On This Day – Amsterdam in The Netherlands

I continue to raid the archives for pictures and past travel stories. On 22nd January 2004 in the early days of low cost flying I was in a bitterly cold Amsterdam…

My first visit to Amsterdam was in 1980 and it was on an organised coach tour paid for by exchanging Persil washing powder vouchers and I can only imagine now that I must have done an awful lot of washing to get enough vouchers for two people to go to Amsterdam for a weekend.

This was my first time back to The Netherlands this time with my son Jonathan on my very first Ryanair flight and on this occasion the city was in the grip of a Winter squeeze. We walked the canals of course but it was so cold that we did most of our sightseeing indoors in the city museums.

The first of these was the Scheepvaartmuseum or Maritime Museum which was a short walk from our hotel, the Amsterdam, on Damrak and told the story of the Dutch association with the sea through an interesting collection of maps, atlases, charts, paintings and scale models but best of all a full sized replica of the three masted ‘Amsterdam’, a ship of the Dutch East India Company, which in its maiden voyage sank in a storm in the English Channel in winter of 1749.

To sink on a maiden voyage always seems rather wasteful and sad to me, ships like Henry VIII’s Mary Rose, the German battleship Bismarck and most famous of all the passenger liner RMS Titanic; all that money, blood and sweat just for the ship to go to the bottom of the sea in a much shorter space of time than it took to build it.

Admission to the museum included entry to the ship and we wandered around the decks and cabins completely alone because this was an early morning in January and the temperature was some considerable way below zero.

In the old town we warmed up when we visited the Rembrandt house museum and visited the reconstructed rooms and historically correct restoration based on the artists own sketches and drawings. In the afternoon we walked to the Van Gogh museum which is the most visited museum in the Netherlands and contains the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the World.

Together with those of Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh’s works are among the world’s most expensive paintings ever sold and some of the most valuable ever. Actually, I found the museum rather disappointing because there were lots of gaps where paintings were on loan to other galleries around the World and some of his best known works that I would like to have seen are tucked away in private collections and vaults.

I like Van Gogh paintings and the museum shop was full of prints and reproductions but I am not an art critic and have to confess that alongside those I find brilliant I find some that quite frankly are not so good (shock, horror). The sort of things that my children used to bring home from school, I’d say well done and give them words of patronising encouragement and then after they had gone to bed I’d tape it up inside a kitchen cupboard!

28 responses to “On This Day – Amsterdam in The Netherlands

  1. I always enjoy your posts on past travels, Andrew!

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  2. Scheepvaartmuseum – whenever I see this word I am reminded of gleeful laughter from my Lloyd’s Insurance office days 60 years ago. I don’t remember exactly the German word for a shipping company, but to us it was Dampsheepfarts.

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  3. My first visit was in 1994 and since nice beers lol! and a world famous street lol!

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  4. It’s ages since we’ve been to Amsterdam too. I wish I’d been blogging then, I can’t be bothered to trawl through all my pre-digital photos. So thanks for the memories.

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  5. Really interesting. This is one place which I would like to revisit. The last time was many years ago with my youngest daughter and we go the ferry from Dover and then proceeded to Holland by train and bike.

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  6. I enjoyed Amsterdam the one time I visited. We were lucky as we had three sunny, warm days in April there.

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  7. I liked the photograph “Amsterdam Canals”. At first sight, I thought it was one of the Picassos.

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  8. My favourite city! First visited on our honeymoon in 1981, last visited in 2018, maybe 7 times in total.I think it would be my first venture abroad again because we know it so well we could ease ourselves in gently.

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  9. With a little luck, (maybe a lot) we’ll be back in Amsterdam this summer to kick off our Rhine cruise. My first time there was in 1967 when I was on my way home from my Peace Corps tour in West Africa. A while ago. 🙂 I have been back a couple of times since, however. –Curt

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  10. That was very intrepid of you to travel on washing powder vouchers ..proves you don’t need a lot of money

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  11. Oké … , eerst Amsterdam zien en dan sterven … Nee, na Amsterdam is er echt helemaal niks meer …
    Heel Amsterdam gaat voor de komende 50 jaar in de steigers: De kades brokkelen af. In de Binnenstad mogen géén auto’s meer rijden en géén zwaar vrachtverkeer over die oude bruggentjes … Dus, op toeristen zitten we niet te wachten. Elfriede Heinzel * http://www.friedabblog.wordpress.com * Amsterdam * 27 – 1- 2021 *
    Ja, gaat lekker naar Marokko! Lekker warm, hè …

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  12. This day 40 years ago. What a difference the years make. Who would have thought that Amsterdam would be convulsed by riots and scenes that seem so un-Dutchlike. My memories are of a lovely, laid-back people and I loved the fastfood outlets that served potato croquettes at all hours of the day and night.

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