Sunday 23 May 2010

Eastern Docklands: Abatoir en veemarktterrein en Entrepot-West

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

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

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Eastern Docklands: de Rietlanden neighborhood

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

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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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.

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

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.

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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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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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

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

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

Sunday 2 May 2010

Hermitage Amsterdam. Bonus: Exploring the Neighborhood

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

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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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.