Music school, radio studio, what's next?
At the Beilerstraat in Assen you can find a lot of majestic houses. The one at nr. 24 is built in 1884 in the eclectic style.
Later it became a dependance of the secondary school and the music school of Assen. .
Till september 2004 this building was owned by RTV Drenthe and used as radio studio and office for the editors and the reporters. I have worked there as a editor.
In september 2004 the radio and television of the regional station of Drenthe, till then separated in two buildings, moved together to another building, the former secondary school at the opposite of the road.
When my girlfriend visited me here for the first time and saw my desk, she told me that I was sitting in the same room at the same place, where she had her balletlessons as a little girl of eight.
- Historical Travel
Motor races in Assen ... the famous TT
Assen has a famous name in the motor racing world. Yearly the TT of Assen attracts thousands and thousands of motor fans to the capitol of Drenthe to see the races and meet up with other motor cyclist of all around the world. The final day attracts around 100.000 motor sport fans, which makes the TT the number one event in the Netherlands according to public. The circuit is fixed and motordrivers are loving it, because of the enthusiasm of the people that watch and support their motor racer. The actual TT is in the second half of June, but the circuit has year round events.
The new town hall ... an architectural monster
In the middle of Assen stands an enormous monstrous building with a lot of exterior metal rings and inner glass window walls. This is the new town hall of Assen and I can imagine that many inhabitants are not so happy with this architecture within the more or less historic centre of Assen. It was finished in 1994 and was a project by "De Zwarte Hond", an outstanding architectural bureau, that sadly enough in this case didn't look around on the location at first.
Saint Joseph's church
Church history in Assen goes back to 17th century. this province was quite desolated for many many centuries, for the land was unwanted due to forests, heatherfields as well as relatively unsafe (robbers, gangs). The peatfields attracted a whole industry and with it came missionarisses that spread the word of God. Drenthe became at first a real Roman Catholic stronghold, after which only late other Christian religions took hold.
The old church, that belonged to the disappered monastry of Mariencamp became too small when the amount of inhabitants in Assen grew and in 1840 a new church was built.. On the 30st of April 1848 it was officialy opened and is known as the New or Saint Joseph's church. The original organ was brought from the old church to the new. In 1910 the tower was struck by lightning and burned down. A new tower was already finished in 1911 and it got a clock. the church is now-a-days used by the Reformed Society of Holt-Esch.
"House of keeping" or just "the prison"
In Dutch the "Huis van Bewaring" actually is a nice word for prison (house of keeping or caretaking). In Assen the original is still standing and is appropriately standing besides th palace of justice. Both buildings are in neoclassicistic architecture and the prison building dates back to 1842-1844.
The present building replaced the older variant that was from 1609 and fell apart. In 1992 the function of the prison as such was ended. Now it houses some offices of the Palace of Justice.
Explanations will follow later
This is the former monastries church building and what was left after some fires and especially the one that destroyed half the centre of Assen (1676). The Southern parts still are originals and date back to 1258. The rest is roughly constructed between 1661-1664 and prolongued in 1817.The portal building is in Roman architecture. The building was used as town hall in recent periods and still is popular as marriage location.
A home for pastors, princes and kings
This renaissance house dates back to 1698 and was built as the "vickery" for the pastor of Assen's old church. Later it became the prince's courthouse in Drenthe and also King Lodewijk-Napoleon resided here (in 1809) when he granted the then still village Assen it's cityrights..
The original house was burned during the town's fire on the 11th of August 1676 to be rebuilt only in 1698.Somewhat later it became a privat house and the present facade was made between 1822 and 1830.
Special attention to the gardens that are in Dutch styles and originate from the 18th century.
The Palace of Justice
Assen, as being the capitol of the province of drenthe, also posseses one of the higher courthouses within the Netherlands (in total there are twelve): a so called Palace of Justice. The large building is in neo-classicistic style and dates from 1840. On top of the entrance the latin text says: without justice no freedom.
The Assen TT is a freak show of the highest caliber.
Get your leathers on and soak in the incredible atmosphere of this small town gone wild. The days before the race, the sound of roaring pipes rumble the cobblestone streets and disturb the placid cows as they munch sodden grass nearby. Fields get converted into makeshift shanty towns, filled with moto enthusiasts from all over europe primarily and as far as Japan in the extreem cases.
The parties in the night are a mind bending experience as leather clad bike freaks take over the village; drinking, dancing and singing in the streets. Seventy year old gran'mas from Holland carousing with middle aged accountants from Aberdeen who are buying rounds of Heineken for a group of teenaged skinheads from East Germany. The joy and fellowship is odd, but uplifting.
The race itself is a peeling dark patch of rubber on a perfect straight that screams "yippee!" as it walks up a set of whaling gears. The sounds, sights and smells cannot be duplicated anywhere.
Words of advice:
Try to get a place to stay early (Van der Valk is right around the corner from the track -- good luck!)
You could get a hotel in Gronigen, just up the line on the railway, but it might cut into your party time to commute
Bring a bag with some beer and snacks to the raceway
Wear or carry a rain jacket of some sort & an umbrella wouldn't be out of line -- it rains a bit
Wear shoes you wouldn't mind getting ankle deep in mud
Ask someone for a ride on the back of their bike...
- Road Trip
Churches: Beth-el Church
At the northern edge of the citycentre of Assen at the former road to Groningen is the former synagogue of Assen, built in 1901 in the neo-renascence style.
In these area of Assen a lot of Jewish people lived. During the occupation in World War II hundreds of them were transported and murdered. Not far from the former synagogue, at the corner of the Groningerstraat and the Oudestraat, is a memorial for the victims.
In 1947 after the war the synagogue is rebuilt and now used as church by the Christelijk Gereformeerde Kerk.
- Historical Travel
Churches: Parish Church
Nearly opposite the Jozefchurch is situated the Parish Church, named ''Maria ten hemel opneming''. This church, made of bricks, is built in 1933-1934 in the traditionalistic style, related to the known ''Delftse school". Also the interior and the the enclosure of the church is made of the same bricks.
My grammarschool was just beside this church. So I can remember very well the ringing of the bells for a very long time, when there was a funeral and I was sitting in the classroom nearby, trying to concentrate myself to follow the lessons or to pass an exam.
The ''Jozefkerk'' is a waterstaatskerk, built in 1848 in neoclassicist style. This church is called a waterstaatskerk, because it is designed by the chief engineer of ''Waterstaat'', the department for the maintenance of dikes, roads, bridges, and the navigability of canals.
I didn't know before, they have designed churches as well in the past. The churches of ''waterstaat'' are characterized by their symmetry. The name Jozefkerk is given in 1964. As child, I knew this church as ''Grote Kerk".
During Christmas time the kids from all the sunday schools in town came here to celebrate Christmas by watching the Christmas performance, played by kids and by singing Christmas songs. Afterwards my family went to the house of my grandparents nearby for eating chips, made by my grandfather.
The buitenplaats (estate) Overcingel is built in 1777-1778 for the Tax Collector, J van Lier. The historical building in Louis XIV style, was one of the first buildings, outside the moats or cingels of Assen. The estate is a cultural heritage site.
The buitenplaats (estate) includes 5 hectare garden, park and forest, designed in 1823. The green area is now a nature reserve.
The estate includes, except the mainbuilding, also a chinese summerhouse, a gardeners house, a barn, a witches ball at a wrought iron standard and a sun-dial.
Nowadays the Overcingel Estate is still the property of the same family van Lier. It is possible to visit the grounds on request.
As a kid, I could enter a part of the estate every saturday, because the building of scouting was just near the gardeners house. Sometimes we were even allowed to walk in the park and forest.
- Historical Travel
Gouverneurstuin, lovely citypark
The Gouverneurstuin, originallly the garden of the provincial governor, is since the 80s a city park.
It's a nice park for a small walk. Most of the times I walked in this park, I see young and old people visiting the park. The old trees are impressive and the many colourful flowerbeds are lovely.
During the summer months there are interesting art-exhibitions in the open-air.
There is also an old tiny summer-house, just near one of the entrances to the park, coming from the Torenlaan.
This building was originally a waitingroom for trainpassengers. In that time it was situated opposite the railwaystation at the Overcingelllaan, not far from the Overcingel estate.
Gouverneurstuin, historical review
In the citycentre of Assen, just south-west of the Brink you can find the Gouverneurstuin, meaning the ''Garden of the Governor''.
In the past it was the vegetable garden of the monastery. Later this garden belonged to the Drostenhuis, the house of the Queen's Commisionar (provincial governor).
When I was a kid, this park was the ''Verkeerstuin" (Traffic Park). Now this Traffic Park for kids is moved to the TT-circuit. During my Primaryschool I passed the practical part of my traffic exam here in the Gouverneurstuin.
In the 80s the Gouverneurstuin in re-arranged as a city park. The pond in the park is a remnant of an old brooklet ''de Weiersloop''.
- Historical Travel
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