Tuesday, December 04, 2007



In February 2006, the Van Gogh Museum decided to show a comparative exhibition of paintings from Rembrandt and Caravaggio. Furthermore, the Rijksmuseum was undergoing renovation works, and thus was showing 400 of its masterpieces concentrated in a small space. So, it seemed a nice occasion to get back to Amsterdam and that's what I did! Here, we may see the pictures of a cultural stroll through town!

"CONCERTGEBOUW - In 1881 plans started to be made to provide Amsterdam with a proper concert hall worthy of the name. On 11 April 1888, almost two years after the building itself was completed; the grand opening took place at this wonder of neoclassical architecture. Bernard Haitink, who leaded the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from 1961 through 1988, once described the Concertgebouw as the best instrument in the orchestra!"

"THE VAN GOGH MUSEUM, with its two buildings (the main designed by Gerrit Rietveld and opened in 1973, and the Exhibition Wing by Kisho Kurokawa completed in 1999), is probably my favourite museum in Amsterdam. Further to the fabulous Van Gogh collection of paintings, it also usually holds some special exhibitions of masterpieces from around the globe. This was the case for the Rembrandt-Caravaggio, and there I was for the opening"

"THE RIJKSMUSEUM is one of the richest museums in the world. It has been housed, since 1885, in architect Pierre Cuypers' building on the Museumplein, and since 2003 through 2009 is undergoing huge renovation works. A nice opportunity to see the masterpieces concentrated"

"SELF-PORTRAIT - Blurred!"

"MASTERPIECES - I hesitated to post these pictures, as they're also somehow blurred; but finally couldn't resist... Vermeer (1632-1675) has now only 35 paintings attributed to him; but they're all stunning. The love letter is part of the main lot; Jan Steen (1626-1679) is probably the most amazing of the Dutch; his sense of humour is fantastic. Frans Hals (1580-1666) is a fantastic portrait painter. And Rembrandt (1606-1669) is Rembrandt!"

"THE WILLET-HOLTHUYSEN MUSEUM, on Herengracht at number 605, was built between 1685 and 1687. Having had Abraham Willet and his wife Louisa Holthuysen as last residents, the latter left the house with its contents and her husband's art collection to the city in 1895 on condition the house became a museum. It's a quite nice small museum, actually the only fully furnished patrician house on Amsterdam's canals open daily to the public"

"WILLET'S COLLECTIONS AND GARDEN - The original arrangement of the rooms has remained intact over the years, and the porcelain and crystal collection is quite interesting. The garden is amazing, taking into account its surroundings!"

"NEMO - The Renzo Piano Building Workshop designed NeMo, the giant boat-like building, looking like a ship docked at Oosterdok, for the National Centre for Science and Technology. It's an amazing construction, like most of Renzo Piano's buildings (remember Centre Pompidou, Paris)"

"STEDELIJK CS. - The main Municipal museum at Museumplein is also under renovation. But the Stedelijk is holding some exhibitions at the temporary location CS. When I visited, there was one with photos from Rineke Dijkstra. These were taken in Portugal, and show three «forcados», the guys that perform the face catch of the bulls in Portuguese style bullfights..."


Anonymous said...

Google Reader knows at once, when new post is published :)
And it is full of fine knowledges again and photos too.
I wonder, is it allowed to take photos in museums or was you a little a naughty boy?
I know, that we could try to draw even Rembrandt`s The Night Watch, I have seen children sitting on the floor in front of the picture trying to draw!

Analía said...

Hi, I hope you're doing fine :) I have another friend in Lisbon who also takes great pictures....should I move there to see if I get some skills? LOL
Beautiful blog!
Take care

lyliane six said...

Je trouve le musée merveilleux que de belles peintures, j'aime beaucoup le peinture flamande, j'en ai vu à Madère dans une église il me semble que c'était à Saint Vincent au Nord de l'île, les flamands les échangeaient pour de la canne, car ils faisaient le commerce du sucre avec Madère.J'ai vu une magnifique collection aussi à Anvers (où ma soeur a habité pendant 30 ans), au musée Rubens.

Oman said...

Great pictures. I like the first 3 ones. And among the paintings I like the self portrait best (hehe).

Anyways, thanx for the comment in my blog and I see that you had already visited my country. take care.

Ash said...

Vermeer!!! I LOOOVE Vermeer :)

This is one fantastic post. Cool self portrait!

lyliane six said...

Les statues de l'île de Pâques sont revenues, et mon rêve d'aller les voir aussi.

Lara said...

wow, did they allow you to take photos in the museum?! envy :). a new post, a new cultural delight here.

indicaspecies said...

Informative post that I enjoyed much. Some the pictures are superb.

Gil, I wish you a happy holiday season in advance as I shall be travelling again which means a 'net less' life. :)

Cergie said...

Il est toujours intéressant de comparer les oeuvres de deux artistes, j'ai ainsi été voir l'expo Picasso-Matisse au Grand Palais à Paris et dois dire que Picasso a tiré au la main son épingle du jeu
Et cela me fait penser à nous les bloggueurs qui travaillons chacun et apportons notre pierre à l'édifice. Chacun a ses talents, chacun a ses envies et passions, et chacun a sa place.
Merci de m'avoir fait découvrir l'architecture de ce magnifique musée Van Gogh.
En ce qui concerne le flou, les conventions seules permettent d'affirmer que le NET est mieux que le FLOU. Au diable les conventions, Vivent l'art et l'information !

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

oh I love Amsterdam....we honeymooned in Holland not long back.....in fact, it was last year around the same time........and Rijksmuseum was closed then too because of renovation....thanks for showing me what the works inside there looks like..we never could!!!

Tinsie said...

Fantastic pictures! They make me want to return to Amsterdam :-)

I'm definitely going to the Willet-Holthuysen Musem when I'm next there.

Joy said...

That gives me an idea of where to go this December when we're in Amsterdam! Great photos as always.

Norwich Daily Photo
The Goddess In You
Your Love Coach

Annie said...

Do you just hop on a train or plane and go when and wherever you wish? What a life, GMG.

b.c. said...

great set on amsterdam, really liked seeing the masters too, and the commentary--good as always

lyliane six said...

Avez vous visité Delphes et ses porcelaines?, nous sommes aussi passés par la route du fromage : Gouda et Edam, les moulins et bien sûr le bord de mer.

Nikon said...

Amazing places and sights, Gil.

Pijush said...

Waoww.. Its simply stunning.. It reminded me my trip to Amsterdam, Its an awesome place. Your shots are Fabulous. Nice reading this post. Take care

Nihal said...

I'm agree that Rembrandt’s works are extremely vital! Because his canvases exude feelings and thoughts. It's most evident in his portraits and self-portraits, which show us a great psychological depth. Even though he painted very few landscapes he's best known as a painter of historical and biblical scenes plus a portrait painter which I'm always impressed!!! Of course, the Rijksmuseum has one of the world’s most important collections of Rembrandt’s paintings. Thanks a lot for your article about beautiful Ams'dam, helped me to refresh my travels memories to NL:)

W/regards the X-mas city lights, your Lisbon City Hall just doing very well! As for the planet, energy saving and reduce electricity are essential for a more green world you know, and I'm very much appreciative about your Hall procedure! Just an idea: why not using candles as they're very romantic and dim light so nice:)

Yeap, Turkey's rendez-vous vs Portugal for Euro2008 next summer, and I'm definitely keeping my fingers and toes crossed for the match;) Can you make any guess for the result -it's too early but? A little reminder: remaining time for the matchday is only 182 days/19 hrs/16 mins/37 secs from today, Woooohoooo!!!

Have a restful nice weekend:)

Catherine said...

Beautiful shot's!! Great cloud's and sky's..in the background's!!
And like the self portrait!
Great post!
Enjoy the weekend!

Jo's-D-Eyes said...

oooops sorry, I made a mistake here (in my last comment) I saw that you noticed that perhaps too, or i.o.w. (I said the RIJKS museum was under coonstruction, but that is wrong) I mend that the STEDELIJK museum was or STILL is under constuction, so thats still the case now-a-days...

I posted again some Paris Pics in case you are interested, just visit my blog and look:)I wish you a good weekend

Greetings JoAnn:)

Chris said...

First, I enjoyed these photos and your post. We were in Amsterdam only 1.5 days, and I wish I had had more time.

I did see your note and have looked at some of your US photos. It's fun to see how they looked when you took them. I've also enjoyed seeing them through another's eyes!

I just saw that you have two posts about Neruda. .. .I have to check those out.

Isadora said...

An amazing collection of photos!! The china, the incredibly well preserved furniture (the bed in particular!), and what a garden in such a sliver of a spot!

I too wondered about taking photos in the museum :) I did in Budapest at one of the exhibits until I heard someone being reprimanded for it - for once it was not I who was caught :)

Lynette said...

Van Gogh Museum--what a treat that must have been to see his works and the others. Wow.

Thank you for visiting my blog--I'm glad you liked the gull photo because I had fun with it myself.

Jules said...

Great to revisit this amazing place thru your eyes!!!

Dick said...

Nice post, I have been in Amsterdam many times but now I see museums I didn't see before they show up in your post. Why have you been in so many places, is it because of your work???

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your visits and comments. Love to read that Google reader works!
In some museums you’re allowed to take pictures, provided that you don’t use a flash! In others you pay to photograph, and in the rest, you’re naughty… ;)

Thanks for the visit, the comment and the compliment!
You’re always welcome to move to Lisbon, but taking into account my own skills, I’m not sure it improves much.., Actually, that «also» you wrote referring to my pictures may be a bit excessive… ;)

Moi aussi j’aime bien les peintures flamandes et c’est vrai qu’il y en a à Madère. Mais à Anvers c’est différent: super!
Delft, j’ai visité dans un autre voyage, en 1988. Je ferais un post `propos sur Blogtrotter 70s & 80s, si jamais 1988 arrive sur ce blog… (encore en 1985, en Irlande, pour le moment) ;))

Great that you liked the self-portrait! ;))
It’s true that I’ve been in the Philippines, but have to go back…

I also adore Vermeer, and thus took pictures of all his paintings at the Rijksmuseum. The problem is that they are all blurred; even worse than the self-portrait… ;))

Thanks for the visit and comment. I’m enjoying your Austrian series. As to museums, see the reply to Leena!

Thanks. Have a great holiday season also, and enjoy your travelling! Look forward to seeing the pictures you’ll take…

Merci pour la visite et le commentaire. L’avantage des blogs est qu’on est toujours en train d’apprendre! Tu sais que l’expression (que ne m’était pas trop familière) «tirer son épingle du jeu» date du 16ème siècle? Et on n’est pas sûr quel était le jeu! Et, en plus, il y avait aussi une connotation érotique… Tout ça j’ai appris aujourd’hui à cause de ton commentaire. Merci, encore une fois!

Honeymoon not long back... I’ve some pictures from Portugal, Switzerland and Austria in 1975 at the Blogtrotter 70s & 80s; is that long back? ;))
The Rijks was not closed; there was a back entrance at the Jan Luijkenstraat, with the exhibition of The Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum (around 400) at the Philips wing!

You’re not that far from Amsterdam; and with the Eurostar+Thalys combination, it’s an easy ride!

Great choice!

That was somehow what I was doing up to five years ago. Now, I’m almost stuck!


Thanks. Was Hemingway in Amsterdam?

Thanks. Glad to know that you also travelled to Amsterdam and liked the city!

Thanks for your always interesting comment!
I’m glad that you enjoyed my Amsterdam cultural stroll. I like Rembrandt, but must confess that Vermeer is my favourite from the Dutch Golden Age painters…
Energy saving, I agree. But candles in the streets, I’m not so sure…
I can’t guess the result of Portugal vs. Turkey on Euro 2008; furthermore because usually there is no logic in the game… ;)


The Rijks is under renovation until 2010; the Stedelijk is also under renovation, and will hopefully be back to business at Museum Square by 2009. Meanwhile, you may see temporary exhibitions at the Stedelijk C.S. And up to January 13, 2008, there is one of Andy Wharol: Other Voices, Other Rooms! No photos allowed! Lol…

One day and a half is a bit short…
I like in particular the US pictures from the 1980s…
Neruda label refers to La Chascona and Isla Negra houses…

Thanks. The Willet-Holthuysen is an amazing surprise!
Museum photos? See the reply to Leena!

Van Gogh is at the top and the museum is absolutely stunning!
Loved to see that gull…

Thanks! I’m always impressed to visit your blog: The closest I’ve been to Papua New Guinea was in the Fiji Islands. May be one day I’ll land at Port Moresby… ;)

We have an expression in Portuguese: «santos da casa não fazem milagres»; it means that one neither pays much attention nor gives full consideration to what is just around the corner…
It’s true that I travelled a lot for professional reasons, but also profited every holiday to take a break abroad…

Dalicia said...

i'm glad that you took the pictures of the potraits. i always enjoy the masterpieces :)

Anonymous said...

Hesitated, but couldn't resist...

Lakshmi said...

wow ...what a post..I always love history , arts and literature and this post was a treat ..

Ming the Merciless said...

The contemporary building is quite amazing. I love the shape and look of it.

Neva said...

I love reading your blog...this bit about Amsterdam has been wonderful! Very nice and I love the Vermeer shots...nice self portrait of you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Glad that you enjoyed!

The Renzo Piano buildings are usually stunning; starting with the Beaubourg/Centre Pompidou in Paris...

Happy to see you back here and enjoying. I share your love with Vermeer!