Favourite spot

Noortje Herlaar: Drieharingen straat

Prominent Utrechters talking about their favourite spots in the city. This month: actor, singer and musical star Noortje Herlaar talking about Drieharingenstraat.

So, Drieharingenstraat?

‘I live with Barry (her partner, actor Barry Atsma, ed.) and my daughters in the Leidsche Rijn neighbourhood. Every now and then I feel the need to absorb some real city life. This street with all its bars and restaurants has an international feel. On sultry summer evenings, it’s like being in Paris or Barcelona. I can spend hours sitting on the terrace outside Bar Basta, just watching people pass by. And I’m proud that Barry is one of the owners. People can sit here evening after evening, just enjoying the vibe of the street.’

Guilty pleasure?

‘I’m a fan of Sussies vintage store on Voorstraat, and often drop in. They’ve got a fabulous collection and the people working there are so nice. I don’t buy that much as I’m actively trying to consume less. But if I really can’t help myself, it’s usually because I’ve fallen for a 1980s garment, like a colourful jacket. My neighbour recently asked if she could borrow it for a fancy-dress party. I just wear it to take the kids to school!’

Best food?

‘Kimmade, a Vietnamese restaurant on Mariastraat. I like the no-nonsense set-up, with just a few tables. And Vietnamese cuisine is delicious. A bowl of noodle soup packed with anything you can think of is a power meal to me. I once ended up there after doing my St Nicholas shopping. I was absolutely exhausted and weighed down with shopping bags, but after a bowl of their soup, I was ready to take on the world again.’

Last thing you watched or listened to?

‘The American Henry Hey, a gifted musician and composer. I worked with him on the musical Lazarus, based on music and texts written by David Bowie. Henry was in Amsterdam on a tour, in a combo with a drummer and bassist who also worked on Lazarus. They were playing jazz by Vince Mendoza. It was fantastic and they even let me sing a few numbers. That got me thinking that I might want to concentrate on singing again. I love what I can do with my voice. But I’m filming a new series at the moment, and no, my lips are sealed!’

Recently discovered?

‘The zen school on Amsterdamsestraatweg, a nice Japanese-style zendo. I go there once a week for a 90-minute meditation session. I always used to meditate, but it sort of fizzled out when the children arrived (both poor sleepers). I really missed it in my life. Someone I knew once said: “It’s like brushing your teeth, but for the mind”. It certainly does me a lot of good: it helps me to distance myself from things, so I don’t become overwhelmed. I want to expand my routine in the near future. At least, that’s my intention.’

Inspirational Utrechter?

‘The children’s author Enne Koens, who lives in Oog in Al and is a friend of ours. Barry first met her at drama school in Utrecht, but she soon realised that writing is her thing. She’s won several prizes and her work is known world-wide. I particularly liked her book Ik ben Vincent en ik ben niet bang, which is about a boy who is being bullied. She describes the problem so clearly and takes the child so seriously that adults also enjoy reading the book. Enne also gives inspiring writing courses in the children’s book shop on Ganzenmarkt. You can’t fail to be inspired by the time and energy she puts into writing, and the sense of purpose she exudes.’

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