Tag Archives: Stedelijk Museum

Ambling Around Amsterdam…

So, as I mentioned yesterday, I thought this week on the blog we could go Dutch both in the books that feature this week and the non-review posts too. All of this is in honour of a lovely trip I took to Amsterdam a few months ago for work and so today I thought we could have a little amble around the city before taking in two very special bookish places later in the week. It is hard to try an encapsulate any city, but particularly Amsterdam, so I thought we could start with a picture that sums up the city over all as well as being my first and lasting impression of it…


It is so beautiful! I think over the course of one walk from the train station to my hotel I fell in love with (and mentally moved into) about fifty or sixty different houses. Isn’t it bizarre, if you think about it (not for too long or it hurts your head) how every city, particularly in Europe, has its own style? You can often see a picture and instantly know what that city is, you certainly can with this one. I completely enjoyed getting completely lost in the city and just enjoying seeing what every single street had in store, eventually I found my hotel (the Hotel Andaz which is a converted library and managed by a lovely woman called Daphne, could it be more perfect) and my amazing and amazingly bonkers bedroom.


A fish spoon!?! What is going on there? The whole hotel has this slightly kitsch meets incredibly expensive classy vibe to it that I just loved the whole place. I do have a hotel rule of thumb though, I always judge them by their breakfasts and after having an early night that night after the adventure of getting lost in the city and seeing some bookshops (more on those later this week) I was soon able to judge this hotel by that system.


Amazing again. Now that is my sort of never ending breakfast, oh and you could have cooked food too – I am not at liberty to say how many times I made the visits I made to the buffet, or how many of the cooked breakfasts I tried. So let us move on… It was time for some culture and so I headed to the heart of it. Amsterdam’s very own Museum Plein, or ‘museum square’, which is  a park just a ten minute walk from the city centre surrounded by museums.


You could easily loose a day as whatever your taste in art there is a museum which will draw you in (see what I did there). Highlights for me were the Van Gogh museum, where to see some of the world most famous paintings is quite a heady experience. I have always liked Van Gogh, and indeed the Beard is very good at making copies of them in a non-illegal way, so I happily got lost in there for a good few hours and discovered this gorgeous picture that I had never seen of his before.


It is one of those incredible pictures which seems to tell the start of a story, the more you look at it the more you get and also (though this could just be because of my mind) the darker the picture actually seems. Hidden depths in that one. I am a BIG fan of modern art. Ok, let’s rephrase that, I am a big fan of good modern art. I particularly love Picasso and so if I know somewhere has some, even just one, I have to go and have a gander and so I headed for the Stedelijk Museum of modern art. I saw some lovely Picasso’s and many more and also this old chestnut which I do actually think is art, especially on a massive scale…


This however I do not…


Hmmmm. It’s not even a good display in a double glazing showroom that! Before my head could pop with any more pop art, do you see what I did there, I stopped and had a coffee on the square before heading over to the Rijksmuseum and had to take a shameless ‘selfie’ (so down with the kids) with the I Amsterdam sign, well when in Amsterdam…


The incredible Rijksmuseum (which has recently had a multimillion euro makeover) probably needs a full day or two to explore and is where you can see some of Rembrant’s best known works amongst many others. I had a gander at those but I find art from around that period a little austere and so headed for some of the wackier stuff. I think, after two hours looking, this was the most mind boggling thing that I found, which surprise, surprise happened to be a book.


This is actually the notebook of a psychopath which was part of an experiment in the 1950’s to see whether if you let lots of psychopaths keep journals some similarities might show in the text. I found this idea fascinating and am amazed there isn’t a book about these books somewhere. I wanted to break it our if its case, instead for fear of being arrested I headed by out into the city to find my evenings dinner. In doing so I got completely delightfully lost and ended up in the heart of the Red Light District which was NOTHING like I expected it to be…


And once dinner was over it was time to head for my hotel, and bed (and breakfast the next morning)to get some rest before my next port of call which was Anne Frank’s house, a place I didn’t expect to have such a reaction as I did. More on that later in the week though. Hope you have enjoyed our little jaunt around the city? We are in for a Dutch ‘detour’ of sorts again tomorrow…

(A big thanks to Holland.com who sent me away on a work trip and kindly got me into all the museums, and put me up in such a literary hotel, mentioned above!)


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