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‘All cities are mad:  but the madness is gallant.  All cities are beautiful:  but the beauty is grim.’  Christopher Morley, Where the Blue Begins








In the 16th century, Antwerp was noted for the wealth of its citizens. The houses of these wealthy merchants and manufacturers have been preserved throughout the city. However, fire has destroyed several old buildings. The city also suffered considerable war damage by V-bombs.
Now there are16th-century Guildhouses at the Grote Markt.
The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal (Cathedral of our Lady) is the highest cathedral in the Low Countries and home to several triptychs by Baroque painter Rubens.  
After the Holocaust Antwerp became a major centre for Orthodox Jews. Antwerp has an extensive network of synagogues, shops, schools etc., because of its large Jewish community.
There is a high number of decorations on (corners of) buildings, there are new developments as well.
The pictures below were taken in 2008.



  BARCELONA  pictures from buildings                                                                       TOP

'Those who look for the laws of nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator.' Antonio Gaudi




r. Fundació Joan Miró (1975), arch. Josep Lluís Sert


Casa Milŕ (1910), arch. Antoni Gaudí


l. Casa Milŕ (1910), arch. Antoni Gaudí    r. Casa Lleo Morera, arch. Lluís Domčnech i Montaner


Sagrada Familia (1884), arch. Antoni Gaudí

Kristina Borg has dabbled in photography for years, however recently she is concentrating on honing her skills to give her photos a more professional style.  Most of Kristina's skill is self taught, but she occasionally gets a chance to learn new things from local professional photographers.  Kristina has resided in Barcelona for over four years and looks at the city as a blank canvas on which she can practise and perfect her talents. The three photos of the Agba Tower are from Kristina.




Agbar Tower (1999-2004), arch. Jean Nouvel Architects


More Barcelona architecture is very welcome: cedars@live.nl , 'architecture Barcelona'.



  THE HAGUE                                                                                                                                      TOP

Ridderzaal The Hague

The Ridderzaal was originally a count’s palace dating from the thirteenth century. Construction of the complex was started at the time of Count Floris IV.
It was occupied by William II and his son Floris V from 1248.
The Ridderzaal has had many different functions over the centuries. Since 1904, the Ridderzaal has hosted the annual State Opening of Parliament every third Tuesday in September, when it welcomes members from both Houses of the States-General. The Ridderzaal is also used for special occasions by the Upper and Lower Houses of the States-General, the Ministry of General Affairs, other Ministries and the Government.
During the year visitors and tourists are given access to the Ridderzaal through guided tours.
The second last major renovation and refurbishment of the Ridderzaal took place at the start of the twentieth century and was led by architect Pierre Cuypers, also known for his design of the Rijksmuseum and the Central Station in Amsterdam. Many of the original fittings and fixtures designed in 1904 have been lost over the years, so in 2005/2006 a renovation and refurbishment project took place.
Some of the main changes:
- The chairs designed by Cuypers in 1904 have been fully restored and re-upholstered, only the
  colour changed. They are red now, they were green before.
- 19 tapestries and a chimneypiece were installed. These have replaced the flags of the
- New carpets.
- The seating will be rearranged for Prinsjesdag (the State Opening of Parliament). Starting from 2006, the overall seating in the building has been reduced from 1100 to 1000.






19 tapestries
The Dutch provincial arms and the arms of overseas colonies are similarly distributed over the left and right-hand walls. The series of provinces starts halfway along the wall opposite the throne and goes in a clockwise direction. The order of these arms is largely derived from the Constitution of 1815, whereby Duchies preceded Counties: North Brabant, Limburg, Gelderland, South Holland, North Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Friesland, Overijssel, Groningen, Drenthe and finally Flevoland.

More pictures of Art Nouveau/Jugendstil in the innercity of The Hague, click here.




  NIJMEGEN,  Noviomagus                                                                                                                       TOP


St-Stevens church


In 1254 the building of the St.-Stevenschurch started. This church was built in the roman style, with thick walls and small windows with round arches. The church was many times rebuilt and enlarged. The church was seriously damaged during the Allied bombing in 1944.
From 1948 till 1969 it is restored and brought back
in the condition of the 17th century. The church is owned by the Reformed Congegration.

Latin School

This building started in 1544. It bears marks from Late Gothic. Over the main entrance you can see the city arms, on the band between the ground floor and the first floor you can read the Ten Commandments, and above these there are the twelve Apostles.





The Besiendershouse, from about 1525, owes its name to the so-called 'besiender', who should have lived here. A besiender had to collect tolls from the ships that  sailed by. The Late Gothic building has a high saddle roof and so-called hive bow alcoves, with windows.

Jewish School and Synagogue
The synagogue is built in 1756 and has a gate from 1798. About 1800 the grandfather of Karl Marx was the cantor here. In 1872-1873 a school was built at the left side of the synagogue. This building with its round forms strikes as oriental. The architect was Pieter van der Kemp. In 1913 the synagogue lost its function. A new synagogue was opened in the Gerard Noodstraat. It's a Nature Museum now.


Jewish School and Synagogue (1765)











Kronenburger tower

The Kronenburger Tower, over 30 metres, was built in 1425-1426 as a part of the second town rampart of Nijmegen. When after 1875 the walls were demolished, they decided to keep a part of the city wall close to this tower.

The Valkhof Museum (1999) is built on the place, where once was a Roman army camp. Later Charlemagne had his citadel built here. Now there is a lively, light and modern museum of art and archeology. The glass building is designed by Ben van Berkel. (Van Berkel is rather well-known, because of the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam.)


St-nicolas Chapel

At the northwest corner of the Valkhof Hill you can find one of the oldest buildings in Holland, and certainly the oldest of Nijmegen: the St-Nicolas Chapel. It is built in about 1030 in Roman style. The chapel has an octagonal inner room and is largely built of tuff and bricks.


At the end of the 19th century Notre Dames des Anges, an Augustinian nun order, bought this villa and made a boarding school here, for girls. In 1970 the nuns sold the building. Since 1984 foundation The Refter has renovated the building and there are apartments in it.






  ARCHITECTURE CITIES                                                                                                            TOP