Monday 22 June 2015

The Medieval centre in Amsterdam

Just two weeks after our trip to Stockholm, we set off again, this time to Amsterdam. Last time we were in Amsterdam was this time last year, so we were not expecting much to change. Some things had changed though.

Nutella is taking over the city - stacks of them are to be seen everywhere. It's like a madness.
The other thing that has changed is that in the space of a year most bridges now have lovers' locks - some in the weirdest places. It feels like now that the locks have been removed from the Pont Neuf in Paris, the people of Amsterdam have to make up for it.

Otherwise, not much has changed. We stayed in the same Art Deco hotel, an old cinema that has been converted into a hotel

The Three Graces on the top balcony of this building


are one of the very first things we would see every morning.


This is the heart of Amsterdam, its medieval core which is remarkably well preserved. The overall layout has changed little since the 17th century.


The Art Deco Grand Hotel on the left hand side of this picture

and the canals as mysterious as ever.

This is Café de Doelen opposite Staalmeesters another café/restaurant where we occasionally have an evening meal, sitting outside if possible, which is what we did on the evening that the photograph was taken

It's situated in a quiet street that has some very interesting shops

including Droog, a cutting-edge design shop


and this bridge

which, if I remember rightly, Van Gogh painted



This is the district where the University is


parts of it are busy


but on the whole it's very quiet here


and a real pleasure, walking here at night

The Dutch seem to have an aversion to drawing their curtains shut

which gives us the opportunity to have a look inside their houses as we walk along

it's all so very lovely.

Dam square is very near our hotel. This is De Bijenkorf, a large department store

the Palace

De Niuewe Kerk, the new church, even though it isn't that new anymore

the Amsterdam Museum, with plaques on the wall


These date back to the Middle Ages when many people couldn't read, and used the plaques to identify the name or profession of the owner. Over 650 plaques have been preserved throughout Amsterdam

the museum's inner courtyard

another courtyard where the café is situated.

This is a White Bike, and this is what the notice says: 'People of Amsterdam! The asphalt terror of the motorised bourgeoisie has lasted long enough! The white bicycle scheme is the most famous Provo plan of all. The objective is to drive out the city's 'monstrous, polluting cars'. The plan is: thousands of white bikes without locks in the city. Anyone can use them and leave them wherever they like. In July 1965 the first bikes are painted white. The police impound them immediately'.

The Red Light district is near here as well. Seeing women for sale in the windows is not to our taste, but sometimes it's difficult to avoid walking through, particularly since we have to walk through the district to get to the Bird, the best Thai restaurant in Amsterdam

this is one of the oldest districts of the city

and parts of it are very beautiful.

The Oude Kerk is here, the oldest church and oldest building in the city

and the area around it is busy but calm


lots of bars and restaurants all around

tiny alleyways

beautiful buildings




and some sculpture

This is Majoor Bosshardt. Alda Margaretha Bosshardt was an officer of the Salvation Army who offered help to the homeless, people struggling with addictions and sex workers in and around the red light district. She was knighted in 1966 and in 2009, two years after her death, she was elected 'Greatest Amsterdammer of All Time'.


It was early evening when I took these photographs

and the tops of the buildings turned golden from the setting sun.

Finally, some more plaques on the side of this café.


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