Amsterdam Day 4

My husband was back to work in the morning, and so the ladies ventured down to the Musueumplein to go to the Rijksmuseum.  It most notably houses several paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer.  Now I am by no means an art expert, nor could I have told you much of anything about either painter before.  But, that’s what I like about going to these places, it’s easier to start making the connections between names you’ve heard and images that you may have seen.  Being here and experiencing all these different things is helping all the history, timelines, and people fall into place for me.  This museum has mostly fine art, but one piece that I wasn’t expecting was a dress made in the 60’s by Yves Saint Laurent for the Dutch queen (if my memory is right).  Also Louis Vuitton is listed as a benefactor of the museum.  Random but interesting.

After the museum, we did a little retail therapy.  Amsterdam has great shopping, lots of big names, lots of small boutiques, and lots of H&M’s for those of us on a budget 🙂  Our husbands must have known what we were up to, because they got done with work a little early so we left to meet up with them.

The hubby and I then took the tram over to the Anne Frank house.  I had been reading her diary in preparation for the trip and it was really important for me to go there.  Admittedly my husband was not excited to go here, but he was happy he did after the visit.  Reading the diary is not necessary to appreciate the experience but will create more meaning for you.  So Anne Frank in a nutshell-she was born in Germany to a Jewish family.  In 1933 the family fled Germany to Amsterdam to escape the Nazis who were rising to power.  When Anne turned 13 she was given a diary for her birthday and shortly after her family decided to go into hiding at her father’s business because Jewish people were starting to get arrested and sent off to camps.  The family of four hid for two years with another family of three and one other man.  They lived in four small rooms at the back of the building, hidden by a moveable bookcase.  They were eventually betrayed by someone and reported to the Nazis.  They were all arrested and sent to different camps.  Of the eight people in hiding, only Anne’s father survived.

The building where they hid has been turned into a museum.  You can walk through the house and up the secret staircase behind the bookshelf to see where these people spent two years hiding.  It’s kind of hard to really understand what that means at first.  Where they were hiding was above a place of business, so during the day while workers were there, the people in hiding had to sit still as much as possible so no one would hear them moving around.  They all shared one toilet that could not be flushed during the day, because it would make noise.  They had black curtains that had to always be closed so that none of the neighbors could see them inside.  Can you imagine the boredom you would have if you could never go outside?  It’s so hard to think about living like that, but think of how bad the alternative was.  Visiting Anne Frank’s House is a dark but necessary reminder of what many Jewish people went through at that time.

The Anne Frank house is near a great area of town, the Joordan.  After we left the museum we found a little cafe on the water to relax at for a while.

We wandered the neighborhood and little shops.  This neighborhood is nice because it’s away from the center city which is the more gritty, touristy area.  It’s calmer and has more charm.  It was probably my favorite area of town and where I would go back to first on a return visit.

Statue outside someone’s door.
friendly kitty sitting on a scooter
interesting balcony decorations…
bikes, bikes, bikes