Local Heart, Global Soul

May 2, 2016

External Becomes Internal And The Beauty Remains…

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has been closed for ten years for a complete inside and out renovation of the building and artworks. It re-opened in April 2013 with a newly added Asian Gallery and a large glass roof that covered what (I think) had originally been an inner courtyard, creating a large central space that is light and airy. Inside, amongst other things is a restaurant / café,  and information and ticket desks.
It’s clear that the beautiful exterior of the building, as seen in my yesterday’s post, is repeated here on what used to be the “inner exterior” when this was formerly a courtyard. There are impressive stone sculptures and carvings and painted decorative panels… Everything is beautiful…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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 Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

May 1, 2016

If Only I Could Zoom In On Your Hidden Levels Of Promise…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I visited the Rijksmuseum a couple of a months ago with two friends, and we arrived early because we overestimated the amount of traffic between The Hague and Amsterdam early on a Sunday morning.

Himself dropped us off and headed back home since art galleries and museums are not really his thing, my girl friends and I decided to look at the back side of the museum.

This wasn’t originally because we intended to do so, rather that despite the sunny day, it was so bitterly cold and windy that standing still was less of an option, even rugged up in warm clothes and coats.

Having reached the back entrance through the tunnel that goes through the ground floor of the building, we stop and take a look around.

The museum reaches back behind me to my left, the entrance to the tunnel running under the building covered by an ornate porch. To the right the decorative façade reaches upwards, and the more you look the more you see. Even the gates that close off the tunnel underneath the museum at night are beautifully ornate. There are stone carved pieces of various ages, some have been worn away by time, the one that contains the “Green Man” image in it’s foliage is difficult to estimate with regards to age, it could be an old one that’s been cleaned during the recent renovations, or it is a new addition because there is so much less wear than the other stone pieces.

On the other hand it’s more sheltered position has probably spared it a great deal from the elements. High up on the wall are two massive panels, made in tiles: the nearer one depicts what looks to be a crowd gathered at a roll call, the other I struggled to see well due to it’s height and angle but appears to be a King on a throne surrounded by the members of court. The detail is tantalisingly close but frustratingly too far away. It’s like a sweet (candy) placed just millimetres out of reach. I can see so much and I can see so little… Between these large tiled pieces are two smaller panels with inscriptions, these panels are framed in ornate stonework. The beautiful stonework continues down to the arched pieces at the top of the four windows on the lower floors. I’m going to invest in a far more powerful zoom lens and this wall is near the top of my list to come back to… preferably without the freezing temperatures that prevailed when these photographs were taken.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

April 30, 2016

An Ornamental Garden: And A Packaged Sized Beauty…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I am visiting the Rijksmuseum with two girl friends. It’s early on a Sunday morning and we arrived earlier than expected so have kill some time until the doors open.

Although the sun is shining, it is bitterly cold and the entrances to the museum are located in the shadow of the tunnel that runs directly under the musum, so in order to keep warm I need to move a little.

Going far is not an option but the end of the tunnel and the other side of the museum is only a few meters further so I head out there.

I exit on to a large Plein, at the end of which is a large ” I AMsterdam” sign (actually in real life the letters are the same shape and size, but the “I AM” is in red and the rest in white).

Before me is a lovely ornamental garden, one that I know from Google Earth images is a recent addition. Fountains and statues complete the outward vista.

I’m not certain if the smaller building is part of the Rijksmuseum complex, a private residence, an office, or something else that just happens to be located in a building of similar age and style to the Rijksmuseum. Beauty in both a large and small package is droolworthy either way…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

April 29, 2016

The Show Starts A Little Early And We See More Than We Bargained On…

Filed under: Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum,ART,Funny,LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We had arrived early on a Sunday morning at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

The sun may have been shining but it was bitterly cold and the wind was freezing so standing in the tunnel waiting for the museum doors to open was not a particularly comfortable experience.

I was trying to balance on my crutches to keep my feet off the cold ground when a young woman came up to us.  Neither of my two friends speak Dutch, one, originally from Romania lives here and is learning, but the other, from Greece, is  visitor so we were conversing in English whilst we waited.

The young woman turned out to be a visiting Australian physician, an anaesthesiologist visiting Amsterdam to attend a convention.

She approached us to confirm that she was indeed at the Entrance to the museum and then we got chatting about where we were from since I recognised her accent.

So, four women are standing talking, when all of a sudden the Aussie lady and I, who had our backs to the tunnel wall gasped and began to laugh. The other two took a second to follow our eyes, turned and then joined in the laughter.

A man, I would guess at late twenties or early thirties, dressed in what certainly looked from the front like a fluro-green mankini, covered by a tank-top, and wearing a tight beanie, sped past us on his inline skates.

He was wearing protective wrist, elbow and knee pad but nothing else.

We were all rather startled to see someone so scantily clad skating past the Rijksmuseum, especially considering how sodding freezing it was, we were all really cold and we were well dressed and had coats on.

I managed to lift my camera to snap off a few photographs before he sped off into the distance.

I enlarged one of the photographs to give you an idea… it certainly looks like the rave must have been a good one that Saturday night, things having only wound down just before nine on a Sunday morning!

My Romanian and Greek girlfriends were left with their mouths open… I was left to tell our Australian visitor that in Amsterdam you can expect anything…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

April 28, 2016

The Cycle Paths And Walkway Galleries Of The Rijksmuseum…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself dropped me and two friends off early one Sunday morning at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum.

The sun was shining but it was bitterly cold and a chill wind meant that being early was both a blessing and a curse.

We go through the arches near the centre of the building and find ourselves in a kind of porch or tunnel, that runs right through the building to the other side.

There are cycle-ways down the centre and the number of early morning cyclists during the time that we waited told me that this was a short-cut that was well used.

The walls have tile decorations both large and small, with what looks like a poem, or quotations marked out too, plus a larger piece that looks like a dedication (I think) to the founders of the Rijksmuseum.

Added to this, there are undecorated reinforcement ironworks over the cycle paths, and then decorated ones over the two pedestrian galleries that run either side of them.

These latter ironworks have a birds and maybe stylised mythical creature on them, and each set is different. My biggest problem in getting photographs however is the low light, all but a couple of the photographs I took came out too out of focus to use, my lack of tripod obviously a handicap here. On the other hand some of the tile photographs came out better than expected so sometimes it’s just swings and roundabouts. The last photograph is  of a large carved stone piece, located on the entry door at the opposite end of this tunnel through the building: unlike to end we came in at, that door is protected by an external porch and this carving is within that. I would like to take more photographs of the detail of the Rijksmuseum, maybe in summer when the light is stronger, in the meantime I get to wonder on who managed to fire the zigzag shaped bricks and how they managed to fit them so beautifully into the decoration.

Rijksmuseum portiek 1 (Small)

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Rijksm(photograph © Kiwidutch)useum portiek detail 1d (Small)

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Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

April 27, 2016

Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum: A Stunning Piece Of Architecture…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Several months ago, since I have not been out of the house socially for weeks, two friends arranged a trip for us to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum.

It’s amazing that after living some twenty years in The Netherlands, I have never visited this would famous museum, but full time work and a young family never afforded me that opportunity at first.

Later the children were bigger but the museum was closed for ten years for a top to bottom renovation, both of the building and the artworks.

I had thought that a visit was impossible once the Rijksmuseum re-opened because I knew that the building was vast and beyond my capabilities on crutches, but my friends did some research and found out that there are wheelchairs available on loan for use in the museum on a first-come-first served basis.

This sounded perfect. Himself dropped us off  early  on a February Sunday morning and because traffic was light we arrive early. I get some photographs of the ornate outside. The Rijksmuseum is such a huge building that getting it into one photograph is impossible, I have to do my best to get sections of it, but without a better zoom lens I can not do the stunning decoration justice.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum

April 26, 2016

Street Art To Brighten Your Day…

Filed under: ART,Mural,PHOTOGRAPHY,The Hague,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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 “Het Haags Openbaar Vervoer Museum” (the Hague Public Transport Museum) is located on the Parallelweg and on our way home we pass by a row of houses that are due for demolition. It’s become customary in many of these instances for local artists to decorate the boarded up buildings with artworks in the weeks between the tenants moving out and the buildings being torn down. I assume that it take a while for the demolition teams to remove old pipes, wiring and other items that may be reclaimed and recycled. Himself needs to get back home to get some work out, so we stop for enough time for me to get some better photographs than our quick drive-by glance on the way here. Sadly I didn’t realise until the last moment that there were more artworks around the corner… Still, half is better than none, right? You know I love this kind of thing, art should always brighten your day…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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April 25, 2016

The “Strippen Kaart”, A Nostalgic Look At A Dutch Legendary Treasure.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The last thing that I want to talk about from our visit to  “Het Haags Openbaar Vervoer Museum” (the Hague Public Transport Museum) is a metal yellowy-orange box that anyone who has lived in the Netherlands will recognise instantly.

It’s the stamp machine that was used to stamp the famous “Nationale Strippen Kaart”.

For decades these cards could be found in millions of Dutch wallets and bureau drawers to be used as payment for rides on the busses and trams all around the Netherlands. They were also valid payment for a few train lines too.

On each tram or bus (and information board at each halt) there would be a list of all the halts on that route.

The stripper card system was that you would count the number of halts to your destination, add one and then stamp of that number of strips from your strip card.

So one halt would be two strips, two halts would be three strips etc. Additionally there was a time element and a zone element to the system as well.  Between two and  four strips (1 hour /between 1 and 3 zones), five and seven strips (1.5 hours / between 4 and 6 zones), …between seventeen and twenty strips, (3.5 hours / 16 or more zones).

It sounds complicated but if  you have to travel into the centre of the city and the journey would cost you four strips, but your errands there took less than one hour, you could either return home on the same strips without re-stamping, or go on to a new destination (worth four strips or less) within three zones of the original stamp.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

An inspector on the tram would be able to look at the time on the stamp and know where (which zone) and when you got on the tram, thus work out if you needed to stamp again or not.

Of course there were fare abusers, they were often conspicuous by the fact they that would prefer to stay standing as close to the stamp machine as possible, even when seats further down the tram were available.

Their standing position meant they could see if uniformed inspectors where waiting to board at the next halt to inspect the tram, then they would quickly stamp their cards to avoid a heavy instant fine.

The inspectors often boarded trams in mufti and knowing this trick pounced on these people first when doing an inspection.

Of course I heard the fare avoiders say ” it was only this one time” but everyone knew they were lying through their teeth and they dodged fares constantly.

Before we saved up and bought our car, I used the tram to go to work and saw more shenanigans than you could list. Certain routes and particular halts were prime targets for fare dodgers, raids by inspectors were carried out accordingly.

On one of the trams I took to get to work, the same girl got caught four or five times in a month,  the spot fines exceeded at least six months of travel, so cheating the system certainly wasn’t cost efficient, for her at least.

Later on I got an “abonnement” where you paid for a monthly card and could have unlimited travel within the zones you had paid for, within that month.

I eventually switched to the car after having children because getting to the daycare centre that my work subsidised, was so far out of my way via public transport that it cost me an extra hour each way. By car it cost me about fifteen minutes.

The “Strippen Kaart” came in three sizes: the blue Fifteen and Forty-five strip cards for adults, a pink half priced Fifteen strip card for senior citizens and children eleven years of age or younger, and finally, a small two strip card that the driver would issue if you came to him when you got on because you didn’t have a card.Getting a strippen card from the driver was by far the most expensive way to travel so was to be avoided where ever possible.

The regular blue and pink Strippen Kaarten were available to purchase from every tobacconists, supermarket and bookshop, so most people bought two cards at a time, you used one, and as soon as you started the second one you would buy a new “spare”.

Although I used the car for work most of the time, occasionally Himself would need the car and I would use a strip card for the tram. I still had a “spare” adult and child card in the drawer when I had my accident, and I haven’t been on a tram since, so after the Strippen Kaarten were phased out I was left with a couple of pristine cards that might well be worth something one day.

Today the Dutch travel on public transport with electronic “OV Chip” cards, which I have also not used to date because the nearest tram halt is beyond my pain threshold on crutches. Himself and the kids do use the new ones though, especially for trips to the centre of town where parking can be a nightmare. In the meantime I find a certain nostalgia in these old cards… as do many Dutch people I suspect.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Photograph above: (old) 45 strip adult card, photograph below: 15 strip child/senior citizen card…

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(New) 45 strip adult card, note the black edging…

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(old) 15 strip adult card…

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Next… the card(s) you buy from the driver… if your fare falls between card values ie 5 strips, there will be no change given, you pay for three cards (six strips). Not a cheap way to travel…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The first OV Chip cards (these are one time use paper ones) there are plastic ones that can be topped up…

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The two new 15 strip cards I found with the rest… I will keep them for nostalgia’s sake…

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15 strip adult cards… three different editions, fare increases and different styling…

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15 strip kid/ senior edition, price increase and new styling…

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The oldest card in my collection… sadly used and not in mint condition…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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The stamping machine, usually 3 (or four) in each tram… in stations also outside at tramhalt… everyone remembers jumping on a tram in the rush-hour and the flurry of “peep” noises that the machine gave when each card was stamped successfully one after another. You had to fold the card over in the right place to put it into the machine, that’s why so many of my strippen kaart are bent up…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Calculating the number of stops and thus how many strips to stamp off…

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April 24, 2016

People Come And Go, Cities Continue To Evolve Around Them…

Filed under: Uncategorized — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Aside from the Party and Restaurant trams, the Haags Openbaar Vervoer Museum (the Hague Public Transport Museum) also has a bar/restaurant above the museum with a large dining room,  available for special event bookings, weddings and all sorts of parties.

Our small group had a small snack upstairs after our tram tour and before we checked out the rest of the museum.

Both the restaurant upstairs and the bookshop below are called the “Remise” (Depot) and if you or any of your party are tram spotters, there is the added bonus that the inner windows give a wonderful view of the historic trams and busses in the inside parking area below.

In the book shop there are more train, tram and bus books available than I ever imagined possible, plus various souvenirs.

There was one historic photograph (the first in this blog post) that especially caught my eye because the tram had what looked a bit like a train engine on the front of it. All was revealed when I read the caption : “Over de Rijswijkseweg reed tot 1924 een stoomtram van de HTM naar Rijswijk n Delft. In 1924 nam de lecktrische trams het over. ca. 1900, fotograaf onbekend.” Translated this reads: “along  the Rijswijkseweg there was a steam tram from Rijswijk  to Delft until 1924, when an electric tram took over. Circa 1900, Photographer unknown”

I never knew that our trams used to run on steam! It was also possible to see how dramatically the city had changed since  many of them were taken, a reminder that in one hundred years from now, The Hague, and other cities around the world will probably be less recognisable than we know it too. People come and go, cities continue to evolve around them.

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April 23, 2016

The Museum’s Museum Is Rather Cool…

Next  we go into the display section of  Het Haags Openbaar Vervoer Museum (the Hague Public Transport Museum). It’s more extensive that I thought and so interesting that even the kids lingered..

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