One of my favorite moments of my Amsterdam weekend was meandering through the streets of central Amsterdam, admiring canals, avoiding getting run over by bikes, and looking at the tulips in the flower market.
I visited the Hortus Botanicus on a whim, and it turned out to be the best part of the afternoon! Spring seemed to smile benevolently on Amsterdam the second day I was there, blooming in flowered trees and gracing the city with blue skies. The “desert plants” greenhouse was a surreal experience: Cacti baking in the arid heat on my left, while through the window on my right, canal houses lined up along the water.
1. The Rijksmuseum: Art and artifacts from Dutch history. HUGE. And the queues for tickets & coat check were corresponding in size. There was a good deal of weaponry (spears, guns, canons, armor), and more versions of Madonna and child than should decently be allowed in one building (I’m looking at you, Gothic period). There was a LOT to see, and the Rembrandt & Vermeer sections were choked with people.
3. The Verzetsmuseum/Dutch Resistance Museum
Very cool- interactive & excellently presented. I didn’t have time to go through it all! In addition to Dutch life leading up to and during WWII, it also talked about life & resistance in the Dutch Indies (Indonesia). I hadn’t thought about that part of WWII before, but it was a time of huge social upheaval for the colonists and colonized alike. That bit of information was rather colonialist in tone, but the museum in general seemed to provide an unbiased view of the “3 options” Dutch citizens chose in occupied Holland: Adapt, collaborate, resist.