My friend Karen in the Netherlands: 4 nights, 2 countries, 5 cities (Part 2, Nuenen)

Nuenen & 
The Potato Eaters Sculpture



     The morning after our trip to Koblenz, and after I'd come back from tutoring at ISE, we got two of our bikes out of the shed: one for Karen and one for me. Before leaving, my sweetheart adjusted hers since she wasn't used to a high seat. After that, off we went! Hands up to Karen who biked around 11 km from Eindhoven to Nuenen and back! 

     The Universe is big and conspired by giving us a perfect autumn day, milky skies and a crispy breeze. Crispy. Why is crispy ideal? Because when you bike, you sweat! Sweaty clothes are not nice, not to me at least. I get sweaty and stinky, although I've found out that wearing cotton fabrics is the best solution. As long as my clothes are not synthetic, the smelly problem is solved, kind of; but enough of this, I think my thoughts are giving away too much personal information so let's go back to the bike ride. 


Vincent van Goghplein

     At first, on our way to Nuenen, stopping at the traffic lights was difficult for Karen: lowering speed, coming to a full stop, getting off the seat, jumping back on the seat, finding balance, start pedaling again... After a few tries, we figured out a solution: I'd bike ahead, and thanks to sensors and the bike's app Schwung, traffic lights would change just as Karen caught up with me, which meant she mostly got green lights! In Spanish she'd scream, "I love this country! I love biking! I love it all!" Oh, boy, did she make the most of every second of her visit!


     We strolled through town, stopping at every little corner and landmark, and in and out of shops (totally recommend their shops if you're looking for belts). What I will never forget is Karen's keen curiosity and reflexion on The Potato Eaters bronze sculpture by Peter Nagelkerke. She paid special attention to the interpretation its creator had given to the girl whose face isn't shown in the painting. Had you wondered about that before? I hadn't. See why she was and will always be my mentor? It's not about knowing it's a sculpture, but about understanding it. In the next two images, find the girl on the painting and then see the face she was given through the sculpture. What do you think?

The Potato Eaters
Sculptor's interpretation of the girl from The Potato Eaters

     While writing this post I learned that back in 2015, there was a group that tried to stop the sculpture from being placed, even filing a lawsuit. They claimed it was ugly and tourists coming to see it could cause a nuisance. The court ruled against it and it was placed on December 9th, 2015. Take a look:



     It's a controversial matter. On one hand, I can understand the point of the residents; on the other, I appreciate when art is accessible. Imagine teaching children about Van Gogh, taking them to the place where he lived, seeing the things he painted against the actual painting and even jumping into one of his paintings by exploring its sculpture? If you have kids and haven't done it, here is your chance! I might organize an outing myself! Who wants to come?!

     Nuenen, what an outdoor museum, isn't it? I think Nuenen deserves a whole day of your guest's visit. It's just splendid and easy to navigate! And Karen, thanks for teaching me how to see beyond. I keep learning from our visit!

Tot de volgende keer!

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