Amsterdammed!

What better time to write about Amsterdam than right now. The tourist-favorite ‘I Amsterdam’ sign on the Museumplein celebrated its 10th birthday earlier this week.

Famous signage on the Museumplein

The famous signage on the Museumplein

 

Aaah Amsterdam! The city of all things trippy 😉 

We spent a weekend there en route to France in March 2008. The main reason for the detour to Amsterdam – the iconic Van Gogh Museum.

The Van Gogh Museum at the Museumplein

The Van Gogh Museum at the Museumplein

Vincent Willem van Gogh was born in 1853 in the Netherlands. It is only fitting that the largest collection of his work is housed at this museum in Amsterdam. The exhibit includes 200 paintings and 40 drawings by Van Gogh and about 700 letters, mostly to his younger brother Theo, with whom he shared a close relationship.

Van Gogh illnesses – both physical and mental – added great emotion and depth to his work, making him one of the greatest painters of all time. His use of vibrant colours, thick layers of paint and distinctive brush strokes also made him one of the most recognizable artists in the world. His tragic death at the young age of 37 added immense allure to his work.

We spent a good part of the day immersed in Van Gogh’s dramatic world. Photography is not allowed inside the museum and hence, I have no pictures of the masterpieces. But the museum shop had an amazing array of merchandise with prints of Van Gogh’s paintings on them. With a bagful of Van Gogh souvenirs, we set out to explore the rest of Amsterdam.

There was so much else to see and do in a span of 24hrs – the concentric canals, the multitude of bridges, the forward-leaning narrow houses, the tram, the cycling lanes, the Heineken Museum, the Red Light district…….

Amsterdam holds the distinction of being the most bicycle-friendly, capital city in the world. But did you know that every year, nearly 30,000 bikes are tossed into the canal by drunks and vandals? I’d have had a huge padlock on mine, for sure!

A parked ferry on one of Amsterdam's canals, the Damrak

A parked ferry on one of Amsterdam’s canals, the Damrak

The oldest operational erotic art museum in the world - The Venus Temple on the Damrak

The oldest operational erotic art museum in the world – The Venus Temple on the Damrak

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam on Dam Square

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam on Dam Square

Wanting to make the most of the little time we had left in Amsterdam, we spent Sunday walking around Dam Square. Here a few glimpses from our day:

A cycling lane around Dam Square

A cycling lane around Dam Square

A tram passing through Dam Square. The Royal Palace is in the background.

A tram passing through Dam Square. The Royal Palace is in the background.

The rustic horse carriages that ply around Dam Square

The rustic horse carriages that ply around Dam Square

Amsterdam is an exciting blend of the old and the new! A weekend was woefully inadequate to experience this buzzy city. That evening, we left the ‘Venice of the North’ promising to be back for more.

Tot ziens, Amsterdam!  

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