Breukelen - Jutphaas (5 days in Utrecht included)

As usual, one has to leave eventually. This time Breukelen (Brooklyn) was the ‘victim’ and left behind on Monday the 10th of May at 9:24AM. We’ve told you about the utterly pretty river (Utrechtse) Vecht on more than one occasion. Therefore this time we keep it a bit more restricted. The entrance of Nyenrode Business University (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyenrode_Business_University), however, cannot be missed. It’s a former castle which is, unfortunately, not open to the general public.

We decided to visit our ‘home city’, Utrecht, this time arriving from the north. We had made sure by telephone beforehand that there would be a place for our ship above the Weerdsluis . On the way we passed a hamlet, called oud-Zuilen. This is ‘Het Oude Rechthuis’, a former farmstead, nowadays used for parties. Our newlywed daughter and husband, their eldest son and the entire family celebrated their wedding here back in 2005.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is Utrecht’s Weerdsluis. © Japiot (we think). See: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weerdsluis, only in Dutch – but there’s always Google Translate. A relatively large lock, according to our map length 82,5 meters (275 feet), width 18 meters (60 feet) and depth (at low level) 1,8 meters (6 feet). The width of the gates is 8,1 metres (27 feet). When we went up the water level rose at least 1 metre (around 3,5 feet). That’s a huge amount of water indeed! Schutten (could not find an English word for it) takes at least 15 minutes. The tallest tower (112,32 metres – over 3700 feet) in The Netherlands, called ‘De Dom’ (hence Utrecht’s nickname ‘Domstad’ = ‘Domtown’) is proudly standing tall in the background. At present the tower is entirely encircled by scaffolding because of periodically maintenance.

  • 10.05.2021 6:25PM

    After we arrived on the 10th of May we got permission from the lockkeeper to moor, after a right turn, inside the city-moat (the Weerdsingel) ‘as we were the only one’. The sturdy poles mean, of course, that this are in fact spaces for smaller cruisers. We switched off the engine around 12:20PM. Later on that day only 2 cruisers arrived. Nothing to worry about, we’d ask them to make room when we want to leave, won’t we? Utrecht, and the available facilities, proved to be...

  • 14.05.2021 5:51PM

    ...attractive to such an extend that we decided to stay. The second picture shows that we were entirely boxed in, already on the 13th (Ascension Day, a holiday – and sunny, see the people on the pontoon in the background!). Well, the boat in front of us left together with us and we were able to leave by moving forward between the last pole and the protruding jetty, followed by going in reverse towards the lock – situated left from where the pontoon is visible in the background.

Both pictures of the set before were taken from a bridge in front of us. On this (ultramodern) bridge a drawing of our mooring-spot is placed with the following explanatory text: ‘This cityscape was drawn around 1830 by Jan Hendrik Verheijen (1778-1848). To the right of the centre you can see the Weerdsluis: the place where the Utrecht city canal merges into the river Vecht. This lock was built in the Middle Ages to regulate the water level in the city moat and the city’s canals. The suburb Bemuurde Weerd (itself walled and moated, ‘Bemuurde’ = walled, ed.) was created around this flood defence. During the time the drawing was made, the population of Utrecht grew rapidly and there was plenty of activity in the area, including a spinning mill and sawmill. There were also copper foundries, bakers, butchers, potteries and timber companies. The Weerdsluis was part of the 'Keulse Vaart' (‘Cologne Way’, ed.), the shipping route between Amsterdam and Germany. At that time, this route led from Amsterdam, following the Vecht, through the Utrecht moat/canals and the Vaartse Rijn, to the Lek and the Rijn/Rhine. Behind the corner house with stepped gable on the left side of the drawing you can see the high masts of a ship that is moored in the Vecht. The cellar under this house runs under the road to the water. This is striking because this construction is characteristic of the canals within the city walls, but otherwise seldom occurred. Part of the bank was excavated to create the continuous cellar. The bank next to it is still intact. There, a staircase leads to the water, in which several boats lie, including a tow barge. There was no sewage system around 1830. Many families were dependent on public toilets, such as the wooden tiny building that can be seen in the centre of the drawing.’ (We suspect everything was directly dropped into the water. ed)

At the end of the sixties and the first half of the seventies of last century Utrecht’s town council showed, well, some stupidity by partly filling in the city’s moat and creating a road (call it a kind of highway). As happens in more cases (even worldwide?), advancing insight has led to the decision to re-install the city moat. This is the former ‘highway’ surrounded by new prestigious developments. The small part of the building with the circles that is visible on the left side of the picture is Utrecht’s music-temple, TivoliVredenburg (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TivoliVredenburg).

Underneath the construction, as seen with the last picture, one can have a look at the water. Some remains of former Kasteel Vredenburg (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vredenburg_Castle) are protected from bad skippers by a strong(?) railing. It is possible to cruise around the entire old town again, providing the maximum height of ones vessel is not over (around) 2 metres (almost 7 feet). Perhaps 2,5. Our minimum height is 3 metres (10 feet) with the wheelhouse up. That’s too high – we do not feel like folding down the wheelhouse, so we have to think about an alternative. Fortunately there is one…

A former picture, with partly TivoliVredenburg, showed the north. This is what the south-side looks like.

A picture as taken from the same spot, now looking towards the south. This was a busy road! Can you believe it? The double-towered church is the Sint-Gertrudiskathedraal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Gertrude%27s_Cathedral).

The two statues above this entrance were from 1902 to 1974 on the facade of the Art Nouveau building that housed the life insurance company 'De Utrecht'. The Chimaeras (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_(mythology)) were preserved and took their old place again in 2020 on the facade of the new Hoog Catharijne (a large mall inside Utrecht). If you are interested in what the former building of ‘De Utrecht’ looked like, see https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Utrecht_(Utrecht) and cry. How on earth could ‘they’ ever demolish this…

  • Corona traffic measures (I)

    We noticed this sign at the corner of the Mariaplaats and the Mariastraat. Fortunately it was not a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday. At the...

  • Corona traffic measures (II)

    ...end of the Mariastraat the Lange Elisabethstraat and Steenweg, so 3 in total, come together. Well, this is the solution. Forever?

During a long walk inside the city, accompanied by our dog, we saw this couple having an ‘al fresco’ dinner (why do we think of ‘Keeping up appearances’ now??). Anyway, they did not object against us making a picture. Here the previously mentioned cellars running underneath the road are again visible, this time inside the former city walls. It’s typical for this lovely city.

  • City art: market woman

    We seem to remember her having chicken for sale under her arms. The word ‘baliekluiver’ can be a synonym for idler or idle. In addition, ‘baliekluiver’ specifically referred to people who hung over a bridge railing uselessly or looking for a job. The term handrail biter...

  • City art: baliekluiver

    ...has a similar meaning. In the Dutch city of Utrecht there are iron fences on the wharf cellars and bridges in the city centre. These are also called counters and they were a place to relax. Utrecht residents are therefore also nicknamed ‘baliekluivers’.

Almost with a sob we said goodbye to our beloved city on Saturday the 15th of May at 10:50AM. We had savoured the city extensively during 5 (expensive, around € 35,00 a day) days – and 2 x € 5,30 for locking, met family members and had our second jab. What more could we wish for? (Next time we’ll do -for instance- the fabulous former main post office, now a library and a favourite fantastic book-store (Broese!)). We locked down, re-entered the rive Vecht and cruised back north towards the connection Vecht-Amsterdam Rijnkanaal. We entered this, pretty fierce (sometimes huge ships, big waves) canal around 1:00PM and cruised on it for around 1 hour and 45 minutes. The Zuidersluis, part of the Merwedekanaal, in Jutphaas (Nieuwegein), was entered at 2:45PM and we moored around 3:00PM inside the harbour of Rijkswaterstaat (Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management, that’s a mouthful in English), immediately behind/above the lock. Officially that’s a restricted area, but the lock-master gave us permission to be there until Monday morning after we asked him whether there would be a place for us two bridges ahead. Thank you, good man! (We even have electricity.)

This week’s statistics.

Engine ran during 5 hours and 24 minutes (5,4 hours) – Monday 2,4, Saturday 3,0 hours. No specifics about the distance. It still isn’t that much. We are called ‘snails’.  

Generator this week 0 hours. Shore-power every day!

Weather: still quite unstable. We’ve had all possible weather-types, except the wintery ones. One day it will be summer though.

Hope to see you next week again!