The Trapdoor at the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum designed by Cuypers was built as a “gate” to Amsterdam, as it stands just outside the line of the 18th Century city walls. It balances the Central Station, at the other end of the city, and also designed by Cuypers. It houses some of the most important artifacts of Dutch history and the famous of Dutch art, including the Night Watch. Here’s a view of it showing the gate structure at its centre, the Night Watch is displayed directly over the arch.nt_rijksmuseum2

The Night Watch went back into it’s former position when the Rijksmuseum was re-openedĀ  – one of the few works not to be moved.

It’s considered the most famous painting by Dutch people, it has such cultural significance that it has its own escape hatch at the museum. A guide told me that there’s a trap door just in front of the painting, and the painting can be dropped to safety. The black section here is apparently the outside part of the trapdoor.


The trapdoor wasn’t installed for the renovation though, it was installed in the early 1930’s, and used in 1939 to removed the Night Watch before the art-acquisitive Nazis arrived. The painting spent the war in hiding, as did a number of artworks from the Rijksmuseum. The museum could re-open following the war with an almost intact collection.

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What is worse than dog shit?

Dog shit in a plastic bag.


Dog shit in a plastic bag has the advantage of not sticking to your foot if you step in it, but it doesn’t wash away in the rain and it doesn’t biodegrade. I honestly don’t get this – the dog owner has done the hard part, and then just left it there, as if carrying a sealed plastic bag a mere 30 metres to the nearest rubbish bin was way too much effort.

And now I am the crazy who photographs dog shit. Excellent.

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Cousin Louis

I went up to NDSM to have lunch and a wander around with a friend of mine in the weekend. Although it’s part of Amsterdam it has a creative, even anarchic, feel all its own. After lunch at “Plek” we wandered off and found Neef Louis (cousin Louis). Neef Louis bills itself as “Design Vintage and Industrial”, it seems to be where weird stuff goes to die. Here are my highlights.

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Saturday Market; Cooking on an Italian Theme

I love aubergines, known as eggplant to Americans and Melanzane to Italians. I love the colour and the shiny smooth skin.

I also love the flavour, so I decided to make “Melanzane alla Parmigiana”, and found a great recipe online – so authentic it’s in Italian. I used mozzarella rather than caciocavallo, and canned tomatoes rather than passata. It turned out well, next time I will slice the aubergine a little more thinly, but yum.

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Bad Thoughts at the Stedelijk Museum

Minds out of the gutter – it’s an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum.

It’s a selection of works from the personal collection of Martijn and Jeannette Sanders, who started collecting in the 70’s. Because it’s a personal connection, built on personal appreciation of works rather than curated to an imposed standard, it’s rather quirky. They discuss their collection in a short interview taken in their own home.

The exhibition includes paintings, mixed media, installations, video, sculpture and photography. It’s some of the “new greats” in art, and worth seeing. The exhibition is on until 9 November 2014, you can buy tickets on the museum’s website.

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Celebrating Gay Pride 2014

I went down to Prinsengracht on Saturday and took photos of the boats in the Gay Pride Canal Parade. Lots of great performers this year, and very enthusiastic crowds. Followed by parties across the city, this is something Amsterdam celebrates. Here are some highlights from the parade, there’s also a video taken from near the end of the parade.

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Celebrate Gay Pride

This weekend Amsterdam will celebrate Gay Pride , including the famous canal parade on Saturday. If you’re not sure what to expect here are my posts on gay pride from previous years.

The basics are; performers on boats going along Prinsengracht, starting at the Haarlemmerstraat end at about 1.30pm. Crowds lining the canals to cheer their support.

Businesses around town show their support, often using the rainbow symbol. This is from SeeMe on Haarlemmerstraat.


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