: 23.05.2009




  Canals and trees in Utrecht
  Visited Utrecht yesterday. It was a beautiful day. Blue skies, flocks of plodding clouds punctuated with sunshine. The Oude and Nieuwe Gracht were being extremely photogenic. They must count amongst the most beautiful streets in the World. Not because of their architecture, which is lovely enough, but because of their peculiar morphology. Utrecht, which lies further inland than the classic Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Haarlem, The Hague, Leiden, Delft and Dordrecht, also lies higher. So the canals were dug out well below gound level allowing an unusual cellar. That means you get broad docks, or quays, at water level along both sides of the canal (the old canal is considerably broader than the new one) , then a set of cellar-like warehouses under the streets servicing the houses. These cellar like warehouses nowadays harbour all sorts of creativity. (In one of the photographs there is a yoga-group doing its thing, mostly they are taken up with small shops, studio's and café's) Now all this wouldn't be so strange or wonderful except that the docks or quays were planted some two hundred years ago with trees: plane-trees, chestnuts and the like. These have grown up to be glorious. However, and this is the most wonderful thing, their canopy starts at street level. This means two things: 1. that standing one side of the canal you are confronted with a thick screen of foliage playing with the facades of the houses on the other side behind it, and 2. the sun still reaches the facades of the houses as the crowns are so much lower than usual! here are some pictures.
  Pausdam, Utrecht Nieuwe Gracht, Utrecht Nieuwe Gracht, Utrecht Nieuwe Gracht, Utrecht
  Oude Gracht, Utrecht Oude Gracht, Utrecht Oude Gracht, Utrecht Oude Gracht, Utrecht
  Oude Gracht, Utrecht Oude Gracht, Utrecht Oude Gracht, Utrecht Oude Gracht, Utrecht


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