Utrecht

The fourth largest city in the Netherlands, and home to the largest university, I enjoyed a day in Utrecht. Part of that might have been due to the rare glimpse of sunshine that greeted me when I visited back in October 2009, though it soon disappeared. While it lasted though the autumnal waterways were beautiful.

The sky was still blue when I visited the Rietveld Schröder House, a modernistic masterpiece. It was built in De Stiji style in 1924 by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld, and was hugely influential. The guided tours didn’t allow photography, but demonstrated the flexible interiors, with rooms that could be reconfigured, and opened / closed off to adjacent rooms. It looked like a drafty place to live, but the ideas were way ahead of the time.

He also designed the nearby Erasmuslaan 9 housing block, less colourful but no less innovative for it’s time. Again no photography was allowed inside but here are a couple of shots from outside.

A better idea of the interior and typical De Stiji furniture could be found at the wide ranging Centraal Museum.

One of the more unusual and atmospheric sights was the Dom Tower of Utrecht. This is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, 112.5m high. It was built in 14th century but the cathedral was never finished and the nave collapsed in 1674. Now there are trees where the nave once was.

To end with more attractive brick architecture from my wandering around the city centre.

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