Beautiful Amsterdam #33

With King’s Day now a fading, alcohol-flavoured memory, I thought I would share a picture that shows it doesn’t have to be Koningsdag for the city to have splashes of orange.

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Waalseilandgracht

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These ‘dam days

Spring is still fighting to make itself heard here in Holland. The weather is overwhelmingly underwhelming and days of decent sunshine without wind are few and far between. There are the odd breakthroughs, though:

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The babies were very sweet, but the mum/dad duck was bloody loud and annoying. (David Attenborough’s job is safe, clearly.)

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Some lovely early* morning sunshine…….. *In my world, ‘early’ = 10:00

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These flowers clearly think it’s spring, and who am I to argue with them?

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This is my favourite of the 4. I had to twist upside down by my bedroom window to get the angle right, and I think it works.

 

 

 

Café Gollem

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Café Gollem was the first to bring good beer back to Amsterdam. And is still the best.

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Around since 1974, Gollem is a beer institution famous in Amsterdam and the world. Originally, the proprietor hired a car, drove to Belgium and filled up. These beers sold quickly.

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Gollem probably looked old when it was new. The bar has an ambience breaks down social barriers and patrons chat freely. Maybe also because it is tiny.

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Venue: 9/10

The only criticism is the size, but that’s also part of the atmosphere. So really I’m just complaining that it’s hard to get a seat, which is kinda like complaining because it is too good.

Beer: 10/10

It’s hard to imagine a better beer list. There are 14 taps to choose from (7 regulars, 7 guest) and ~250 bottles covering local breweries here in Amsterdam, craft brewers around the Netherlands and all the big and small players from Belgium.

Proeflokaal Arendsnest

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The heart of Amsterdam’s UNESCO Heritage canal rings is home to a very special place. There is a bar that celebrates everything Dutch by serving exclusively native beers.

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The beer garden is the Herengracht canal.

There are 30 taps at ‘t Arendsnest, ensuring some healthy competition, and another ~100 bottles. The beer culture in the Netherlands is enjoying a welcome renaissance: there are more than 50 breweries that aren’t Heineken, and ‘t Arendsnest showcases the finest and rarest.

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Thirsty?

Venue: 8/10

Classy brassy. The beer garden is the most beautiful canal in Amsterdam.

Beer: 9/10

Dutch beer is so much more than just Heineken and Amstel (both are actually the same thing too). There are 30 beautiful brass taps here and they are all very well maintained.

Het Scheepvaartmuseum- The Maritime History Museum

The Maritime History Museum is housed in a quite spectacular building- possibly the most striking museum space in Amsterdam, although the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijke might wade into such a debate.

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Much of the building is set aside as courtyard space; a relic from its industrial past. This is now topped with a very modern, compass-inspired roof that marries old and new seamlessly, almost as if this was the original design.

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The exhibits are rather minimalist. This suits the building perfectly, but rather retracts from its potential as a museum.

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The exhibits feel quite contrived to portray the might and dominance of colonial Dutch trading and warfare. There is very little apology about the atrocities (think profiteering from slavery and warfare) that such power was built upon, which rather glamorizes the era.

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Outside, there is a striking Dutch ship. This looks impressive in a picture, but does feel very much like the replica it is once inside.

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Overall, worth a visit. But Amsterdam is blessed with 50 or so museums, some of which should be prioritized above the Maritime History Museum.