The many seasons of Beestenmarkt

Beestenmarkt is among the most lively parts of Delft’s city centre. Just last week, when Sinterklaas visited Delft (a post on that after this, for sure), a group of out-of-tune Zwarte Piets sang and danced right here. Surrounded by cafes, restaurants and an excellent wine bar – Barrique- on all four sides, Beestenmarkt is always alive. In the summer, it was a venue for the jazz festival. Now, it’s home to the city’s ice-rink, ice-bar and ice-disco. Those of us who live here were sent letters from the organisers, somewhat apologetic about the noise that will follow and a 24-hour helpline number. As I post this, there’s an out-of-tune singer belting out The Beatles and I’m really tempted to call the helpline and make them sit through my singing. Instead, I’m blaring Joan Baez and reminiscing about the brief month of silence we had here…

The Summer

Every cafe has al fresco seating in the centre. With heaters and shawls, just in case unpredictable Delft weather does the expected and it starts to pour. Hundreds of people, thousands of glasses of beer and bajillion decibels of noise. If you’re feeling gloomy in Delft, head to Beestenmarkt. An apple pie at Kobus Kuch and you’re sorted for life.

The Fall

The silent month. November. The outdoor seating is gone. Ice World begins preparations in a couple of weeks. There’s something bittersweet about watching the trees shed. One minute your eye is on that beautiful red leaf, the next minute the tree is bare and Beestenmarkt is empty. But don’t worry. Solitude won’t get to you. The pubs are crowded with people, coat hangers are overflowing and the din of humanity slowly seeps through the old wooden flooring.
The Winter
Ice-tenmarkt. This morning, the Ice Rink officially opened. A day before schedule, I must add. The whole place looks gorgeous. With disco lights on top of the rink, skate marks on fresh snow and Christmas lights all around. It’s going to get noisy this weekend, what with screeching children finding their skating feet and all that. As much as I’m going to cribbing in the coming months, I must confess, I much rather the cacophony to the unbearable silence of winter.



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