Thursday, August 07, 2008


Just back from my trip to Amsterdam with my father, I thought I would leave a survey of the walks made through the remarkable city, to its many museums, shops, canals, and landmarks. We visited Rembrandt's house, recreated with many of the objects and possessions in the house when Rembrandt went bankrupt. I was stunned by the array of objects in his Kunstkammer (cabinet of curiosity or the most elegant array of painting and teaching props I've ever seen). Rembrandt's recreated studio is also startling, arranged with a nod to one of his drawings of the space. We took in the Gay Pride Parade on the canal system, a floating parade which was an incredible and memorable event full of joy and confetti. Our visit to the Rijksmuseum was a beguiling exercise in the viewing of long-awaited works of art, including my personal favorite, Jan Asselijn's Threatened Swan. We visited the Van Gogh museum where I became enthralled with his lesser known Dutch-influenced early and much darker paintings as well as the copious holdings they have in still life. I was especially partial to Van Gogh's paintings of Parisian Novels and Shrimp! We took in the New Church and its elegant show "Black is Beautiful: Rubens to Dumas", the women's only Begijnhof, the lush and bustling Amsterdam Flower Market, the luxe Herengracht (men's canal), and richly layered pedestrian and bike friendly streets. My father and I also took a day trip by train to the Hague (den Haag as the Dutch say) and were astonished by the beauty of the Dutch government buildings as well as the absolute-must-see Mauritshuis Museum. There we dazedly took in Vemeer's Girl with a Pearl Earing, a captivating array of Rembrant works including a moving late portrait, and some of the lushest still life paintings I have ever laid eyes on. The pictures of Den Haag will come in the next day or so, when I catch my breath. We stayed at the Hotel de l'Europe, an intriguing old-world place full of paintings, chandeliers, and curiosities. Interestingly, the hotel is owned by members of the Heineken family, so that's the beer they have on tap, exclusively, which we indulged in greatfully while devouring Dutch snacks after days of walking. I am so grateful for the wandering days spent with my father, I don't know when we'll get to do anything like this again together.


lowlander said...

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J.R. said...

Kristin, these are great! I love the cacti!

Kirstin said...

Yay! Hi Jenni! Hope all is going well.. yah, I totally grooved on the Amsterdam flower market. Made me wish I could start gardening already.. but gotta finish the paintings first. Then I get to muck around with bulbs and mums and things.