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Paul & Tracey's Travels
25th Feb 2016 - Netherlands
Fine art and prostitution

Some Dutch culture

After a bit of a lay in, we headed back out to the streets of Amsterdam at about 10am......to find it was snowing again. Seems to happen every time we step outside. However by the time we had done the 20 minute walk south to our first destination, it had stopped. We are starting the day with a walk around the Rijksmuseum which houses all sorts of Dutch art. The museum sits on a square with several other museums and in the summer I am sure is a nice place to stroll around.

The museum is housed in a huge palace like building with 3 floors all of which have several wings. There are paintings by the likes of Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer, as well as sculpture, clothing and other artefacts from Dutch history. There is also some modern art from current artists, including a particularly interesting physical piece which resembles nothing more or less than a recreation of a body after it had been turned inside out by John Carpenter's "The Thing". Very visceral.

A canal round trip

After leaving the museum and noting it immediately started snowing again, we decided to pick up a canal boat at the canal opposite the museum and do the 1.5 hour water based sight seeing trip. The boats are similar dimensions to a UK canal boat, but have Windows the length of the craft, and glass roofs. The tour sticks to 4 or 5 different canals that ring the centre, but takes you past a lot of the main tourist sites and also visits the big basin outside the central station. Locations included Anne Frank's house, the Opera House, a posh hotel where Madonna, Bill Clinton, and the Rolling Stones have stayed, a museum shaped like a boat, and a set of houses that were squatted in the 80s which led to altercations with the police and finally eviction for the squatters.....followed by renovation of the building and letting of the rooms back to the self same squatters.

Prostitutes at one o'clock 

Following the boat trip, and after grabbing some food, we walked back into the centre to have a wander round the so called red light district. Prostitution is decriminalized in the Netherlands but only for those prostitutes registered at a permitted brothel. It is illegal for sex workers to solicit for customers on the street. Prostitutes therefore advertise their wares in shop front style windows. The red light district is basically a few canal side streets and alleys, where the brothels are interspersed with sex museums and sex shops, and several bars. It is the only place we have seen local police on foot. Taking photos of the ladies is very much taboo.

A lazy evening

After all this excitement, we walked back to our hotel to chill out. Later we may head back out to have a look at the city by night.

Update- we took a stroll out into the Amsterdam night at about 7.30pm. The bridges are all lit up as well as several of the trees. We somehow ended up back in the red light district which as you can imagine is a whole lot different at night. Loads more girls and everything lit on garish red. Lots of live sex shows as well. All feels a bit sad, but is certainly a spectacle.

Tomorrow we get on a train and head south to the city of Tilburg.



Next: A circuitous train journey, and a music festival
Previous: Arrival in Amsterdam


Diary Photos

Paul at Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Tracey, outside Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Paul, outside Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rembrandts Night Watch, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rembrandt, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rembrandt self portrait, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Central Station from the water, Amsterdam

Boat shaped museum, Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Red light district, Amsterdam

Prostitutes view, red light district, Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Venice style scene, Amsterdam


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