Des Rijks Schoonheyd
On a sunny, March-y Sunday I was in need of some cultural enlightenment. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam was on my bucket list ever since it reopened. I had been there as a child and was now curious about what it had to offer. Of course, I wanted to see the biggest pieces; the Nachtwacht, The Milk girl, The Potato Eaters, The Battle of Waterloo, Van Gogh’s self-portrait and the famous book chest by Hugo de Groot. These all looked the same.
There was a lot of publicity about the restoration of the building. Well, it looked beautiful. A modern museum in a historic building. Especially the ornaments on the walls, ceiling and the mozaïk floor were impressive. Other than that, it is just a regular museum. Most visitors use a free app on their smartphone as a guide. The audio guide is a small, interactive tablet. However, at the entrance, there is still some room for efficiency improvement, seeing as you have to pass security every time you want to go to the toilet, the restaurant or the lockers.
For a technical person like me, this was an interesting corner. I never knew that the Rijksmuseum harboured such an enormous collection of ship models and technical scale models. It shouldn’t be surprising, as The Netherlands has a rich history on the sea. The models used to be used for the creation of real marine ships and to instruct the crew. There were also models of lighthouses, drying doks and submarines. Very impressive to see.
Seven United Netherlands
There are political parties that want to abolish our monarchy, which is seen as a dated subject. We used to be a republic. The Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. A sort of Europe, but smaller. Eight sourverain states that worked together on defence, with five admiralties and a joint fleet of more than 2000 vessels. More than England and France combined. It was interesting to read to the problems of those times are now still actual on a European level. If you would like to know more about Holland as a republic, there is an interesting link on Wikipedia.
The lady on the added picture above is Alida Christina Assink, painted by Jan Adam Kruseman. A single, pretty lady in fasionable clothes. A perfectly straight nose, no zits and a small waistline. If she was just as admirable in real life is questionable. What painters used to call improvement, we now call Photoshop!
Museum square, what’s in a name
The Rijksmuseum is situated on the Museumsquare in Amsterdam. This makes sense. For someone that does not go to Amsterdam so often, the museum square is simply the square named after the famous Rijksmuseum. I never knew that it is host to multiple museums. Oh, how I realised this when I stood in the middle and looked around. Also, the Stedelijk Museum, the Van Gogh Museum and the impressive Concertbuilding are on the same square. The terrain itself also has a rich history.
By a coincidence, our eldest daughter went to the Van Gogh Museum that day. Afterwards, we drank something in the Blushing Coffee House of Gordon. I’ll save you the picture of me and Gordon J ;).