Occasionally I commute between where I live and Zaandam. That means a ride with the option to take the short and straight, but exposed and boring route along the provincial road. Or I can opt for the longer but more sheltered and scenic version.
Usually I take the longer one because the beautiful old houses alongside the winding road make for a far more enjoyable ride. And sometimes I pick out an architectural detail, and focus on that during the ride, just to have a bit of fun while my legs peddle away the miles.
The other day was just such a day. I picked out the sky light (the windows above front doors) and because time was on my side I decided to photograph them for you. It's amazing to see how many variations there are.
First; back in the old days (1600's) these lights had a clear function and that was to shed light into the dark hallway behind the front door. Because they weren't able to make large sheets of glass at that time, these windows were made up by connecting small pieces of glass with the aid of lead strips. Similar to this early example;
As time progressed and fashions changed, these upper windows or fanlights (is that the proper English word?) changed accordingly.
Along the route you can see windows from the opulent Renaissance to the more common trees of life from the 19th Century.
The more you look, the more variations you can spot; from elaborate pictorial carvings to windows with stark graphical rabbets.
I also noticed returning symbols, among were arrows and wondered if they represent a meaning. A search on the net soon made me stumble across this page;
Wow! So much information on such a dedicated subject. Although in Dutch I soon realized this site should be up here, for all who are interested in more background info then I can ever offer.
(If you enter the address in Google translate you can read the site in any language desired)
So let me just finish with a few more pictures of these special windows above the front door. I hope you enjoy them just as much as I do when I pass them along my route.