Flowers in Albert Heijn (And: Free tulips yesterday in Amsterdam)

A touch of color enters the world…

Even though it is only January, sometimes it can feel like spring. Especially in Amsterdam! Yesterday was National Tulip Day, the third Saturday in January. It’s the official begin to the tulip selling season, and to celebrate this the tulip growers bring 200,000 tulips in crates to the Dam Square in Amsterdam. Once everything is set up around 1pm, anyone can enter and get pluck a bouquet of tulips for free. Expect to stand in line for a few hours, though! After about 3 to 4 hours, all tulips have been plucked.

First, a link in English, with a stunning time-lapse video from 2015, including the setup. And a link in Dutch, with photos of 2017 Nationale Tulpendag, including photos from above which show the overall design. I find it a nice touch that the design for 2015 is different than 2017.

Speaking of tulips, I took some photos of flowers on sale at an Albert Heijn in The Hague:




A bushel of flowers

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Delft blauw guitar (Or: Random curiosities in the Rijksmuseum)

As my last post suggested, Marco and I visited the Rijksmuseum a few weeks back. Here are some of the photos I took. First, a guitar made in the style of delfts blauw:

Delft blauw guitar in Rijksmuseum

Now look at the picture again, but this time focus on the top of the guitar. That is a bit unnerving!

More delfts blauw:

Delft blauw items at Rijksmuseum

A painting illuminated from the back with lights:

Illuminated painting at Rijksmuseum

And finally, a look down at the Rijksmuseum library:

Rijksmuseum library
I’ve always loved taking photos of spiral staircases. Pretty!

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Clouds (Or: Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam)

From a few weeks back, when Marco and I took a day off to visit Amsterdam:

Note the “I am Amsterdam” art installation (climbable at your own risk!). Besides the Rijksmuseum we also visited the American Book Center, an English language bookstore, and Eichholtz Delicatessen, a great store for American (and international) candy and snacks.

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Amsterdam (Or: View from the canal)

Here are some more pictures from the canal boat ride we took back in the summer of 2010 (“we” being Roger, Marco, Marco’s Mom and I).

Random family above.

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Picture books (Or: Tien kleine heksjes)

Before there were chapter books like Het geheim van de verliefde hulpkok, there were picture books like Tien kleine heksjes (10 little witches). Marco and I had gone to Amsterdam Public Library, and we stopped at the children’s section for this photo.

You can see more pictures of the children’s section of the library by looking at one of the first posts I wrote for this blog.

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Traffic jam (Or: Amsterdam’s in-water boat show 2012)

Roger was gracious enough to send me some pictures of Amsterdam’s in-water boat show which starts today, September 4, and runs through Sunday, September 9. He has been watching the construction of the marina over the past few months, which will house all of the boats this week. Apparently most of the marina will stay after the boat show wraps up, which is nice.

Location: Amsterdam Marina, NDSM Shipyard; Werfstraat 4, 1033 SN Amsterdam

Of course, it does mean there will be more traffic in the area, which hopefully won’t put a damper on Roger’s commute to and from work each day. It’s only four days, at least! Here’s a floor plan of the boat show so you can see the amount of boats that will be docked there. As Roger noted, it is kind of weird to see “Manoeuvreren voor vrouwen” in the lower left of the floor plan (maneuvering for women)… as if men don’t need any help, or all women need help. (I would!)

You can also see a list of activities broken down by day — though it seems like a lot of activities happen on all of the days.

There will be 200 exhibitors and 300 boats. You can read more about the facts & figures of this event by going to the press section of their website.

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Cold & wind (Or: Where did Spring go?)

I knew I was going to be in trouble when I left work this afternoon as my earrings were basically horizontal against the wind gusts. Forget keeping the hair somewhat decent-looking – pieces of it were flying out of my hairband with every hard-fought step.

I think the hardest thing about this brief weather transition is the short taste of Spring we were given. But here I am again, zipping up the liner back into the coat and pulling out my hat and gloves for tomorrow’s use. The wind gusts will continue into tomorrow, albeit abated. After that, the temperatures will rise again, though not to their previous levels.

On the plus side, I did manage to take some pictures of the trees and flowers on campus where I work, for a future blog post. This was partially because I am not sure how many plants will survive tomorrow’s sudden temperature shock. …I am not sure I will!

In the mean time, here is another picture of the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, my favorite painting:

Painting in the Royal Palace of Amsterdam

I love the use of the wall to divide the painting into two from the ceiling on down. The white is a good contrast to the paintings themselves which really makes it stand out against the art.


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60 posts (Or: 2 months down)

So this is the 60th day that I have been writing blog posts regarding the Netherlands (and all its various things to love). But to get to the Netherlands, there are a lot of things to be done. Marco and I have a Google Docs document for “stuff to buy and do” — for things to do before I get there and things to buy after I do.

Some highlights of random things on my mind:

  • figuring out how to fit everything into a limited number of suitcases – primarily so I know if I have to ship anything through the mail
  • forms I need from the United States (including, apparently, a form that says I am not yet married, for the upcoming wedding next summer)
  • forms I need to figure out for the Netherlands – residency permit, etc
  • stare at’s residence wizard (IND = Dutch Immigration)
  • learning Dutch on a daily basis, more than just 3x a week as it stands now

I am also moving forward with trying to finalize Friday, December 14th as my last work date (rather than Friday the 21st). That would be the last day of finals for the students, as the following week only the administration and staff are on campus. I have to do this now-ish because the yearly administrator work contracts will be sent out in April. Normally we work a yearly August 15 – August 14 type contact but I already told them I will be moving after the fall semester.

Morale of the story: it’s going to be an interesting year!

Here’s a random picture of Amsterdam, though I have no idea where I was when I took it. But it looks like a relaxing activity!

Paddle boats in Amsterdam

Here’s to a lot more posts in the coming months!

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Chandeliers (Or: It eclipses even the art)

I have a weakness for chandeliers. I love how beautiful they look – and how they come in all shapes and sizes. I had mentioned the chandeliers in a previous post about the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. The ironic thing is that I recall those chandeliers with more fondness than the actual art itself, though that of course was beautiful too.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the chandeliers…

Continue reading

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Renovation (Or: Outside the Royal Palace of Amsterdam)

As mentioned in one of my previous posts earlier this month, the royal palace of Amsterdam had been undergoing renovations to its exterior when I visited. Roger was kind enough to take a picture of the outside for me recently (taking time out of his sprint-from-the-train-to-the-ferry commute!):

Amsterdam Royal Palace, 2012

As you can see there is a lot of people walking through the courtyard — and a lot of birds who have no fear of humans anymore.

In other news, het is vrijdag! It’s Friday! But I have to work tomorrow afternoon, so any weekend exhilaration I might have is dulled by this fact — for now. Tomorrow at 5PM, I might be singing a different tune…

The next thing I am doing for my Dutch language learning is viewing episodes of Het Klokhuis — an informational program aimed at kids which still manages to have interesting content for adults. I’ll admit that part of the reason I chose this program is because most of the episodes have ondertitels (subtitles) in Dutch. It makes it a bit easier to follow along, though it’s still not that easy.

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