Local Heart, Global Soul

March 31, 2011

Just Stopping In for a Quick One (to take Home)

Filed under: Beer,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of our last stops on our Amsterdam  adventure last summer was a place that Himself has had his heart set on going to for a while now.

Actually it’s the main reason we bought the car and didn’t take the train here.

It’s a specialist Beer shop called “de bierkoning” (The Beer King).

http://bierkoning.nl/

Noooo,  Himself wasn’t drinking any beer here, but he was selecting some unusual Stout Beers for one of our Beer tasting evenings.

The lighting in the shop (and in some parts lack of it) made it hard to get any photos in focus, but at least you get the idea.

What’s brilliant about this place is the knowledge of the staff and the massive, nay, humongous number of beers on offer. Name a beer producing nation and I’m sure there are some bottles  from there somewhere!

They have Stouts, Lagers and since that’s where my personal beer knowledge ends, many many many more that I’ve never heard of.

Himself drooled  and grinned as he picked out our bottled candidates for upcoming tastings.  His eyes sparkled and his grin got even bigger when I said ” Well, since we are here, and have the car to get them home with, might as well pick out a few more, do this properly…

(Yes, he’s well worth spoiling)  Therefore we returned to the car heavily laden and for Himself, starting the day in Amsterdam with a Guinness and ending it by bringing home some unusual Stouts to try was the icing on the cake of a brilliant day out, weather issues or not.

De Bierkoning  /  Paleisstraat 125   /  1012 ZL Amsterdam   / Tel: 020 6252336

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 30, 2011

No One Should Leave Before First Tidying up…

Filed under: Places and Sights,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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We are  almost at the end of our Amsterdam wonderings. These photos have, I suspect, been itching to get out of that archive folder on my computer ever since I took them.

Before we touch on our final destination , I have here a roundup post of photos that didn’t make it into any of the other posts. Enjoy.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 29, 2011

All Different Ages, Shapes and Styles, …Just like Us.

Filed under: Places and Sights,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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I’ve shown you close-ups of  stonework and architectural details that I found in Amsterdam, but not too much of some of the fabulous buildings. Just like human beings, they some in all shapes and sizes, some are more sprightly than others and their ages and span of styles is considerable…

They have character and charm (I wish all human beings did!)  Sometimes there were so many to photograph that I didn’t know where to point the camera. These are the ones that didn’t get away.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 28, 2011

The “Darling” of Amsterdam doesn’t have a Heart of Stone…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There’s a statue  by sculptor Carel Kneulman that stands on the  Spui (Spui is the name of the street) in Amsterdam that’s called “Het Lieverdje

lieverd” is a dutch word that doesn’t translate nicely into a single English word, the closest word would definitely be “darling” but it could also be used as  “sweetie, honey, lovey” … and in this case “Lieverdje” (little darling) is not even exactly meant like this…  it refers to the statue of a unkempt boy and the title is meant in an ironic way to some degree.

The statue represents all street urchin boys who are looking for trouble  to get into (in more of a playful way though and not anything menacing).

So the name is kind of means ” little darlings? yeah right!” ” in a light hearted tongue in cheek way but  not too sarcastic.
The phrase in English “butter wouldn’t melt…”  would sum him up quite nicely I think.

These kids were naughty but with a heart of gold and this statue came about because of a story in the paper “Parool” around 1947 and tells of a ten your old street kid who rescued a drowning dog.

It was eventually decided to celebrate the story with a statue that’s become one of  the  feature of the Amsterdam landscape.

Sometimes at party goers play dress-up with “Het Lieverdje” , and it’s been kidnapped a few times too. (Someone’s added the brooms for fun, they aren’t normally there)

If you are a regular reader you will know of my love of architectural detail, Deco, Art Nouveau, or Neo Classical…. Amsterdam has more than you can poke a camera lens at.  There are also quirky things that appeal to me like the brilliant way that five staircases can be put together in a very small space.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You’ll spot the first three quickly enough, but there are two extras  in between them, that lead down below the level of the footpath to reach the kelder  (basement) apartments. A more ergonomic design would be hard to match.

And then there are the quirky windows and the stone plagues that show what were the traditional trades of the neighbourhood… tailors in this case.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

So here’s a tour of some “darlings”  that don’t necessarily have hearts of stone.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 27, 2011

Il Panorama, Where “MY” Main Ingredient was Missing!

Filed under: Restaurant and Cafe,Reviews,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are still parked firmly (in a virtual sense),  in my camera case and accompanying me on a trip to Amsterdam that I made last summer.

Between the boat trip and the walking we are now rather hungry so decide to order some lunch. Very unusually for me, we were so hungry that (Oops) I completely forgot to photograph the food!!!, but I do know that we had a simple pizza and salad and they were nice enough.

The restaurant is called Il Panorama, our waiter was friendly and although the food was middle of the road ,  I have to confess that we more inhaled it than really sat and savored it.  Leisurely fine dining experience this wasn’t, more a refueling stop… not a fault of the  restaurant, but entirely of ours.

The reason is that we have a few places we want to walk to, and a specific place to find and we are in the mood to walk, and to try and maximise our kid free extend time together, since it doesn’t happen very often.

We have never felt comfortable leaving our kids with babysitters, and prefer to do exchanges with family members, ” they have ours, we have yours”  kind of deal.

We’ve used this arrangement for when we’ve needed to be at business events near and far, or for specific other events, but it’s rare that we get to do it ‘just for the two of us” … something we are  working on building in more,  now that Little Mr. is growing bigger and more independent.

I wouldn’t mind to return here for a leisurely dinner, the food was very edible and next time we will be more civilized and sit longer, take our time and actually appreciate the food more.

I’m posting these photos so that I can remember which place we went to, because as busy parents of kids it might take us a while to get back here. First a view I took whilst walking towards the restaurant,  (look for the green awning center left).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

building opposite our pavement table…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Inside, downstairs…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Inside, Upstairs…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And the view looking back,  (Spot the green awning on the right side of the tram)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 26, 2011

Begijnhof, pssst ….it’s a Secret, so I’ll *Only* Tell YOU, OK ?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m still giving you a tour of Amsterdam via photos in my archive that were taken last summer.

Our next stop is a place that is literally just a few steps off the beaten track, because we are going to what the Dutch call a “Hof“. (or sometimes “Hofjes”)

Hofjes started off life as Almshouses, and were usually little secluded groups of houses clustered around a small communal central courtyard style garden.

Hofjes can be found all over the Netherlands and there are certainly at least 50 of them in the Hague.

The number of houses in each group  may vary from five or six to as many as twenty but almost all are similar by the fact that, since these houses were for vulnerable people in society (usually widows)  they are usually found well off the beaten track, off  the streets and most have no direct street frontage. They are instead accessed via little  unassuming alleys off main streets or passageways that lead to a single door that leads to the street.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since this lack of “advertising” of their presence was a centuries old security measure, it also means that now in the modern day, these places can be hard to find if you don’t know where to look.

The houses themselves would have been built  in the 17th-19th centuries by wealthy patrons with social and religious reasons for widows, nuns and other mostly elderly people, as a safe place to see out their old age.

The “Begijnhof” is touted as one of Amsterdam’s best kept secrets, (but completely, utterly and absolutely isn’t) as it’s probably the most famous of the Hofjes of all.  Built in the 15th century this was said to have housed  “Begijntjes” (Beguines) who were deeply religious women who didn’t wish to enter a convent.

There are two small churches within the area of the Hof and two entrances: one a heavy door on the street called Spui, and the other a little alley entrance off another little alley. The “Het Houten Huis” which is house Number 34 dates from about 1420 and  is said to be the oldest house in Amsterdam.

The first of the churches is obvious, it stands with it’s medieval tower in the courtyard square, but the second one at Number 29 and 30, is a clandestine Catholic chapel that was completed in 1680 and is called the “Begijnhof Chapel”

Today these beautiful little houses in the Begijnhof are all homes to single women, and whilst it’s free of charge to come in into the Hof and take a look during the daytime,  visitors are expected to keep the chatter down so that the peace of the place is respected and not to take photographs into the windows of the houses there.

These photos are in order, they go from the main street, via the doorway and passageway (where the tiles are), into the Hof, around it and then out the second (larger) exit and out into a little street that winds around and connects back around the corner of the bigger street. Enjoy the tour!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 25, 2011

Free-Wheeling in Amsterdam…

Filed under: Places and Sights,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © kiwidutch)

Few populations in the world use bicycles for everyday transport as much as the Dutch.

With high population density and flat terrain,  The Netherlands has long recognised the social, physical and economic benefits of using bikes, especially within big cities.

It’s hard to find any street anywhere in Amsterdam that doesn’t have any bikes on it, so snapping a small selection was not particularly hard at all.

There are even traffic lights for bikes, they are about a meter high and feature, naturally enough: red, orange and green bikes in standard traffic light  form.

The reason these are lower than regular traffic lights is so that  you can press the button in the box next to it and if there is not already a bevy of cyclists around the pole, then you can lean against it without having to take your feet off the peddles whilst you wait for the light to go green.

Even the local window washers  use two wheeled transport to take their ladders from street to street, although in this case, some repair to their flat tyres would make lighter work of it.

There are also plenty of cargo bikes (bakfiets) around, pervious posts to feature these are: https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/another-cool-bakfiets/ and https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2009/07/08/peddle-power-people-carriers-the-bakfiets/ .

It’s estimated that there are more than 700. 000  bicycles in Amsterdam, so come on, let’s take a look at a few of them…

(photograph © kiwidutch)

(photograph © kiwidutch)

(photograph © kiwidutch)

(photograph © kiwidutch)

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(photograph © kiwidutch)

(photograph © kiwidutch)

(photograph © kiwidutch)

(photograph © kiwidutch)

March 24, 2011

No, …Not *just* Tulips From Amsterdam…

Filed under: Places and Sights,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ok, even if you can’t remember the tune or the words, you may at least have heard of the Title of the famous song “Tulips from Amsterdam“…

…but they aren’t the only flowers that the Dutch love.

Apartment living means that many Dutch city dwellers don’t have any garden of their own, but where there are steps, footpaths, windows and balconies, the inner gardener of the Amsterdam populous blooms at every opportunity.

Sometimes in the form of window boxes, sometimes just a few demur potted plants, sometimes squeezed onto the pavements, the spaces may be limited but the imagination on how to use it  is not.

In my first photo, the brown thing at bottom left, is a bollard to stop cars driving on the pavement… so yes, this ensemble is directly on the footpath outside their front door LOL.

And if you are weary from walking and admiring the blooms, there is ample space for quick rest on these over-sized chairs or this massive wheelbarrow  / bench (it’s about three quarters the length of a single bed!)

I did come across this flower (second photo) that I have never seen before and don’t know the name of.. . Wow, the form, texture and colours! this takes my appreciation of flowers to a whole new level and it’s my brand new all time favourite flower!

Granted, I do have to confess to being a little (ok, if I’m really honest),  severely horticulturally challenged so not knowing what it is, is par for the course.

If anyone knows what it’s called and can tell me, I’d love to know!

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 23, 2011

The Ghosts of the Past Linger on the Water’s Edge…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

When Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants settled in Amsterdam in  the 17th century, they started trading on the streets because  Jews were not permitted to own shops.

The first stall was set up in what was to become the Jewish Quarter in 1783.

A  new city square called the “Waterlooplein” was created in 1882 after several canals in the area were filled in and stallholders were made to transfer to this new location under a compulsory order.

The move was met with anger and resistance since the new site was exposed and windy and there were fears that the new market area would not be able to attract customers, but these fears turned out to be unfounded as the market quickly grew in popularity.

By September 1941 Jews were  no longer allowed to trade in public markets but only on specially designated  places that were two former playgrounds.

On May 25th 1943  Jews were told to report to police on a voluntarily basis in response to a call-up that had been given. When only 500 turned up, the following day on May 26th,  a raid took place in Amsterdam that saw 3000 Jews deported by train to extermination camps.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In total approximately 107,000 Dutch Jews were to extermination camps in Eastern Europe, and only about 5,000 survived to make the return.

During the German occupation of  Amsterdam, the The German occupiers declared the Waterlooplein and the area immediately around it to be a Jewish ghetto.

Houses here were looted during the 1944 starvation winter and almost none of the Jewish market stallholders survived the war.

In the decades following the 1960’s the market began again as hippy culture took hold and more recently in the 1990’s a flea market returned, mostly dealing in bric-a-brack, trendy new and second-hand clothes, music, electronic and general items. You’ll find it at Waterlooplein, 1011 PG Amsterdam.

On the back-sides of the stalls, you will find large copies of archive photographs that show you what the Jewish market place looked like before the war changed life here forever.

At the corner of the Amstel and Zwanenburgwal  you will find the Jewish Resistance Monument.  Crafted  in 1988 by Belgian sculptor Josef Glatt  it’s a  tall black granite pillar, that on one side has text in Hebrew and Dutch that says: ‘Were my eyes fountains of tears then would I weep day and night for the fallen fighters of my beloved people.’ (this text being a quote taken from the lament of the prophet Jeremiah)

I very much like that something that been done to preserve the memory of an entire district that was almost entirely wiped out in the human madness that was one of histories darkest hours.

Naturally the best way to see these photos is from the water, so yet another ‘excuse”  (if you ever needed one) to take a trip with the St. Nicolaas  Boat Club of Amsterdam! Soon after this we find ourselves making our way back to our starting point… We have had a fabulous time and already decided to do it again some time soon. Next time we will bring a picnic lunch  to enjoy during the ride.

Diego has been a fabulous Captain and we’ve been puttering up and down the canals for hours so clearly a generous donation towards running costs of the little tuindersvlet boat is a fair way to say “Thank You“.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 22, 2011

Where there are Flowers, Floating on the Water…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Netherlands and the flower markets of the world are a trading combination that is centuries old.

Whilst the Netherlands grows  between 7 and 8 billion blooms per year and has been the biggest producer of cut flowers in the world, in the more recent past, it’s role as a Trader of the World Flowers has quite literally “blossomed”.

The Flower Market at Aalsmeer is the biggest flower auction in the world, and the Dutch do not only grow and sell flowers, they also have  very strong  cultural and social links to them too.

It’s totally normal to see people carrying bunches of blooms home, especially on Friday after work so that your house is full of fresh flowers for the weekend, but it’s also customary when visiting, or going out to dinner at someone’s home, to bring  your host a bunch of flowers.

You will find flower stalls  in every suburb of the Netherlands, so it’s no surprise to find that Amsterdam, like many larger centers also has an even larger  “Bloemenmarkt”  (Flower Market).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Amsterdam Flower Market however is not like most in one respect: the  market “stalls” are actually floating on the canal and so you can walk along the canal side and look in and pick out your blooms.

It’s the only floating Flower Market in the world.

The back-sides of these “houseboats for flowers” that face the water have been decorated in many cases with photographic scenes of what the boat contains. In a few cases the backside of the boat is made or either glass or perspex panels so you can see directly inside.

Certainly it’s a tourist attraction, but make no mistake, the locals come here to buy their flowers in their droves (prices can be cheaper because having the “shop” on the water means lower overhead costs for the sellers).

We pass by in our little boat from The St.Nicolaas Boat Club, so first get a prime view at water level and later Himself and I we walk past and see it from “top-side” too.

These shops specialise in selling seeds, bulbs and cut  flowers and you will find them at: Singel, 1071 AZ / Tram: Muntplein: tram 4, 9, 14, 16, 24 & 25 Open: Monday – Saturday 9.30 am – 5.00 pm

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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