Scaffolding St. Jan, Den Bosch

Scaffolding St. Jan, Den Bosch, 20th October 2016
By Delia A.

Carina (the wonderful organizer of this day’s activities) Linda, Siew Kien, Silvana and I gathered at the Sint Jan’s in Den Bosch on Thurday 20th October to willingly climb a staircase within scaffolding attached to the side of the Cathedral.  There was also a lift which, when in motion, shook the whole structure and some of our member’s nerves!  Luckily it was to stay dry for the whole time we were up there.

At the top of the staircase the guide told us about Den Bosch, which attained city status in 1185, the Cathedral, the building of which started in 1220, and Jeroen Bosch and the similarities between his characters and the gargoyles we were to admire.  That gothic part of the church was being built at the same time as Jeroen Bosch’s lifetime and it is assumed that he and Aleart du Hamel, the architect at that moment, were friends.

 

We were left to ascend a few more steps and explore the grotesques for ourselves.  Many of them were sitting astride the flying buttresses as if on a fairground ride.

On descending we were able to see the windows and the facade in more detail and admire at eyelevel the infamous Angel with a Mobile Phone by Ton Mooy.  But that is a story unto itself…

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At lunch, Rina and Mary joined the group to take part in the 2nd activity of the day – a guided boat tour of the city’s moat (binnendieze).
I have done this approximately 17 years ago and as I have little recollection of this event, I hadn’t really been expecting much.  However, this was a special tour in honour of the Jeroen Bosch year celebrations and there were quite some surprises!  (Luckily none of the plumbing sort as the moat was originally sewer)

Our guide navigated us under a dead end archway/tunnel with Bosch decorated flaps.  In the dark a screen rolled down and we watched a video clip about Den Bosch and the Man himself.

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The boat then made its way slowly round the moat and under buildings large and small.  We slithered under the Noordbrabants museum and the Gemeente huis.  We saw parts of the original city wall, and the whole route was dotted with statues of JB’s characters, often with an arrow pierced through them, or otherwise very surreal.
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Another highlight of this tour was the Hellegat tunnel.  Hellegat means Hell’s hole and the reason this tunnel is so called is that it is pitch black.  Once in this tunnel, the boat projected hell onto the ceiling and walls of the tunnel .   The boat turned a corner and we were then treated to an apparition of heaven with the light at the end of the tunnel.

The rain that we had for the boat trip did not dampen our tour and if it didn’t end soon , I would recommend it.  It was enjoyable, interesting and multi sensory.  Thank you again Carina for organizing and to the other ladies for the gezelligheid.  This was a great outing for the IWC!

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The Art of Banksy, Amsterdam

The Art of Banksy, Amsterdam, 27th September 2016
By Michele H.

Having negotiated the vagaries of the Breda to Amsterdam train schedule and won (mainly thanks to KrissStallabrass and her mastery of the NS Reizen App), we made our way from Amsterdam Central station to the Beurs vanBerlage, the old Stock Exchange. Within this beautifully restored 19th century building is a new subterranean gallery, currently housing The Art of Banksy.

There, we found a comprehensive collection of more than 85 original works on canvas, paintings, photographs, and sculpture. The exhibition included well known works such as Balloon Girl and several of the playful ‘Rat’ artworks. Wewatched the short, Oscar-nominated documentary ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’, a sideways look at the creation and marketing of street art. It was perhaps best described by the New York Times as “a trompe l’oeil: a film that looks like a documentary but feels like a monumental con.”

Who is Banksy? A street artist? A political activist? A vandal who targets public places? Is he Robert del Naja, frontman of Massive Attack? Or a cathedral-school educated Bristolian? Or a group of artists? Although he takes great lengths to conceal his identity, Banksy advocates a direct connection between an artist and his constituency, maintaining “There’s a whole new audience out there, and it’s never been easier to sell. You don’t have to go to college, drag round a portfolio, mail off transparencies to snooty galleries or sleep with someone powerful, all you need now is a few ideas and a broadband connection. This is the first time the essentially bourgeois world of art has belonged to the people. We need to make it count.”

art-saleIt could be said that Banksy’s subversiveness diminishes as his prices rise. He may already have reached the tipping point where his success has made it impossible for him to remain rooted in the subculture from which he emerged.

The irony that his anti-establishment art commands huge prices isn’t lost on him. “I love the way capitalism finds a place – even for its enemies. It’s definitely boom-time in the discontent industry.”

granniesTowards the end of the exhibition, we pondered further the disconnect between a street artist exhibiting his work in a solid Dutch building.It transpires that the architect, Hendrik Petrus Berlage,was a staunch socialist who believed the stock exchange trade had a short lease of life. Inspired by the Italian Palazzo Publicos, he decided to design the building in such a way that it could serve as a grand communal home, a public palace, after socialism had triumphed. A fitting place for a Banksy collection after all.

We exited through the gift shop and found a nice place for lunch by the canal.
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Farewell President Hope

July 2016
By Hope T.

After 5 years here in the Netherlands the time has come for me and my husband to return to the United States in August 2016.  Renée has graciously accepted the position of Interim president and I have every confidence that she will do an excellent job in her new role.

Thank you gift from Renée to Hope!
Hope receives Club’s thank you gift from Renée!

I really enjoyed being on the committee,first as the secretary and then as the president.  This experience has enriched my life by helping make the transition into a new country much easier through meeting so many wonderful women.   I hope that I was able to do the same and make a small difference in the experience for new members and provide some entertainment and friendship for the seasoned and new members alike.

I’ve met many extraordinary women, made some great friends, had lots of interesting adventures and even learned to speak a bit of Dutch all as a result of being part of the IWC.  Thank you and I will miss you.

Much love and success to each one of you.