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.
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.
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. 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. Exterior only. It can be reached by car. My private car seats 3 to 4 adults. Visits to the interior have to be pre-arranged with the Centraal Museum.
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.
Generally for small groups of 1-4 persons starting in Amsterdam. Contact me for information on higher amounts with other venues and more people.
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