365 Places: Amsterdam

Day 6: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The new market and bourse (i.e. weighing house), Amsterdam, Holland

The new market and bourse (i.e. weighing house), Amsterdam, Holland

Today I am back in Europe, in another city that I love, Amsterdam. I have visited Amsterdam twice – once in 1999 when I was on a Contiki Tour and when I went to the N5M4 festival in 2003. Amsterdam is a city of bicycles, canals and great Indonesian food. It is also very beautiful, with lots of historic buildings.

Map of Amsterdam 1850

Map of Amsterdam 1850

Amsterdam is a city that is very accessible by foot; when I visited in 2003, I spent many hours wandering around. I mainly spent my time going to art galleries and museums, which are in abundance in this city. I love the cobblestone streets, you really do feel like you have stepped back in time. My favourite museums include:

  • The Rembrandt House, which is on the site where Rembrandt lived for over 20 years. The museum also owns the complete collection of Rembrandt’s etchings, part of which is permanently shown the gallery.
  • The Van Gogh Museum is really impressive, holding the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the world. It is a beautiful building to explore as well.

Amsterdam held a fascination for me, long before I visited in 1999. In year 8, we read the Diary of Anne Frank at school. This book had a massive impact on my young mind, as I grappled with the horror of the holocaust and World War II as seen through the eyes of a girl about the same age as me. Both times I have been to Amsterdam, I have gone to the Anne Frank museum. There is something very powerful about seeing the wall where Anne used to put pictures and drawings. I also like the contemporary part of the museum, which has a permanent installation about how we must resist racism and consider humanitarian matters. We could well meditate on this need to maintain and respect human rights in our current context.

I hope to return again soon to this canal city as it continues to draw my interest as an artist and traveller. It is not only a city rich with culture and history; Amsterdam has a lively media arts community, which has for many years been a leader in terms of open source software development and networked media theory. It is a place I would love to work for a while as it holds much relevance to my research interests.

The images I have found on Flickr Commons portray a city from another time – they are so lovely I just had to share 🙂

The Buiten Amstel, Amsterdam, Holland

The Buiten Amstel, Amsterdam, Holland

Image sources:

The new market and bourse (i.e. weighing house), Amsterdam, Holland, Library of Congress,  http://loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsc.05768/, (accessed 24 April 2014)

Map of Amsterdam, National Archives of the Netherlands http://en.nationaalarchief.nl (accessed 24 April 2014)

The Buiten Amstel, Amsterdam, Holland, Library of Congress, hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsc.05771 (accessed 24 April 2014)

Netherlands Tourism http://www.netherlands-tourism.com/amsterdam/