Thursday, September 24, 2015

DORDRECHT, NL: Open Monument Day 2015

In case you happen to remember, every year there is a weekend in September that is Open Monument Day, when over 4,000 "monuments" nationwide, not normally open to the public, are available to visit for free.

We already know where we're going next year (ha!) but this year, we decided to go to nearby Dordrecht, since King Alexander and Queen Maxima had chosen it for their King's Day visit in April.  It's only 25 km from where we live here in Gorinchem...and, yes, we have been there before, in 2010, for Dordt in Stoom.

It used to be that Open Monument Day was only on Saturday, but starting last year, it's now also on Sunday...the day we chose to go to Dordrecht.

First of all, Dordrecht is a harbor city that is an island, bordered by 4 rivers,
and is the oldest of the North and South Holland provinces, granted city rights in 1220.
Pay attention to that Grote Kerk = Big/Great Church.  (Wiki image)

Did you pay attention to the Grote Kerk in the aerial view?
We parked on the other side of a canal from it...but did not visit it that day,
having already seen it previously.
Notice the absence of a spire...because they ran out of funds in the day!

The main portal into the city from the Oude Maas river is near the Grote Kerk.

From there, as you'd guess, there are canals everywhere throughout the city.

We actually were on a mission that day, to see two of the "monuments" that caught our eye in our research but ended up catching 4 altogether:

1:  The Augustijnenkerk (The Augustine Church)

This was one of the unexpected  "accidents" of the day.
It used to be an Augustinian monastery from 1293, becoming a reformed church in 1572.

I fell in love with the bluish-green and red colors against the white walls and pillars.

2:  Atelier Gerhard Lentink

You could safely say this was our biggest "accident" of the day, 
the workshop of this wood sculptor in what used to be a Catholic boy's school from 1906.

I think our jaws were on the floor the entire time we were there.
These wood sculptures are beyond incredible.

Gerhard Lentink himself was present.
I bowed my "namaste" to him with tears in my eyes.
If you want to see more, check out this video that Astrid found.

Astrid really wanted to see this house of violin and guitar builders.
It was where the King and Queen had a violin made for one of their daughters.

Talk about a photo op.  Totally worth the stop.

Believe it or not, this was our main mission of the day.
Friends of ours told us that Rutte & Zn had achieved an incredible honor worldwide:
two of their gins, a vodka and a jenever were voted the best in the USA.

 While Astrid and I aren't connoisseurs of such liquors, we wanted to take the tour.
There's always so much to see!

And, yes, we also got to taste, just to say we did it!
It was a fun way to end the day.

Of course, we were short of eyes in between our "monuments."
After all these years, Dutch architecture still amazes me.

As do the gable stones!

I never tire of them.

Or of the weathervanes.

You could say that "things" impress me, everywhere I look.

It's as it should be...because I love where I live!

As we returned to our car, this said it all!

And since I put it out there, we plan to visit the war prison in Breda next year, closed since 2014.
God willing and the creek don't rise, of course....


  1. Rich, rich, rich! Most of all, I love the blue of the Augustine Church!

  2. We had such a great day and all those unexpected wonderful things we saw. You did a great job of taking all those pictures and making them into collages. We will be back at Rutte to have another tasting.... that will be fun.
    It is amazing what we see in one day

    1. It was even better than I expected, and you, too, I'm sure. Thank you again for being my Partner in Crime for these excursions out-n-about!

  3. I am completely transfixed by workshops such as these--the wooden creations born there, the magicians who build stringed instruments. I am in love with these ateliers, the smell of wood and the chemicals used to bind their parts together to create magic. Reminded me a bit of "Michelangeli", a workshop for wooden toys in Orvieto, Italy (a walled town from the Middle Ages high on a granite plateau in central Italy.)

    1. Of course you'd love all these sights and smells, Susie. This is what makes our world turn 'round!

  4. I don't even know how you two could see so much in ONE DAY? Wow! I do believe the color in The Augustine Church is a fave...but sure comes close to the wooden sculptures - especially the nude! All fabulous!

    1. As you already know, we both can pack a lot in in a short period of time...but I have a feeling you can, too, Woman! I absolutely know you would have fallen in love with Gerhard Lentink and everything his hands touch. In fact, YOU would have been that woman talking to him! See, I know you. :)

  5. I was shocked to learn the distillery was your main objective! :) 4,000 monuments oh my! I also loved the bluish-green and red colors on the white walls of the first stop...

    1. HA! To be honest, Donna, we went to the distillery on behalf of our friends who told us about the awards they won. We're mainly only wine and beer drinkers. But it was still an education to walk through "the background" spaces. :)

      It's a wonderful thing for the Dutch to open up their "monuments" for one weekend every year...totally GRATIS! Last year we actually saw the inside of our Masonic Temple here where we live...something that I didn't know was "allowed" for outsiders.

  6. The wood carvings are memorable! I love going on days like this, where buildings normally closed to the public open up their doors. Here it's called "DoorsOpen" and each town has a different weekend.

    1. I love that others do this as well, Sham. I wish the USA did it. It actually gets people out-n-about when they might not normally do so. YAY.

  7. The very end of your blog did not come through, but I was already stunned at the work of the sculptor. That is a highlight of your blog posts. Yes, weathervanes and gable stones impress me, but the sculpture was rare. More please. More.

    1. For some reason, Ted, when there's a video in my post, it doesn't show up in the email version. I don't know why. Two ducks were in a canal covered with milkweed, diving in and out of it like they were in heaven. It was a good way to end the day!

      And yes, I totally understand about the wood sculptures. I'd love to see ALL his work one day in an exhibition!