Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category

What to see and do in Amsterdam this autumn, including suggestions from our expert on where to stay.
Amsterdam attractions: what to see and do in autumn

Autumn in Amsterdam is for bracing walks along the canals Photo: AP

9:53AM BST 25 Sep 2013 

Why go?

Amsterdam somehow manages to have it all. It has the buzz of a metropolis, with few big-city drawbacks. It’s small enough to walk or cycle almost anywhere you want, yet is rarely dull. Dinky gabled buildings, pretty bridges and quiet canals give it village-like charm, yet you’ll also find top-ranking art museums and one of the best orchestras in the world. Most of all, Amsterdam combines its glittering past with a wry, rough, rebellious contemporary edginess.

Any season in Amsterdam has its allure, and autumn for bracing walks along the canals.

On the downside, expect rain or Tupperware-grey skies any time of year – but then there’s more than enough on the museum front to keep you entertained indoors, and at the slightest hint of good weather the chairs and tables go out at pavement cafés.

Autumn foliage

Trees line Amsterdam’s famous canals, meaning autumn is a great time for strolling around the city, and soaking up the colours. Wander the main 17th-century canals – Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht – but check out the picture-postcard Brouwersgracht, and the patch around Reguliersgracht, too.

Vondelpark, to the southwest of the city centre, is another decent bet for leaf-peeping. Other green spaces include Beatrixpark, Sarphatipark, and Oosterpark.

New exhibitions

Hermitage Amsterdam
Gaugin, Bonnard, Denis: A Russian Taste for French Art (until February 2014)

Set in a former almshouse for the aged, built in the 1680s, Hermitage Amsterdam shows off treasures on loan from the Hermitage palace in St Petersburg, in different themed exhibitions.

Its current exhibition highlights the works of three French artists from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Documenting the Netherlands: Our Daily Bread (until January 7, 2014)

The Dutch national treasure-house of art has at last re-opened after a decade-long renovation. Golden Age masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and so many more are on show alongside centuries’ worth of fine furniture, Delftware, costume and jewellery. There’s a superb Asian collection, and new aquisitions which bring the display up to the present day.

The new exhibition features images from photographer Henk Wildschut that aim to depict the reality behind the production of fruit, vegetables, meat, milk, fish and eggs in the Netherlands.

Expert hotel pick
Hotel Bellington is a modest option in Amsterdam’s flashiest quarter.

Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh at Work (until January 12, 2014)

More of the tortured artist’s paintings and drawings are collected here than anywhere in the world, and the temporary exhibitions of associated works are usually inspired and engrossing.

The current exhibition is a revealing look at the formative ten years that shaped his craft, showcasing over 200 pieces including paintings, works on paper, letters, original sketchbooks and his only surviving palette.

The Van Gogh Museum

Other attractions

Anne Frank House
The attic rooms where the Frank family hid out during the Second World War, reached through a door behind a hinged bookcase, are bare of furniture yet almost unbearably poignant, with magazine pictures pasted on the walls by Anne still in situ.

Expert hotel pick
Hotel Van Onna is a simple, well-run and clean hotel situated on a pretty canal. What more does one need?

Museum Van Loon
A peek indoors at the home of an Amsterdam patrician family. The 17th-century canalside mansion, one of the grandest in town, has been magnificently restored, to the last tinkling chandelier and lick of gilding.

Autumn events

Amsterdam Dance Event
October 16-20
The electronic music extravaganza is dubbed as the biggest music festival and conference in the world, featuring 2,000 artists and 450 events across 100 venues in the

Bokbier Festival
October 25-27
This annual beer festival takes place in the historic Beurs van Berlage building in the heart of the city, where visitors can sample over 50 varieties of bock beer accompanied by music from a live band.

Expert hotel pick
The Exchange Hotel is an affotable option on a hectic street between Centraal Station and the Dam, a heartbeat from the red-light district.

London Calling
November 1-2
This annaul music showcase features new bands from Britain and the US. Florence and the Machine, Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand are among the artists who made their Dutch debut at the Paradisco stage where it all takes place.

Museum Night
November 2
Fifty museums across the city are open late into the night, presenting a variety of art, music, fashion and film activities and events, alongside their regular exhibitions.

The Rijksmuseum

Expert hotel pick
The Seven One Seven is a sumptuous canal-house hotel with the ambience of an (admittedly very grand) private home.

International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)
November 20-December 1
Filmmakers from around the globe descend on Amsterdam for the 250 or so screenings that make up the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, with energetic public debates and discussions on the go, too.

Additional research by Soo Kim

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AUGUST 24, 2013


Museum of Fine Arts, 617-267-9300;; Closing date: Feb. 17

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn’s “Six’s Bridge.”

Earthy and playful, occasionally ironic, sometimes droll, Rembrandt Harmensz Van Rijn translated his passion through his ink, in subtle depictions of light and shadow, in the telling details of facial expressions and postures, in fantastic and dramatic variations from one version, or state, of a work-in-progress to the next.

“Rembrandt the Etcher” echoes the MFA’s impressive 2003 exhibition, “Rembrandt’s Journey: Painter — Draughtsman — Etcher,” which featured more than 200 works, many borrowed from private and public collections here and in Europe, with the prints front and center. The museum’s curator of prints and drawings, Clifford Ackley, organized both shows. This one is more constrained, with only 45 works, mostly from the museum’s meaty collection. They’re all prints, which might be easy to pass by if there were a painting down the wall. But this artist clearly loved printmaking; his hand and technique are so lively, his attention so soulful, that prints alone make for a magnetic show.

Etching gained ground as a printmaking technique in the 16th century. Then Rembrandt cracked it wide open. Using a copper etching plate as easily as he used a sketchbook, he worked actively in the medium from 1630 to 1661. His prints display startling variety of slashes and crosshatches, with lines densely gathered into thick storm clouds of ink, or applied in taut, efficient descriptions.

He did the last in the landscape “Six’s Bridge,” one of the sparer prints in the show. The story goes that Jan Six, a mayor of Amsterdam, dared Rembrandt to complete a scene on an etching plate in the time it took for a servant to run home and return with a pot of mustard. The tale is likely apocryphal — later research proved that the piece doesn’t depict Six’s land at all, but that of another Amsterdam official — but it speaks to the swift surety of Rembrandt’s lines. There’s a whole world conveyed in the evocative shorthand of the trees’ foliage, the quick outlines of a sailboat, and the sketched buildings on the horizon, all revolving around two tiny fellows communing at the bridge’s rail.

Artists of that era often used prints to prop up their careers, selling print versions of their paintings. Rembrandt, who struggled with bankruptcy, did what he could to boost his career, but it wasn’t his habit to copy his paintings. That would have been a bore for this voracious experimenter. His prints are hardly static afterthoughts. In each, he puzzles and pushes to create a dynamic composition and tell a provocative story.

There’s more than biblical parable to read into “Adam and Eve,” a knowing wink at the politics of relationship. Rembrandt imbues the figures with the Dutch naturalism for which he was known. They’re fleshy, even dowdy, unlike the idealized mythic types depicted in Italian art at the time. We can relate to them.

Eve stands beneath the tree of knowledge holding a sunlit apple in both hands, certain and unmovable. Adam is less solid in his stance, half propped on a rock, his face a map of consternation. He strokes the apple with one hand and points skyward with the other. Poor guy. You know he’s never going to win this one.

Rembrandt’s eloquent faces might be his greatest achievement. Not every portrait in this exhibition is exquisitely nuanced, but in the crisply detailed, unyielding “Self-Portrait Leaning on a Stone Sill,” the artist in his 30s looks directly at us, eyes slightly narrowed, appraising and a little weary. He wears a capacious chapeau and cape, the garb of a prince, like clothing he had seen in portraits by Raphael and Titian. The costume addresses a question of the period: Are artists craftsmen or gentlemen? With his penetrating gaze, Rembrandt dares us to judge him.

The artist frequently returned to his wife, Saskia, in his work. She appears to have sat for his etching “The Great Jewish Bride.” An early state of that print is on view, unfinished at the bottom; we see only the bride’s round face and the fan of hair draping her shoulders suggesting an infinite expanse below. In the final version, she wears a gown and grips a scroll, but there’s something inviting about this half-completed one, great with possibility.

Printmaking gave Rembrandt the opportunity to see each work evolve; scrutinizing one state of a print could catalyze dramatic changes. Among the several biblical narratives in the show, Ackley has included two states of the shattering “Christ Crucified between the Two Thieves (‘The Three Crosses’).” In the earlier one, Jesus appears in the center of the dying trio; a funnel of light showers from overhead, as soldiers and witnesses linger below. This is a drypoint print, made with a burr, which renders a softer, more romantic line. Rembrandt left a veil of ink on the plate before he printed this one, suggesting twilight.

For the later print, the artist slashed the scene with black lines, pelting down and ricocheting across. The other crucified figures and many of those on the ground vanish in the darkness. Christ remains illuminated, as if at the eye of a violent storm. It’s a shocking rendering, which with its bold, brittle lines foreshadows 20th-century German Expressionism. Visionary, for an artist of Rembrandt’s time.

Even the prints that feel most like sketches radiate an effusive energy. “Saint Jerome beside a Pollard Willow” pictures the elderly scholar at a makeshift desk attached to an old, broken-down tree. Rembrandt minutely details the leaning tree with rough bark and jagged edges; a small bird perches on one side, and a big cat lurks below. The only remaining leafy boughs reach to shade the man, who, like the tree, has some life in him yet.

For all the realism of the willow, the surroundings are bare cartoons. Works like these feel like they’re still coming to be. Rembrandt’s virtuoso technique and his compassion for his subjects are two parts of what made him great. This experimenting, generative quality is the third. For him, making art wasn’t merely a record of life. It was the best way to live it.

Original article found here.

The Dutch capital is cleaning up its act. Brothels and cannabis cafés are being closed. But the most significant transformation is the renovation of the Rijksmuseum, says Robert Bevan.

At the medieval heart of Amsterdam is the Oude Kerk. The church, founded in 1213, is the city’s oldest building, a stripped back Calvinist beauty with pearly light pouring through its tall windows, over its gilded carvings and across its stone flagged floors. It is the kind of serene interior captured in the luminous oils of the Dutch Masters.

Outside, the activities are rather less sacred. The Oude Kerk is at the centre of Europe‘s largest red-light district – the Wallen – and is ringed by hot-pink shopfronts where sex workers tap the windows to attract any likely passing trade. Opposite the church door is one of dozens of cannabis cafés where you can spark up a joint of Lemon Haze and waste the day away.

For decades, such scenes have been regarded as examples of civilised Dutch tolerance – a “whatever blows your hair back” attitude – butAmsterdam has had enough. The municipality says its tolerance is being abused as the centre is being overwhelmed by tawdry sex shows, drug dealing and British stag-party weekenders. Organised crime has moved in and many businesses are fronts for money-laundering and human trafficking. So the city is rebranding itself, and has invested upwards of €700m on remaking its cultural institutions over the past decade.

The Van Gogh museum has been renovated and reopens in May, theNational Maritime Museum has been made ship-shape and the new EYE Film Institute Netherlands has opened in a futuristic building in the Overhoeks neighbourhood. The Stedelijk Museum of contemporary art, meanwhile, has been treated to a bath-like extension the size of a city block.

The futuristic EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam

‘The EYE Film Institute Netherlands has opened in a futuristic building’: Amsterdam’s answer to London’s National Film Theatre. Photograph: Henk Meijer /AlamyCrowning these efforts, the Rijksmuseum – the Dutch answer to the Louvre – reopened to the public this weekend after a decade-long closure. Under a €375m rebuilding project led by the Spanish architects Cruz y Ortiz, the museum’s two halves have been united by an undercroft that joins its two courtyards. The remodelling has been so extensive that only Rembrandt’s Night Watch remains in its original location among 8,000 objects in its 80 rooms. The central Gallery of Honour, containing works by Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch, has had a century of whitewash removed and its original late 19th-century frescos restored and reinstated.

Elsewhere, canvases are displayed alongside furniture of the same period, white-marble busts illuminated dramatically against dark charcoal walls. In the special collections section, small items have been gathered to form art installations – a wall of intricate metal keys, for example, is displayed opposite a vitrine full of locked boxes; an entire fleet of miniature wooden ships sails alongside a row of model lighthouses.

Meanwhile Project 1012, named after the red-light district’s postcode, aims to clean up the neighbourhood. The initiative began in 2007 and plans the closure of 200 out of 480 window brothels, and 26 out of 76 cannabis coffee houses; there are also plans to turn the sleazy Damrak – the main street into town from Centraal railway station – into a “red carpet” of welcome to the city, with “upmarket shopping, fashion and cuisine”. Right-wing politicians called for tourists to be banned entirely from the coffee shops, a step too far for the municipality of Amsterdam, which has just won an exemption to the weed law. But it has negotiated a €25m deal to buy 18 brothels and gambling dens from their owners and put them to new uses, following the 2008 experiments Red Light Fashion and Red Light Design in which young Dutch designers were allowed to live and work rent free for a year in former brothels and use their windows for showcases. Since then, a former gambling house has been transformed into the Mata Hari bar, and a micro-brewery, deli, florist and homewares stores have also opened nearby.

The poster project for Project 1012 is Anna, a fine-dining restaurant carved out of an old gallery and printworks by former club owner Michiel Kleiss. “You don’t need much critical mass around here,” Kleiss tells me. “If you are doing something classy, it immediately works.”

The Oude Kerk has been known as Amsterdam’s living room throughout its history, and these days it is also used as a concert hall and exhibition space as part of its restoration. Across the square, Orpheu de Jong runs Red Light Radio and has a recording studio in the window. A few doors down his sister Afaina, a former architect, has opened the Ultra de la Rue gallery. Both were brought up only a few minutes from the red-light district but say they didn’t set foot in it until they were adults. “It’s a good thing for the area,” says Afaina, but both she and Orpheu are wary of the area losing its edge entirely.

Stand in front of the Rijksmuseum’s charcoal-painted walls and look again at those Golden Age pictures of church interiors and you will find depictions of dogs cavorting, gallants chatting up maids and market stalls trading within the house of God. There will always be many shades of grey in Amsterdam.

Read original article here.

Visitors can once again see Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” in all its glory following the reopening of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Queen Beatrix has reopened her country’s national museum after a 10-year renovation.

Thousands cheered outside the Rijksmuseum on Saturday as Queen Beatrix officially declared the Netherland’s most-famous museum to be reopened. The move comes after a decade-long, 375 million euro ($480 million) renovation.

Fireworks marked the occasion, which saw the 75-year-old Queen Beatrix in one of her final official appearances before abdicating the throne to her son Willem-Alexander at the end of the month. The queen turned a golden key, opening the building to the cheering crowds.

Masters on display

The Rijksmuseum is home to works by Dutch masters Jan Steen, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt van Rijn, among many others.

Rijksmuseum opens its doors after ten years

The Spanish architectural firm Cruz y Ortiz aimed to bring light into the dark, castle-like museum, as well as modern displays. By all accounts, they succeeded, as the renovation and new layout have been getting rave reviews in the media in recent weeks.

Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch,” widely viewed as the artist’s greatest work, is the only of the museum’s 8,000 works to be returned to its original display position. The canvas depicts an Amsterdam civic guard setting off on a march. It is approached along a Gallery of Honor, which also features works such as Vermeer’s “Woman Reading a Letter” and “The Merry Drinker” by Frans Hals.

Other of the museum’s prize possessions have been displayed in new sites under the new layout, with related paintings, furniture, silver and ceramics arranged in close proximity to each other.

A long wait

The renovation work took longer than expected and ended up costing more than originally estimated, with designers having to incorporate an existing bike path into their design. They also had to ensure that spaces below sea level in the museum would not flood.

The Rijksmuseum was originally built in 1885 and hosted 200,000 visitors annually. Prior to the renovation, one million visitors walked the museum’s halls each year. Following the reopening, museum administrators hope to double that to two million.

As many as 30,000 visitors were expected on Saturday alone, with the museum offering free entrance all day to mark the occasion.

Read the original article here.

AMSTERDAM — Rembrandt’s iconic masterpiece the “Night Watch” has been painstakingly returned to the main building of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum before its re-opening next month after a decade of renovations.

Removing the priceless painting from a temporary wing and moving it to the main building Wednesday was an operation of almost military precision.

Dozens of police stood guard as it was slid into a climate-controlled crate and cranes were used to lift it out of one gallery and into another.

The 1642 oil painting of one of Amsterdam’s citizen militias, officially titled “The Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch,” measures 3.79 meters by 4.53 meters (12.43 x 14.86 feet) and weighs 337 kilograms (743 pounds).

Read the original article and view a slideshow here.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam/Vincent Van Gogh Foundation

A detail from “The Yellow House (The Street),” from 1888. Van Gogh briefly shared the home in Arles, France, with Paul Gauguin.

By NINA SIEGAL Published: March 8, 2013

AMSTERDAM — Stars swirling in a deep blue night, aureate sunflowers, sun-choked fields of wheat — Vincent van Gogh loved to capture light and all of its transforming properties. Yet light is also the enemy of more than half the artist’s works, those that can fade, turn yellow or become brittle if exposed to it for too long.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam/Vincent Van Gogh Foundation

Van Gogh’s “Landscape with Houses,” created in Auvers-sur-Oise in 1890, shortly before the artist’s death, is among the 18 paper works to be shown at The European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht.

While van Gogh produced more than 800 works on canvas throughout his 10-year career, he made at least as many works on paper, in pen and ink, pencil, diluted oil paint and watercolor, said Marije Vellekoop, head of collections, research and presentations at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Because of their sensitivity and fragility, though, this part of van Gogh’s oeuvre rarely sees the light of day.

“The general rule in the paper world is that you show them once every three to five years and then only for three to four months,” Mrs. Vellekoop said. “Then they go in the box and they stay there for several years.”

Eighteen van Gogh works on paper will come out of their boxes this month for the exhibition “Van Gogh’s Drawings” at The European Fine Art Fair, known as Tefaf, in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Among them is one of only two known drawn self-portraits, an exterior view of the famous “Yellow House” in the French city of Arles and a landscape that the artist completed in Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris, a few months before he committed suicide there.

Tefaf, which takes place from March 15 to March 24, is largely devoted to selling museum-quality art to private collectors and public institutions. But for the past few years, the fair has also put on display a so-called director’s choice of works from a museum.

“No dealer in the world would be able to pull together a collection of van Gogh drawings like this,” said Ben Janssens, the chairman of Tefaf, who arranged the loan with Axel Rüger, director of the Van Gogh Museum. “They’re just not on the market, so it’s simply not possible.”

One of the highlights is a colorful work, “The Yellow House (the Street),” painted in Arles in 1888, depicting the place van Gogh first used as a studio before making it his home in September that year. It is the house that contains the famous bedroom with blue walls and sleigh bed that appear in “The Bedroom.” The painter Paul Gauguin also stayed there for a while, until an argument between the two artists in late 1888, during which van Gogh cut off part of his left ear.

The Van Gogh Museum owns about half of the 1,000 or so extant works on paper by the Dutch post-impressionist. It agreed to lend the works to Tefaf, in part to keep its collection in the public eye while the museum in Amsterdam undergoes renovations. Mrs. Vellekoop said she also wanted to use the opportunity to help cultivate a more rounded view of van Gogh as an artist who worked in more than one medium.

“Right now, when you leave our museum, you think of van Gogh as a painter,” she said, “but that’s not a complete picture.” When the museum reopens at the beginning of May, Mrs. Vellekoop said, curators will explore ways to showcase more of the artist’s drawings and letters in the renovated space.

Unlike some artists, van Gogh did not use pen and ink or watercolors only to make preliminary sketches for larger oil paintings. “With van Gogh, a large part of the finished oeuvre is drawings,” Mrs. Vellekoop said. “He shifts from paintings to drawings, for example, when he doesn’t have enough money and he’s out of painting materials, when he’s in the south of France and the mistral wind is blowing and it’s difficult to paint, so taking his notebook and doing drawings is easier.”

He also changed medium depending on his health. “When he had periods when his health was not too good, before his breakdown, he would draw sometimes because going outside with all your painting materials is much heavier and harder work than just going outside with a pad or a sketchbook,” she said.

One of the highlights, “Landscape with Houses,” is a work in blue on white paper. Done with pencil, brush, oil paint and watercolor, it depicts houses in the French countryside, with echoing waves of clouds and hills. The thatched roofs of the houses may have reminded van Gogh of the roofs of his childhood in the Netherlands, for which he felt a deepening nostalgia in his final months, Mrs. Vellekoop said. The work was one of the last ambitious drawings the artist finished; it was made in May 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise, just two months before he died.

The works are now more than 100 years old, and some are already showing the effects of time — the paper a little jaundiced, the colors sometimes a bit dimmed. This time around, they will be on display for only the ten days of the Tefaf fair, after which they will return to their boxes for a few more years.

Read the original article here.

Amsterdamsel Tours leads WWII and Jewish Amsterdam tours, exploring the historic Jewish quarter, its monuments, and old Jewish orphanages and schools. 

Dutch capital earns international notice for efforts to rebuild a presence almost entirely wiped out during the Holocaust

Built in the 17th century by refugees from the Inquisition, Amsterdam's Portuguese Synagogue withstood the Nazi occupation to remain a center of Jewish life. (Matt Lebovic)

Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander officiated at the Jewish Cultural Quarter’s designation ceremony in October. Wearing a blue yarmulke, the prince unveiled artwork titled “The Fragmented Talit,” by Israeli-Dutch artist Joseph Semah.

Speaking in the restored Portuguese Synagogue, the prince acknowledged the Quarter’s history and major sites, including Europe’s oldest Jewish library and theHollandsche Schouwburg, or Dutch Theater, used by the Nazis as a detention center for captured Jews.

For decades, a trickle of tourists made its way to Amsterdam’s former Jodenhoek, or Jewish Corner, adjacent to the canal-filled city’s historic center. Most visitors toured the stately Portuguese Synagogue or Jewish Historical Museum, close to where many of Amsterdam’s 80,000 Jews lived on the eve of World War II.

Though home to most of the decimated community’s institutions and residences, the Quarter plays second fiddle to Amsterdam’s most visited “Jewish” site – the Anne Frank House across town, which draws more than a million tourists annually.

The Portuguese Synagogue complex, which includes the so-called winter synagogue, received the Europa Nostra prize last year from European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. (Matt Lebovic)

An hour’s walk from Anne Frank’s “Secret Annex,” the Jewish Quarter once boasted a patchwork of Jews from northern Africa and throughout Europe. The bustling Jewish flea market filled a square until Nazis converted it as a gathering place for roundup victims in 1941. A defiant-looking “Dockworker” statue commemorates the firstmajor Dutch strike following these deportations.

With its blend of red-brick 17th century synagogues and sites connected to the Holocaust, the Quarter speaks to both centuries of Jewish life upended and the desire of today’s Jewish community to achieve a sense of continuity. The synagogues and theater have each been renovated in recent years, with the Portuguese Synagogue winning the European Union’s Europa Nostra prize for conservation work in 2012.

Built in 1675 by Jews who fled the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions, the Portuguese Synagogue – or “Esnoga” in Ladino – was modeled after the Jerusalem Temple. The complex includes a courtyard, winter synagogue, archives, mortuary, and the famous Etz Hayim library.

The sanctuary’s high rectangular interior retains original wooden benches and – in the Dutch tradition – a floor covered with fine sand to absorb moisture from shoes and soften their noise. Here, in 1656, from the synagogue’s east-facing holy ark, Amsterdam rabbis excommunicated freethinker Baruch Spinoza for “abominable heresies” at the age of 23.

A less eventful visit to the Portuguese Synagogue was recently made by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who told Jewish leaders that European Jews represent the best of “cultural integration.”

The imposing Hollandsche Schouwburg, or Dutch Theater, served as a gathering point during the Nazi roundup of Amsterdam's Jews. (Matt Lebovic)

“[The Jewish Cultural Quarter] is part of the work of keeping alive this great tradition, the Jewish tradition, which is a part of our European Union,” Barroso said during a Jan. 8 visit. He added that Jews around the world were “at the front line of the fight against extremism.”

Several of Amsterdam’s 15,000 Jews have risen to the top of Dutch politics in recent years.

Former Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen’s paternal grandparents were murdered in the Holocaust. Cohen led the city for almost a decade, and was runner-up for World Mayor in 2006. Half-Jewish politician Lodewijk Asscher is currently the Netherlands’ deputy prime minister, with a vision to make Holland “fairer and stronger.”

Both Cohen and Asscher have advocated “cleaning up” Amsterdam’s notorious Red Light District, home to legalized prostitution and just a wooden shoe’s throw from the Jewish Cultural Quarter. Halfway between the brothels and the Quarter’s center, Rembrandt van Rijn lived and worked in a mansion close to the Jews he occasionally painted.

The Quarter’s homes were demolished during 1945’s “Hunger Winter,” when abandoned Jewish buildings were razed for firewood to sustain a starving and frozen city. More recent years have seen the almost total redevelopment of the area, with office buildings and transportation infrastructure making it one of Amsterdam’s least charming districts.

More than 275,000 tourists visited the square-kilometer-sized Jewish Quarter last year, according to the Jewish Historical Museum, celebrating its 80th anniversary. As the first stop for many Quarter visitors, the museum houses more than 50,000 objects in galleries created within adjacent synagogues.

Other Jewish artifacts are literally tucked away in corners throughout the neighborhood, including the Portuguese Synagogue’s underground “Treasure Rooms,” which feature 800 rare ceremonial objects. Near the Artis Royal Zoo, where some Jews hid among the animals, a memorial to Auschwitz deportees fills the corner of a dog park.

Traditional Dutch and Jewish items remain on sale at Amsterdam's former Jewish flea market. (Matt Lebovic)

Though the Netherlands deported a larger share of Jews to Nazi death camps than any other Western European country, no official Dutch Holocaust museum or memorial exists. Since 1993, the Hollandsche Schouwburg has informally filled the role by displaying Holocaust-era artifacts and archiving victims’ names.

The Schouwburg is currently raising funds to convert itself into a “fully fledged” museum of the Holocaust in the Netherlands, according to its strategic plan. In addition to memorializing 104,000 Dutch Jews killed during the war, the organization aims to enhance its presentation of testimonies from Holocaust-era bystanders, rescuers, resistance fighters and persecutors.

In the meantime, the Jewish Historical Museum maintains a “digital monument” to the Jewish community, recording the names of Dutch Holocaust victims and digitally archiving their documents. Based on “register lists” created by the Nazis in 1941, the monument allows online visitors to learn about victims in specific neighborhoods and families.

Though the Quarter includes just four major sites, the neighboring Dutch Resistance Museum promotes a “Persecution and Resistance” walking tour between its building — itself a former synagogue — and the Anne Frank House across town. A guidebook explains the significance of sites associated with Nazi crimes and Dutch resistance, many of which would otherwise go unnoticed.

Find the original story here.

Heineken® marks its 140-year anniversary with the launch of a spectacular light installation and is inviting people across the globe to connect in celebration in a fun and groundbreaking way. It has illuminated its spiritual home at the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam with five thousand iconic green Heineken bottles, each carrying an LED light inside to create a digital video screen like never seen before, starring its millions of fans around the world.

The innovative exhibit will stand tall outside the building from December 7th 2012 – January 3rd 2013 – the first ever installation of its kind of this scale, celebrating Heineken’s inventive spirit. As part of an open global party people are invited to share their own celebration messages through the power of Facebook which light up in a dynamic animated showcase, alongside bold visuals inspired by the brand’s iconic evolution.

Cyril Charzat, Senior Director, Global Heineken Brand at HEINEKEN said: “Heineken’s® proud to celebrate its 140th anniversary – not by dwelling on history but by reaching out to the world and inviting everybody to join in, just as we have been connecting people since we first launched.

He added: “Heineken has the mindset of an explorer – always looking forward and progressing and it is this quality that has made it such an iconic brand. We are always seeking new and exciting ways to engaging with our consumers around the world, igniting the conversation and tapping into their lives.”

To help Heineken celebrate its 140th year, people are invited to share a personal celebration message and a picture of themselves via a dedicated tab on Heineken’s Facebook page. This will form part of a dynamic animated dance sequence bringing the party to life on the bottle wall and ensuring that while the installation takes place in Heineken’s native home Amsterdam, fans can still dance the night away in an exciting global celebration to mark a landmark in the brand’s history.

For more information or to take part:

Original Dutch Daily News article found here

Original DutchNews article found here

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Many of the Rembrandt etchings in public collections around the world were not printed by the master or in his studio but by others after his death, according to art experts Erik Hinterding and Jaco Rutgers.

Hinterding and Rutgers have been researching Rembrandt’s etchings for years and have studied some 18,000 prints, RTL news reported on Tuesday. They estimate almost half were made after his death.

Later prints can be identified because of wear and tear and repairs to the copper plate which were not contemporary to Rembrandt. Paper analysis can also help date the etchings.

The researchers say they expect their findings to change the market for Rembrandt etchings and make prints from the master’s own hand more valuable.

A new exhibition at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum focuses on 36 etchings and their origins. The museum has copies of 314 of the 315 known Rembrandt etchings in its collection.


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The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, will feature large sandwich structures made with carbon fiber and aramid fiber and a vinyl ester resin matrix to form the laminate skins surrounding a foam core.
Posted on: 7/25/2011

Stedelijk Museum

Stedelijk Museum, carbon/aramid panels being placed.

Stedelijk Museum rendering

Stedelijk Museum, finished structure rendering.

Teijin (Tokyo, Japan) announced on July 20 that its fibers are being used in the massive composite panels manufactured for installation on the face of the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), creating what is said to be the largest composite building in the world.

A large part of the panels are already in place on what will eventually become known as “The Bathtub.” After coating, the white and seemingly floating construction, with its sleek finish and without any seams or details, will be the counterpart of the adjacent historic brick building from 1895.

Teijin produced and donated the Twaron (aramid fiber) and Tenax (carbon fiber) for the composite used to create the façade. The façade, designed by BenthemCrouwel Architects, consists of a single surface and covers an area of about 3,000m2/32,291 ft2. A solution was required that would minimize thermal expansion of the material in order to obtain a seamless effect. The design, development and production of the façade required creativity and input from several experts.

An analysis provided by the engineering firm Solico showed that an optimal solution would consist of a sandwich construction. The construction consists of an inner skin and outer skin of a composite laminate of resin, strengthened by Twaron and Tenax fibers. Where the resin expands as the temperature rises, both Twaron and Tenax fibers, due to their negative longitudinal thermal expansion coefficient, behave oppositely. The result is a composite panel with minimal thermal expansion.
The composite for the seamless façade of 100m/328 ft expands by only 1mm/0.04 inch per degree Celsius temperature rise. The same façade based on a fiberglass composite or aluminum would expand almost two and a half times as much.

For production of the panels, Teijin provided Twaron and Tenax fibers to Holland Composites. A unidirectional fabric was produced from the fibers as an intermediate product. Holland Composites produced the panels for the façade from the fabrics, vinyl ester resin and a foam core. The inner skin and outer skin of the sandwich construction consist of two Twaron fabrics with a Tenax fabric in between. The fibers are perpendicularly oriented to each other.

In all, the façade consists of 271 loose elements containing 4,850 kg/10,692 lb of Twaron and 4,050 kg/8,929 lb of Tenax. The panels are mounted on site and glued together using a connecting laminate in order for the façade to form a single unit.