Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Friday, 3 February 2012

A weekend in Amsterdam (4)

I wouldn't want you to think I totally neglected kulcher on this trip. There were a couple of museums I've not visited in the thirty years or so that I've been going to Amsterdam.

One was the Tropenmuseum, originally devoted to the wonders of the Netherlands' overseas empire in Indonesia and the West Indies, but now expanded to include the cultures and environment of the tropics generally, in Africa, Latin America and South Asia, focussing on changes resulting from development and interaction with new ways of living. Alongside that are regular art installations and events on similar themes. Even though the content is more contained than its equivalent in Paris, the Quai Branly, it could be just as exhausting - it would repay an early start and a leisurely tour.

Another is the Museum Van Loon, an imposing canalside residence restored to something like the style of its wealthy 18th century owners, but full of mementoes of successive families living there. It's a slightly odd mix of a very Dutch worthy restraint and the opulent, as the pictures below would suggest. The grand staircase is in largely unadorned marble; but the very last picture shows not the main residence but - the coach house and stables.

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