It’s always rainy in Amsterdam…

but then it ends….

and begins again….

Typical Dutch sky...sunny, then cloudy, then rainy, then sunny, then cloudy, then rainy....

Momentendag, continued…

Mettine and I also visited the archives of the city, which are housed in an old bank. They also had an excellent photography exhibit by  Dolf Toussaint –I’m not super photo-savvy but I enjoyed these–the compositions were interesting and beautifully shot and he caught very simple but moving human moments.  Outside the gallery they had seat-balls printed with the map of Amsterdam, which were fun to lounge around in.

We then went to the Carre theater, which originally housed a circus. The owner, Carre, had numerous horses in the theater, 40 of which he memorialized with photos and braids from their hair. I later learned that his wife was killed in a train accident soon after the building was built, and he became depressed and decided to end the circus. Rather than let his beloved horses become carriage or draft horses, he killed them all. I imagine they would have preferred pulling carriages.

Some of Carre's horses

On Monday the rest of the world was back to work and I continued my exploration of the Dutch museums. I do love museums, the quirkier the better, and the Tropen museum is definitely up there for creative exhibits. It features the cultures of the tropics colonized by the Dutch and has some very interesting exhibitions, many of which contain documentary footage of the cultures a century ago, and today. The museum also dealt with some of the negative repercussions of the colonization as well as the ethnic and cultural diversity now present in Holland.

Snakes and Ladder mural of the originally Indian game

One of a few strange wax figures which had glass limbs, and in this case, an ear....

Poor photo of a categorization of eye color--the colonists measured height, skull shape, skin and eye color of the indigenous peoples

After the Tropen museum I met Mettine and friends for a drink, dinner, and a lovely night cruise through the canals of Amsterdam. It was a really cool experience to glide past the streets and under the narrow bridges that make up the city. Unfortunately my photos didn’t turn out very well, but just close your eyes and imagine it’s night and that your street has become a river. Imagine that you’re in a glass-topped boat floating quietly through your neighborhood and every intersection is now a bridge strung with lights. As you go under the bridges, the walls are very close and you can hear the water lapping against them….. Better than a photo!

The next day……it rained! But I had already planned an outing to Haarlem to visit the Teylers museum and experience a smaller Dutch town, so I set out on my trusty Dutch bike to Centraal Station for a train to Haarlem. Oh, efficient Dutch trains! Usually so convenient and reliable, but on the way there the track cables broke, creating horrible, “something is very wrong” sounds. So we stopped, and at this point everyone is chattering excitedly to each other and to me, but I just made my eyes big and shook my head and sat back and waited to see what would happen. We ended up getting off the train, in the rain, in a plain, and getting on a bus to Haarlem.

Location: Haarlem. Description: Quaint town, beautiful traditional Dutch architecture. Also impressive large church, St. Bavo, with a huge organ played by a 10 yr-old Mozart and floors made up of grave slabs where I made a surprising discovery!

We are everywhere, as Dad says.  Then the Teylers museum, which, after the rain, the train and ongoing reconstruction, left something to be desired. It’s the oldest museum in NL and has retained many of its original exhibits, but I have to admit I prefer the Wagner Free Institute in Philly. But here are images from the Teylers:

After my daily cappuccino, I decided to call it a day and take the train home. Unfortunately the trains between Amsterdam and Haarlem were still down (due to MY morning train!) so after waiting for 30 minutes for a bus with 100 or so other people, I called Mettine, who sent me on another train somewhere else, but with a connection to Amsterdam. Whew!

About Stephanie Beck

Exploring the international world of art.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.