Tuesday came too soon and my friends had to return to work. Which meant, that I had to explore alone from then on. The plan had been to go visit Amsterdam for the next few days.. But in the end I crammed it all into one day. I had been to Amsterdam before and had already seen enough of the red light district and the coffee shops. Therefore I was also somewhat disappointed when the tour I joined basically focussed on the history after 1960 and didn’t really cover much of the history before that. Amsterdam is a beautiful city and even though it has a few stand out sights, a lot of the flair comes from the relaxed vibe of the city and all the small streets and waterways that it has. After the tour ended, I walked almost 2 kilometers along a water way to reach the Rijksmuseum.. and everything was pretty red-bricked houses or old historical buildings and in between the river and trees. It didn’t matter that it had been raining like crazy, it was still nice to work down the roads.
The Rijkmuseum is a large museum collecting some of the most important art the Netherland has collected. The building itself is also quite impressive and was designed by the architect Pierre Cuypers (who is somewhat omnipresent in the Netherlands) and opened in 1885. It has recently been renovated and reopened its doors only in 2013. The collection contains a lot of famous pictures from the Netherlands golden age. The golden age was mostly the 17th century after the Netherlands gained their independence and were considered at the forefront of scientific, military and economic progress. The dutch east india company was created at the beginning of the 17th century and played a big part in this development. My favourite painting, on a purely emotional basis, is the threatened swan by Jan Asselijn, who is also a golden age painter. It was also probably my favourite painting in the Rijksmuseum. Another very impressive thing in the Rijksmuseum is their library, which one can visit as, either a historian, or a simple visitor to look at the rangs of old books available to the historians.
From the Rijkmuseum it is just a few steps to the Van Gogh museum.. which was seriously overrun by people. I thought visiting it on a Tuesday afternoon would make for smaller crowds, but I was wrong. In a long file we walked from picture to picture, obviously following the same audio guide. While pictures were explicitly allowed in the Rijksmuseum (something I realised way to late), they were explicitly forbidden in the Van Gogh museum..
To a point where a lady next to me that had lied in room 1 about taking pictures, was asked to leave in room 3 because they had reviewed the camera footage and she could clearly be seen taking pictures on it. I think it was more the lying about taking pictures that got her thrown out than the taking pictures though (I thought I had seen her too, but didn’t want to get involved). Even with the masses of people, I still liked the Van Gogh museum better than the Rijksmuseum. It is well made and structured and teaches a lot about Van Gogh’s life. At the end, it asks what the biggest discovery about Van Gogh was, what part of his life hadn’t you known about before visiting the museum. For me that would be the Japan-influence and his desire to draw like traditional Japanese artists.