Wednesday, 26 March 2014

More Museums

2013_NLD_F4_1852 CROPAfter more than a decade of visiting Amsterdam, I am still finding more museums to see when I go there. There are so many* that you need to use one of many museum websites in order to figure out which ones to go see. One, useful only to the Dutch, is hard to navigate for an English-speaker. Others, like the one at, are more visitor-friendly.

During my spring 2013 trip, I continued to add to my list of Dutch museums that I have visited...

While the Heineken Experience is not what I would consider a true museum, I have a tradition of doing brewery tours when I can, and the free beer that I got on the tour was persuasive enough for me to add it to my list. As with all of my blog posts, you can click on any photo to see a better, higher resolution image.


Like all brewery tours, this one covers the basics of how to brew beer. Naturally this involves a lot of copper cookware, since copper is the metal-of-choice for brewers.


Carlsberg. Heineken. Budweiser. It seems that if you do not have draft horses in your marketing, then you are not a real brewery, so no surprise then that the Heineken horses were part of the tour.


My brewery tour standards were set by Carlsberg when I toured their Copenhagen brewery. The bar is therefore pretty high and I am afraid that the Heineken tour does not come close to matching it. The only unique feature of the Heineken tour was that it included a short boat tour on a canal. In a green boat, of course.


The nice thing about being down at water level is that you can capture some interesting perspectives of Amsterdam.


Another not-a-museum-to-anyone-but-me is the Oude Kerk. I guess this is a bit of a cheat, since it's one of my regular haunts in Mokum. However, I love this old building with its worn stone floors and open wood-beam roof, so I will include it in this post as a spot of free advertising to those who run it. The Oude Kerk is home to one of the stops on the annual World Press Photo Awards exhibit tour. The stunning photos are an extra incentive to add this place to your list of must-see places. Sometimes the organizers will tag another exhibit along with the WPP Awards exhibit, so you get a bonus. This year, they added an exhibit about Russian news photography.


I mentioned the floor as one of the remarkable features about the Oude Kerk. This is because when I see it, I always I think about how many people have to walk over the stone before it wears like this. That's a lot of people, and it takes a looooong time. On the other hand, I try not to think about the dead people that lie under these stones that I am walking on.


While I enjoy looking at the photos, I also normally enjoy watching people react to them.


Sometimes not.

I've often said how I like that the Dutch will come up and start talking to me while I am out shooting in the wee hours. There doesn't seem to be any of the reservedness that there is in, say, Paris. So I wasn't surprised when this guy came up and started talking to me. But he got quite agitated about the Russian exhibit (and Russians in general). He went on and on and on. I began to get worried I would have to call security to get him to stop, but after begging off a few times, he went one way and I went the other.


Amsterdam has a well known (and fabulous) science museum. On this trip I discovered Haarlem also has a science museum, the Teylers Museum. This is the oldest museum in the Netherlands, having opened 1784. Like many heritage buildings, the lobby was fabulously decorated.



Inside, it had high ceilings and lots of wood, brass, and glass.


Of course there are books, lots of books, as you can see in this close-up photo of the balcony level.


Walking around the exhibits felt like walking around a Dr. Who set; I think this is a time-flux capacitor.


Everything is stored in well-crafted curio cabinets.


Besides all of the wood, brass, and glass, the wrought iron heating vents in the floor helped add to the Victorian-era atmosphere.


There were lots of fossils on display



Besides being a museum, the building also holds a gallery and on exhibit were some of Redouté's flowers. I had not been exposed to his work before, but I fell in love with his style. His work has inspired me to try my hand at some still life flower photos. I couldn't take any photos of the exhibit, but the gift shop had a few lithograph prints on sale that I could take a snap of.


There are a lot of interesting artifacts in the museum, like this piece of a shipping crate used in the 1874 Dutch scientific expedition to the island of La Réunion to observe the transit of Venus across the solar disk.


A little further down the street was the Frans Hals museum. Frans Hals was new to me, and I am overjoyed to have discovered him. I was so impressed by his paintings that they had on display that I concluded he was as brilliant as his contemporary, Rembrandt, albeit in a different way.

In the lobby, I tried my best to imitate Hals' famous Jester with a Lute. I'm in the one on the bottom, in case you cannot tell.

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I wasn't allowed to take photographs inside, but the guard did let me take this snap of the entrance hallway. The interior was remarkably different from that of the science museum.


I close with my story about The Royal Palace on Dam Square. When I first visited Amsterdam many years ago, the Palace (originally a town hall) was on my list of places to visit, but it was closed for renovations. Every time I visited in the years that followed, the story was the same: the Palace was closed for renovations.

It became an obsession with me to get in to see the place.

One year, my airport cab driver told me that the Palace was finally opened. But when I went to the Palace, it was closed for some "unforeseen" repair work!

So it was only natural that on this trip I again went to see if I could get in. I was shocked to find Dutch police guarding the palace from me. And only me. At least, that's how it seemed. I told them my story and they good-naturedly agreed to pose for a photo.


One day, hopefully soon, I will get inside. I hope it will be worth the wait.

All the posts from my trip to the Netherlands are here:

House of Oranje
Postcards from Kuekenhof
Train Stations
More Museums
Dutch (S)Treat
Up Close

* I have no idea how many museums there are in Amsterdam, but this tiny country has somewhere between 1,200 and 1,400!

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