Today was a long one, even though it was a Sunday, which makes it a little more difficult to do anything, especially since I’ve lost my iAmsterdam card. I went to the Amsterdam Museum first, which did provide a good overview of the history of Amsterdam.
Then, I walked through the Begijnhof, which was close to the Amsterdam Museum. It is a small courtyard, famous because it was built in the Medieval Era. It used to be a form of social welfare for widows and orphans, as a way for the Church to house those vulnerable populations. It is used for people, so it still felt a little weird wandering someone’s lawn, basically.
Afterwards, I walked through the Bloemenmarkt, the Flower Market. Because it is not tulip season, it was ultimately kind of disappointing because all they were selling were tulip bulbs. The market is housed on a series of badges along a very busy street, where I ended up getting lunch.
After lunch, I went to the Nieuwe Klerk, or the New Church. It is in Dam Square, kind of the main tourist square of Amsterdam, something of a Times Square, though far less obnoxious (I.e. no giant screens or anything like that). The Nieuwe Kerk was originally a Catholic Church but was converted into a Protestant Church after the Reformation. The Nieuwe Kerk is a lot more bare than any Church than I’ve ever seen, though with stained glass. Many of the old statues and murals were removed, during iconoclasm. They also don’t seem particularly concerned with the Church being a solemn space for worship, since it was nine euros to get in and they had a huge display about the Royal Wedding and the King’s Coronation.
After the New Church, I went on a free walking tour which was not that great, as the tour guide had mixed up all of the Bonapartes and their relationship to Amsterdam. Ridiculous.
After that, I walked around for a while before going to the Anne Frank House where I walked through the warehouse and Secret Annex. Perhaps because I read the Diary very recently, I felt so sad there. For me, I suppose I found Anne’s complaints about her mother and the other occupants of the attic very normal, I found it easy to extrapolate her experience across the seven million other Jewish people who died in the Holocaust. I did cry.
Tomorrow, I am going to the Jewish Quarter, which should be interesting.