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Post #1529 • March 7, 2012, 10:45 AM • 3 Comments

Greetings from the Ambassade Hotel on the Herengracht. Thanks to a quirk of fate and a gracious invitation from one of the organizations that publishes Arts Holland, I'm here to cover some art exhibitions, most significantly, Dreams of Nature at the Van Gogh Museum. The time overhead is GMT+1.

On Sunday I took Megabus into New York, the E train into Queens, and the AirTrain to JFK. The flight was six hours, and I managed to spend one or two of them sleeping, thanks to these fantastic silicone earplugs. From Schiphol I took a train to Amsterdam Centraal and a tram to Spui. A short walk later and I was at the hotel, the owner of which is a serious collector of CoBrA artists.

[Image: Anteroom in the Ambassade]

Anteroom in the Ambassade

[Image: Karel Appel self-portrait at the Ambassade]

Karel Appel self-portrait at the Ambassade

I spent the rest of Monday wandering around.

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Finally I got myself over to the Rijksmuseum. Most of the Rijks is being renovated, but they have a handful of newly constructed rooms open with the major works on display: Rembrandt, Vermeer, de Hooch, Metsu, Claesz. All things considered, any day in which you get to spend time in front of Pieter de Hooch is a good one.

On Tuesday, after visiting the Van Gogh Museum, I wandered some more and rolled through the Hermitage Amsterdam.

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[Image: courtyard of the Hermitage Amsterdam]

courtyard of the Hermitage Amsterdam

The Hermitage is showing an exhibition of Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jordeans that was like a Dutch echo of the Titian, Tinroretto, and Veronese show at the MFA Boston a few years ago. It was stunning, but I was starting to get a little arted out. After another local art attraction declined to recognize my press credentials (and thus shall remain unnamed), I headed back to the hotel. In front, a swan was paddling up the canal.

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Then it was off to dinner at Lucius. I felt like I wouldn't have really had Dutch food unless I got some herring, here served traditionally with pickles, onions, and gin.

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For an entree, sea bass in tomatoes and capers, a salad with greens, mild sauerkraut, and mustard vinaigrette, the obligatory fries that come with any fish order in Holland, and Prosecco.

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Alcohol rolls over me like a truck over a garden snake. I was soon having an art discussion with this fellow.

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Dessert was bananas, caramel, and creme fraiche.

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With thoughts of Van Gogh and Rubens swirling in my head, I bid you farewell for now. I'm due in Rotterdam.



Walter Darby Bannard

March 7, 2012, 9:09 AM

I don't envy you the travel (I am a reluctant traveler) but I certainly do envy the art and the food. Have fun and keep us posted.


Alan Pocaro

March 7, 2012, 9:51 AM

And I thought my spring break dodging multiple F4 tornadoes was interesting. Well, if you have then chance, pay a visit to Haarlem. It's the home of the Franz Hals museum (which you'll be sorry if you miss) and a girl I had a massive crush on while in college. Enjoy the trip!


Kerry Smith

March 8, 2012, 5:37 PM

The yella fella appears credentialed to discuss watercolor painting, but something's fishy about him...



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