I am writing this on May 31st. We have concluded 2 very nice days with our friend from the 2013 Camino, Jacobien Ubbink and members of her family. It was really nice to be guests in her home and have the opportunity to reconnect in depth. We spent yesterday with her touring the Rijksmuseum and wandering amid the canals and byways of Amsterdam’s Old City.
The Rijksmuseum of Dutch Art and History has been located In Amsterdam since 1808. It houses a phenomenal collection of priceless paintings by such 17th Century masters as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, and Steen. The Museum has over 1 million objects in its collection, of which approximately 8,000 are currently on display.
Rembrandt’s masterwork, The Night Watch (1642} is the focal point of an entire gallery of masterpieces.
One of Rembrandt’s works that may be very familiar to Americans of my generation has been the package trademark for Dutch Masters Cigars since 1912.
The gentlemen in the painting are not discussing the finer points of a cigar’s “predominantly tobacco with non-tobacco ingredients”, but rather are a group of merchants evaluating cloth. Thus, the title of this 1662 masterwork is, “Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild”.
Of course, there are other eye popping pieces from other periods as well.
The current museum building itself is a work of remarkable architecture. It was designed by Pierre Cuypers and built in 1885. It is one of the centerpieces that define this beautiful city.
I learned today that while we were touring the Rijksmuseum yesterday, another Camino friend from 2013 was there as well. Had we only known… Damn the bad luck that prevented us from meeting!!!
Amsterdam is perhaps the most culturally open place that I have ever visited. By my measure, the people of Amsterdam are friendly, polite, and English of a very high order is spoken throughout the city. Yes, there is the “Red Light District”, and yes the odor of burning marijuana may be encountered, but the city is safe, clean, steeped in history, and exceptionally charming.
One who is more concerned with the way that others live life than how he conducts his own should probably pass on visiting here. (Matthew 7:1-5)
Peace Everyone. Pete
We leave for Brussels Belgium tomorrow and will be visiting a young lady that we have maintained overseas contact with since 1991.
On a somber note, a stroll by the home of Anne Frank, or a casual glance to the pavement provide reminders of the darker side of a history that touched these good people.