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Published: June 16th 2010
Yesterday was my first traveling day in a couple of days. It felt like forever since I had traveled anywhere, but it had really only been four-five days. Anyway, today I headed out early and got to Amsterdam with about four or five hours to see what I could see, and then head back to Maastricht for dinner. I made the most of that time at the Amsterdam Historical Museum and the Old Church.
I visited the Old Church first. Before I heard about their organ on the internet, I had no intention of visiting the place. What could be there to see that I would not see in many other churches later? I was wrong. The church is magnificent, even if they are doing a massive restoration project which requires all stand-alone objects to be grouped together in the middle of the church. Evidently this church was the first grand church in Amsterdam, but when a new church was built later, the older one was forgotten and neglected. This is something like restoration number five or something, so any building that needs that much help has either been neglected in the past, or was badly built, and nothing
about this building was badly built. The highlight was seeing the two organs. The front one is kind of hard to miss, housed in a gorgeous box, with carvings and gold gilding all around. I would have loved to have heard what it sounds like. There was also a smaller organ mounted on the side in the back which was more ornate, but much smaller and less impressive. They thoughtfully had the stop list for the large organ there as a handout for people to take, so I took one. Next stop was the museum.
The Amsterdam Historical Museum is a museum all about the city of Amsterdam, naturally. I do not know who runs it, but if the city runs it, they do a phenomenal job, as they used different ways to exhibit artifacts, have exhibits all the way up until 2008, and have representational objects from all the time periods that could be expected, and some from unexpected times. Quite a few paintings, but these were sensibly not made the focus of the exhibitions and instead they used a lot of other artifacts. There were a lot of beautiful china pieces and other ceramics. The highlight
for me was seeing an early cannon, some really nice silver work, and a painting of an ox. Strange, certainly, but each had something to do with Amsterdam.
After over an hour in the Historical Museum, I had to get back to Maastricht. I still had a little time, so I managed to get close enough to the VOC Amsterdam replica ship to take a picture of it. To actually board the ship I would have had to walk all the way down to it, then up a peninsula that is it moored on, and there was not enough time for that, so I had to be content just to take a picture. The Maritime Museum which cares for it is closed for renovations, so it is moored next to a science center; otherwise it would have been even farther away. I really wanted to go to the Maritime Museum, though, so it was disappointing to learn that it was closed and will be closed the entire time I am here in Europe.
So a short trip today, but time enough to see a well-thought-out and put together museum, plus a gorgeous organ. The only bad
thing about seeing all these churches and their organs is that I want to play them all!
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