Monday, 1 August 2011

48 hours in Amsterdam

Amsterdam's canal ring is inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List

Well, actually only 36 hours as we arrived from Indonesia on Saturday morning and left on Sunday evening, but never mind! 

As we were only staying one night we booked a night at the Citizen M  hotel next to the airport which markets itself as "affordable luxury". The room was quite small but well designed and included a Philips' mood pad. After we'd stayed there I saw it had been voted Trip Advisor's Trendiest Hotel in the World 2011 !

shower, Citizen M hotel, Amsterdam

The day we arrived we were rather tired and the weather was not good - rainy and cold - only 12°C although this was late July. It was very quick and easy to take a train into the city centre from the airport.

main train station, Amsterdam

 Because of the weather we decided to visit something indoors. There were big long queues outside Anne Frank's house, so we chose the Royal Palace Museum. I found it unusual because unlike other countries where royal palaces have been transformed into civic buildings, this building started off as the City Hall 350 years ago before being turned into a royal palace by King Louis Napoleon in 1806.

magnificent central hall

The next day we visited the Rijksmuseum - no photos allowed unfortunately. (Rijksmuseum is the general Dutch name for a state/national museum; used by itself it refers to the main arts museum in Amsterdam). It is currently being renovated until 2013 but it is still possible to visit part of the collection. One of  its most famous paintings, which we were able to see, is Johannes Vermeer's The Kitchen maid:

(c) Rijksmuseum

Afterwards we visited the Rembrandt Museum, which is actually his former house:

Rembrandt was a famous 17th century painter and etcher. 


Although I like his work one of my favourite etchings in the museum was not actually by him, but by a contemporary named Jan Saenredam:

Sine Cerere et Baccho friget Venus
(Without Food and Wine Love will Freeze)

Suggested reading:

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. Historical fiction about Vermeer's household.

For more of my posts in the "48 hours in..." series click here.

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