So on Monday, rather than being on a flight home as planned, I went with thecrrcookie
on a canal cruise. It's a great way to see Amsterdam, and I took scads
In the afternoon, I went first to the Central Station to get a new transit card, and then to the Rembrandthuis. When Rembrandt went bankrupt and had to sell his belongings and move, there was an inventory made of his property, so the house has been furnished very much as it was. Nearly every room was used for the business - the studio, gallery, etching room, office, etc. There's one room filled with his collection of oddities & rarities, and wonderful vellum-bound albums.
In addition to the permanent exhibit of Rembrandt's etchings, including his only still life, there was a temporary exhibit called "In Atmospheric Light: Pictorialism in Dutch Photography 1890-1925". "Pictorialists" wasnted to emulate painting and the Dutch pictorialists were particularly inspired by Rembrandt and his use of light and shadow. There was some extraordinary work by Bernard Eilers; I was particularly drawn to a couple of very painterly pieces, "Trafalgar Square London" and "The Light Still Lingers: Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, Amsterdam".
Dinner was at a "Mex Mex" restaurant (the number and variety of ethnic restaurants in Amsterdam is astonishing). Food was good, and the art was curious. There was a large mural depicting Rembrandt and Van Gogh flanking Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo:
and there were drawings on the tables that reminded me of nothing so much as Henry Darger
On Tuesday, I saw the Mackays, melydia
and fellow Bookcrosser KonradRicardo off on their European road trip. I wish I'd brought my camera down, because the engineering of getting five people and all their luggage into a tiny little car was a sight to behold!
Me, I went to the Historical Museum, which is in the former civic orphanage, which, in turn, was converted from a convent. It has art and artifacts going back to the founding of the city, and up to the present day. There's an entire gallery given over to Civil Guard paintings, which was quite an industry, and to which, of course, we owe Rembrandt's famous "Night Watch". Nice views of the neighboring streets, too:
I then walked to the Prinsengracht, through a street with lots of antiquarian booksellers. I was not, however, tempted, as I know no Dutch, antiquarian or otherwise. Up to Prinsengracht to the Tulip Museum, a small, but interesting and informative, place in the basement of a shop that sells bulbs and tulip-related merchandise.
Dinner was at an Italian place across from the hotel, the Trattoria Toto
. I was greeted in Italian, so responded in the same. The usual basket of yummy bread was placed on the table to begin, along with garlicky butter and red olives. I had papardelle ai funghi porcini and vino rosso.
I had earlier gone to the Concertgebouw and bought a ticket for the evening's concert of Mozart and Schubert. The concert was in the Grote Zaal (the larger of the two halls), which is about 500 seats smaller than Chicago's Orchestra Hall, but seems even smaller. It's a beautiful hall, with a great organ at the back center of the stage, with seats on either side. Then the main floor, and a small, u-shaped balcony supported by slender Corinthian columns. It's painted mostly white, with some gold and grey-green, with a very light and airy feeling. The lobby goes around
the entire hall, which is really brilliant planning.
Wednesday was another museum day. I discovered the Tassenmuseum Hendrikje, the Museum of Bags and Purses. Well, how could I resist? It was, in fact, fascinating, going back centuries, showing the development of various styles of bags, and being arranged not only chronologically, but by style and material, which led to some interesting comparisons, such as the condom-holder dating from 2000 in the style of a "stocking purse" popular in the late a8th-century. The displays included objects associated with the bags, such as the small, beautifully carved, ivory and bone needlework accessories shown with the work bags of the 18th & 19th-centuries. There was also a showing of film clips of fashions from 1910 (Longchamps) thorugh 1924, including some color film as early as 1917. I was excited to see my Josef Hoffmann letter-case here! I saw a great many pieces that I lusted after, and was rather disappointed that the shop here had no reproductions of some of the older purses, concentrating instead on contemporary work (lovely though many of them were).
Just down the street is the Museum Willet-Holthuysen, a double canal house built in 1685, and left to the city by its last owner on her death in 1895. Luisa Holthuysen and her husband, Abraham Willet, were great collectors of art and objets d'art. The house itself is presented mostly as it was in their time, though the kitchen and conservatory are 18th-century. The last is lovely, full of light and overlooks the formal garden:
I then went to the Dutch Resistance Museum, extremely powerful and moving. There was an exhibit of work by the political cartoonist, Fritz Behrendts, who began working in political art at the time of the Second World War, and continued to his death in 2008.
Dinner at a Thai place near the hotel, red curry chicken and chardonnay.
My flight on Thursday wasn't until the evening, so after breakfast I went to see the Queen, well, the Palace, anyway! But I discovered that it didn't open until noon, so I walked to the Bloemenmarket. So many gorgeous flowers! I wanted to take them all home, but especially the Vermeer calla lilies:
I did find some tulip bulbs certified for entry into the U.S., so bought some of those, being duly warned to declare them. I also found a shop selling prints and etchings, and bought a winter canal scene that's very Japanese-looking.
On to the Palace, which is definitely worth the trip. It had been closed for four years for restoration and renovation, and there was a film on the subject discussing the project. They found chandeliers in boxes, original upholstery under what they were replacing, unexpected cabinets in walls. Very interesting stuff, and a very beautiful building:
Then back to the hotel to pick up my luggage and head to Schiphol. The airport was not the madhouse that I expected, so I had plenty of time, and arrived safely in Stockholm after an uneventful, and surprisingly empty, flight. I had booked a room at a hotel near, but not at, the airport. It was rather spartan, but still comfortable, and all I really cared about was a bed!
At the airport the next day, I found that the flight was delayed a few hours, as they had to get a plane into position. Of course, at that point what was another few hours? I had reading material, bought some internet time to check my email, but mostly sat and chatted with a few other waiting passengers. Another uneventful flight, with a nice meal and room to stretch out, and I listened to the "light classical"channel, while reading Mozart's Women
. On arrival in Chicago, I zipped through customs (they barely looked at my declaration!), and got home about 5:30. Theoretically, I could have jumped in my car and gone to the Teatro Vista benefit, but figured I might fall asleep on the way, so chose to unpack and fall asleep at home.