Thursday 29 April 2010

Museum Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis

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

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.)


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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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

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

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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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

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

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

There are 4 entrances (apparently): Kalverstraat 92, Sint Luciënsteeg 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 Luciënsteeg 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.

  • 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 [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.


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.


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...

Thursday 22 April 2010

Het Schip (Part 2), Spaardammerbuurt, and a Residential Complex Between Haarlemmerweg, van Hallstraat, van Hogendorpstraat, Waterpoortweg

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

The weather on 11th of April
100% cloudy: compact blue-gray clouds have covered the whole sky, the whole day.
It has been quite cold, and the wind has been continuously blowing.
In one word: terrible. In more words: classic Amsterdam weather, just to be nasty about it. You wouldn't have forced even a dog out of the house.
Oh well, I did get out and stayed some 5 hours.

Het Schip Museum, Amsterdam - part 2
(Museum of the Amsterdam School of Architecture)

As I've promised in part 1, I returned for another tour of The Ship, in order to have a complete tour this time.

At 2 PM, a group of Dutch-speaking people had already formed.
There were only 3 of us for the tour in English, out of which only 2 were not speaking Dutch. Ha ha, sad news, since I only got a summary in English of the main explanations; since I have already attended the first part, I did not mind about it. I did kind of mind when I reached the part I have not attended the first time (i.e. after visiting the 1920s-style-apartment). However, it turned out there was little I missed at the first tour: (1) basically the outer part of The Ship on Oostzanstraat, emphasizing how Mr. de Clerk had integrated in his building an already built school in that perimeter, and (2) the details on the urban furniture used in Amsterdam some time ago (the urban furniture was placed in the back yard of the museum's coffee shop, across the street).

Again, I was the only young person in the group; not more than other 3 people were around 38-50 years old, and the rest of approximately 12 people this time were definitely above 50.

A tip from Liviu: Also closely look at the building north of The Ship, since it's really awesome. Go take a look in the courtyard, basically Zaanhot street, you shall like it.

West of Spaarndammerstraat: Average looking area, quite nice area, but nothing special. There is only one quite cool playground at Zaandammerplein, and one might find interesting the paths between the blocks of flats in the southern part of this area.

East of Spaarndammerstraat: Well, here's a different story to tell, i.e. it's a nice area and I should get back some time to make some pictures.

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Residential Complex Between Haarlemmerweg, van Hallstraat, van Hogendorpstraat, Waterpoortweg

Very nice.

I liked the boards placed at various entrances in the residential complex, with the map and several details regarding the complex. All buildings are numbered: 1-17.

The bricks had a different shade of red from everything I've seen so far.
A couple of buildings, I think, had some sort of wood on the outside on one of their sides.

On the other hand, I had a strange feeling they had designed it with the sole purpose of turning it into a touristic attraction some 20 years after its completion :) Given that it's been finished in 1998, I guess there's little time left until they shall start advertising tours here.

So, hurry up, put it on your list to visit, just to be sure you have talked about it to your friends before anyone else than me!
I haven't read about it, it just happened to discover it in another random walk I took, and now again, so I decided to take some pictures this time, although the blistering cold and wind kind of had my hands frozen. Indeed, I sacrificed myself for art, beauty, pictures and my explorer's ego!

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Saturday 17 April 2010

Volcanic ash from Iceland

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

I finally decided to inform myself on the volcano eruption in Iceland, which blocked most flights in the EU. I admit I had no idea the situation was so terrible!
There has been and is so much volcano ash above the Netherlands, according to the map provided by the BBC article on the volcanic ash from Iceland. (I mean, it's Benelux, England, Northern Germany and a tiny bit of Northern France that are the worst hit.)

Are we gonna die?
Why not?

... 'cause we gotta keep working? Ok, fine, back to work, people! Show's over, folks!

As you suspect, I did not notice the ash in the sky. Basically, if I have not been informed by the world media on the eruption, I wouldn't have known about it.
Therefore, I lied when I said the situation was terrible.

And now, a stupid joke/question I invented:
Regarding England and France, since all flights have been and shall be stopped for several days, will this get British Airways and Air France decrease their strike days quota this year? (I mean, given this situation, they have already earned several free days, right?)

Sunday 4 April 2010

Hristos a înviat! Adevărat a înviat!

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

Ca românul nostalgic, am zis să văd o parte din slujba de Înviere de la TV, i.e. ce se transmitea din România la TV...
Mi-am dat seama de această posibilitate puțin după 23 ora NL, deci puțin după 00 ora RO...
Deci am pierdut primirea Luminii prin display-ul comp-ului...

Și, cu speranță am pornit să găsesc pe undeva live streaming:
  1. Evenimentul Zilei și Gândul nu ofereau nimic - logic, normal, evident.
  2. Realitatea - pe lângă știri tâmpite plasate pe tot site-ul, apare link-ul de live streaming, but guess what? Era setat automat pe România, iar eu eram... Internațional - presupun ca funcția de determinare automată a locației are bug-uri, dar de implementat au implementat-o, corect? :) Anyway, constatând că nu găsește serverul (îmi dădea mesaj explicit cu asta), am dat click pe Internațional și a mers.
    După câteva minute de transmisie au revenit în studio, și moderatoarea cu invitații au ciocnit ouă și au început să bată câmpii. (Ca fapt divers, ce căutau în studio Corina Chiriac, Tudor Octavian et. al.?)
    Damn, hai să mai căutăm...
  3. Antena 3 - știri și mai tâmpite pe tot site-ul, dar live streaming-ul apare plasat bine și merge din prima. Yupiii!
    Imaginea și sunetul veneau de la Patriarhie cred, dar îi mănâncă pe cei din studio și încep să comenteze diferențe ortodoxism vs. catolicism și alte teme dintr-astea filozofice - evident, în spiritul antenist, erau habar-nam-iști, pesimiști, naționaliști și manifestau un puternic spirit rural.
    M-am oprit, mă simțeam pedepsit de divinitate, aproape abandonasem ideea...
...Apoi mi-am dat seama - soluția era evidentă - Trinitas:
Din păcate, TV-ul oferă un link de live streaming care nu merge, dar...
Radio-ul oferă live streaming perfect: totul în direct de la Patriarhie, sunet bun, zero întreruperi, zero comentarii aiurea - exact ce vroiam, iar televiziunile comerciale nu au putut oferi. Felicitări!... și uite-așa, stând pe scaun mi-am potolit nostalgia.

  1. La noi în biserică se stă în picioare, înghesuit, cu vecini nerăbdători care comentează - eu stăteam pe scaun, lejer, și ascultam în liniște. => Destul de catolică abordarea, aș zice :)
    În momente ca astea apreciezi organizarea catolică și-ți dorești să bage și ai noștri băncuțe mai multe în biserică, să asiști liniștit, dacă vrei să asiști.
  2. Evident că din slujbă n-am înțeles mai nimic - Deh, nu am spiritul religios antrenat.
  3. Oh well, a fost o experiență interesantă.
    Nu, nu mă duc la biserică.
    Nu m-am mai dus să iau Lumină de Paște de nu-știu-câți ani.
    Da, nu sunt un bun creștin.


Hristos a înviat! Adevărat a înviat!

Am menționat că am făcut și ouă roșii?
Ok, zic acum.

Paște Fericit duminică, pe 4 Aprilie, people!