour de France Starts in Utrecht

Tour de France DomtorenToday’s big news is that the 2015 Tour de France will start off here in Utrecht. There’s been a lot of will they/won’t they going on for the past few weeks (months), but the official announcement came today.

To celebrate, the Domtoren has been festooned with yellow flags (in reference to the yellow jersey of the Tour de France). You can’t see the yellow flags that clearly in my photo, but I kind of dig the way the whole photo looks vaguely flat like an old-fashioned painted backdrop or stage set.

It’s not the first time we’ve had a bicycle race come through town. The Giro d’Italia passed through in 2010, but this will perhaps be a bit bigger, particularly as we’re the starting point. I wonder if they’ll ride on the Maliebaan, site of the first official bicycle path here in the Netherlands.
Chase Group

Big Yellow Birdies and Buildings

Exotics
Friday I gave you a bit of a challenge to recognize where in Utrecht the big birdy could be found. Since I took the photo, I kind of knew, but to be honest, I was cheating a bit and hoping someone else could give me some more information about the specific location, because it’s more than just birdies. It’s part of a whole building complex.
Willem Arntsz Huis
I knew I’d seen photos of it before in one of the Flickr Utrecht groups, so eventually I did track down some more information by finding some photos other people have taken of the big yellow building. It turns out to be the Willem Arntsz Huis, a mental health institution. The modern yellow building is just part of a larger and long-standing complex, but it’s certainly an eye-catching and interesting one. It might not blend, especially in the museum quarter, but it’s still attractive. The more recent addition of the budgerigars adds a certain whimsy to the intense geometry of the building.
Geel Huis
Budgie
For the record, it’s on Vrouwjuttenhof, just off Vrouwjuttenstraat, which in turn is off Lange Nieuwstraat.