Cataluña 2017

During the autumn of 2017 I went to Barcelona, Catalonia on a ‘study’ week with school. I put quotation marks around study because even though the teachers set it out for us to be very informational, I was hardly like that at all.


Obviously, the teachers did their best to bring across some history and language by giving a presentation and showing a film, Pan’s Labyrinth, which is set during the civil war but does not inform a lot. It does show how a girl copes with her fears of the war by creating a magical forest world with animals who talk to her and give her missions to complete. Another thing the teachers tried was teaching us Spanish and Catalan. While we were in the bus they gave us a paper with basic Spanish and Catalan sentences on it. Catalan compared with Spanish is just like Dutch and Frisian or Flemish. It is quite similar; some words are different and pronunciation is not 100% the same. When you are driving Catalonia and are looking for directions on the boards over the roads, the first thing you read is

in Catalan right underneath it is the Spanish translation. This shows the nationalism of the Catalan inhabitants. During our stay we had like three birthdays, and that meant we had to sing. So we sang the Spanish version of happy birthday:
Cumpleaños feliz
cumpleaños feliz
te deseamos todos
cumpleaños feliz.
So clearly I know this by heart now. It is the only Spanish I know next to “Hola amigos”.

The museums we visited can also be seen as educational without a doubt but the visits did not come across like that. We had a lot of freedom; we were able to walk around ourselves and if we felt like it we had the ability join the teacher

and listen to a little tour. For example in the Picasso museum, we were given earplugs so we could walk around on our own and looking at the things that you were interested in and at the same time still hearing the teacher explaining about Picasso’s life.
It is inevitable that not all the activities are amusing because everybody’s taste is different. What kept this trip from being a bore, was the diversity. We were giving information in all different kinds of formats. We watched a film about the civil war, as I have mentioned before, we cycled through the city with a tour guide, we drew like Picasso did and to top it all off we went to a few museums.

Around the time we visited Barcelona there was some tension in the air; this was all because of the Catalan independence. The Catalan parliament had held a referendum deciding if Catalonia should become independent from Spain or not. The Spanish rulers declared it to be illegal, and the was an uprising. People went out on the streets to protest, some were done peacefully however others ended in violence. On Sunday we were in the city centre and saw many people out on the street waving the Spanish and Catalan flag. A bit later on in the week we came across some protesters again. This time they were also waving the European flag. There were groups in favour of indecency, groups against it, and groups who just wanted a conversation to take place. I do not exactly know who was on which side, but that did not make a difference. On those days I tasted a little bit of the Spanish or Catalan culture… Everyone was so passionate and wanted to convey their message. It was marvellous to see.

We saw quite a bit of the city of Barcelona, we drove through it with the bus, we cycled ourselves and walked from place to place. During that time I was capable of noticing a few differences and similarities from Breda. To start everything was bigger, houses were taller, the sea of people was larger, the offer of places to eat or shop is considerably more than at home. Also I noticed a higher number of beggars, and they were rude too, and street acts. I know that Breda is not as important and touristy as Barcelona but also compared to other cities I have been to it was more. As we were cycling through the city it was hard not to get hit by a car or hit a pedestrian. There were barely any cycle paths and cycling on the road was no option because the cars do not take cyclers in to account, and that makes for an unsafe environment. And that is nothing like in Holland.

All in all, it was an entertaining week with some cultural aspects. We learned in a different way than we do at school and that is nice for a change. Very successful according to me!

Cultural Selfportret

Hello my name is Diede Bosman, I am 15 years old. And currently I am in year 11 of school. I follow bilingual education in the Netherlands. I like to watch movies and listen to music. From the art forms I like film the best followed by music and thirdly dance. For CKV I have visited a church in Seville and wrote a report about it’s architectural structures. I would like to watch a special not big produced film or watch a ballet.

I visit the cinema not regularly or often, it depends on what films are playing. I usually like sappy romance movies, sometimes comedies/fight-films. I never read review, I watch trailers to find out if I’m interested or not. I get really afraid of thrillers or films which are too predictable or with stories which have been done many times before or are very much alike. My favourite is probably Pitch Perfect, with Anna Kendrick who then is my favourite actress. The last movie I have seen were Hartenstraat, which I thought didn’t have good actors or a well-written storyline. When I watch a film most likely it will be on Netflix or on television. I particularly like Broadchurch, because they play with real emotions secondly the storyline is real and the drama completes it.

Now on to music, my taste depends on how the words and instruments fit together. I am a fan of Florence and the Machine, it is kind of alternative and nothing like I had heard before, she has a wide range of sad, happy and uplifting songs. Currently my favourite cd is by Lady Gaga called Joanne. This year on the Boulevard Festival in ’s Hertogenbosch where a woman preformed which was marvellous. I myself don’t play an instrument. I can’t stand very loud busy music.

I can’t dance but sometimes at parties I don’t care so I go for it anyway. I like all kinds of dances but to watch mostly modern. I have never seen a dance show but I would like to, something such as the national ballet.

A show I have been to a K3 show when I was little, now I would rather go to a play like the Lion King. I have seen a cabaret show of Brigitte Kaanborg on television.

I have been to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, where I looked at the paintings of Picasso and Rembrandt, also I viewed some pictures made by artists whom I don’t remember the names of.  The prettiest painting I have ever seen was probably a painting in Seville in a museum, I can not remember its name, all I can remember that the painting covered almost the entire wall, it wasn’t a representation of something it was a square with different shades of blue, black, grey and white, it was like the painter just dotted the colours at random places, and yet with the full intention of making it like how it turned out. However in that gallery was also a piece which I really did not like, it were three lines, vertically in the most unappealing colours I had ever seen. It was very boring, however what annoyed me most was the fact how the lines were not symmetrical. As if the painter had tried but failed and gave up. At home we have a painting which used to belong to my grandmother, it is a painting of the sea at Wassenaar. It is a great reminder. I like to fill in mandalas or other colouring stuff.

Another thing I enjoy doing is photography, I use an old camera which I borrow from my mum when we are on holidays. It is nothing like the luxurious camera my dad owns but it takes decent pictures. When we are on a holiday I take pictures of the view, of my parents, of things I think are beautiful ,from things I want to remember and from people who do something special or nothing particular but just look like they are right where they belong in the frame. I usually don’t focus on the lighting, however I do notice when the light should change or isn’t optimal.

I also take pictures of pretty building. Like the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. It is very extravagant and Gaudi is a great architect who really knows how to make buildings go that extra mile and make then look like nothing you have ever seen before. That is what I like most, it is one of a kind. I like old and special buildings, I dislike block buildings, which look boring and grey.  I absolutely love churches, especially the ones which are very decorated, normally I am more of a minimalistic kind of girl but churches can go all out, most important on the inside with pretty mosaic and stained glass windows. When I was in Barcelona I visited a lot of Gaudi’s work also his buildings, like the Sagrada Familia.

The Catedral de Santa María de la Sede

In May 2016 my family and I visited the beautiful town of Seville in  Spain. Everyday we walked past the cathedral, however not once we went in. That was because the queue was so long it circled the whole cathedral. However this did not mean we did not want to go in. My family and I heard that Christoffer Columbus was buried there and that he has his own memorial and altar, we were interested that and also the architectural features of the Cathedral of Seville.  So we decided to buy tickets before hand. Thats how we avoided the queue and how we ended up seeing it from the inside. It was magnificent, huge and beautiful. It better be because it is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third largest  church in the world. In 1987 it was registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, which was finished in 1528, was built by four different architects. Alonso Martínez, Pedro Dancart, Charles Galtés de Ruan and Alonso Rodríguez. It took those four architects 127 years to build the cathedral, however the newest part is the dome it had collapsed again in 1888 . The cathedral is located along side a square with shops, with carriage stands and other old buildings with green patches all around. When you walk on the square its hard to miss the cathedral it’s enormous compared to the other buildings. The color od the stones are the same like the other buildings non the less with a length of 135 metres it towers above most everything and can be spotted from miles away. My first impression of it was that it looked preserved as if it was new, it was overwhelming to say the least.


The cathedral is completely made of yellow brownish bricks, which are bigger than our normal standard used to build houses. The few round windows are made with stained glass in lots of colours. The plan of the cathedral is a square, or more like a rectangle but the garden right next to it which is also a part of the Catedral de Santa María de la Sede which makes it a box. The front of the cathedral is richly and beautifully decorated with arches lines which look like mandalas, peaks looking like Christmas trees, borders to keep people safe are made to be spikes looking utterly perfect when put on top. These decorations in the same colour but very eye-catching are placed on all the walls. There isn’t a single spot not covered with pretty triangles, circles or stripes. The facade fits well with the rest of the building. All the structures look like one. That makes the building look completed, because the Gothic style is not only seen outside but also on the inside.

The building has 15 doors, the main door also known as the Door of Assumptions is emphasised on through the many arches and heavily decorated details. Also the scene above the big steel door with an eye-catching colour make peoples heads turn to stay and watch. The other less important doors are made less special, they are not mad broad like the main door, the style is pretty much the same just turned down a notch or two. Inside the building you can see pillars which hold the roof and keep it in place. On the roof there are pointed ribbed faults which increase stability as well. And some parts of the walls have flying buttresses which help the strength too. The walls are thick to carry the weight partially as well. That is all that is able for the eye to see. Probably that is all there is, that could be the reason the dome collapsed multiple times.

The building is built in different stages with different styles:

  • -almohade (1172-1248)
  • -mudéjar (1248-1433)
  • -gotisch (1433-1528)
  • -renaissance (1528-1593)
  • -barok (1618-1758)
  • -neo-klassiek (1758-1823)
  • -neo-gotisch (1825-1928)

The Catedral de Santa María de la Sede looks very traditional gothic with  pointed arches and ribbed vault. Also the Giralda tower   is one of the characteristics of gothic style. Furthermore the church has spires on the roof, it is intended to be very large. Structure wise the solid walls clustered columns, pointed ribbed vaults and flying buttresses give it the gothic touch. The Giralda tower has a clock and bell in it to serve as a clocktower and to call people to go to church.

When I see the church I think of power and status of the religion and the pope or church leader. Secondly I think of extravaganza because it looks very decorated and made pretty and extra bescially. The building looks very closed because of the bricks, little usage of windows and tough steel doors.