Amsterdam worst storm in 20 years

When in Amsterdam....the weather changes all the time. This October the city was battered by the winds up to 170km per hour. This was the strongest winds the city had encountered since the storm of 1990.

Fallen tree Amsterdam
(photo:Omy  Amsterdam Tours)

Many trees in the historic centre were up rooted. One woman was killed when a tree fell on her. Nationwide the damage is estimated to be near 100 million euros.

When in Amsterdam...prepare for the change in weather.

When in Amsterdam... - Blogged

Amsterdam Museum Cannonballrun: 4. Portugese Synagogue

When in Amsterdam....the Portugese Synagogue is a cultural and architectural masterpiece. The building was opened in 1675 and survived Nazi occupation of Amsterdam during the Second World War.

The main building still does not have any electricity and is lit witth hundreds of candles. Part of the out buildings house the world's oldest Jewish library, Ets Haim.

Amsterdam Portugese Synagogue

Museum Overview/Layout
- the main building of the complex is the Synagogue.
- outbuildings surrounding  the Synagogue house the library and treasure chamber. The later is open to viewing.

Amsterdam Porgtugese Synagogue

- Your ticket to the Jewish Historic Museum includes entrance to the Portugese Synagogue
- take the free audio tour
- visit the downstairs chamber of treasures
- Remember it is a working Synagogue and is closed early on Friday and all day Saturday.
- Men must wear a Kipa/Jarmulka hat (these are provided at entrance)

Museumnacht tips
- Each year the Synagogue is filled with live jazz music. Combined with the candle light of the main room of the Synagogue this is a must visit if you are in the area.
- Yummy falafel and kosher wine is also served in the courtyard for a price. Get there early as they always sell out.
- Check out our museumnacht blog from two years ago which included the Protugese Synagogue.

When in Amsterdam...enjoy!

When in Amsterdam... - Blogged

Amsterdam Museum Cannonball Run: 3. Allard Pierson Museum

When in Amsterdam...lovers of the antiquity the Allard Pierson Museum is for you. The Museum is the archaeological museum of the University of Amsterdam.

Allard Pierson Museum Amsterdam

Museum Overview/ Layout
- The building is impressive with marble floors and high ceilings
- Museum laid out over 2 floors
- Floor one is temporary exhibition and the Egypt rooms
- Floor two is Roman, Greek, Etruria, Cyprus and southern Italy and Sicily artifacts
Egypt artifact - Allard Pierson Museum Amsterdam
Temporary Exhibition
Eternal Egypt Experience - covers Egypt through the centuries. This exhibition goes beyond the normal mummies and Tutankhamun that one expects of ancient Egypt exhibitions. The exhibition starts at 1600,000 before Christ and goes through to 20th Century.

The exhibition is the findings of a combined archeolgical digs conducted by 7 Dutch and Flemish Universities in different parts of Egypt. There is a large multi-media component of the exhibition that takes around 20 minuttes. The exhibition runs until 5 January 2014.

- for those with a Museum card there is a 2.50 euro additional fee to enter the museum.

Museumnacht tips
- The theme this  year for the Allard Pierson Museum is The Senses. There is a large program of activities  including an antient jukebok and make your own antique perfume. For more information visit here.

When in Amserdam....enjoy!
When in Amsterdam... - Blogged

Piet Modriaan in Amsterdam 1892 -1912: Amsterdam Museum Exhibitions

When in Amsterdam....explore the influence on art. The Amsterdam Museum is currently displaying 62 pieces by Piet Modriaan. Modriaan is famous in the art world for pioneering the abstract (Neoplasticism/ de Stijl) school of painting.

Modrian in Amsterdam 1892 - 1912
(photo: Omy Amsterdam Tours)

This exhibition (on display to January 2, 2014) concentrates on his early works when he lived in and around Amsterdam. The works show the progression of Mordiaan as an artist (he would change his name to Modrian in Paris 1911). Modriaan is normally remembered for his line paintings. This exhibition shows a human, an artist who is developing from influence, environment and personal  philosophy.

Born just outside Amsterdam to a strict Calvinist family Modriaan moved to Amsterdam in 1892 to study at the Academy of Fine Art. The exhibition shows how young Modriaan painting was typical in 19th century style. Landscapes and especially windmills were consistent objects of his paintings. He built up a career of commissions painting portraits and landscapes.

The exhibition dramatically shows the influence on Modriaan of the Van Gogh exhibition in Amsterdam in 1905. From 1907 his colours change to be more radical. His radical colour choices put him at odds with patrons and his family.

Windmill in Sunlight, Modriaan 1908

Modriaan again changes his style after his trip to Paris in 1911. He is confronted by Cubism. Combined with the use of dramatic colours during the First World War  Modriaan turns his attention to the philosophy and painting, especially the line and colour. The process becomes more important than the result.

It is always fascinating to see an artist develop. Piet Modriaan in Amsterdam 1892 - 1912, exhibits rare works seldom displayed publicly. For those who love early 20th century art this is a must see. Great in combination with a visit to the Van Gogh and Stedelijk museums of Amsterdam.

When in Amsterdam....enjoy!
When in Amsterdam... - Blogged

Amsterdam Museum Cannonball Run: 2. Amsterdam Museum

When in Amsterdam...the best museum about the city is of course the Amsterdam Museum. Housed on the location of the former monestry and city Orphanage the location dates back to 1581.

Amsterdam Museum entrance Kalverstraat
Museum Layout/Overview

5 main areas of the museum

- 1. Cafe and courtyard

- 2. DNA Amsterdam exhibition. An overview of the cities history using new and interactive multi-media exhibiting techniques. Perfect for someone with not a lot of time or not that into museum.

- 3. Amsterdam by centuries: is a more detailed looked through the city's history. Great if you wan to delve deeper into the ages.

- 4. Temporary exhibitions and childrens area.

- 5. Civic Guards Gallery: free gallery to walk though

Temporary exhibitions

Piet Modriaan in Amsterdam 1892 - 1912 (Modrian) was born just outside Amsterdam. He spent most of his youth in Amsterdam living in at least 10 addresses across the city. One such address is the Kalverstraat where this exhibition is on show. Mordian's work spans the late 19th century and early 20th century. His most famous works internationally are those after 1920.

This exhibition consists of 62 works from his early days to pre-1920s. It is interesting to see the artist develop through his work. This exhibition will be on display until February 2014. 

- See the Rembrandt painting "The Anotomy Lesson of Dr. Jan Deijman" (1956). Part of the permanent collection.
- Another Rembrandt is on loan until August 2015 from the American's National Gallery of Art. "Saskia van Uylenburgh". In the DNA exhibition.
- There is a good short movie of what Ajax Football Club means to Amsterdam.
- Modern art lovers will relish the Modrian exhibition in combination with Van Gogh museum and Stedelijk Museum.

Museumnacht Tips
- There is always a good party in the cafe and coutyard. This year the theme is New York jazz, Boogie Woogie, Eddie the Eagle and Modrian. Get there around midnight.

When in Amsterdam...enjoy!

When in Amsterdam... - Blogged

Amsterdam Museum Cannonball Run: 1. Jewish Historical Museum

When in Amsterdam...Cannonball Museum Run Stop 1 is the Jewish Historical Museum. The weather was bad so we dropped  into a place close to home in old Mokum town.

Museum Layout/ Overview

- The Museum is housed in a complex of four former Ashkenazi synagoguess laid over three floors.
- Lower floors are the temporary exhibitions, cafeteria and entrance into the Synagoge. This area explains the basis of Jewish religion.
- Upper floor is the permanent exhibitions serparated into two room.
- First room covers the Jewish community in Netherlands and Amsterdam from 1500s to late 1800s.
- Second room is devoted to the 20th century experience of the Dutch Jewish Community.
- Disabled access is very good.

Jewish Historical Museum Amsterdam

Temporary Exhibitions

Philip Mechanicus: Photographer ( exhibitions runs until 27 Ocotber 2013)
 This is the first posthumous restropective work of this Amsterdam photogrhaper. Philip was born at Zwanburgwal a few blocks from the Museum complex.

Son of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish German month this enabled the family to survive the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam.

The exhibition covers the life work of Philip Mechanicus who was a writer and photographer.

For us the best part of the exhibition is the photos of Amsterdam streets shot between 1955 and 1962.

Shtetl in the City: Antwerp through the lens of Dan Zollman (exhibition runs 16 September until 2 February 2014)

Dan Zollman is an Antwerp native from a Jewish family. His exhibition brings alive the world of Antwerp's ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jews. Zollman opens the viewer to a community that is often closed.

An interesting look at a community from a city, Antwerp, that has had an enormous impact on the city of Amsterdam.

Dan Zollmann Sjtetl in de stad

- Take the free audio tour it comes in multiple languages
- If you are interested in WWII and don't have a lot of time you can spend 1 hour just in the 20th century room.
- Museumnacht 2013 will be an event Digiffiti: Amsterdam street language and art influenced by the city's Jewish history.
When in Amsterdam....enjoy!

When in Amsterdam... - Blogged

Amsterdam Museums: Museumnacht Cannonball Run 2013

When in Amsterdam...Autumn and Winter mean museums, expositions and concerts. As the seasons change Museum Night (Museumnacht Amsterdam) is an event to which to look forward. Many Amsterdam museums open for a one night extravaganza from 7pm to 2am. The buildings filled with special events, exhibitions and music.

So with 23 days to go to Museumnacht Amsterdam we thought a run around of Amsterdam museums would be a good idea. Armed with our Museum card (Museumkaart) we want to:

- Visit as many Museums participating in Amsterdam Museumnacht 2013 as possible;
- Blog about new exhibitions in our musums for Autumn and Winter in Amsterdam,
- Recount the permenant collections of our museums.
- Provide an overview of the museums,
- Tips and anything you should see before Museumnacht.

The most important aim is to provide English reading residents of Amsterdam and our visitors encouragement to get out and see our wonderful varied Amsterdam museums. There is so much more than the Big 3: Anne Frank, Van Gogh and the Rijksmuseum.

You can paritipate too!

- Read our blog,
- Comment on our posts,
- Buy a museumkaart and send us your thoughts on a  museum you visited lately,
- Buy a ticket to Museumnacht, check out the Museumnacht website and read our blog in anticipation.
- Join the Cannonball, get your Museumkaart and come. Facebook postings are best...stay tuned....

Museum Card (Museumkaart)

Your best value cultural card to Museums in the Netherlands. For 50 euro you can visit over 400 listed museums in the Netherlands for one year from the time of purchase. That's right, 1 year from time of purchase.

You can sign up on the website and pay online for your Museumkaart. They will send it to you for an additional postage fee. The website is in Dutch which maybe difficult for new English reading Amsterdammers and guests.

Do you want a Museumkaart now? Buy a card at major Amsterdam museums. Tip: try the Amsterdam Museum as it is central and not overcome by visitors.

Note: the Museumkaart does NOT provide entrance to Museumnacht Amsterdam 2013.

If you wish to see what we did and tips from last year have a read of these blog entries:
- Diary Amsterdam Museum Night 2011
Amsterdam Museum Night 2012
- Amsterdam Museum Night 2012 Diary

Let the Amsterdam Museum Cannonball Run begin.

When in Amsterdam...enjoy!

Amsterdam Artist: Carl van Hees

When in Amsterdam...visit local artists. This blog highlights one of our favourites Carl van Hees. He recently opened his new studio in the historic centre of Amsterdam on the picturesque Groenburgwal. Carl specialises in fused glass.

Fused Glass Vessel by Carl van Hees

Carl van Hees graduated from Amsterdam's illustrious Rietveld Acadamy of Art. After studing fashion and illustration he turned his attention to fused glass. He was the assistent to one of the most famous Dutch glass artists Toots Zynsky.  Since those days he has been shown in expositions all over Europe and North America.

Glass Fusion Vessels by Carl van Hees

He uses the merging technique. Italian glass is heated, seperated and ground. The granules are mixed and built up in layers. Carl molds the glass to his liking. The result is a fascinating piece, shiny while granular and very tempting to touch. Our photos do not give justice to his work.

Carl van Hees: small fused glass vessels

You can see his work presently in Amsterdam two ways. Carl van Hees is part of the 25th Anniversary Exposition of the famous contemporary glass gallery in Amsterdam, Braggiotti Gallery. This exhibition runs until 9 November 2013. Otherwise, Carl's work can be viewed by appointment at his studio and gallery on Groenburgwal, in Amsterdam's old city centre. Details can be found at his

New Amsterdam Groenburgwal Gallery from Carl van Hess

When in Amsterdam...visit our local artists and enjoy!

Amsterdam Artists Open their studios.

When in Amsterdam...visit local artists. Each year Amsterdam Artists of the Nieuwmarkt neighborhood open their doors to show their new creations and workspace.

Open Ateliers Nieuwmarkt 2013 - art by Carl van Hees
 (photo: Omy Amsterdam Tours)

64 artists participated this year in an event  that has run for 38 years. In an area of Amsterdam famous internationally for Rembrandt, this event 'Open Ateliers Nieuwmarkt' remembers Amsterdam as a city of culture and locals.

The event began with the neighborhood riots of 1975. Government planned 'modernizing' the Nieuwmarkt area, introducting large roads and transport links. This would have resulted in the destruction of buildings and the local community. Many buildings were torn down and the metro link constructed but not the highway that was planned. Blue Monday in March 1975 on the Nieuwmarkt was part of a 20 year campaign by Amsterdam locals to keep the city liveable.

Artists stood with residents on the neighborhood's protest barricades. The protest's aim was for Amsterdam to be a liveable city. A city dominated by community and people not roads and cars. Through opening their doors the area's artists showed their commitment to their neighborhood.

Over the years artists have moved in an out of the neighborhood. However, each year in Autumn they open their doors to renew their commitment to this neighborhood and show their creations of beauty.

For more on Nieuwmarkt Artists visit the following link. For visitors to Amsterdam interested in viewing their work contact the organization or the artist directly and maybe they will open their doors especially for you.

We profile a few artists in the next few blogs but below is a youtube clip of the artists and their work.

When in Amsterdam....enjoy!

Mr Amsterdam Ajax: happy 75th birthday!

When in Amsterdam...the city is a one team town, Ajax Amsterdam. Today the fans of the Netherlands most successful team celebrates one of the club's greatest players birthday, Sjaak Swart, aka Mr. Ajax.

Photo from ANP.

Swart played 596 games for Ajax, a club record. The famous right winger scored 228 goals for Ajax. Swart was part of the Ajax team that won three successive European Cups (now Champions League) from 1971 - 73. He also played 31 games for the national Netherlands team.

There are many highlights in such an extended career however one of the best documented in English goes to the European Cup (now Champions League) game Ajax v Liverpool in 1966. The game is referred to as the "the game in the mist'. The crowd and commentators could not see the game.

Ajax win 5-1 and Swart is the one of the best players on the ground. To get a full english version of the game click here.

For his most famous goals look at the below provided by Ajax tv.

When in Amsterdam wishes Mr. Ajax and his family congratulations on your birthday.

When in Amsterdam....enjoy.

When in Amsterdam... - Blogged

An Ode to Amsterdam

When in Amsterdam...the city is an inspiration to all. The 18-year-old Quirinus has just made a track 'Amsterdam', an ode to our city. The track and the clip show his love and passion for the city of Amsterdam. The beat is produced by Ruben Bertholet and the video was created by Dirk de Graaff.

When in Amsterdam....enjoy!

When in Amsterdam... - Blogged

Getting High in Amsterdam: Open Tower Day 2013

On Saturday March 9 Amsterdam celebrated the first ever Open Tower Day.  Although the Dutch city, much like the rest of the country, is renowned for its flatness, Amsterdam is peppered with several large church towers which offer a rarely seen vantage point over the capital.

When in Amsterdam got the chance to visit the Zuiderkerktoren.  Built in 1614, the Zuiderkerk was the first Protestant built church in Amsterdam.  Designed by architect Hendrick de Keyser in the renaissance style, the church is situated in the centre of Amsterdam's old Jewish neighbourhood.

Entering the tower through a small side door, we were greeted by a typical narrow and winding Amsterdam staircase.  It took 139 steps to reach the top of the tower, but the journey up was broken into small sections as we were explained the various parts of the tower.

The carillon inside the tower normally operates through machinery setting off the bells every 15 minutes.  Every Thursday, however, a carillonist performs, treating the surrounding areas to a concert of Mozart, Bach or Handel.

The bells in the tower were designed by the brothers Hemony, famous for making the best bells in Europe.  This large central bell, however, is much older than the church itself.  It was originally located in the Oudekerk in the Red Light District, however after the reformation this "Catholic bell" was removed from the church as a sign of the Protestant victory and installed in the Zuiderkerk.

Having reached the top, the views were spectacular.  Despite the ordinary weather (Amsterdam can still have brutal winter days in March, so pack appropriately!) it was great to see the city from such a unique angle.  The Zuiderkerktoren features in so many photographs and even a painting by Claude Monet, so it was a terrific opportunity to take some pictures from the other side!

Inline image 7

The best view, however, was looking back towards the city centre.  In this picture you can see the Westertoren, the Royal Palace, the New Church, the Beurs van Berlage, the Old Church, the Bushuis, Centraal Station, St. Nicholas Church and even de Waag.  Wow!

When in Amsterdam... get high (without going to a coffeeshop) and take some photos!

When in Amsterdam... - Blogged

Restaurant Day Amsterdam #2: best food for winter

When in Amsterdam...Restaurant Day is starting to take hold. 15 pop-up restaurants set up throughout Amsterdam for the city's second time to participate in the international quarterly food festival.

Restaurant Day started in Helsinki, Finland in May 2011. The concept is to eat together and meet new people. Cooking enthusiasts are encouraged to set up a pop up restaurant at any location and share their passion for food. The limitation is their imagination.

Restaurant Day started with 45 restaurants across 13 cities in 2011. Restaurants have now popped up in an estimated 35 countries and over 130 cities globally.

The second time in Amsterdam, Restaurant Day was held on a wonderfully fine winter's Sunday. We looked at the website and picked a place for a late lunch before watching the Ajax Amsterdam football game. The Trans-Eurasian Journey caught our eye. Situated in the picturesque Jordaan neighborhood in central Amsterdam it promised Italian and Thai food. Amsterdam is known for its diversity so the combination was intriguing

Restaurant Day Amsterdsam: Gnocchi Ragu

We meet a friend on his traditional dutch town bike, though very very noisy and ventured on our afternoon culinary world tour. We were surprisingly greeted by our hosts at the door of their small Amsterdam apartment. We were their first customers of the day.

Restaurant Day Amsterdam: Thai stir fry

The menu was simple, pasta or Thai street stir-fry. We went for one of each and a round of beers. The food was simple but well cooked. The ragu, gnocchi was cooked by a native of Bologna we need not say more. From slow cooking to the fast wok. A debate about the Dutch 'spicy' scale ensued. The Thai stir fry was a great match  for the beer. Both meals were just what were needed for a Sunday afternoon. Our hosts were not professional cooks but knew their dishes well. They had a passion for food and adventure

The Trans-Eurasian chefs for a day.

Amsterdam is a small capital city. We enjoyed the experience as we walked away we soon came upon friends. They had never heard of the event so we pointed them in the direction of the one day only pop up restaurant, The Trans-Eurasian Journey. To top things off the the local football team Ajax won. A perfect Sunday. Thank you to our hosts and the Restaurant Day team. See you in three months Restaurant Day.

When in Amsterdam...enjoy!

For When in Amsterdam's first visit to Amsterdam Restaurant Day click here.

When in Amsterdam... - Blogged

A real King of Amsterdam: Cruijff

When in Amsterdam...this city makes the King or Queen. Talk has recently turned to the abdication of Queen Beatrix. Amsterdam has always been a republican city state of the Netherlands. Throughout history the city has only supported Kings and Queens when it is in Amsterdam's best interest.

Johan's number has been retired by Ajax Amsterdam

The Amsterdam museum is currently holding an exhibition on Johan Cruijff, a real King of Amsterdam.  Born and breed in Amsterdam the exhibition looks at how Amsterdammers and Netherlanders see Cruijff their football idol.Cruiff was a footballer and his name is in the same category as Pele and  Maradonna.

Ballon d'Or

Cruijff won 3 European Footballer of the year awards (Ballon d'Or) and was voted best European footballer of the century in 1999. Cruijff was voted second to Pele as best footballer of the century.

"Joan en Ik." is a simple one room exhibition that shows Johan's acceptance of his role as an idol. Always willing to stop for an autograph or photo the exhibition shares anicdotes from his career and fans. The exhibition is a worthy accompanyment to the regular Amsterdam city history that the museum displays. You also get your own chance to get a photo with a King of Amsterdam.

When in Amsterdam... - Blogged

Amsterdam Remembers Auschwitz Liberation

When in Amsterdam....27 January remembers the Liberation of Auschwitz. In cold rain and melting snow Amsterdammers and dignitaries walked in silent procession from the Amsterdam City Hall to the Broken Mirrors Auschwitz Monument. The monument was constructed by Jan Wolders and is located in Wertheim Park.

Relatives, government officials, representatives of foreign governments and others commemorated the millions of Jews, Gypsies, handicapped, homosexuals and others murdered by the Nazis during World War Two.

Amsterdam Mayor, van den Laan made the keynote address. He questioned why had a government's key goal been to dehumanize and murder. He had read and studied much on the topic to find out why the Holocaust had happened; yet still he could not understand. Van den Laan felt responsible as a community leader that it never happens again.

Rabbi Menno ten Brink said the Yizkor and the Kaddish prayer in memory of the dead. There was also music of Roma and Sinti people. Young children also read how they understood the event.

"Never again Auschwitz" Auschwitz monument Amsterdam

An estimated 107,000 Dutch Jews, mostly from Amsterdam, were sent to concentrations camps, mainly Sobibor and Auschwitz. 5,200 Dutch Jews survived these camps and returned.

The liberation of Auschwitz by Russian forces 68 years ago is now an international day that remembers instances of genocide.

Amsterdam is home to the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

When in Amsterdam....remember!

When in Amsterdam... - Blogged