5 days of Amsterdam – Part III

I’ve always been fascinated by Amsterdam. Besides the typical touristic stereotypes like tulips, cheese and coffee-shops, for me it is more it’s history, that dates back to the 13th century. Catching fish, initially the most important source of income, soon gave way to trade.

The Oost-Indisch Huis; East India HouseWhen I hear the keyword Amsterdam, an inner film starts to run, of ships sailing to the Baltic Sea, North America, and Africa, as well as Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Brazil, forming the basis of a worldwide trading network. The aroma of the great wide world; tea, cocoa, spices and tobacco is in the air. The Dutch East India Company became Paste-Up; BORTUSKthe most successful corporation in history very fast; the trade-generated wealth is reflected by architecture and culture by today. So my first way at this 3rd day lead me to the Oostindisch Huis, which was the former headquarters of the once powerful Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (Dutch East India Company), which was founded in 1602. It was the first multinational company. Of course I had to cross Jordaan first. Meanwhile I noticed a flood of advertesing columns and posters for the new commercial museum of modern and contemporary art, MOCO, with the exhibition “Laugh Now” which contains around 50 original works by street art legend Banksy. The weather was not like May, but not awful enough for the visit of a museum. Every year millions of people visit Amsterdam to view the work of the old masters like van Gogh and Rembrandt or take a trip on the canals. What was unknown to me about Nieuwe HoogstraatAmsterdam is the beautiful 19th century art nouveau architecture that can be found throughout the entire city. The Canal houses are not the only gems in the city center. Since December 2016 Amsterdam has a brand new icon, the renewed Beurspassage, which forms the passage between Damrak avenue and the street of Nieuwendijk. Transformed Beurspassage 70; Amsterdam Oersoep; Arno Coenen & Iris Roskam (2016)into a beautiful piece of art by the artists Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam, the passageway is decorated with large chandeliers inspired by bicycle parts and huge mirrors in art deco style. Featuring an Italian glass mosaic of 450 square metres and many other ornaments, the walls are tiled with handmade stained glass objects. [2] For this day I had planned to walk the oldest part of the inner city, which is called De Wallen, better known as the red lantern district of Amsterdam. In that  network of alleys you will find not only the typically, with red lights illuminated, cabins, where prostitutes offer their Dollebegijnensteegservices from behind a window or a glass door; this neighbourhood has a lot of pubs and restaurants,  a number of sex shops, sex theatres, peep shows, a sex museum, a cannabis museum, and a number of coffee shops. Besides that all it is a tresure chest for street art of all kinds. But let me give you one important hint: be very careful not to Prinsengracht / Tuinstraat; TLP THE LONDON POLICE for GO Gallerytake pictures of the ladies; it is forbidden and strictly enforced. On my way back home I had to cross the Jordaan quarter again and at the very end of that day I stumbled across a stunning mural of THE LONDON POLICE at Prinsengracht 70 and the GO Gallery at Prinsengracht 64. In summer 2009 the ownwer of Prinsengracht 70 allowed TLP to design the facade of his building with a black and white image of a totempole lad being constructed by a Bob Gibson robot. On the fourth day of painting, the Amsterdam Gemeente (city council) officials arrived and politely told TLP that they needed extra permission to paint any building in the city centre. They kindly allowed to finish the characters, but didn’t  allow to make a start on any further background. After support from the local residents and in the dutch press, the piece was deemed to possess artistic merit and cultural significance and was allowed to stay. [1]

 

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