Text: Daphne Riabokon

…But what is in my heart
Wells up towards my lips; the inward pressure grows:
Fermenting like new wine, it bursts and overflows…

The words of the 17th century Dutch poet Joost van de Vondel (1587-1679) who according to the Guinness Book of Records also wrote the shortest poem in the Dutch language:

U, nu

It is a palindrome meaning it can be read from left to right as well as from right to left. In English it translates thus:

You, now

The poem won a poetry contest.

Brilliance… or was Vondel depressed?

Judge for yourself as you walk from the Vondelkerk (the Vondel Church) past Vondel’s statue in the Vondelpark to the next venue, ‘De Roos”.

The Vondelkerk was built in 1872 by P.J.H. Cuypers, architect of the Rijksmuseum, Central Station and even Kasteel de Haar, a castle outside Amsterdam. Cuypers also designed a group of 20 houses around the church, as a Gesamtkunstwerk, a project developer avant la lettre. He himself lived at number 77-79.

If this isn’t enough to set you dreaming of wonderful shiatsu workshops at the Vondelkerk, just wait till you see the church’s beautiful interior.

Stadsherstel (The Company for City Restoration) carefully restores monumental and historic buildings in the centre of Amsterdam and its rural surroundings. Heritage sites such as churches, forts and water pumping stations are thus given a new lease of life. We are very grateful to Stadsherstel for giving us the opportunity to rent their exquisite locations.