Body Worlds is an exhibition dedicated to visualizing how the human body works
A rainy weekend in Amsterdam
More than a decade ago we spent a few hours in Amsterdam between two flights. That was a very short visit and we didn't get to see much. We wanted to see more of Amsterdam so therefore we went back to the Dutch capital for a weekend earlier this spring. The weekend we choose it rained a lot. That is why many pictures are gray and lack in colours. Last year we had equally bad weather when we went to Vilnius for a weekend. Let us hope this is not the beginning of a trend for our weekend trips...
We have heard rumours that Amsterdam is a city of sins, with sex and drugs everywhere. However, we know from experience that rumours like that most often aren't true. If you look carefully enough there might be a grain of truth in there somewhere but most if it is just gross exaggerations.
It turned out we were wrong. They sell drug paraphernalia in regular shops and they have lots of coffeeshops, where you can legally buy cannabis! We found these aspects of Dutch life strange and we don't
Central Amsterdam is crisscrossed with canals
really approve of the relaxed attitude the Dutch have when it comes to drugs. Fortunately it is not compulsory to buy and use drugs so we stayed away from those establishments.
Unfortunately the rumours about Amsterdam having a large sex industry were not exaggerated either. We didn't visit any of those businesses either. In Amsterdam you don't even have to enter a brothel to see the "goods" they are offering. In the red light district the prostitutes sit in display windows. We don't have any photos of this. If we had been interested we could have visited a sex museum, they have at least two in Amsterdam, a prostitution museum or a prostitution information centre or a condom shop. They are a few examples of sex related tourist attractions in Amsterdam.
Luckily there are plenty of other things in Amsterdam to see and do. Here is a quick summary of the things we saw:
• Rembrandt House Museum - The painter Rembrandt van Rijn lived 17 years of his life in a house in central Amsterdam. In 1656 he was forced to file for bankruptcy and as a consequence he was evicted from
Canal in central Amsterdam
his home. This was of course a tragic event for the great painter but for us his bankruptcy turned out to be a stroke of luck. All his possessions were confiscated and much of it was sold to secure funds to pay the debts. In the bankruptcy process everything Rembrandt owned was meticulously registered. The lists of his possessions still exist today and by using these they have been able to recreate his former home very close to what it looked like in the 17th century. This recreated home is known as Rembrandt House Museum and is a popular tourist attraction in Amsterdam. We found Rembrandt House Museum interesting enough to be worth a visit.
• The Royal Palace - It was originally built as Amsterdam's Town Hall and is today the Royal Palace. Like most royal palaces it is impressive and best described as an orgy in opulence.
• Body Worlds - Body Worlds is an exhibition dedicated to visualizing how the human body works. In the exhibitions they use genuine human bodies which have been donated to this particular purpose. The bodies have been prepared in a process called plastination, where much of the tissue is
Boats in one of the canals
replaced by a kind of plastic. The bodies look real but do not rot or smell. It was a very fascinating exhibition but you should avoid it if seeing dead bodies is a problem for you. Even though much of the flesh of the bodies on display has been replaced by plastic it is still dead humans and they look very real.
• Small Houses - in the guidebook we read about a house labelled as "the smallest house in Amsterdam". When we didn't find that house we googled "the smallest house in Amsterdam" and it turned out that it isn't a simple question to answer. There is no clear definition of "smallest" so there are at least three different houses claiming to be the smallest. For the fun of it we decided to try to find two of them. In one of those houses they have a café so we went in and had a cup each. The café is for obvious reasons very small so if you wish to visit it booking the table (not a
table) in advance is probably a good idea.
• The canals - central Amsterdam is crisscrossed with canals
Rembrandt House Museum
The painter Rembrandt van Rijn lived 17 years of his life in this house in central Amsterdam
so they are hard to avoid if you spend any amount of time there.
• Bicycle parking - Outside the Amsterdam Central Station there is a huge parking lot for bicycles. We took several photos of it but are not happy with any of them. No matter what we do we can't capture how big this parking lot really is and how ridiculously many bicycles that are parked there.
• Anne Frank House - We walked by the house where Anne Frank lived before she was captured and deported to a concentration camp. We saw the lines with people who wanted to see the museum and quickly decided to give up the idea of seeing it ourselves. Next time we buy a ticket on the website before we go there. Those tickets guarantee you entrance at a certain time.
Finally we would like to mention the hotel we stayed in when we were in Amsterdam simply because it could actually qualify as a tourist sight. The name of the hotel is Fletcher Hotel Amsterdam and they had spent much effort on design when they built it. We have added photos showing two of the many
Rembrandt House Museum
In 1656 Rembrandt was forced to file for bankruptcy after which all his possessions were confiscated and sold to secure funds to pay the debts. Everything Rembrandt owned before the bankruptcy was meticulously registered. By using the lists of his possessions they have been able to recreate his former home
designer details we liked there.
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