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Rembrandt's House Museum: Amsterdam


When in Amsterdam....visit the Rembrandt House. The old master lived most of his life in Amsterdam. At the height of his popularity he resided in a magnificent house for twenty years in the middle of Amsterdam's Jewish Quarter.

Rembrandt's House 1868
At this museum you get to step back in time and understand the environment that Rembrandt lived. The house has been reconstructed and filled with objects from Rembrandt's time. Also, the house holds the largest collection of Rembrandt etchings.

Rembrandt's House initial restoration in mid 20th century

It was in 1906 that the city purchased the building and began a long process of restoration. It was not until 1999 that the current restoration was completed. This was due to the purchase of the adjacent building to house the library and information centre.

Paint making in the 17th century at  Rembrandt's House Museum, Amsterdam.

The best thing about the museum is the demonstrations. Each day the Museum shows how etchings were done in the 17th century. There is also a demonstration on how paint was made in Rembrandt's time.


Our tip:

Visit the Rembrandt House Museum before you visit the Rijksmuseum. Step back in time to see and feel the environment before seeing the masterpieces in the national museum, Rijksmuseum.

Open hours and prices can be found here at their website for Rembrandt House Museum.

 When in Amsterdam....enjoy!

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Things to do in Amsterdam: Local Tips from famous Amsterdammers

When in Amsterdam....there are so many things to do. Here we have translated advice from famous Amsterdammers of what to do in the city for visitors. These exerts were taken from a book titled: Mijn Plek Amsterdam. 2013. The book was only released in Dutch but is a great gift idea.

Hanna Bervoets

Hanna Bervoets
 Photo taken from film1.nl
Hanna Bervoets is born and breed Amsterdam. She is famous for being a writer, journalist, columnist and appearing on Dutch television.

Hanna's tip: "visitors should go to Cafe-Restaurant Noorderlicht in Amsterdam-North at the NDSM wharf. There, tourists get to see a special and little exposed piece of Amsterdam."

Job Cohen

Job Cohen
Photo taken from nrc.nl
Job Cohen is former social democratic politician and famous for being Mayor of Amsterdam 2001-2010. He was rated European of the Year 2005 by Time for his handling of race tension in Amsterdam.

Job's tip:"a tourist should be directed to the new (eastern) Ij islands. An example for the whole world how an ancient port which no longer serves it initial purpose can be transformed into a modern part of the city. When I started as mayor there was nothing, now it is really beautiful."

Leo Blokhuis

Leo Blokhuis
Photo taken from media.nu.nl


Leo Blokhuis is an expert in the field of pop. He is also a professional graphic designer and a broadcaster.

Leo's tip: "tourists should visit the museums, it's really not normal how much there is to see in the larger museums of the city. Very happy they are open again to the public."

Jeroen Pauw

Jeroen Pauw
Photo taken from talent kitchen


Jeroen Pauw is a journalist and television presenter.

Jeroen's tip: "I hope that tourists see Amsterdam as a relaxed and cheerful village. I get annoyed by people watching and thinking it is dangerous. Walk to Wilhelmina Dok (north Amsterdam) find a cafe and drink quietly a coffee. Then Walk through the park and go to the museum (Film museum)."

Glennis Grace

Glennis Grace
Photo taken from ceo-evenementen
Glennis is a born and breed Amsterdam famous for her singing.

Glennis's tip: "A boat tour is really special. But also a bus or perhaps even by bicycle. A fun and comfortable way to see the city."

Johannes van Dam (deceased)


Johannes van Dam
Photo taken from Het Parool
Johannes was born an Amsterdammer and died in Amsterdam. A journalist and the Netherlands most famous food critic. He had a column for 25 years in the national daily Het Parool. 

Johannes's tip: "Go to the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Maritime Museum and the Hermitage. Then a cruise the canals. For the best croquettes in Amsterdam you need to go to confectionery Holtkamp on the Vijzelgracht."

Tygo Gernandt

Tygo Gernandt
Photo taken from nuphoto.nl


Tygo Gernandt was born in Amsterdam. He is famous for being a voice, television and film actor.

Tygo's tip: "Just the city sweep you up. Walk out of Central Station and just keep walking. Be yourself and do what you want to do. This is what I would advise."


Ellen Hoog

Ellen Hoog
Photo taken from ellenhoog.com
Ellen is a famous for her field hockey talent. She was a member of the Netherlands' European and World Champion national field hockey team

Ellen's tip: "Visit the Nine Streets. When I 'm abroad I look for this atmosphere. The squares, terraces and canals give a very pretty picture of Amsterdam."

Youp van 't Hek

Youp van 't Hek
Photo taken from redlinemusic.nl


Youp is famous for being a comedian and making fun of the rich. He is also a columnist for the national daily NRC Handelsblad since 1988. 

Youp's tip: "At five in the morning take a boat through the city. The students are home, the whores go to bed and sleep. The city wakes up at the same time. Its really great. Get on your bike and go eat somewhere you 've never been without a reservation."

Lnage Frans

Lnage Frans
Photo taken from culturegids.avro.nl
Lnage Frans is born in Amsterdam and is famous for being a rapper and a television presenter.

Lnage's tip: "Cruise through the canals. Just an hour of listening to the tape and admiring all the beautiful things."





We hope this was helpful. If you would like to see the book this came from Mijn Plek Amsterdam. It is a book that asked 25 famous Amsterdammers about their part of Amsterdam. We bought a copy from the Amsterdam City Archives bookshop.

When in Amsterdam....enjoy!

Relate Blog Post:

All-time Top 10 Things to do in Amsterdam: a critical look


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Street Photography in Amsterdam: William Klein Exhibition at Foam

When in Amsterdam....Foam photo museum is paradise for photographers. Presently, the entire museum is dedicated to a retrospective of William Klein the famous American-French photographer and filmmaker.




New York born, William Klein is considered one of the top 100 influential photographers of all time. He is famous for his ironic approach and unique photo techniques for photo journalism and fashion photography. He is also one of the Godfathers of Street Photography.

Photo: William Klein


The exhibition spans the entire three floors of Foam Museum. On entrance you are enter the black and whites of New York in the 1950s. This room balances the idolized American Dream with gritty images of New York streets.

By William Klein

The exhibition then flows in his work from Moscow, Rome and Japan. On the top floor there is a collage of his films that poke fun at the American and French ideals of freedom.  This mix of film clips brings the exhibition together. The personality of Klein ironic, crude and rude yet alive and personal.

By William Klein


The exhibition, William Klein, runs December 2, 2013 until March 12, 2014. For lovers of street photography and art in general this is insightful. The 1.5 hours of iconic 20th century photography is unlikely to be seen for sometime in Amsterdam. Take the opportunity if in Amsterdam.

By William Klein

*note* There is a 1.25 euro surcharge for Museum Card hollers.


When in Amsterdam...enjoy!







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Marcel Wanders: Pinned Up at the Stedelijk, 25 years of design

When in Amsterdam...the Stedelijk Museum is home to contemporary art. Marcel Wanders: Pinned up at the Stedelijk is an exhibition of one of the Netherlands most famous designers.

The exhibition, curated by Ingeborg de Roode, brings together 400 pieces and 25 years of Marcel Wanders work. In 2011, the New York Times labeled Wanders the Lady Gaga of the design world. As he was 'a constant font of ideas and energy who is nearly impossible to ignore'.


Knotted Chair by Marcel Wanders 1996




Marcel Wanders rise to fame came in the 1990s. In 1996, his Knotted Chair was released to international acclaim at the Milan Furniture Fair. He developed the chair for the Droog collective and in 2001 foundered Moooi furniture. 




The exhibition is laid out in three distinct areas. The first decision is to decide which zone to explore first, White or Black Zones. 

The White Zone, charts the progression of Wander's work. This zone is based on 10 themes among them surface, innovation, playing with scale. 








The Black Zone, presents work that is more experimental and personal to Wanders. The contrast from the White Zone creates a simple powerful dramatic effect.











The Lounge area at the end of the exhibition shows his work for design brands.











The iconic works of Wanders are presented. Such as, Set Up Shades lamp (1989), Knotted Chair (1996), Lace Table (1997), Egg Vase (1997) and Skygarden lamp (2007). There are also lesser known pieces and recent pieces such as the special edition version for this exhibition of the Egg Vase.


Egg Vase: Marcel Wanders

If you are a designer or just love design this is must if you are in Amsterdam. Even if you don't think you enjoy design you will find something in this exhibition that screams cool. The exhibition runs from February 1 until June 15 2014. The Exhibition Marcel Wanders: Pinned up at the Stedelijk, 25 years of design is sponsored by Koninklijke Ahold N.V. 

When in Amsterdam...enjoy!

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Piet Modriaan in Amsterdam 1892 -1912: Amsterdam Museum Exhibitions

When in Amsterdam....explore the influence on art. The Amsterdam Museum is currently displaying 62 pieces by Piet Modriaan. Modriaan is famous in the art world for pioneering the abstract (Neoplasticism/ de Stijl) school of painting.



Modrian in Amsterdam 1892 - 1912
(photo: Omy Amsterdam Tours)

This exhibition (on display to January 2, 2014) concentrates on his early works when he lived in and around Amsterdam. The works show the progression of Mordiaan as an artist (he would change his name to Modrian in Paris 1911). Modriaan is normally remembered for his line paintings. This exhibition shows a human, an artist who is developing from influence, environment and personal  philosophy.

Born just outside Amsterdam to a strict Calvinist family Modriaan moved to Amsterdam in 1892 to study at the Academy of Fine Art. The exhibition shows how young Modriaan painting was typical in 19th century style. Landscapes and especially windmills were consistent objects of his paintings. He built up a career of commissions painting portraits and landscapes.



The exhibition dramatically shows the influence on Modriaan of the Van Gogh exhibition in Amsterdam in 1905. From 1907 his colours change to be more radical. His radical colour choices put him at odds with patrons and his family.



Windmill in Sunlight, Modriaan 1908

Modriaan again changes his style after his trip to Paris in 1911. He is confronted by Cubism. Combined with the use of dramatic colours during the First World War  Modriaan turns his attention to the philosophy and painting, especially the line and colour. The process becomes more important than the result.

It is always fascinating to see an artist develop. Piet Modriaan in Amsterdam 1892 - 1912, exhibits rare works seldom displayed publicly. For those who love early 20th century art this is a must see. Great in combination with a visit to the Van Gogh and Stedelijk museums of Amsterdam.

When in Amsterdam....enjoy!
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Amsterdam Museum Cannonball Run: 2. Amsterdam Museum

When in Amsterdam...the best museum about the city is of course the Amsterdam Museum. Housed on the location of the former monestry and city Orphanage the location dates back to 1581.



Amsterdam Museum entrance Kalverstraat
Museum Layout/Overview

5 main areas of the museum

- 1. Cafe and courtyard

- 2. DNA Amsterdam exhibition. An overview of the cities history using new and interactive multi-media exhibiting techniques. Perfect for someone with not a lot of time or not that into museum.

- 3. Amsterdam by centuries: is a more detailed looked through the city's history. Great if you wan to delve deeper into the ages.

- 4. Temporary exhibitions and childrens area.

- 5. Civic Guards Gallery: free gallery to walk though


Temporary exhibitions

Piet Modriaan in Amsterdam 1892 - 1912 (Modrian) was born just outside Amsterdam. He spent most of his youth in Amsterdam living in at least 10 addresses across the city. One such address is the Kalverstraat where this exhibition is on show. Mordian's work spans the late 19th century and early 20th century. His most famous works internationally are those after 1920.

This exhibition consists of 62 works from his early days to pre-1920s. It is interesting to see the artist develop through his work. This exhibition will be on display until February 2014. 

Tips
- See the Rembrandt painting "The Anotomy Lesson of Dr. Jan Deijman" (1956). Part of the permanent collection.
- Another Rembrandt is on loan until August 2015 from the American's National Gallery of Art. "Saskia van Uylenburgh". In the DNA exhibition.
- There is a good short movie of what Ajax Football Club means to Amsterdam.
- Modern art lovers will relish the Modrian exhibition in combination with Van Gogh museum and Stedelijk Museum.

Museumnacht Tips
- There is always a good party in the cafe and coutyard. This year the theme is New York jazz, Boogie Woogie, Eddie the Eagle and Modrian. Get there around midnight.

When in Amsterdam...enjoy!

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Amsterdam Museums: Museumnacht Cannonball Run 2013

When in Amsterdam...Autumn and Winter mean museums, expositions and concerts. As the seasons change Museum Night (Museumnacht Amsterdam) is an event to which to look forward. Many Amsterdam museums open for a one night extravaganza from 7pm to 2am. The buildings filled with special events, exhibitions and music.



So with 23 days to go to Museumnacht Amsterdam we thought a run around of Amsterdam museums would be a good idea. Armed with our Museum card (Museumkaart) we want to:

- Visit as many Museums participating in Amsterdam Museumnacht 2013 as possible;
- Blog about new exhibitions in our musums for Autumn and Winter in Amsterdam,
- Recount the permenant collections of our museums.
- Provide an overview of the museums,
- Tips and anything you should see before Museumnacht.

The most important aim is to provide English reading residents of Amsterdam and our visitors encouragement to get out and see our wonderful varied Amsterdam museums. There is so much more than the Big 3: Anne Frank, Van Gogh and the Rijksmuseum.




You can paritipate too!

- Read our blog,
- Comment on our posts,
- Buy a museumkaart and send us your thoughts on a  museum you visited lately,
- Buy a ticket to Museumnacht, check out the Museumnacht website and read our blog in anticipation.
- Join the Cannonball, get your Museumkaart and come. Facebook postings are best...stay tuned....



Museum Card (Museumkaart)

Your best value cultural card to Museums in the Netherlands. For 50 euro you can visit over 400 listed museums in the Netherlands for one year from the time of purchase. That's right, 1 year from time of purchase.

You can sign up on the website and pay online for your Museumkaart. They will send it to you for an additional postage fee. The website is in Dutch which maybe difficult for new English reading Amsterdammers and guests.

Do you want a Museumkaart now? Buy a card at major Amsterdam museums. Tip: try the Amsterdam Museum as it is central and not overcome by visitors.

Note: the Museumkaart does NOT provide entrance to Museumnacht Amsterdam 2013.

If you wish to see what we did and tips from last year have a read of these blog entries:
- Diary Amsterdam Museum Night 2011
Amsterdam Museum Night 2012
- Amsterdam Museum Night 2012 Diary

Let the Amsterdam Museum Cannonball Run begin.

When in Amsterdam...enjoy!
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Amsterdam Museum: The Golden Age Exhibition: gateway to our modern world

When in Amsterdam.... the city was the wealthiest in Europe at the beginning of the 1600s. The Amsterdam Museum is currently holding an exhibition of the Dutch Golden Age, the seventeenth century. This exhibition explores a period of history when the  Netherlands influenced the world. This influence still shapes the country and how the world sees the Netherlands today.

The period was an age of economic, social, religious and engineering development. Names such as the Dutch East India Company, Rembrandt, Spinoza rose to fame. These names are still household names today. The exhibition does well to delve into a period rich with content.



The curators have used traditional and contemporary techniques. Paintings and artifacts transport guests back to an age of enormous wealth in Amsterdam. These elements are enhanced by documentary segments hosted on television screens. Interactive touch screens enable guests to explore details of paintings and maps of the Netherlands and Amsterdam. In a year when Amsterdam celebrates the 400th anniversary of the city's world heritage listed canals this exhibition brings to life the period.



The limitations of the exhibition is that Amsterdam as a focus is often lost. The display is almost worthy of a Holland exhibition of the period belonging in the national museum. Everyday life in Amsterdam during the period is segued and focuses on the elite, the riches and the celebrated achievements. How people went about their daily lives such as getting water, disposing of waste, schooling and education for all segments of Amsterdam is the depth missing from the exhibition. There is often a feeling there is no new Amsterdam insights, old displays rearranged and slightly expanded. Limitations aside there is much to learn and appreciate.

The most appreciated part of the exhibition is the recognition of a small country glorifying a Golden Age long past. The 17th Century was a period of war and slavery. The Dutch often encouraged and stimulated violence to enhance financial benefit, the VOC mentality. For centuries this period of influence and power was glorified and taught as the Dutch in their finest hour. This is recognized in the final room of the exhibition.

Another positive to the exhibition is the links of the Golden Age to the present day Netherlands. Female independence and childhood education today are connected to Golden Age developments. Land reclamation projects of the Golden Age surrounding Amsterdam also demonstrate the period's influence on today's geography.

For those interested in more depth the book(of the same name) published in associated with the exhibition is very well done. Normally, exhibition books are a catalog of artifacts and the small descriptions guests have just experienced. The book adds to the exhibition in a way few exhibitions do.

The Amsterdam Museum's Golden Age Exhibition is a wonderful mix of riches of the period mixed with documentary insights when Amsterdam was the centre of European development. It is well worth a visit in a year when much is celebrated in Amsterdam.

When in Amsterdam....enjoy!

The Golden Age Exhibition runs until the end of August 2013. Admission is 10 euro and 5 euro for children.








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Amsterdam Museum Night 2012: diary

When in Amsterdam....Museum Night is when 50 museums are open to 2am. After a good home cooked dinner with friends we mounted our bikes and headed off to experience Amsterdam museums by night. Here is is our diary of the night.


Museumnacht Amsterdam 2012 Day After Movie from Stichting n8 on Vimeo.


Het Grachtenhuis (The Canal House): Message in a bottle.

The Canal house is a private funded museum located in the heart of Amsterdam's world heritage listed canals. The museum has a small exhibition on how the grand canals of Amsterdam were built. This year it was also the location to sign up for the Museumnacht canal cruise.

We skipped the long line and decided to write a message to the Mayor in a bottle. Our suggestion was that Amsterdam city bring back the large free concerts on the Dam Square.

Message in a bottle to the Mayor of Amsterdam


Arti et Amicitiae is an closed Amsterdam art-society founded in 1839.

The society created an art in the dark exhibition. Visitors were given a simple bike light to view art. Dancing robots, photography and installations were brought alive with small lights. The large black ball in a small room was a highlight. Visitors could push the ball around like a reverse jumping castle. Fun. In the wonderful bar of the 19th century building we listened to poetry readings and enjoyed a beer.

Black fun ball in a black room. Art in the Dark at Arti et Amicitiae


Oudekerk (Amsterdam's Old Church) presents Rocket Cinema

The Gothic style church hosted old black and white Gothic movies from the late 1920s and 30s. The church, located in the middle of the Red Light District was filled with a Hunchback of Notre Dame soundtrack composed by a local artist. The organ concert was chilling. A wonderful little mobile cinema was also parked inside. The piccolo cinema had room enough for two.

Oudekerk Museumnacht 2012


Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (Amsterdam's Our Lord in the Attic)

Amsterdam's oldest museum is a hidden Catholic church in a 17 century canal house.There was no special exhibition but to spend time in the hidden church while the rain came and went outside was a religious experience.

Hidden Catholic church Museumnacht 2012


De Apple Arts Centre

The Apple is a internationally orientated arts centre. Since 1975 it has been a place to research, explore and present contemporary art.

Museum night was the end of the Apple Centre's "Vote Back" exhibition.



The political exhibition highlights were the Geert Wilders Webshop and political Karaoke. We had great fun being Martin Luther King, Obama and Margret Thatcher. One of our group was considered the best Thatcher of the night and walked away with a free t-shirt with political patterns.

Politic Karaoke, Apple Arts Centre


Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance Museum)

Amsterdam's Resistance Museum sometimes sits in the shadow of the Anne Frank House but it is the premiere World War II museum.



For museum night a special exhibition of WWII propaganda cartoons called "(Anti) Hero:  Captain America". Comics and cartoons were dusted off and brought to the museum hall.



The old Donald Duck cartoons of the famous duck taking on the Nazis was a rare insight into the war years of the 1940s. The rock band was also great with people jigging and jiving the night away.

WWII American Jeep with the Museumnacht light


On the way home we finished with the Portuguese Synagogue for a moment of peace underneath the 700 natural candles.

As always the event was a great local night. A big hearty thank you  and thumbs up to all those involved in organizing Amsterdam's Museumnacht 2012. See you next year.

Amsterdam Museumnacht 2012 gets a big thumbs up.


When in Amsterdam...enjoy!








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Museum Night Amsterdam 2012


When in Amsterdam...Museumnacht is once a year. Museum Night is an event when 50 museums throughout Amsterdam are open until 2am. Museum's fill with Djs, bands and special events. One big cultural party is held all over Amsterdam. In 2012 Museumnacht is November 3. The first weekend of November always experiences cold and possibly wet weather.

Have a read of what When in Amsterdam got up to on Museum Night 2011.

This year highlights will include:
Portuguese Synagogue with a jazz trio naturally lit

  • The Applesap people are holding a music extravaganza in the Tropenmuseum.
  • Amsterdam's new film museum, Eye, will hold a zombie party.
  • A midnight Yoga session will be held in the New church surrounded by Andy Warhol art work.
  • The Portuguese synagogue will be lit with hundreds of candles. If like last year a tasty falafel can be pickup up. Men have to wear a yarmulke (skull cap) which is supplied.
Ticket can be bought online at the N8 website or at Primera newsagents through out Amsterdam. There are only 27 500 tickets. Do not leave to the last minute as this event is always sold out.


Museum Night Tickets 2012

Primera shops will be selling Museum Night tickets in 2012.
When in Amsterdam....enjoy!

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Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition at Amsterdam's Eye Film

When in Amsterdam...the world first exhibition of the life's work of Stanley Kubrick is on display at the EYE. The EYE is the National Film Institute of the Netherlands. From 21 June to 9 September the EYE hosts lectures, workshops and screens Kubrick's influential films to accompany the exhibition.


Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) is considered one of the most influential directors of the 20th century. Kubrick set standards for genres such as Film Noir, Historical Drama and Science Fiction. He is famous for detailed planning, extensive research and developing film standards for camera work, lighting and music.

The exhibition presents an overview, in chronological order, of the life's work of Kubrick. From energectic beginnings of a teenage boy who sold his first photo at the age of 16 to the controversial but celebrated artist his work demands today. All of Kubrick's 13 movies are on show and details of his unfinished projects such as the Aryan Papers and Napoleon.

The exhibition place the films center stage. Surrounding the film screen, props, costumes and documents from the film's production are displayed. On the center console interviews of Kubrick's associates  describe their interaction with the genius of the film maker.

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition at Amsterdam's EYE

The exhibition exposes the film maker through his work rather than the man itself. 

Kubrick films have always created debate. Many of his movies have attracted criticism and censorship. Lolita (1960-62) the story of lust and attraction of a 14 year old young woman. Full Metal Jacket  demonstrated, relentlesly, the horrors of America's involvement in the Vietnam War. No other movie was more controversial on release than Clockwork Orange (1970-71) a tale of violence and government rehabilitation. 

This controversy was realized when visiting. The violent gang rape scene of Clockwork Orange was on the screen and with young children present one grappled with the moral dilemma of censorship that Kubrick’s work attracted.

For the generation that did not live through the release dates of Kubrick films, the acclaim and criticism. The exhibtion reminds us of the sensitive issues Kubrick's movies addressed. The films have become masterpieces but the man himself remains a legend. In this exhibition only his work tells his story.

When in Amsterdam...enjoy!


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Amsterdam Canal House Museums: Van Loon Museum exhibit Michiel van Musscher

When in Amsterdam......visit an Amsterdam Canal House Museum. Set on Amsterdam's UNESCO World Heritage Canals you step into the existence of the city's merchant elite. With the museum card or IAmsterdam card these museums are great value. These museums are away from the crowds and let you wander the rooms and gardens of valued real estate.

The Van Loon Family

The Van Loon Family is a patrician family of Amsterdam. The family moved to Amsterdam from South Holland in the 17th century. In 1602, Willem Van Loon was one of the founding members of the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) and Willem's grandson was Lord Mayor of Amsterdam. The Van Loons were raised to the position of peerage in the 1800s. The  the house was bought by the family in 1886 as a wedding present for a younger Van Loon.

The Van Loon Museum is still owned by the family today.

The House
Van Loon Museum - Amsterdam

Built in 1672, its first resident was Ferdinand Bol, pupil of Rembandt, and master artist in his own name. The house next door was owned by Jeremias van Raey, a Flemish merchant who made his money by selling weapons and grain. Van Raey rented the yet to be named Van Loon House to Bol. The architect of the house was Adriaen Dortsman who also designed the Dome Lutheran Church in Amsterdam, the now named Descartes House and the fortifications at Naarden, just outside of Amsterdam.

Van Loon Museum - Amsterdam
The Van Loon Museum is a chance to step behind the facade of a grand canal house in Amsterdam's heritage listed canals. The house is like stepping back in time. Bread is still on the kitchen table. The beds are dressed in linen. The house looks like the 17th century owners have just stepped out.

At the back of the house is wonderful garden and a coach house. The garden is beautiful and a moment of peace away from the noise of Amsterdam's streets. The newly renovated coach house is currently housing an exhibition by painter Michiel van Musscher.

Van Loon Museum Garden and Coach House - Amsterdam


Coach House Exhibition of Michiel van Musscher

In the Coach House is the first exhibition of Michiel van Musscher (1645 - 1705)  who painted during the time of Rembrandt. Van Musscher was born into a Mennonite family and was first commissioned by the Van Loon family in 1679. He was one of the most successful portrait painters in Amsterdam at the end of the 1600s. His most famous subject is Tsar Peter the Great.

Michiel showed talent for painting early in life and excelled after a few months of training.  Van Musscher's special talent was detail especially tapestry, oriental carpets and fine fabrics. His ability to paint realistically is what made the elite of Amsterdam commission him for paintings.

Our favorite painting of the exhibition was that of the painter's family. The skill of detail was evident. What was more amazing was that the painting was done months after the death of van Musscher's first wife. The painting was a memory. The artist also added a peacock, that symbolizes immortality, and a finch that symbolised resurrection.

For those who enjoy Dutch Golden Age art the Michiel van Musscher exhibition is well worth a visit. The exhibition runs from March until June. For more information regarding entrance prices and times visit the museum website.

When in Amsterdam...enjoy!

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Amsterdam Photography Museum exhibits New York Times Magazine

When in Amsterdam....visit Foam. One of Amsterdam's premiere Photography Muesum, Foam is currently showing photos from the last 15 years of the 30 year old NY Times Magazine in an exhibition titled The New York Times Magazine - Photographs.
Foam - Amsterdam

The exhibition places photography as an important part of storytelling. Compiled into 11 projects that range in topic from politics to Hollywood celebrities and positioning photographs differently. Portraiture, reportage and fine art photographs demonstrate the diversity of photographs in print.

Photos from Gilles Peress taken in Iran in 1979 and 1980 position politics as timeless. The project of Sebastiao Salgado, 'Kuwait Inferno, 1991' show oil wells on fire during the first Gulf War. Anticipation of being in the right place at the right moment must be weighed against danger. Salgado, a Brazilian, is considered to be by some one of the most important photographers of the early 21st century. Salgado described the Kuwait assignment as the difference between danger and devastation. The photos have a depth that goes beyond fear.

The New York Times Magazine - Photographs provides layers to interest all. The photography enthusiast will marvel at amazing shots of portraits and war zones. The historian will appreciate the role of images in documenting an historic moment. The fashionable learn about trends and images of style constructions. There is something for all.

NY Times Magazine exhibition- Foam, Amsterdam


The exhibition is compiled under the guidance of Kathy Ryan, award winning Director of Photography at the New York Times Magazine and Lesley A. Martin, publisher of the Aperture Foundation's book program. The exhibition runs 23 March to 30 May 2012. Click on the Foam link for open time and admission prices.

When in Amsterdam....enjoy!





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Diary: Amsterdam’s Museum Night

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When people ask what is so great about Amsterdam? This blog entry is one I will direct them to first. This is why Amsterdam is the cultural capital of the Netherlands. Long live museum night!

The 12th annual Amsterdam museum night was held on Saturday night. Every year a much anticipated event and definitely a top 5 night of my Amsterdam calendar. The night was sold out by Saturday afternoon, 25 000 tickets. 42 of Amsterdam’s 52 museums were open to 2 am with after parties at Amsterdam’s prominent clubs through to the early morning.  

2100hrs
Late start to the evening as had to do the regular Saturday night Red Light District Tour. A great bunch of people who had planned on joining for the museums but couldn’t get hold of tickets.

2115hrs: The Meeting Point
Group meets at a central location at Café t’Nes in the city centre. The boys pre-roll their joints and a run to the super market is made for traveling beers. Everyone in the group prioritises 3 museums they would like to see. 

Like Amsterdam the group is a mix: born and breed Amsterdammers, Swedish, French, Solomon Islander and the obligatory Australian.

The Zoo and the newly renovated maritime museum were prioritised.   The Amsterdammer pulled rank and said a family member needed to be supported at one of Amsterdam’s smaller museums.

Bikes lights in hand we left Café t’Nes and headed to our bikes.

2130hrs: Museum 1: Willet Holthuysen House
Entering the house is like stepping back in time. The marble entrance, cloak room to one side, we de-robed and each purchased a glass of champagne.

Sipping bubbles in this museum was the perfect start our museum night.  The museum is small and not as popular as others in Amsterdam. There was no line up and the crowd was dressed to impress and sophisticated just like the interior of the house.

The Willet Holthuysen house was left to the city of Amsterdam by Mrs Louisa Willet Holthuysen in 1895. She was the last resident of the house. The splendid 17th century canal house was a centre for Amsterdam’s cultural elite. Louisa and her husband Abraham were collectors of art and regularly entertained in their day showing off new additions to their collection.

The House for the night had been handed over to fashion. A guest curator and designer Alexander van Slobbe showed elements from the workshop, Shanghai Gesture. Beautiful woven textiles and fashion were displayed. There was a boutique shop full of up and coming Dutch and Belgian designers. 

The amazing 18th century garden had been turned into a fashion shoot with large lights and fashionable types filling the terrace. The group’s Amsterdammer introduced us to smartly dressed man who was one of the judges of the fashion competition. We sipped bubbles in the garden’s courtyard as they talked in Dutch about family and fashion.


After our bubbles we walked around the Grand Canal house imagining what it would be like to be a lord or lady of the 19th century. Louisa’s last will and testament has been faithfully observed by the city. The house is a testament to the elite of Amsterdam in a bygone era.

On exiting we ran into a friend who was an accredited photographer for the night. He said that the line for the Zoo was ridiculously long. Passing on the information to the group we decided head for the nearby botanical gardens.

2230hrs: Museum 2: De Hortus Botanicus
Five minutes bike ride and we were at the world’s oldest Botanical Gardens. 1960s surf rock n roll from a live band could be heard spilling out of the giant green houses as we locked up our bikes. At the entrance was a mechanical surf board with a throng of people vying for a turn. 

As we walked through the 300 year old gates to the gardens, Amsterdam was left behind .

The Palm Greenhouse at the gardens is celebrating its centennial so the theme for the night was everything tropical. The Australian showed us a eucalyptus tree and took a leaf and started blowing on it. Two elderly Dutch women who had a good seat among the 7 500 visitors shared a cheeky can of Amstel beer with us that the boys had smuggled into the gardens. After a dance and look at some of the 4000 plant specimens  it was time for the next museum.

2345hrs: Museum 3: Amsterdam’s Tattoo Museum
Another five minutes by bicycle we were in front of the new Tattoo Museum. Established by Henk Schiffmacher, the founder of Amsterdam’s famous Hank Panky tattoo parlour and has tattooed the likes of the Red Hot Chile Peppers, the line was long. This is where the supermarket beer came into its own. Each of the group opened a beer and what seemed like no time we were at the front of the line and refreshed.

The new museum addressed everything tattooing. The night was also the museum’s grand opening. The place was full of the who’s who of the tattoo world. The Solomon Islander in the group was enormously proud that there was a sizable exhibition on tattooing in the South Pacific. Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga and the Maori of the New Zealand were all mentioned for their tattooing culture.

The museum was filling up so after a visit to the rest room we headed for the exit.

As the group exited the Solomon Islander saw the owner Henk Schiffmacher. He thanked him for mentioning his little country on the other side of the world. The Amsterdam personality asked if he had any tattoos and on showing his tribal scarification the Solomon Islander was invited back at a later date to tell more of the Solomon Islands.


A brush with fame as we left, could the night get any better?

0045hrs Museum 4: Portuguese Synagogue
The decision was sudden as we cycled back towards the centre of town. The Synagogue was open! A rare treat. None of us were from a Jewish background but the 3 storey building is an Amsterdam Architectural wonder that survived Nazi occupation.

Before the WW II Amsterdam was the Jerusalem of the West. We were all interested to see what was left of Amsterdam’s once thriving Sephardic Jewish community.

What a delight. In the forecourt was a tent with falafel for sale. The vegetarian in the group yelped with excitement. We decided to check out the interior before taking a much needed food break.

Security was firm but understandable. All of the men received skull caps on entering. The Solomon Islander with his Jewish cap atop his afro was definitely a memorable image of the night but so was the synagogue. 

The room was impressive. Lit with over a thousand candles, warm and cheerful was the crowd. It was like a Jewish dating event with 20 and 30 somethings all talking to one another in their groups and checking each other out. 

The crowd was entertained by a jazz trio. The wonderful piano and double bass warmed the spirits of everyone.

With our warm jazz glow we exited for a tasty falafel in pita.

0115hrs: let’s make a run for it: Museum 5: Amsterdam’s Maritime museum
Amsterdam’s Maritime museum was recently reopened after 7 years of closure for refurbishment. Amsterdam has a rich maritime history. The city was home to the famous Dutch East Indies Company, the largest transportation company in the world for 200 years. One of the group had been before and we were all keen to see what work had been done.

As we arrived at the impressive building many people were leaving. We entered the great inner court and were surprised to see it full of people dancingto a local DJ.

The night at this museum had been dedicated to Sonic Architecture and the courtyard was a kaleidoscope of lasers lights and a 360 degree soundscape controlled by the DJ. We quickly tackled two of the four wings and were enthralled by model ships hundreds of years old and globes depicting the known world 400 years ago.

At this time of the morning the highlight was the trippy room dedicated to the sea. Fluorescent neon lights, warped mirrors and sea like vegetation presented a surreal aquatic experience. The group adorned hats of sea creatures and danced around the room as sting rays, sea horses and tropical fish.

0200hrs Museums closed

After a few minutes of searching we found our bikes. After a discussion about which after party to go to we all decided to head our different ways. No use spoiling a great night with lining up at a club. Experience told us the lines would be long. East, west and south members of the group pedalled their bicycles.

As I put my head down to sleep images from the night swirled in my head: Jazz, tattoos, ships, tropical rainforest, fashion, canal houses, art, music and my trusty bike. Thank you Amsterdam.


photo link of national newspaper
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