Jenny & I are currently hanging out in Amsterdam, after a few days with some lovely family friends in Rotterdam who generously treated us as family.
Now, this last week until today, has been so hot, like “I’m sweating through my clothes” grossly hot. It’s been terrific (and slightly exhausting)!
Travelling at our own pace away from a tour bus has meant that we are once again time rich, so we’ve managed to lock in a few more time expensive ventures this week including The Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank house. I thought I may expand upon these two as they are a couple of Amsterdam’s most visited tourist attractions!
Van Gogh Museum.
Firstly) If you’re gonna go, buy your ticket in advance (even on your way walking there is fine) from pretty much any ticket seller in town, it costs the same but allows you to join the much shorter pre-bought ticket line).
Secondly) I’m not going to lie, I’m not a huge paintings guy. Prior to this trip, my instant reaction to Van Gogh would be “Why does he paint so weird?” or “why is he such a big deal?” So the idea of handing over 17Euro pp to see a whole museum of his paintings was keeping my expectations low.
I did however enjoy it.
In fact, I came away with a far greater opinion of Van Gogh than when I started. From our visit I came to see the intricacy and depth in his work, the variety of his works (including his Japanese phase), to see him breaking away from and challenging the status quo & to realize that his life was very intriguing. His was the the kind of life that usually generates a cult following. He was a deep and sometimes troubled thinker whose life ended before it should have. In this way he is similar in a sense to the likes of Kurt Cobain or Jeff Buckley in the music world. I also had no idea how fast he was producing these masterpieces; at his peak he was pumping out a painting a day!
I often find that the artists I come to appreciate the most are the ones whom I don’t initially like. The ones who with time turn me, who redefine to me what is good, the ones who contagiously grow on me, and the ones who win me over. With this recent thought provoking visit to the Van Gogh Museum, I feel that may indeed be happening. So if you don’t like Van Gogh, I challenge you to try him out and visit the Van Gogh Museum (it’s the only place you’ll get the full picture of his works). Besides, you can’t fully appreciate him by Google Image searching him.
Anne Frank House.
Prior to my visit to Anne Frank’s House we’d heard some mixed reviews about the Anne Frank House, mostly that as it’s left empty (at the request of Otto Frank) that it’s a bit like walking around a prospective flat that you’re hoping to land. Alongside that we’d just missed out on getting some ‘skip the line’ type tickets by ordering them online from the Anne Frank website before they sold out & to make it worse, the lines were consistently HUGE. With that in mind, personally I was a little 50/50 whether we’d actually go…
But unlike our visit to Van Gogh we’d already done a little bit of homework by reading the book (as well as ‘The Fault in our Stars’ which also talks about it) so we already felt a connection that we couldn’t leave…
So we committed to it, waking up at 6am, getting ready and tramming down there for a 7:20am arrival. We were the 18th person in line (1 hour 40mins early) and it was actually a good time because we brought books, luckly managed to claim the spot in line under hang of the building away from the rain, Anne Frank’s offered free wifi for those in line & discovered that they secretly open 30mins early in summer to quell the queues. So in total we only ended up having to wait 1 hour 10mins, away from the hot sun reading books.
Now while I think a little bit of furniture wouldn’t hurt, as the haters have commented, I think it was actually done really tastefully. I personally found it quite moving & connected with it immensely. Also at 9Euro pp it’s half the cost of Van Gogh! (the only extra cost is your time in the line which can be avoided by purchasing tickets in advance).