Thursday, January 01, 2009

looking back on 2008...

There are several things I forgot to post about, which were important in 2008. They don't make a consistent whole. But, I have to add some not-so-up-to-date memories...

When my mother and her cousin, Serap visited me in Amsterdam we had such a busy schedule that I forgot to post about our museum night (spent in Alto Jazz Bar, as there were no tickets left to musea), our visit (with Witho) to Vollendam and Hoorn as well as Scheringa Museum for Realism, in which we found a toroop, a magritte and two de chirico's (yayy!) and discovered two belgian painters: gustave van de woestyne and valerius de saedeleer.

The nicest paintings I have seen in the museum are somehow not available over the net, so what you see here is an underestimation of a small but precious exhibit.

Why did we end up in some unheard of museum like that? Good question...

I guess we were lost. Or maybe, we ended up in Hoorn for lunch, and Scheringa museum (completely out of one's usual way) was just too close by to skip.

Hoorn was a predictable Dutch town, as you
can see in the two pictures I put here... Other than that it could be summarised as, nice fish, rather labour-leaning politics and a statue of some VOC colonizers in the middle of town square.

But before that we visited Vollendam, and THAT was a different story...

This little fishing village was designed so that it would represent everything that a tourist might imagine about the Netherlands in the most steriotypical sense of the word. I thought it was ludicrous, and my guests said this was exactly what they thought all of the Netherlands was like. A fishing village.... Thank Shiva, that's not the case...

Otherwise, I think they thought Amsterdam was just too much like Istanbul. Smaller, of course, and substract the chaos and the traffic you cannot escape in Istanbul.
It was just not too surprising.... Vollendam, on the other hand, was indeed different than Istanbul. :)

I don't find it pleasant though... Why?
Well... Let's start with the coat of arms...
a grizzly BEAR lifting a board with a black COW and three STARS on it. No fish, no funny hats, no sea at all on the coat of arms. AND YET IT IS FUNNY!
Second, it was too orderly even for the Netherlands' standards!
Third, nothing particularly unique whatsoever! Maybe the smell of the sea... Yeah, that was lovely...
I don't know... I'm just not visiting Vollendam again.

On the way back, we visited the
Batavia Ship (or rather the replica), which was a ship of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). She was built in Amsterdam in 1628, and had 24 cast-iron cannons. Batavia was shipwrecked on her maiden voyage, and made famous by the subsequent mutiny and massacre that took place among the survivors. This is an incredibly interesting story reminding the lord of the flies. Wiki has a good long plot line here. And here is an image plate from Ongeluckige voyagie van 't schip Batavia (The Unlucky Voyage of the Vessel Batavia) from 1647.
The twentieth century replica of the ship is also called the Batavia. The replica was built at the Bataviawerf (Batavia Wharf) in Lelystad, with traditional materials, such as oak and hemp, and using the tools and methods of the time of the original ship's construction. The project lasted from 1985 to 1995, and was conducted as an employment project for young people. For the design, good use was made of the remains of the original ship, as well as historical sources, such as 17th century building descriptions (actual building plans weren't made at the time), and prints and paintings by artists (who, at the time, generally painted fairly true to nature), of similar ships. A week before we were there, on October 13th, a fire ripped through the Batavia-werf destroying the sailmaking shed, several office buildings and the sails of replica ship Batavia, but the ship itself was not damaged.

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