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New Yorkers in Amsterdam: Architecture, Art, Bicycles, Pancakes and More

Ellen Levitt

Posted on August 20, 2018 22:06

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My family and I vacationed for a week in Amsterdam. We had a wonderful time, and there are several excellent museums, sights and restaurants that we recommend.

New Yorkers have a special link to Amsterdam; our city was once known as Nieuw Amsterdam. My family and I made that pilgrimage this summer, traveling from Brooklyn to Amsterdam for a week's vacation. Besides, I had visited back in February 1993 and wanted to see the city again, but in warmer weather.

Our family could sum up our time in Amsterdam as a genial, fascinating city full of beautiful and intriguing architecture and canals; extraordinary art and museums; a haven for bicycles and dog walkers; well-manicured parks; efficient trams and a metro; and tasty eats including pancakes, cheese, and the signature stroopwafel cookies.

The architecture of Amsterdam is dominated especially by charming row houses that line the canals and roads near them. Many date to the 1600s and 1700s. With their adorable windows and shutters, roofs, dormers and attractive doorways, they are a delight.

Amsterdam is also home to stately public buildings such as the Central Station, museums and schools. There are also remarkable art deco and Beaux Arts buildings, and modern complexes to behold. Old and new often stand side by side, and sometimes make for peculiar pairings.

Art is nearly everywhere you look in Amsterdam. Public art includes statues and sculptures, decorative touches on the bridges that traverse the canals, and the artistic treasures housed in museums. We thoroughly enjoyed our visits to the Van Gogh Museum; the Stedelijk modern art museum; the Rijksmuseum; and MOCO, the contemporary art museum. We also visited historical museums such as the somber Anne Frank House; the Jewish Historical Museum and the Museum Our Lord in the Attic. In addition we stopped by the West India House and the Begijnhof set of historic dwellings. 

The Van Gogh collection is stunning and you learn a great deal about this artist, whose output was produced in ten fevered years. The Stedelijk had several intriguing displays, including technologically complex pieces from Studio Drift. The Rijksmuseum is one of the world's leading homes of art, with paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Hals, Steen and others.

In contrast, MOCO showed some works that are only a year or two old; currently they are showing works by the elusive British artist Banksy, and the brother duo ICY and SOT

The Anne Frank House puts the Holocaust in an intimate light, focusing on the life and sufferings of Anne and her family. The Jewish museum is a complex of sites, including a historical museum focusing on Dutch Jewish life (and currently featuring a splendid exhibit about the photographer Maria Austria), as well as the old but still active Portuguese Synagogue and a Holocaust museum.

And the small Catholic Church house museum is a tribute to religious observance and domestic life.

We dined at Bazar, a trendy Middle Eastern eatery housed in a former synagogue. We munched on stroopwafels and shopped while at the outdoor Albert Cuyp Markt. We checked out the greenery, dogs and birds at the Vondelpark and Sarphatipark

We had a fantastic trip!

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on August 20, 2018 22:06

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