Stepped-gable houses

Gables next door

Utrecht is the oldest city in The Netherlands, founded by the Romans in AD 47. You can view the city’s centuries of history through its varied architecture. When I wake up in the morning, open the curtains, and look across Telingstraat, I see this beautiful stepped-gable house.

The word “gable” refers to the triangular façade at the apex of the roof. Many of the older (15th to 18th century) houses have them, decorated in all different styles depending on the period.  My favourite are the stepped gables, which were popular around 1600-1665 as part of the Dutch Renaissance.

Stepped gables

What I find most interesting about the stepped gables is how ubiquitous they are across northern Europe. I’ve seen them extensively in my travels, not only in The Netherlands but also throughout the Baltic states (I took photos of them in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia), Denmark, and Sweden. While I have yet to travel to the north coast of Germany or Poland, they supposedly exist there as well.


About Home Strange Home

I first left the US in 1999, when I was 18 years old. Since then, I’ve spent 13 years living abroad - 3 in Canada, 7 in Europe, and 3 in Africa. Now I've finally returned to the US on a one-way plane ticket. I arrived home in late January 2014 and set foot in the US for the first time in nearly 2.5 years. In Home Strange Home, I blog about the ups and downs of my re-acculturation experience.
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