October 12, 2014

Rembrandt’s light in Danielle van Zadelhoff’s photos

Filed under: Photography by Branko Collin @ 9:30 pm


If you have the chance, visit the Press Museum in Amsterdam to view Danielle van Zadelhoff’s photos.

An exhibition of her work will be held there one week only, from 23 October to 29 October. If that window is a little bit too narrow for you, don’t despair. Van Zadelhoff regularly posts her photos to her Facebook account.

Danielle van Zadelhoff is a self-taught photographer. She did a short stint at a photography school, but according to Fotografie magazine (PDF here) her teachers thought she was so good, there wasn’t much they could teach her. In 2006 she and her husband bought a mansion called Spokenhof (lit. ‘garden of ghosts’) in Boechout, Belgium, a renaissance castle that doubles as a studio for her renaissance-like portraits.


Tags: , ,

May 24, 2012

Dutch couple sells expensive Belgian castle for 1 euro to municipality

Filed under: Architecture,History by Branko Collin @ 10:39 am

The Commandry of Gruitrode, containing a castle and farm built in approximately 1400 AD, has changed hands.

The Dutch owners decided to sell it for 1 euro to the municipality of Meeuwen-Gruitrode in the Belgian province of Limburg.

Telegraaf quotes one of the owners, Cornelia ter Horst: “We have no children and feel that such a beautiful castle belongs to our fellow villagers. My husband always says that everything in life is borrowed.” The couple is in their eighties and will be made honorary citizens by way of thanks.

A lovely story, but personal experience makes me wonder if there isn’t a catch. My parents were able to buy castle d’Erp in Dutch Limburg in the 1970s, also for a very reasonable price, namely one guilder. The snag then was that the castle needed extensive repairs that would cost about one million guilders. The municipality of Maasbree ended up buying the castle and used it to house the mayor.

(Photo released into the public domain by Wikimedia Commons user Wasily.)

Tags: ,

August 15, 2009

Socialist campground De Paasheuvel [HAR 2009]

Filed under: Nature by Branko Collin @ 5:02 pm

The early 20th century was the heyday of Dutch polarisation. Unions, universities, newspapers, magazines and broadcasting corporations were founded, all based on a certain religion or ideology. The three main pillars were Protestantism, Catholicism and Socialism.

One of the remnants of this great societal movement is De Paasheuvel campground (the Easter Hill), on which hacker conference Hacking at Random is held. De Paasheuvel was started in the 1920s as the first communist campground. And although the campground is now a commercial venture that tries not to put too much emphasis on its past, there are still a few clues here and there that tell the visitor of the history of the place where many a left-wing politico received part of their training.

The little castle-like house shown in the photo above is called the Voorpost, and it predates the campground by a decade and a half. It was built as a Summer place of the Rolandes Hagendoorn family in 1906, and bought by the Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale (Workers Youth Center) in 1922.

The Zonnehal (Sun Hall) was built in 1939 in the style of the Amsterdamse School, and is used during HAR as one of the conference halls.

The grounds also hold a tiny wild life garden called Heemtuin de Heimanshof, which was founded by the AJC, and maintained by them for a long time. Although former AJC members still work on the garden, Jonge Socialisten (the youth branch of the socialist and social democratic parties) and other volunteers now help with the heavy lifting.

(These and other photos should appear in higher resolution in our Flickr account after Sunday.)

Tags: , , , ,