Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Amsterdam good-bye

Twilight in Amsterdam's red light district
Twilight in Amsterdam
red lights are brothels

We leave Amsterdam this morning and, rainy and cold as it's been lately, we're ready. I'm not exactly going to miss this place but I won't forget it either.

We did get to Rembrandt's house. Swami calls him Zoon, which means son in Dutch, but I think he just uses it as a nickname for Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. Anyway, Rembrandt is one of my favorite painters so going there was on my must do list. M. Lee wasn't so impressed because the house is something of a "George Washington's axe", i.e. same axe... just with a new handle and a new axe head. But Swami and I had a great time. It was, after all, where Rembrandt lived. The location is the same. The light coming in the windows is the same light (more or less given pollution etc). There are paintings of his on the walls. But the tubes of paint, easels, and presses in the studios and the furniture, curtains, bedding, pots and pan etc. in the rest of the house are all props. Rembrandt went bankrupt and had to sell everything he owned to satisfy his debtors. However the Dutch are, if nothing else, great accountants. The auctioneers left a list of everything he had, down to the smallest paintbrush. From that, the museum did a good job of recreating the set. But we all liked seeing his etchings done on handmade Japanese paper. They were on exhibit in a less visited part of the house.
Rembrandt's house - Amsterdam
Me and Swami
at Rembrandt's house

Above all else, his house was a great studio with different rooms for different endeavors, an artist's dream. And yes, it's tawdry of me, but I did enjoy visiting the kitchen where, it is said, his outraged mistress threw pots and pans and screamed at him when he broke up with her.

Of course, this wasn't the only place we visited during our stay here but it's all the time I have at the moment to write about it. But I will say this. Visually, Amsterdam is a city right out of one of my childhood books. The houses are narrow and tall and lean on each other as, slowly over the centuries, they sink into the wetlands bog upon which they are built. The fisherman should never have built anything here but fishing huts but it's too late now.



4 comments:

Roy said...

They also seem to have been really good at making doors and windows. I mean, those are some awesome doors and windows, and some serious hardware.

asha said...

Yes. We were told that the buildings are required to have as many huge windows as possible to reduce their weight. Amsterdam is not built on solid ground. It rests on pillars that were, long ago, driven into the mud.

Paula said...

I love the photo!

asha said...

Thanks Paula. :)