Amsterdam, Netherlands

Wooden show showing aspects of the Netherlands

Wooden show showing aspects of the Netherlands

(Pin location 19-A1)

Visited May 15-17, 2012

This is a long-planned river trip of Western Europe. The major rivers traveled were the Rhine, and the Danube, although others were touched upon.

Getting to Amsterdam from San Angelo, TX is an exercise. First SJT to DFW, where I had to go from Terminal B to D, meaning an outside bus ride (with luggage) then through security again and a 5 hour wait to fly to London. Once again through security (no luggage this time) and another bus ride to terminal 5 an then on to Amsterdam. There I was met by a Viking representative who drove me and baggage to the Möenpick Hotel, very near the Hauptbahnhof, and the dock.

 

Hotel Moenpick in Amsterdam, near the Main Train Station

Hotel Moenpick in Amsterdam, near the Main Train Station

 

Grand Viking Tour on Rhine, Main, and the Danube with other rivers shown

Grand Viking Tour on Rhine, Main, and the Danube with other rivers shown

No pins could I find owing to our location (on an island) and available time. I tried. One pin I have, and it’s a touristy thing, showing a wooden shoe and some other features of the Netherlands.

I did visit the Rijks Museum which was a tour de force. Architect Pierre Cuypers’s magic, combined with modern-day technical wizardry, makes the Rijksmuseum a palace of dreams; the most beautiful art accompanied by the most exciting tales, a must see!

The monumental Rijksmuseum houses the impressive collection of the famous Old Dutch Masterpieces, including paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals. The Rijksmuseum is located at the cultural hub, the Museum Square, alongside the Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum.

Besides the notorious paintings, such as Rembrandt’s Night Watch and Vermeer’s Milk Maid, the extensive cultural and historical collection includes sculptures, archaeological artefacts, historical prints, photographs, ship models, and personal collections. These items collectively give a visual account of Dutch history within a global context. The items in the Rijksmuseum collection cover the entire spectrum and together form a single historical memory.

The museum started as the National Art Galley in The Hague with about 200 paintings, but once the collection started to grow, it moved to Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum was designed by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers and completed in 1876. Cuypers designed an impressive building using a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles and richly decorated with references to Dutch art history.

 

3rd floor Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, outstanding sculpture

3rd floor Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, outstanding sculpture

This sculpture (alas, I forgot the name and artist) was almost the first thing I saw at entering the third floor of the museum. What a social commentary!

Rijksmusuem Amsterdam

Rijksmusuem Amsterdam

After ten years of building, renovations, and restoration, the new Rijkmuseum will present itself. From April 13, 2013 onwards everything in the new Rijksmuseum will be new. A whole new layout, a completely renovated building, new facilities for the public, a newly designed garden and a brand-new Asian Pavilion. The Night Watch is the only object that has been returned to its original location. A total of 8,000 works of art and history in 80 rooms tell the tale of 800 years of Dutch culture, from the Middle Ages until the present day.

Striking use of light

Striking use of light

Another painting that caught my eye is “The Serenade,” 1629 by Judith Leyster. The use of light is amazing. The singing lute-player is depicted di sotto in su, from a low vantage point. His extravagant red breeches with yellowish-gold and black stripes are slightly out of focus, creating the illusion that the viewer is looking up at him from close by. Judith Leyster was one of the very few professional female painters of her time.

The Netherlands is a member of the European Union. It’s so convenient to move from one country to another without all the customs and passport control!

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