Kleve…. Anne, Holbein, wild flowers and scary scary swans!

I was in Kleve today – a small town on the border between Germany and the Netherlands.  Best known in the English world for its most famous daughter, Anne of Cleves.  Anne, of course, was the unfortunate lady who was matched with Henry VIII of England. Henry sent Hans Holbein over to paint portraits of Anne and her sister Amalia, both of whom he was considering as candidates for his fourth wife.  (This was the Tudor equivalent of online dating… but without the internet it was rather unwieldy). It would appear that Holbein’s portrait of Anne was the Tudor equivalent of a nicely photo-shopped image.  Henry chose her, based on the portrait… but when she turned up, he was less than enamoured with “that Flemish mare” – and allegedly the marriage was never consummated.

Holbein

Tudor photoshopping?

Nowadays in Kleve, Anne’s over-flattering portrait is still very much in evidence – which suggests it is well worth getting a decent photo done for your social media profile picture if you have an eye to posterity!

Anne Kleve

A tourist attraction… though in real life she may not have been so attractive

 

There were a few cool things in Kleve. The first was the fantastic (though rather dried out) wildflower planting all around the city car-parks.

Wildflower planting

Aha…. so there’s the parking ticket machine…

The other was a beautiful if slightly disturbing statue in the centre of town…  anyone have any idea what this is supposed to signify?

Kleve

Whoa…. what’s this all about?

Swan

Nope… it’s just as weird from this side too….

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2 Comments

Filed under About Germany, german art, german history, Life in Germany

2 responses to “Kleve…. Anne, Holbein, wild flowers and scary scary swans!

  1. There’s a nice zoo there too.

  2. The swan statue is from Lohengrin, one of Richard Wagner’s operas.
    Nice to hear the zoo is still there. I visited it in 1981.

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