A visit from Place to Place
A visit from Place to Place

Poetic Diary of a Journey from Leeds to Utrecht

Throughout their Tandem collaboration Place to Place, Adrian Sinclair (Leeds, UK) and Leendert van Veldhuizen (Utrecht, The Netherlands) have joined forces to observe the relationship between an arts building and its local community - through the eyes of strangers. Adrian's team from Chapel FM visited Zimihc in the Zuilen area of Utrecht in April 2017. Writer Zoe Carty blogged about the experience, we are sharing some of her insights - which include poetry: both in text and photography - in this story.

Red and White - by Place to Place.
Red and White - by Place to Place.


Our flight from Leeds landed in Amsterdam at about 6:30 or 7 pm local time where we had dinner before catching the train over to Utrecht. The difference in airports was a little striking to me: everybody in Leeds seemed to be in such a hurry to get to wherever they were going, yet the people in Amsterdam were much more relaxed, as though they knew that time was definitely on their side. It made the travelling process immediately feel less stressful, not to mention that the train was actually on time, and the sunset over Amsterdam was a beautiful blend of pinks, purples, blues, and faded oranges, laying so gently over the dark horizon it seemed like just a crack of light in a serene black wall.

Sunset in Schiphol
It was then that I knew a beauty
Almost endless as we rolled along in the night
The sky was lined with colour
A diaphanous blanket
A crack in the wall
Stretching thin across a dark horizon I knew not before
Pink, purple, and orange and blue
No yellow like sunflowers. daffodils in the spring
But beautiful
Like peaceful sleeping infants
The sun on the sea,
The stars over Holywell Bay and
The voice of a loved one.
It did not speak; it did not move; it did not glimmer
But I heard its silence as I moved
With the lights reflecting on the window
–The beauty then that I knew!
Almost endless
As we rolled along
In the night

graffiti and chalk - by Place to Place.
graffiti and chalk - by Place to Place.

We arrived in Utrecht some time around 9 pm and headed over to Zimihc theatre in Zuilen, receiving a warm welcome. Already I felt like the people here would be friendlier than I had anticipated, and I relaxed into knowing I would be meeting a lot more people over the course of the week…

Royal Welcome - by Place to Place.
Royal Welcome - by Place to Place.


Donderdag: goedemorgen
twisted round the corner
my neighbours would like the name.
old yellow car. parked beside home
I find myself curious:
the stories the owners could tell!
two windows, decorated in twos
a lonely bottlecap beside my leaving feet
I pass. aware that this
is the only bottlecap I have seen

The walk from our apartment to the theatre is approximately an hour and most of the route is along the canal. I noticed that in some places there were constructions going on, and general reparations of other things, but not until Friday morning did I think more about it: at home my mind often views construction sites and things alike as just fixing what is broken, but here I was curious to know what they were doing and my mind viewed the sites as well-needed TLC duty–taking care of the city.

Bikes everywhere - by Place to Place.
Bikes everywhere - by Place to Place.

We were spot on time for our 11 am start today, and the walk hadn’t even felt like twenty minutes. Perhaps I had been too distracted by the canal, the clean streets, and the ease of little traffic that made walking here so peaceful, but it did make me think about how these simple differences from what I’m used to at home made such a striking change in the community, or at least what I saw of it.


Ladies and gentlemen, I had gotten myself lost. If it had been earlier in the week, I shamelessly admit I would have probably panicked, sat down, and maybe even cried for a few minutes before trying to be reasonable. But given my general understanding of the area now, and no doubt it helped that wherever I had ended up, which was by the canal at least, was so peaceful and serene, I didn’t even get as far as worrying about anything other than being later than I already was.

symmetry - by Place to Place
symmetry - by Place to Place

Nevertheless, I was rescued and even arrived at the theatre with time to spare before the vriendenconcert/maestro competition.
I sat within arms reach of Zuilens Fanfare Corps as they played. I could feel the sound travelling through the floor and up the legs of my chair; I found myself with the kind of contentment that could have made me cry if I weren’t careful. I watched as the drummer played more carefully than any drummer I’ve ever seen and one man briefly ‘played’ a bucket and chain.

Leendert had told me a bit about the fanfare earlier on and it was even better to see than just to hear about; different generations of people playing music together in a fanfare that had been running for A LOT of years, some of whom had been playing for more years than I have even been alive. Amazing.

Everybody’s Welcome
Roots of time combine
Another land. in the neighbourhood:
We play for love
Home here,
Rich and poor and all together.

I think: here I am
I began to teach
Something social I really think
Develops connection, independent people,
Whole world ensemble
Another opportunity: join a group that
Makes it fun

I’m really happy when I come here
Look forward, closely:
Everybody’s welcome

For more poetry, photos and insights from this visit, visit Chapel FM’s website.