Thursday 15 July 2010

NEMO Science Center (Amsterdam)

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7th of July: some sun, some clouds, quite a nice weather compared to what we usually get in Amsterdam.


NEMO Science Center (Amsterdam)
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders since 1st of July 2010 - indeed, they've just (and finally!) added it to the museumkaart pool of museum. Feel free to check the detailed price list (the Dutch version seems more reliable and more often updated).

There are lockers at the entrance, of course, but they cost 0.50 euro for each closing/opening session!!! That's right, once you have inserted the coin... it's gone! Good-bye! (This is the first time I've seen something like this and got me really annoyed!)

Pictures are allowed, of course, but there's not much to make pictures of. I made some pictures out of my museum visiting style inertia, only that. (Please note that I linked inertia to its scientific definition.)


My opinion on NEMO

For children / kids = Great museum
  • Everything is to be touched, indeed.
  • Kids are running like crazy in there.
  • There are a lot of experiments / tests things for them to do:
    • building an efficient damn with small sand bags along a river in order to send the most water to a mill (there are 4 mills connected to big display so everyone knows how well they do)
    • the factory
    • the human powered elevator
  • Kids seem very satisfied and exhausted at the end of the day

For grown-ups (like me) or science fans = Bad-bad-bad museum
  • There's a lot of noise, huge background noise - my head hurt even when sleeping :)
  • If one is familiar with science, then there's nothing spectacular to see.
  • The experiments or problems or facts displayed do not come together with a [thorough] explanation of the real science fact, they just get there displayed and that's kind of it. Therefore do not expect explanations and/or to learn thoroughly something.
  • Only expect to be amazed at some points.
  • The only interesting parts for a grown-up might be:
    • the household appliances section (in the Glass Ballroom area, at level 1) - wow! I've never had any idea that most of these appeared quite early in the 20th century - you can see very old models of:
      • vacuum cleaners
      • washing machines (and clothes driers using a man powered centrifuge at its early stages)
      • ovens (classic and microwave)
      • television sets
      • boilers
    • level 3, with its Teen Facts section - it's about sexuality and it's pretty educative and gives several explanations to some facts. I'm not mistaking if I say this section offers the biggest ratio of details per m^2 of museum.



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Conclusions

If you have a kid and you want him/her exhausted due to having had lots of fun, take him/her to NEMO for a whole day! He/She shall enjoy it and (who knows?) might get a taste for the real science in the future.

If you're everything else but the parent of a kid... it's your choice whether to visit NEMO or not.

Saturday 10 July 2010

Coffee and Tea Museum (Amsterdam)

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2nd of July: cloudy, dark,  showers and rain, i.e. the usual Amsterdam weather.


Coffee and Tea Museum (Amsterdam)
Admission: free for everyone. (The challenge is to get there exactly when it's open :p)
Photos are allowed, of course.

The museum overall is very small - technically it's one quite small room (25 m^2), crowded with exhibits.


Schedule: Only on Saturdays, during the 14:00 - 16:00 time interval.
Indeed, on the site says 16:30, but that's old news! Now it's 16:00.


My opinion on the Coffee and Tea Museum

Quite a cool & entertaining & small museum.
There are 2 ladies selling in the shop downstairs and one of them has acted as museum guide.

The only thing that got me really impressed was a machine for roasting the coffee - technically, it was like a double oven (i.e. a small oven inside a bigger oven, in order to keep the heat trapped in the small oven) with 2 handles:
  • one handle allowed one to rotate the small oven inside the big oven, therefore to ensure to coffee got roasted uniformly
  • another handle allowed one to pull a few beans of coffee directly from the small oven in order to check their status, therefore one had access directly to the beans from the small oven without stopping the process or losing heat.
That's a cool piece of industrial machinery for coffee processing (i.e. roasting) in its early stages!

Other than that there were some other quite cool exhibits which you shall have to explore for yourself.

It's funny the museum is located inside the over crowded historic center, but none of the tourists has any idea what's inside that specific building - just a few even enter the Geels & Co. shop to look for some tea and/or coffee. I call this a side effect of over advertising the coffee shops (i.e. light drugs smoking shops) and the Red Light District - bad over advertising!

I wish there have been some facts about the Geels family too. After having visited the famous houses of some famous families [van Loon, Geelvinck Hinlopen, Willet-Holthuysen] I got the taste for such things. Ok, maybe the Geels were just merchants, but still some story could be told about them, I guess...



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Conclusions

Coffee and Tea Museum
(Amsterdam) is quite a cool museum which surely deserves a visit if you find yourself in the area exactly at the time when it's open (i.e. 14:00-16:00 only on Saturdays).

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Max Euwe Centrum (Amsterdam)

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1st of July: sunny, quite hot - indeed, unsual weather for Amsterdam.


Max Euwe Centrum
Admission: free for everyone.
There are lockers at the entrance, of course. However, I noticed them only when leaving.
Pictures are allowed, of course.


Useful info: Max Euwe - wikipedia description


My opinion on Max Euwe Centrum

Very small museum, but nice. I liked it.
Very friendly staff.
There hardly are any visitors. Hey you tourists, don't you like chess? :p

The explanation written on the walls is in Dutch only, but there's available a printed English translation which you have to return on leaving.

The staff also asked me to write something in their guestbook when leaving. I did, because I wanted to congratulate them for their good work. Home I realized I forgot writing that we have a very good Romanian chess player now - Liviu Dieter Nisipeanu. If interested, feel free to check the ratings of all best & currently active Romanian chess players.


People playing chess in Max Euwe Plein

After visiting the museum, I spent about 40 minutes in the public square (obviously called Max Euwe Plein) next to the museum, where there always are some 2 people playing chess on that huge board.

This time 2 guys were playing. Quite cool. It appeared that the white was going to win: it had both the initiative (or should we say it never allowed black to take initiative? :D) and slightly better pieces on the table (it had sacrificed a knight to capture a tower); towards the end, it also captured black's queen, sacrificing a tower. But... in the end... black managed to check him back and forth between the same 2 positions, because white's king was trapped in a 2 squares area :) ... and you know what repeated checking in the same positions means... indeed, draw... Quite an expected draw black has managed to pull, if you ask the amateur that I am with respect to chess :)

Again, tourists passing by take a 30 seconds look, smile, take some 2-3 pictures of themselves with the huge board as background and leave... Come on, people, stop & analyze, visit the museum etc. you know.



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Conclusions

Yes, visit Max Euwe Centrum if you are passionate about chess and/or in mood for something different. Also, take the time to watch a bit of the game people publicly play in the square - it's fun and they seem pretty good at it!

Friday 2 July 2010

Persmuseum (Amsterdam) - en: Press Museum

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24th of June: a sunny and quite hot day. This visit wasn't planned, but since De Key's stupid-scheduled windows painting operation continued, therefore disturbing me, I had no choice but leave the room.


Persmuseum (Amsterdam) - en: Press Museum
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list.
There are lockers at the entrance, of course.
Photos are allowed, of course, but no flash.

The museum overall is very small - technically it's one huge room, partitioned with respect to the various things to be presented.


My opinion on the permanent collection of Persmuseum

The explanations on the walls are written in Dutch only. However, when you buy the ticket the lady will hand you a printed English version, which you shall return on leave.

Although the exhibited permanent collection is extremely small, the history of Dutch press is very well explained. They mainly talk about 3 main figures:
  1. Abraham Casteleyn [see a picture of him at wikimedia] and his newspaper Opregte Haarlemsche Courant
    Did you know that the Dutch newspaper Opregte Haarlemsche Courant was also shipped to other major cities? Do you know how long it took to get there? London (9 days), Paris (8 days), Stockholm (24 days), Moscow (40 days) and even Constantinople (82 days - probably in South East Europe roads were bad even at that time). Pretty cool!
  2. Pieter 't Hoen and De Post van den Neder-Rhyn
  3. Hak Holdert [nl.wikipedia] and De Telegraaf [nl.wikipedia; en.wikipedia]
Again, Haarlem proves itself to be really cool :) It appears to me that the Haarlem-Amsterdam area used to be some sort of Silicon Valley during the Dutch Golden Age :)

Another interesting thing is that newspaper owners used to pay for classified (i.e. secret) politics information just to have it in their newspapers and local administration used to support them. Why? Being the one printing it showed the power of your region :D By protection I mean that the central authorities (i.e. the kingdom organization) had little authority over local authorities (i.e. the provinces and cities), therefore the latter could disobey the central authorities...

I was the only visitor for the whole 2+ hours I've spent in the museum :)


My opinion on the temporary exhibition/collection: Nederland volgens Sigmund
[Time interval for this temporary exhibition: 20th of May - 26th of September 2010)]

All cartoons were only in Dutch, unfortunately.
I understood the point of some cartoons, but just a few of them.
However, given the drawing style and jokes template (as I have speculated it to be), I think a native Dutch would find it very entertaining.


Other things worth mentioning

The online collection presents a couple of things about Romania, too - Constantin Dobrogeanu-Gherea Papers and Eugen Relgis Papers. Obviously, these are not exhibited in the permanent collection of the museum.



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Conclusions

Persmuseum is a nice & interesting museum. For one passionate about press, politics & economics & human self-organization would be a good choice. However, most people might get bored on these matters, therefore it's up to you to decide whether to visit it or not.

Tuesday 29 June 2010

Amsterdam's famous churches: Our Lord in the Attic, New Church, Old Church

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I decided visiting the most famous Amsterdam churches. Indeed, just like any ordinary tourist.

Day 1: 20th of June: cloudy, dark, windy, chilly, just a little-tiny-bit of sun. Therefore, the usual.
Day 2: 22nd of June: sunny, quite hot. After my windows got painted on the outside, the smell of the fresh paint kicked me out of the room, so I continued my Amsterdam's-famous-churches visit.



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Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (en: Our Lord in the Attic)
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list.
There are lockers at the entrance, of course.
Pictures are allowed, but, as always, no flash - make sure your memory card is empty, because you shall need all the space.


My opinion on Our Lord in the Attic
(Day 1)

Did you know this has been a museum since 1888? They say it's the oldest museum in Amsterdam, along with Rijskuseum.

The huge flier you receive once you buy the ticket offers all the information you need for a thorough visit of the whole house. There's a lot of information in it, which you'll enjoy reading while exploring the house.

Hey, there really is a church in the attic! The Catholics were quite innovative in avoiding the Protestant rulership :) Indeed, as they say in the description, the Protestants weren't that bad since they allowed this Catholic church as long as it wasn't obvious, i.e. they prevented the Catholic from openly practicing their religion.

It's pretty cool.
It's very old, many items are the original old ones.
Although the church is under restoration for the moment, you can see it and get a good idea on how it looked like etc. Besides, the museum staff will also happily tell you how the restoration is being done and so on.

Of course, all the other rooms in the house are to be visited, which makes it a complete and interesting experience.

I enjoyed it a lot.



De Nieuwe Kerk (en: The New Church)
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list (it's in Dutch because that's where all details are).
There aren't lockers at the entrance, since you don't need them anyway.
Pictures are allowed, but, as always, no flash - make sure your memory card is empty, 'cause you shall want to make as many pictures as possible from all the angles you can think of.


My opinion on The New Church
(Day 1 + 2)

Wow, it's... big!!!
It does not seem so big from the outside, but once you get inside you understand how big it is!
It's huge, I tell you!

Definitely an impressive piece of architecture!

You shall discover some cool exhibits inside, each with its own explanation written besides it. The flier you receive once you buy the ticket contains a map of the church, having marked the places of all these exhibits, so there's no excuse for missing one! :)

Inside, there are buried Jan van Galen and Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter :)) It's so funny, because I know who these guys were :D because 2 streets in the Bos en Lommer neighborhood (which is roughly where I live) hold their names - check out the long green lines on the map below:


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De Oude Kerk (en: The Old Church)
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list (Entrance Fee section).
There aren't lockers at the entrance, since you don't need them anyway.
Pictures are allowed, of course - make sure your memory card is empty, 'cause you shall need all the space.


My opinion on The Old Church
(Day 2)

There was a huge queue outside in Day 1, so I decided to come back some other time and use the rest of that day for visiting [in part] The New Church.

Old means small? Ha, ha! Well, no.
The Old Church is almost as big as The New Church.

It is under an intensive restoration program now, but it can be very well visited.

After buying the ticket you shall receive 2 A4 format fliers (which you shall need to return when you leave): one contains the map of the church with ?ab? numbered exhibits and the other contains the description of each exhibit - the exhibits on the map also are color coded with respect to their type.
Check out the red ones, i.e. the paintings you see up on the wooden ceiling! Pretty cool!


The [former] graves under the Old & New Churches

The cool thing about both the Old & New Churches is that most of the floor is made of tombstones - yes, there used to be graves under it: in a grave up to 5 coffins could be stacked one on top of the other :) Pretty cool - only rich people were buried in the church, of course, since it was expensive.

Of course, all the coffins have been removed some long time ago (it said when but I forgot), because they affected the structure of these 2 churches. Also, since 1820s, a law came into effect to forbid such practices, but it started being applied in Amsterdam in 1870s or something...

In both these churches there's an inscription somewhere claiming that during time about 10 K people have been buried under each of them! Wow!



Conclusions

Our Lord in the Attic: I enjoyed a lot visiting both the church in the attic (which is under restoration for the moment) and the rest of the house. I recommend it.

The Old Church & The New Church: cool; really big & impressive churches; definitely worth to visit! Also, they are one of those must see monuments for any tourist in Amsterdam.
I recommend you visit both churches during the week, in order to find them rather empty, since during the week-end they get rather crowded with tourists.

Saturday 26 June 2010

Museum Het Rembrandthuis (Amsterdam) - en: Rembrandt House Museum

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18th of June: quite dark, dull, cloudy, a bit rainy, the usual Amsterdam weather.


Museum Het Rembrandthuis (en: Rembrandt House Museum)
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list.
There are lockers at the basement, of course.
Pictures are allowed, but, as always, no flash.
You also get the audio tour for free.


My opinion on Rembrandt House Museum

For the record, the full name is Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn.

Pretty cool museum.
Kind of too many tourists - oh, well, it's a famous museum and it's also in the historical center, therefore it makes sense to be so crowded. The downside is one shall get most of the photos with people wandering around.

Highlights:

The kitchen: pretty cool. I liked it. If I lived back then, I wish I had a kitchen like that. I don't know, everything seemed to make sense.

The wooden spiral-shaped stairs: awesome, really awesome! I've never seen such cool stairs. I risked and took photos with the flash on just to make sure I get perfect pictures of the stairs.

The entrance hall and the anteroom: smart move of Rembrandt to decorate both of these with his paintings and other artists' paintings that he wanted to sell - basically it was like an exhibition with paintings for sale. Indeed, Rembrandt was both an artist and art dealer, which was quite common at the time. So, to put it in the present day web language, he monetized both his content and other artists' content :D

The box beds: really coll. They seem and really are quite small due to 2 reasons:
  1. People were much shorter back then.
  2. People used to sleep from middle up in almost a standing position, not completely horizontal like we do today, because... they believed that if they slept completely horizontally a wave of blood might hit their brain and die during sleep... Ok, laugh if you will, but given the life expectancy during those times their belief seems reasonable & understandable although it's wrong...
The live demonstration on printing etchings [wikipedia] et. al.: awesome. The lady both thoroughly explained the process and showed how it was done.

The painting/art studios: nice, I guess, given that both Rembrandt and his pupils produced cool paintings.

There's also a collections of etchings displayed, including the famous The Three Trees [metmuseum.org; rembrandtpainting.net; British Museum; The Library of Congress on Flickr].
Note: I've just discovered a list of other Rembrandt's etchings on rembrandtpainting.net



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The temporary exhibition Picturalism in Dutch Photography

Quite nice.
The explanations on the walls and artists' biographies helped me understand what it was all about. Ok, the name should say it all, but I'm not that much into art/culture, so the more explanations the better.
I appreciate I was allowed to take photos of the photos, unlike at Huis Marseille or FOAM.


Conclusions

I recommend you visit Museum Het Rembrandthuis. It's nice & cool, it's interesting and all your friends will want to know things about it...



F.A.Q.:

Q.1: Where is Rembrandt's Night Watch displayed?
A.1: At the Rijksmuseum.

Thursday 24 June 2010

ARCAM - Amsterdam Centre for Architecture

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Day 1: 11th of June
Day 2: 18th of june


ARCAM - Amsterdam Centre for Architecture
Admission: Free for everyone.
There is no need for any lockers.
Pictures are allowed, of course.


My opinion on ARCAM - Amsterdam Centre for Architecture

In Day 1 I visited the 1st floor; in Day 2 - ground floor.

Although a small building, it's pretty interesting if you're passionate about buildings and/or architecture. Don't expect to get info about every inch of Amsterdam, but rather expect to be surprised and find out some new info about unexpected buildings/sites, e.g. I've learned:
  • how trees are placed in Rembrandpark (which is quite close to me) - there's a logic behind this that I've never seen and yet I do not fully understand
  • various placements of trees in order to reach some design goals
  • new projects of neighborhoods aiming to empower and connect the local community - cool idea!
Oh, and I got a free flier with the Eastern Docklands - the map and main points of interest. (Ok, ok, I know there are plenty of maps displayed all over that place and I took plenty of pictures of those maps, but now... I also have an official flier!)

At the ground floor there's a huge continuous image (made of 13 posters; each poster spans ~1m by ~2m) describing Amsterdam's growth since 800 A.D. up to present day - for each time period, there are shown: city map, population, architectural styles and buildings built, infrastructure works etc. That image is really awesome to look at, read and understand since it says quite a lot.



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Conclusions

Great place for a person (like me) passionate about architecture and/or buildings, willing to discover something new and cool about Amsterdam.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Windows painted on the outside...

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News: 22nd of June: We got painted on the outside all the other half of the windows of the building, as part of De Key's regular maintenance works on the building probably.


It's not that fair for me as a tenant (whose contract shall end in less than a month) to offer support to these maintenance works of De Key:
  1. I had to clean my room on the inside once the work was finished and
  2. I had to suffer disturbance due to the noise and smell of the paint.
Will I get a discount for that? No.
Does De Key get free cleaning work for that? Obviously.
Not fair: I lose. I must admit they're smart doing it this way...

The fair solution?
De Key should have done these works during the free period of the building, i.e. 16th of July - 15th of August, but that would have meant to pay themselves for the cleaning, wouldn't it? So, why do that when they can get it for free? :)

Note: I said correctly on the outside, because they will inform us when the windows shall be painted on the inside too in the near future...

So, how was my day?
After my windows got painted on the outside, the smell of the fresh paint kicked me out of the room, so I continued my Amsterdam's-famous-churches visit.
When I got back... it was time to do the cleaning...

I'm looking forward for another (and bigger) round of cleaning when the windows shall get painted on the inside...


Updates:

23rd of June: 2nd round of paining on the outside. Well, at least the workers do a great job. The downside is it's disturbing the tenants, i.e. the students.

24th of June: some sort of a final check and further adjustments to the outside window painting works done for the side I live in. I had to leave the stress after they checked the windows of my room and decided to visit Permuseum.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Diamond Museum & Coster Diamonds B.V. (Amsterdam)

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13th of June: cloudy, dark, a bit of sun.


Diamond Museum Amsterdam (nl: Diamant Museum Amsterdam)
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list.
There are lockers at the entrance - see the room called wardrobe.
Pictures are allowed, of course.


My opinion on Diamond Museum Amsterdam

It's a nice museum.
The staff is very friendly.

Quite a lot of details on diamonds, which one shall find interesting.

:( Most diamonds are replicas. There are hardly any real diamonds in there. Can you imagine how cool it would have been to have exhibits so expensive that every thief would want to target this museum? Oh, well, the only real diamonds are some tiny ones, as far as I remember...

It's fascinating to take the little test on guessing the only true/real diamond out of a set of 8 diamonds, the rest being fake/artificial ones.

Also, looking at the smallest polished (with 58 facets if I remember correctly) diamond in the world is fascinating - you need a microscope for it...

The visit at Coster Diamonds B.V. (Paulus Potterstraat 2), for a live demonstration of diamond polishing and visiting showrooms of real (and quite expensive) diamonds for sale it's also somewhat captivating, although the polishers and the other people do not simulate very well any desire of doing actual diamond related work :)
The brokers seem convincing though... since they actually sell diamonds there and some people actually buy them :D I suspect the negotiations & transactions room is over heated on purpose just to make the buyer's pulse go even higher than usual - nice trick if you ask me!



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Conclusions

It's a nice museum. It's worth visiting once you have been to the museums which I consider extremely interesting.

Friday 18 June 2010

Exploring a part of North Amsterdam

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After having visited Van Loon Museum, I spent some time exploring a bit of North Amsterdam:


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Ferry Houthaven - Amsterdam Distelweg: The coolest ferry ever! So small, and cute! And very few people! I suppose one has to have some local skills, since both ends are not quite accessible to ordinary tourists ;) (ok-ok, I couldn't stop bragging a bit.)

The Distelweg industrial area: Classic industrial area, nothing to see except if you like factory buildings.

That bridge part of Distelweg, over some canal: under repairs for now. Oh well, I've seen it some long time ago when I first crossed the Ij river from Central Station to Buiksloterweg.

The area bordered by Distelweg, Distelkade and Ranonkelkade: Nice area, but there's nothing special except the very narrow paths between the groups of houses - it's like each group of houses shares one huge common garden.


Conclusions

There's nothing special about this specific area of North Amsterdam.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Schapenburgerpad - awesome alley/path in the middle of Amsterdam, just South of Vondel Park

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During a reconnaissance (it sounds so military-like, indeed) walk around Vondelpark on 9th of June, I encountered some kind of alley/path (just South of Vondel Park) that begged for some exploring - the name: Schapenburgerpad.

Schapenburgerpad: awesome alley/path, it's like going in the wild in the middle of the city. There's no pavement, just some kind of mud and sand and some stones, it's narrow, there's almost nobody going in or out, full of vegetation etc. Basically, it's one of those back&dark alleys, designed only for locals' access.

Curios what Schapenburgerpad means? Check out Google Translate.
Ok, it roughly stands for Sheep civilian path.



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Monday 14 June 2010

Museums for photography in Amsterdam: FOAM and Huis Marseille

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6th of June: dark, cloudy, showers, light rain, rain, never-stopping-rain etc. - you know, the usual Amsterdam weather.


Foam_Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list.
Of course, there are lockers at the basement.
Pictures are not allowed :)) It's a museum for photography so why should one take pictures of their exhibited pictures, right? Anyway, I consider it a very weird approach for a museum about photography!


My opinion on FOAM

Some highlights of the current exhibitions, as they are linked on front page of the site:
  • Ari Marcopoulos - It might seem familiar [short; long description]: some interesting landscapes, a very cool video with some skateboarders going down an alley at quite a high speed for some 9 minutes (the total length of the video was 10 minutes), people (faces, bodies or both)
  • Paul Graham - a shimmer of possibility [short; long description]: This is supposed to be some sort of art, the artist's intention being to show common people, contract and expand time etc. I didn't understand it.
  • Hans van den Bogaard - Collectie Vrolik [short; long description]: Quite interesting, especially if one is in the medical field. I bet the real Vrolik collection [wikipedia; uva.nl] is really cool and quite a treasure for medical doctors. However, I must note the overwhelming pictures of fetuses... couldn't they find any other pictures of exhibits to show, like the ones showing malformed human skeletons due to diseases? Oh, they also show pictures of fetuses of various animals, too just in case you wanted to ask...
  • Foam_3h: Simon Wald-Lasowski – For your eyes only [short; long description]: I didn't get it, kind of disliked it actually.
I definitely don't understand art with respect to photography...

The building: refurbished in a very artistic/cryptic manner on the inside - it's rather easy to get lost, but that is a feature here, not a bug, since I did feel the need of something to distract me and chase away the boredom.

Hint: climb to the attic, to the FOAM editions shop - forget about the shop, take a look at the view! It's great to see the surrounding buildings from up there!



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Huis Marseille - museum voor fotografie (en: House Marseille - museum for photography)
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders.
Of course, there are lockers at the basement.
Taking pictures of the exhibits is not allowed. However one is allowed to take pictures of the decorations and the architecture of the house, the garden etc. therefore one may take pictures of the house as long as one does not take pictures of the exhibits.

My opinion on Huis Marseille

I didn't understand / see the point of any of the exhibitions there (I don't even remember what the exhibitions were about).
Nothing touched me.
Sorry.

The house however looks cool. The garden is very small.



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Conclusions

Strangely, one may not take pictures of the exhibits in neither of these 2 museums, i.e. FOAM and Huis Marseille. Funny, isn't it? These are museums for photography, but one is not allowed to take pictures :D

Apparently I don't understand art with respect to photography.

I wouldn't recommend any of these 2 museums to ordinary people, i.e. people that lack a strong passion for art and/or photography.

However, I recommend you go to these museums just to see the buildings on the inside. Hey, if you have the Museumkaart it's free, right? Great!

Saturday 12 June 2010

Museum Van Loon (Amsterdam)

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Intro: After having visited 2 other old & classic Amsterdam houses, i.e. both Museums Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis and Willet-Holthuysen, it was time to visit Museum Van Loon.

4th of June: a very sunny and quite hot day. Indeed, unusual weather for Amsterdam.


Museum Van Loon (Amsterdam)
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list.
Although there aren't any lockers at the entrance, the assistant you give you a number and will store your things in their office, which is very fine.
Pictures are allowed, but, as always, no flash - make sure your memory card is empty, 'cause you shall need all the space.


My opinion on Museum Van Loon (Amsterdam)

It's a very nice museum: plenty of things to see; the garden is nice, too but quite small - check out the huge tree in the garden! The coach house cannot be visited for the moment, since they need to refurbish it first.

The museum is supposed to have been refurbished, but I've noticed cracks in the walls and ceiling, around the doors etc. I do not mind, in fact I really like it since it preserves the old atmosphere in my opinion, just that I've noticed this now because the other 2 old houses did not have any such cracks. I suppose Van Loon has been refurbished a long time ago or something.

The rooms at the ground floor: very nice.
On November 1st, 2005, Queen Beatrix and the Prince of Orange offered a lunch in the Red Drawing Room to both Russian President Valdimir Putin and his wife. Cool, eh?

The kitchen: very cool.
Also, at the basement there's a room where they play continuously a 10 minute video staring the last member of the Van Loon family who talks about the house.

The bedrooms at the first floor: very cool, especially those secret doors :D (No, visitors have no access there, but they are mentioned in the description and you can see them as they are obvious.)

There's also a second floor, they say, to which visitors don't have access - that floor accommodated the servants and access was done through some narrow and steep stairs, they say. Awesome!



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Conclusions

I recommend you visit Van Loon Museum (Amsterdam); it's worth the time and money.
I recommend you visit all 3 museums, therefore all these 3 old & classic Amsterdam houses, i.e. Van Loon, Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis and Willet-Holthuysen.

Thursday 10 June 2010

Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam (Dutch Resistance Museum)

[Post published by Liviu on Liviu's [in Netherlands] Blog]


29th of May: a bit sunny in the afternoon, cloudy, windy, rainy in the afternoon/evening.


Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam (en: Dutch Resistance Museum)
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list.
Of course, there are lockers at the entrance.
Pictures are allowed, but no flash.


My opinion

Quite a small museum overall, but nice. It is worth visiting. Very friendly staff also.

I find it funny for such a great colonial power that Netherlands has been to make a resistance museum. Resistance?! That sounds so weird for such a proactive nation.

There's a mention that roughly says the following: the Germans bombed Rotterdam, then threatened to bomb other cities as well, and The Netherlands surrendered 5 days after the war has started. So, let's rephrase: Germany bombed so well only 1 city that the whole Dutch army noticed it has become useless.
However, they admit at one point that the Dutch army hasn't been modernized properly since the beginning of the century. That's even more weird for The Netherlands!

I recommend you visit this museum after having visited Reijksmuseum and Tropenmuseum. Depending on your sense of humor, you might smile at times and say to yourself: Oh come on, guys, what happened to you? When did you get tired?

Note: Regarding WW2, Germany really scared everyone by conquering so fast The Netherlands, France (including the mighty Paris), Poland etc. Blitzkrieg ruled!



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Conclusions

I recommend visiting Verzetsmuseum. It is worth the time & money. I also recommend you visit this museum after having visited Reijksmuseum and Tropenmuseum.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

I voted AGAIN

[Post published by Liviu on Liviu's [in Netherlands] Blog]


Do you remember when I voted the first time?

Well, now it's the second time :)
If interested, feel free to check the website for these elections (in Dutch).

However, there were 2 elections held at the same time.
  • Good news: I voted in the election regarding building a parking garage under the Singel canal, near Marnixbad. (I wish they would build some of these in Bucharest, too.)
  • Bad news: I was not allowed to vote in the election for the House or council or whatever, 'cause I don't understand very well what that was all about from Google Translation.

Side note 1: On 4th of June, I have also received a flier/advertisement in my inbox from VVD [wikipedia; official site] - Mark Rutte on the first page, of course, as all politics fliers display their party leader on the first page.
Hey, have these people understood that I am a regular voter (wherever I am living) and started courting me? ;) mmm, no. Actually most inboxes had such a flier inside. Hey, I'm a regular voter therefore I demand more attention! :))
First I confused VVD with PVV [wikipedia]. Remember that Geert Wilders (the leader of PVV, who wants to kick Romania & Bulgaria out of the EU among others) and also resembles Corneliu Vadim Tudor? My bad for the confusion.

Side note 2: now I'm part of the West District/Neighborhood, which has been reconfigured some months ago, in order to include some small neighborhoods like Kolenkit, Bos en Lommer, WesterPark etc.

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Exploring North Amsterdam: N of Ij, W of Ij-Tunnel, up to Vliegenbos

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23rd of May: Another sunny day, but not that hot.


The area of North Amsterdam - N of Ij, W of Ij-Tunnel, up to Vliegenbos - is what I call a classic urban area, perfect for training one's exploring skills.
There's no reward, i.e. nothing awesome to talk about, just bits and pieces that make sense only to city passionate people (like me). You have to see, hear and feel all details - and even then most people will get bored.

It's a cocktail of everything:
  • narrow streets, which seem very intimate
  • normal streets
  • stairs that link streets, e.g. Hoekschewaardweg with Nieuwendammerdijk
  • the tunnel under the Ij it's highway style, with 3 lanes per way. The new North-South metro line has its tunnel coming to surface in the middle of this highway, after the highway tunnel has reached surface, with a station planned just between the 2 ways of the highway
  • at times dirty
  • there's a general feeling it's less organized
  • at times poor houses show up
  • industrial zones
  • normal parks
  • forest-like parks, i.e. W.H. Vliegenbos
Therefore, this cocktail of everything but nothing awesome (1) demands patience and (2) requires one not to expect any rewards - the most 2 important attitudes an explorer needs in order to make awesome discoveries (when such discoveries are to be found/made :D).

As I said, perfect for training one's exploring skills.


Anyway, let me get you bored now:

The Ij-Tunnel: cool all the way from the point it reaches the surface up to the northest point of Noordpark.


W.H. Vliegenbos: forest-like park
It really looks like a forest, i.e. there are:
  • many huge & old trees
  • alleys with good pavement
  • alleys with bad pavement
  • muddy narrow paths connecting the alleys
  • very small canals suitable only for the ducks (there are no geese or swans or seagulls)
From time to time there's that "I'm in the middle of a swamp" feeling.

Noordpark: small, but nice
The benches have a really cool design.

Hoekschewaardweg and Nieuwendammerdijk streets are linked by some stairs.
Nieuwendammerdijk is very-very narrow.



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Conclusion

Visit this area only if you like to train yourself for urban exploring. Otherwise it will get you more nervous than rush hour traffic.
Expect nothing, just look around for the small details.

Sunday 23 May 2010

Eastern Docklands: Abatoir en veemarktterrein en Entrepot-West

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22nd of May:
Very sunny and hot day, unusually hot and sunny. I think Amsterdam has consumed the whole sun quota for the next 3-4 weeks! :)
Good thing the wind was blowing from now and then, since there was such a strong sun! (Yeah, technically I'm joking about the sun, but given the usual Amsterdam weather my statement is also true.)

My main target was Persmuseum, which, strangely enough, was closed.

Anyway, given the situation I moved to the next task on the agenda:


Exploring Eastern Docklands: Abatoir en veemarktterrein en Entrepot-West Neighborhood

Nice neighborhood.

Very nice building over Entrepotbrug: long, like a line with many curves (maybe it resembles a wave?).
I feel so bad :p there was no way to invade the inhabitants' privacy by walking on the continuous corridor/hallway/balcony they have at the first floor (east side), since it also acts as entrance to their apartments or gateway to the stairs that lead to upper floors.

Nice apartments building between Zeeburgerkade and Cruquisweg: might have been an old harbor/docklands auxiliary building which the city has refurbished. You definitely need to go around the building to see it from all sides.

Really cool dock North of Zeeburgerkade, for people to anchor their boats/ships - some people have quite nice ships, yes; they're definitely not boats :D.
What's cool about it is there's no way to reach land unless you have a smaller boat or something to get you across the canal :)

Hoop, Liefde en Fortuin
(en: Hope, Love and Fortune): Very cool building: starting from the west side it continuously gets higher and higher towards the east side, resembling a ship.



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Conslusion

Abatoir en veemarktterrein en Entrepot-West (in Eastern Docklands) is a nice area worth visiting.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Eastern Docklands: de Rietlanden neighborhood

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After having visited Tropen Museum, in the 3rd day I ended up exploring Eastern Docklands, de Rietlanden neighborhood.

Nice area: nice combination of modern architecture while preserving & transforming some of the old docklands.

There's a very cool tram station at the intersection of Piet Heinkade and Fred Petterbaan. It's something like a huge hole 7 m below ground with no roof.
Here you can also see a very cool and big work of art called For The Bees by Frank Mandersloot - this one is at ground level :) ok, not quite: the first table starts from the station below ground level, but the rest of 4 tables are above ground level - oh, yeah, and the 5th table is For the Bees, so you now know where the name comes from. Crazy artists!

Other than that, the whole area has a lot of nice modern architecture. It's worth taking a look.



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Conclusions

De Rietlanden neighborhood (part of the Eastern Docklands) deserves a visit if you're passionate about buildings.

Monday 17 May 2010

Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). Bonus: Exploring the Neighborhood.

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There's an old Dutch saying: If it's cloudy and/or raining, go where the sun is, e.g. either go conquer some territories in a tropical area or go to the Tropenmuseum (en: Tropical Museum). Ok, I made it up - there's no such saying, but it's rather funny given the rainy weather that has taken over Amsterdam again.
Anyway,


Tropenmuseum (en: Tropical Museum)
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list.
Of course, there are lockers at the entrance.
Pictures are allowed - make sure your memory card is empty, 'cause you shall need all the space.

Current exhibitions at Tropenmuseum.

Online collection of Tropenmuseum: feel free o search for various terms, e.g. Africa, music, man, Guinea etc. - I tested terms part of the names of the permanent exhibitions.


Day 1: 9th of May: Tropenmuseum - 2nd floor

I took the elevator to the 2nd floor intending to visit the museum from top down, as the very friendly staff advised me. Indeed, I only stayed at the 2nd floor for about 3 hours - there was a lot to see; in the end, I only made pictures to just a small part of it, leaving the rest for my next visits.

The 2nd floor presents very interesting things.
There are 4 permanent collections:
  1. Latin America & the Caribbean
  2. Africa
  3. Music World
  4. West Asia & North Africa
and 1 temporary collection: Long live the President!

It's worth the time to wander around and look at everything. There are plenty of details written on walls.

As you can see, the collections touch sensible regions in the world, of which most of us know very little. Interestingly, the museum presents their culture in a positive manner, highlighting their strengths, and both their common and different points compared with the European culture.

Examples of interesting things I've learned (a few I can remember now)
  • The Maya, Aztec and Inca were more advanced than I thought
  • The difference between Sunni and Shia - the whole matter regards Ali's death. Although I've provided wikipedia links, I must say that the Tropenmuseum explanation is far shorter, more straightforward and makes more sense.
  • The European culture has a lot in common with the Islamic world, i.e. West Asia & North Africa. Basically, the 2 sides have been for a long time in competition.
All in all, tropical cultures have never been explained to us properly - this was the first time when things made sense (to some extent) to me. Of course, many questions still remain unanswered.


Day 2: 14th of May: Tropenmuseum - 1st floor (part 1)

First, I completed my photo session for the 2nd floor, which took quite a lot of time - ok, I enjoyed looking again at some items. Then I moved down.

1st floor: I only visited the Round and about India exhibition and half of Southeast Asia exhibition. That includes taking pictures [of everything I enjoyed], too.

Interesting things:
  • Shiva is the god of destruction, therefore also of creation, because there can be no creation without destruction, and/or destruction is always followed by creation - this is an approximate quote as I remember it.
    Now, why am I talking about Shiva and Hinduism which is not so well explained in wikipedia anyway? Well, because some of you, just like me, might have liked the mix of politics&business in the Michael Clayton movie, but the script got it very wrong when referring Shiva - check out the quotes - it's not death, it's destruction and creation.

Day 3: 16th of May: Tropenmuseum - 1st floor (part 2) and ground floor

Ok, so I returned for the 3rd day.
I visited and took pictures of [everything I enjoyed]:
I skipped Culture Couture and Traveling Tales due lack of time.

The Art of survival exhibition had ended one week earlier, so I did not get to see that.



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Bonus: Exploring the Neighborhood


Day 1: The L-Shaped Area West of Artis

Very nice area: peace and quiet, no tourists, nice & very nice buildings.

Cool massive building between Louise Wenstraat and Sarphatistraat, with a cool passage in the middle of it.

Alexanderkade: a path for people and bicycles only, displaying buildings done in a nice modern style.

Entrepotdok street - very cool street with awesome buildings.

Cool long building between Laagte Kadijk and Entrepotdok, in the northern half: there are very cool passages that connect Laagte Kadijk and Entrepotdok; some of these passages allow free access to stairs so one can get to the first where there are gardens - it's just like a classic garden, but it's at the first floor - obviously, I kind of violated their privacy, but they had so cool architecture to show...


Day 2: The island with Artis, except Artis

Nice area: peace and quiet, few tourists.

Plantage Badlaan & Plantage Muidergracht: 2 very nice and very intimate/peaceful streets.

Plantagekade: Nive alley with a nice view at the canal.




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Conclusions

I strongly recommend you visit Tropenmuseum. It's really worth the time and money. Go there early so you have plenty of time to look at everything, since there are a lot of exhibits - it shall be quite difficult to see it all in one day.
Tropical cultures have never been explained to us properly - this was the first time when things made sense to me. Of course, many questions remain unanswered, but the museum does its job very well.

The L-shaped area west of Artis: visit it too, I think you shall enjoy it, especially the places I've mentioned in this post.

The island with Artis, except Artis: nice area, but nothing awesome that you really must see.

Thursday 13 May 2010

Bijbels Museum (Amsterdam) - en: Biblical Museum

[Post published by Liviu on Liviu's [in Netherlands] Blog]


Bijbels Museum (en: Biblical Museum)

Admission: Museumkaart + 2.5 EUR due to the From Jerusalem With Love exhibition. Feel free to check the detailed price list.
Pictures are allowed, of course, but no flash.
There are lockers at the entrance, of course.


My opinion on the Bible Museum

Nothing very interesting overall. There are just a few things worth mentioning:

The replica of the Tabernacle: proabably enthusiasts will find it cooler than I did.

Quite an interesting connection I made when learning about the Tabernacle:
At one point it says the high priest used to wear on top of his shirt, on his chest, a cloth with pieces of glass of different colors, each piece representing a Jewish tribe.
How many tribes therefore such pieces of different colors do you think were? 12.
Now, how many Apostles did Jesus have? :) 12. Hmm, strange coincidence if you ask me.

The 2 Aroma Cabinets:
Well, smelling all those 3 types of fragrances - biblical & everyday & exalted, to quote from the description - was quite an unique experience. That was really the coolest experience/thing in this museum.


From Jerusalem With Love exhibition

Kind of a crappy exhibition. I didn't see its point.
Those extra 2.5 euro that I have paid really were not worth.



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Conclusions

I recommend you make a different choice. There are better options than Bijbels Museum. Only go either if you are extremely curious on smelling those fragrances, or want to amaze your friends due to having visited a museum with such an impressive name.

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Allard Pierson Museum

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Allard Pierson Museum
Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list.
Pictures are allowed, of course.
There are lockers at the entrance, of course.


My opinion on Allard Pierson Museum

Well, I didn't see anything to impress me. Most of the items are ok, but not my type.
I just don't feel any thrill looking at pottery and related items.
It's all about peace, it's static, nothing about expansion / fights / domination and technology. There's only one place exhibiting a few military things from the region of current Iran.



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Conclusions

I guess there are better options than going to Allard Pierson Museum.

Sunday 2 May 2010

Hermitage Amsterdam. Bonus: Exploring the Neighborhood

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25th of April 2010: nice, sunny & cloudy day, with a few showers in the evening.


Hermitage Amsterdam
The Matisse to Malevich exhibition

This is piece de resistance of the Hermitage Amsterdam for the 6th of March - 17th of September 2010 time interval.

Great artists have some of their works displayed here - just check out the:
Pretty cool, isn't it?


The regular exhibition (i.e. the rest of the museum) = zero interesting things

The rest of the museum is beating around the bush by showing nothing of interest in my opinion:
  1. some facts about the Hermitage in Sankt Petersburg
  2. royal connections (i.e. alliances by marriage) between the royal families from The Netherlands and Russia
  3. the former function of the Amstelhof building, i.e. retirement home, plus its old kitchen; the church hall with the pipe organ etc.
Question: do I really want to see all these? I say not; ok, maybe the former function of the building deserves a room full of exhibits.
The bottom line is I consider most of all these second hand exhibits.



Bonus: Exploring the Neighborhood

First, the area delimited by Amstel, Mauritskade, Weesperstraat and Nieuwe Herengracht:
Nothing interesting: it's a combination of new and old buildings.
Very noisy at times. On some streets one can see legions of tourists wandering on the streets. On other streets, there's nobody, but there still is a huge background noise.

Second, the area delimited by Weesperstraat, Mauritskade, Nieuwe Herengracht and the canal west of Plantage Muidergracht:
Nice area overall: it's mostly quiet; mostly with nice buildings etc.
Spinozastraat and Spinozahof: very nice; peace and quiet; very nice view.
The canal east of Hortusplantsoen: very nice, very intimate.



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Conclusions

Yes, go visit Hermitage Amsterdam, but only if you can see a cool temporary exhibition. Otherwise, it's a waste of time.

Should you be able to make it in time for the Matisse to Malevich exhibition, then do your best to go see it! If you're an art fan, you'll thank me for that tip!(and maybe even drop me a comment below)

Should you want to visit the neighborhood, first go on Spinozastraat and Spinozahof, second on the canal east of Hortusplantsoen. These are really nice and quiet places.

Thursday 29 April 2010

Museum Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis

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Museum Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis
I visited it on 23rd of April. I learned about it when I visited Amsterdam's Historical Museum.

Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list. (Please note that they say on Tuesdays and Thursdays it's closed.)

Nice.

The entrance, i.e. the address, is through the former Coach House. Besides paying the ticket and leaving the unnecessary clothes here, one can see a few things only.
Also, one shall also receive a 1 page, A4 format, with text on both sides, description of the whole museum. They have it in several languages. I used the English version since they did not have it in Romanian.

The garden: very nice, very peaceful and quiet. The neighbors have very nice gardens also - take a sneak peak by looking over the fence - go ahead, they won't mind!
Tip form Liviu: The guide said that the greatest tree one can see there (which is in the Eastern neighbor's garden) makes beautiful red flowers in the summer.

In the main building, which is reached through the garden, one can visit several rooms at the ground floor: The Library, Red Room, Blue Room, Chinese Room. Very nice, very well refurbished. - The guide was very helpful and tried to explain me everything.
It's worth noting that on the right side (as one can see from the garden) there only are 2 floors, while on the left side there are 3 floors. This is because rooms are higher on the right side - they were used for work or something, while on the left side they were used for living.
One can only visit the ground floor because the owners of the house live on the upper floors.


Bonus: A short visit in the neighborhood

The area between Frederiksplein, Falckstraat, Reguliersgracht, Prinsengracht and Amsel is very crowded with tourists, due to many bars / pubs / restaurants etc. It's not worth visiting since there is nothing special about the buildings.

Frederieksplein is a nice and quiet square, with a small playground for children, many green trees etc. and tram lines and bike paths intersecting.

The area south of Achtergracht is nice and quiet. Maarten Jansz Kosterstraat looks very intimate, I recommend you visit it.



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Conclusions

I recommend you visit Museum Geelvinck HInlopen Huis. You'll enjoy both the house and the garden.

Also Frederieksplein and Maarten Jansz Kosterstraat might deserve a short visit should you have the time and/or the passion.

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Museum Willet-Holthuysen and a Long Walk on the Banks of the Amstel River, South of the Museum

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Museum Willet-Holthuysen
I visited it on 18th of April. I learned about it when I visited Amsterdam's Historical Museum.

Nice house, nice garden. It's worth visiting.

I took a lot of pictures; probably I've made photos of every inch of the house.


Admission: free for Museumkaart holders. Feel free to check the detailed price list.

There are lockers at the entrance, so one can leave their unnecessary clothes there.





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A Long Walk on the Banks of the Amstel River, South of the Museum

Very nice long walk I would say.

Great business & residential complex at the Amstel metro & train station.



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Conclusions

Museum Willet-Holthuysen is nice and worth visiting. I recommend you visit it.

I recommend you take the same long walk along the Amstel river should you have the time, the fitness and the curiosity for seeing the buildings on the way.

Saturday 24 April 2010

Amsterdam Historical Museum (Amsterdams Historisch Museum), Hoerengracht

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Amsterdam Historical Museum (Amsterdams Historisch Museum)
Entrances in the museum:

There are 4 entrances (apparently): Kalverstraat 92, Sint Luci├źnsteeg 27, Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 357 and Begijnensloot. Let me explain:

Long story:
Well, it's a very big building, with quite a large interior court, which also hosts a small restaurant right after the Kalverstraat 92 entrance.
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 357 leads to both the main entrance of the museum and then to the interior court.
The entrance from Kalverstraat 92 leads to the restaurant and then reaches the court.
The Sint Luci├źnsteeg 27 leads to the court and right in front of you there is the Civic Guards Gallery (therefore another museum entrance) asking for your visit.
Begijnensloot, at its end, leads to both the interior court and the Civic Guards Gallery.
At Begijnensloot corner with Begijnensteeg there's a door with the museum's name and schedule on it: that' the entrance to Begijnenhof, i.e another interior court, with trees and grass and flowers and real houses inhabited by real people - that's why there are some barriers against tourists there :) There's also the English Church.

Feel free to check these entrances as I also placed them on my Netherlands Map:


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Admission: free with Musemkaart. Feel free to check the detailed price list.
Note: one has to pay only for visiting the main part of the museum, on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 357. Otherwise, one can visit for free everything else.

You are allowed to take pictures, too.

One can find lockers when entering through the main entrance, on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 357, in order to let unnecessary clothes there.


I suggest you check Amsterdam Historical Museum's online collection - it's cool; you shall like it.



Day 1: 8th of April: Main part of the Amsterdam's Historical Museum and the Hoerengracht exhibition



Main part of the Amsterdam's Historical Museum - entrance from Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 357

Very nice. A lot of things to see. Very well organized.

I've always liked stuff regarding a nation's
  • growth / expansion / conquests
  • warfare (military technology)
  • politics and internal organization etc.
Indeed, there are quite a lot of things to see in this area.

Highlights:
  • Somewhere in rooms 3-4 there's a really cool crossbow hanging from the ceiling: I studied it for about 5 minutes - a remarkable piece of military technology I'd say since it could put an arrow into a target 350 meters away (yes, three hundred fifty meters) - that's how one should conduct a cool war! Congratulations!
  • There are details on ship design and building - nice... I found brilliant the solution of putting large wooden boxes under a big ship and then pumping water out of those boxes, in order to raise the ship out of the water, therefore allow it to get through the shallow waters of the Ij river and reach the city.
  • One can see Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Jan Deijman - To put it nasty, the rich doctor and his assistant got immortalized while analyzing some dead man's brains; indeed, it's called an autopsy.
I enjoyed this part a lot - it took me 3h to visit it, although I admit to have paid less attention to some parts. I suggest you reserve some 4-5 h for it.

I spent another 1h in Day 2, just to take pictures - yes, they let you take as many pictures as you want!


Hoerengracht

Hoerengracht [official website] is a separate exhibition (inside the main part of the Amsterdam Historical Museum, which I visited in Day 1) - let me quote their site: [..] a reinterpretation of Amsterdam’s famous Red Light District. The Hoerengracht functions as a composite street of the whole neighbourhood. Hoerengracht literally means Whores Canal, a pun on the genteel Herengracht.

They say: We hope you enjoy The Hoerengracht. - Well, actually I did not enjoy it, since I did not understand its point.



Day 2: 16th of April: Civic Guards' Gallery, The Exhibition in the Restaurant's Court: The Civic Orphanage, Begijnhof



Civic Guards' Gallery

Basically, on the old times, it was a matter of rich people's prestige to organize themselves in Civic Guards. Of course, each one had to buy his own weapons. The higher the rank, the cooler and more effective (and therefore more expensive) weapons one had to purchase himself.

Do you know what was even cooler? The get your guard painted by a cool painter... Every member had to pay in order to appear in the painting; obviously, not all members had that much money and many times the paintings do not show the whole guard.
Of course, the more money one paid, the closer to the center they were.

I said prestige, indeed, since they did not get paid anything for being members of the civic guards.

Civic Guards' Gallery shows many such paintings.
Of course, Rembrandt's Night Watch is the most famous one, but one can find this one at the Rijksmueum.

All in all, I'd say these people did a good investment: now we look at them, take their pictures and write their names in history books. Yeah, it was worth the money to get painted.


The Exhibition in the Restaurant's Court: The Civic Orphanage

After entering from Kalverstraat 92, one reaches a small court where the restaurant is. There's also a small exhibition about The Civic Orphanage.

Quite interesting to find out about the hard life of orphan boys: they got up at 4 AM, were at work at 6 AM, came back not later 9 PM for supper; they were never allowed to miss a night because it meant they were forced to stay in the orphanage up to an older age.
This system seemed like halfway to prison to me, but on the other hand I admit it was much more efficient for the society this way, which both used cheap labor and ensured they did not turn into criminals.


Begijnhof

It's quite a big and very nice court (grass, flowers, trees, very nice houses), inhabited by real people - that's why there are barriers to keep tourists away.

There's also the English Reformed Church here, at Begijnhof 48 - very nice; they even had the description printed in Romanian, just like they had it at the Tulip Museum - felt so good!

Opposite to the English Church there's the Begijnhof Kapel (en: chapel) - it's still in use, people pray there etc., so be careful not to take pictures and not to disturb them.


... And then I visited the main part of the museum again, just to look at those cool things and take their pictures. The guard probably thinks I'm obsessed with crossbows or something.



Conclusions

I recommend you visit Amsterdam Historical Museum. Be there (1) early so you have time to visit it all, (2) fresh so you can pay attention to everything (or at least most of it), and (3) bring your camera to take lots of pictures.

The Hoerengracht exhibition is weird and I personally did not understand it. Should you visit it, don't blame me if you do not understand its point...