Today was filled with sunshine, brisk breezes and art ranging from the old masters through post modern. There was also a lot of walking and canal houses and, well, tulips. And photo ops.
Three of the major Amsterdam museums are conveniently clustered together in an area know as Museumplein. This is also where the giant “I amsterdam” sign – a magnet for crazy people to climb – is located. (Interestingly, there are no “keep off” signs, just a simple statement that basically says “you’re climbing this at your own risk, don’t say we didn’t warn you”. It’s as if the Dutch knew perfectly well that, short of electrifying it, people were going to climb it and they’ve chosen to not get too worked up about it!)
A lovely 30 minute walk along the canals brought me to my first stop, the grand and glorious Rijksmuseum. Best known for their collection of Old Masters, they have a wide range of art including Deltware, Impressionist paintings and even a 1916 biplane. They also have a very nice cafe where I enjoyed an egg salad sandwich with salmon – delicious!
After lunch I headed over to the nearby Van Gogh Museum. A smaller museum, it’s filled with one glorious masterpiece after another. It’s also very popular so it’s a bit crowded, however it’s very logically organized, making it easy to follow Van Gogh’s career and the development of his talent. No photos allowed though (they were very strict here – I started to walk in with my sunglasses still on and was stopped and asked (politely) to remove them!)
My final stop was the next door Stadelijk Museum which is home to modern art. Quite frankly, I probably would have skipped this one, but it is on my Museumkaart (which lets you into various museums) and I was so close, I decided to go. I didn’t spend a lot of time here but it was quite lovely. I especially liked the Mondarins they had on display.
By now it was late in the afternoon so I headed back toward my hotel, stopping by the Ann Frank House, hoping I would be able to get in. I had read that the lines are much shorter later in the day (it’s open until 9pm) but there were at least – at least – 200 people waiting to get in, standing in the now cloudy and chilly weather. I may try again on Wednesday – I’ve read that going early – being in line before they open – is a good strategy, but I may simply have to miss it.