Utrecht, our educational and fun day trip, is situated some 30 KM southeast of Amsterdam. It was founded in the middle ages on the remains of a Roman military station. The beauty of the city center is the result of many centuries of organic growth. It boasts a well-preserved group of canals and ancient canal houses, which includes one mediaeval castle like building.
Utrecht is the key religious center of Catholicism in the Netherlands, and it still is the seat of the Roman Catholic archbishop. Right in the center we find the large Duomo (Dom) with its 110 meter high tower - and close by we find the most important museum of Christianity in the Netherlands. Named Catharijne convent, it shows objects from various religious branches in well designed spacious galleries.
Unique in the Netherlands, the water table of the central canal in town is on a level way down from street level because of the low natural water table, so that wharf and storage facilities have been built under street level, to the left and right of the main canal. This has also resulted in an area with many sideway cafes and restaurants down by the water.
We may walk the streets, discuss its history and look at historic monuments and we may even climb the tower of the 'Dom' up to the 95 meter platform.
For those in love with the art of painting we will visit the Centraal Museum.
This tour is particularly rich in architecture topics: Private homes. Churches. Castles-like private residences. Drs Kees Kaldenbach has amassed a grand portfolio with maps, plans, elevations, architectural analysis.
Also: Modern architecture discussions include De Stijl era with, Gerrit Rietveld, the famous modern-style Truus Schröder-Schräder house and important adjacent buildings.
Street scene towards the 'dom' tower. All photos here are Copyright Kees Kaldenbach, 2007.
The square between the Dom tower and the Dom church. The intermediate part, once connecting the tower and apsis was blown to smithereens during a tremendous storm in 1674, at 7.30 PM on August 1.
To the right of the photo we see a replica of the Jelling stone, the famous inscribed rock from Jelling, Denmark commemorating the switch to Christianity.
Sunshine vista from the tower at about 12:30. Please figure out for yourself what time of the year it is!
The cloisters of the 'Dom', at the south side of the church, for prayer perambulation, as seen from the tower at a height of about 95 meters.
In the S-curve of the central canal we see the 'Shop of Sinkel' and in the background the mediaeval castle. Both lie on the water which is way down deep below street level. When the massive metal statues were lifted up from a ship for constructing the Sinkel storefront, the wooden crane collapsed and broke under its weight.
Nieuwe Gracht. The inner city canal in poetic stillness, fall 2007.
This boulder, which had arrived from Scandinavia, moved along in the thick glacial pack ice covering Northern Europe during one of the last Ice Ages, was laying about like an anomaly in the flat landscape for hundreds of thousands of years. Later on it was positioned by Utrecht inhabitants at the corner of a house. This rock was initially meant in order to keep the horses and waggons away from the corner of that house.
At night however the devil himself was heard playing wildly with this rock. A priest was called in to scare the devil away and later on the stone was firmly chained in order to keep the devil from playing any more nasty tricks.
The history of Christianity in the Netherlands can be studied in-depth the Rijksmuseum Het Catharijneconvent. This photo shows the interior court yard, once home of the nuns living a quiet life in the Catharijne Convent. The museum collection is richest in Roman Catholic objects but spans all Christian denominations and all ages, from early reliquaries to present day religious objects.
A 10-minute walk to the south takes us to the Centraal Museum, holding many different collections, from a large well-preserved mediaeval ship to 16th and 17th painting, especially those of the Utrecht school of Caravaggist painters, to fashion rooms.
I also recommend visiting a perfectly preserved 17th C hospital and board room in the St. Barthomew hospital, Lange Smeestraat 40, Utrecht. Furniture from the 17th Century. Gobelins by the famous maker Maximiliaan van der Gucht. Visits ONLY on Sunday morning at 11 AM, max 12 persons, book at firstname.lastname@example.org Cost E 6.96 including coffee and apple pie! (2012)
On the outskirts, situated near an unsightly highway ramp, at Prins Hendriklaan 50, is the famous Schroeder house designed by Rietveld. This is a UNESCO world heritage site, one out of 6 in Holland. Visits bookable through the office of Centraal Museum. If you do not book: exterior only. Visits to the interior have to be pre-arranged with the Centraal Museum.
Utrecht can be reached by car. My private car seats 3 to 4 adults.
As an art historian based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, I can meet you in Utrecht for a personalized guided tour of art museums and the historic center.
Together we will experience the beauty and history . Enjoy yourself and learn about history while strolling and discussing the country's history, art and culture. In doing so, we may touch many bases - spanning not only fine art and architecture but also the city's history and current social issues. See client testimonials.
Read a biography.
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Drs. Kaldenbach is chairman of the Circle of Academic Tour Guides of the Netherlands and Flanders (CATON)
Starting at your hotel I will take you on a wonderful private cultural walking tour of your choice. My guided itinerary offers you accessable informative conversation in English, Dutch, or German (my French and Italian are more limited).
You may also arrange this VIP treatment for business contacts or friends. Our cultural tour organisation office will take care of a unique and memorable experience.
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach is your private "scholar-lecturer on culture tours" *.
*Martha Gellhorn, Travels with Myself and another, p. 182.
Please contact me for time and fees of the tailor-made tour you ar interested in.
These tailor made tours are available upon request - please contact me to book a date. Minimum group size: 1 person. Maximum group size is limited to about 10 persons. With a megaphone I can also manage larger groups on the streets.
Complete Listing of tours
Photo by Dick Martin.
The Rijksmuseum has done me the honor of linking the main Rijksmuseum site to my website. Start at www.rijksmuseum.nl and select Collection. Then choose 'Digital Collaboration' and the 'Digital Vermeer House'.
I conduct Rembrandt walks in Amsterdam for the Netherlands Bureau of Tourism, London and New York City offices. These clients include important journalists.
The travel site www.luxurytraveler.com has devoted a main feature to my tours and walks.
Read a biography.
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach has been featured in television and radio documentaries, including BBC2 TV, NTV Japan, Danish TV and Radio Netherlands World Service. In July 2004 he was interviewed about Utrecht artists by Tetsuya Tsuruhara for the leading Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun. In 2004 and 2005 he acted in an advisory role to additional BBC teams. Kaldenbach has written extensively on Vermeer and 17th century Utrecht, on Vincent van Gogh and on other art history topics.
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach is your private "scholar-lecturer on culture tours".
Further information is available on his encyclopedic web site: www.johannesvermeer.info
Drs. Kees Kaldenbach , email@example.com
Haarlemmermeerstraat 83 hs
1058 JS Amsterdam
telephone 020 - 669 8119 (from abroad NL +20 - 669 8119)
cell phone 06 - 2868 9775 (from abroad NL +6 - 2868 9775)
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Member of the VVV Tourist information and the Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel).
Email responses and bookings to art historian Drs. Kees Kaldenbach.
This page forms part of the 2000+ item Vermeer web site at www.xs4all.nl/~kalden
Launched April 15, 2006. Updated Feb 16, 2013.
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