Some history on Amsterdam in Nederland

Photographs of Amsterdam

Amsterdam : Centraal Station [c.1956]
© Image from author's photographic archive. DO NOT COPY

Contemporary Photographs

Amsterdam : Begijnhof at Nieuwmarkt [2024]
© Photo taken by author on May 18th, 2024. DO NOT COPY

A tranquil haven in the centre of the city, the Begijnhof dates back to the 14th century. Within the complex, or court, stands Het Houten Huys, one of only surviving wooden houses in Amsterdam. Heavily restored, the building is dated 1528, making it the oldest wooden house in the city. Agatha Kaptein, the last beguine, died in 1971.

Amsterdam : Art City NDSM [2024]
© Photo taken by author on May 17th, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Housed in the main hangar building of the former Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij shipbuilding company, NDSM Loods is today a centre of artistic creativity, part of the Kunststad [Art City] project. There are around eighty studios where a few hundred people engaged in art projects and crafts work on their next creation. It is possible to see them in action, though most seemed to be on a lunch break when we visited. The building was largely empty with little activity. Still, there are plenty of exhibits to appreciate and large boards telling the story of the shipyard have been installed. The black widow spiders seen here are the work of the landscape, city designer and artist, Jeroen Heester.

Amsterdam : Straat Museum [2024]
© Photo taken by author on May 17th, 2024. DO NOT COPY

A look inside STRAAT Museum that opened in 2020 to showcase evolving street art and graffiti, most of which was created on site. The story of street art is explained via large panels, detailing the history of this art form, along with highlighting its impact on art, fashion, design, advertising and culture. The exterior of the building features a massive mural of Anne Frank, the work of Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra. My favourite work was "Shards of Memories," created in 2024 by Leon Keer, the Dutch pop-surrealist artist.

Amsterdam : Nieuwendammerdijk 317 [2024]
© Photo taken by author on May 19th, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Like the nearby Schellingwouderdijk, Nieuwendammerdijk has become very des-res with properties commanding eye-watering prices. Both streets, in the Nieuwendam district of Amsterdam-Noord, form part of the historic dyke Waterlandse Zeedijk. The streets comprises of some of Amsterdam's oldest houses constructed with wood. These are interspersed with brick residences, some of which were constructed for employees of the Oranjeslokken locks in 1872. Some properties on Schellingwouderdijk were demolished during World War 2 when the German army required a clear field of fire for anti-aircraft guns. The gap, between Nos. 217 to 247, was later infilled with new housing.

Amsterdam : Nesciobrug across the Rijnkanaal [2024]
© Photo taken by author on May 18th, 2024. DO NOT COPY

Costing around €10m, the Nesciobrug, spanning the Rijnkanaal, was built solely for the use of cyclists and pedestrians. The award-winning structure is named after the Dutch author Jan Hendrik Frederik Grönloh, better known by the pen name Nescio, who wrote about the area when on his walks. Dubbed the Eel Bridge, it connects Oud-Diemen with Diemerpark, another shorter bridge connecting to Rieteilanden and IJburg. When completed it was the longest single cable suspension bridge in the Netherlands.

Amsterdam : Begijnhofkapel [2024]
© Photo taken by author on May 18th, 2024. DO NOT COPY

I was lucky to have a quiet moment in the Begijnhofkapel dedicated to Saint John and Saint Ursula. Visitors come and go on a regular basis so it was great to have a near-empty chapel to myself. The serenity of the place is almost celestial, though one could argue that is the whole point. The main alter of the chapel features a painting depicting the Miracle of Amsterdam. You can read all about this on a number of websites. Whether you believe or not, it is a fine story. Not so good, of course, for the bloke who checked out!

Amsterdam Coat-of-Arms

Poster for the Amsterdam Olympic Games [1928]

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