Tag Archives: street art

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.


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?


Whoa…. what’s this all about?


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


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

A weekend in the Eifel

We spent this weekend in the hilly Vulkaneifel region of Germany, visiting the pretty town of Kaisersesch.

The first thing we noticed was that something about the spire of the church next to our hotel didn’t seem quite right.

kaisersesch turm

Had the spire-builders been on the schnapps?

In fact from below it looked a bit like a witch’s hat…

Wonky spire... with a brim

The historic prison building had forgotton to release this chap when it finally stopped being a jail and started being a museum…

Could anyone lend me a nail file?

Other statues in the town seemed to be having more fun….

Come on in! The water's lovely!

Typical local postal worker?



Filed under About Germany, german history, Life in Germany

Street scenes in Aachen

I had to go to Aachen this morning.  It was a sunny day and lots of people were taking the opportunity to have a paddle in one of the local fountains, along with some statue-people.

Real people and statue people enjoy the warm weather...

I can't reach my toy boat....

Is that statue picking pockets?

I also came across a small boy with some vomiting fish… or something like that…

Projectile vomiting fish?

…and a bird bath, but no real birds, only bronze ones…

Fake birds... and no wonder, the bath was empty!

What I really did like though, were the hanging baskets. Aachen has the biggest hanging baskets I’ve ever seen! They looked more like trees, because by now the petunias had all grown together… fabulous!

Giant hanging baskets....


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Filed under About Germany, german art, Life in Germany

More German street art…

I was in Viersen this week and I spotted plenty more interesting street art.

To start with, there was this group of figures playing boule…

A game of boule...

Then there was a strange bee-hive which seemed to be home to a range of weird bugs.

Beehive... or bug-basket?

Then there was a bishop sitting amidst a range of weird creatures…

Doctor Doolittle or St. Francis of the hallucinogenic pills?

A few details of the surrounding statues…

Cluck cluck


A little further away there was a pair of angels engaged in WWE wrestling… or something…

Ready for the smack-down?

…or possibly it was Icarus being caught by a very skilled out-fielder…

Icarus caught out on the boundary...



Filed under About Germany, german art, Life in Germany