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  • Day160

    Day 161: The Museums

    July 25, 2017 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Another busy day today in Amsterdam! We'd decided that today would be our "museum day", so we'd pre-booked tickets for the main two museums in Amsterdam: the Rijksmuseum (National Museum), and the Van Gogh Museum.

    Out fairly early, as both are renowned for getting crowded and we wanted to get there as early as possible. Rode the provided bicycles to the nearby station, caught the train into the city, then changed to a tram for the last leg of the journey - all up nearly an hour. We went to the Rijksmuseum first, as our Van Gogh tickets were for an afternoon session.

    Lots of great stuff in here, paintings by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Van Dyke and several other Dutch masters. Plus other masters too, like Cezanne, Monet and Pissaro. There was also a large collection of objects too, running through the history of the Dutch Republic, from the early days of the House of Oranje right through to the battle of Waterloo (with an enormous oil painting to commemorate the result).

    Grabbed some lunch at the museum cafe, then headed out into the streets. Wandered around outside for a little while before heading across the street to the Van Gogh Museum. Huge line here, but thankfully we could skip since we'd already bought our tickets.

    The museum was quite good, basically telling the story of Van Gogh's life and legacy through his artwork. Lots and lots of his paintings on display - even though he was only really active as an artist for seven years, he had an enormous output. Lots of self-portraits, but it was great to see his different periods as well. The early dark "realism" period, then later more Impressionist stuff as he moved to Paris and encountered other artists. Then of course the latter period where he retired to rural France, his committal to an asylum, release, and then eventual suicide.

    Quite interesting to see, and there were several artworks from other famous contemporaries as well like Monet: paintings that had inspired Van Gogh. Also a huge collection of letters, over 700 apparently (!), so it gives you a really good idea of what he was like as a person. All up it was a fascinating stop, though the museum was very crowded in places, particularly when you encountered people on group tours. Alas!

    By now it was 4:30pm and we were both tired and footsore. Although I hadn't done many steps today, the "gallery shuffle" really takes it out of my feet and makes my shins ache. So we jumped back on the tram, then the train, then our bicycles home. Grabbed some supplies at the supermarket, and ended up having spaghetti with pesto for dinner.
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