Category Archives: Holland

Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part C (4/9) -Amsterdam Pub Crawl

Part C


Ultimate Party Pub Crawl

Thursday, 9 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

After an afternoon’s rest, Sir Thomas Leaf and Princess Brea were ready to hit the bars and clubs – partying all night long. They hopped the bus to the meeting place at News Cafe on Korte Leidse dwarsstraat. With some time to spare, the duo grabbed some gelato, watched the dj in the H&S, and wandered the streets where Breanna bought some souvenirs at the 5 Euro shop. As the doors to the News Cafe opened, they paid their 14 Euro and got their bracelets. Entering the News Cafe, they were doused with unlimited cranberry and vodka shots – well essentially captured a bottle for themselves and boozed up. Then met a dozen of new cool friends who they partied with as the pub crawl wandered from bar to bar, club to club – with free drinks at each of the 6 clubs, vodka shots on the road between the clubs, cover charges covered, and numerous drink specials. Princess Brea wore out earlier than Sir Thomas Leaf and braved the route back to the hostel – as she said she was taking the bus, she wound up deciding to walk on her own for a couple of hours until a cab was nice enough to give her essentially a free ride. Sir Thomas Leaf was not impressed that she didn’t come back for him when the bus was not a choice. He left an hour later – and a couple of bars later, to find the same situation, making his way by foot across Amsterdam trying to find Centraal Station for the ride home. Both made it back to the hostel safely but it had its moments. Incredible fun time was had …

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part C (4/9) -Amsterdam Pub Crawl

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Pirates Cafe (Amsterdam, Holland)

Pirates Cafe
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 129 * 1017pz * Amsterdam * 020-6390522 * http://www.kroegenweb.nl/cafe/10115
I obviously like the theme of this club … how could one not love “Pirates” in a port city? Professional staff and fun club, decent music, and good drink specials for the Ultimate Party Pub Crawl. Lots of fun at this bar – dancing and drinking the night away. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. Continue reading Pirates Cafe (Amsterdam, Holland)

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Amsterdamned Cafe (Amsterdam, Holland)

Amsterdamned Cafe
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 24a * 1017pp * Amsterdam * 020-4213353 * http://www.kroegenweb.nl/kroegpagina.php?kroegnummer=10141
A great spacious club with a decent sized dance floor, stage, and dance poles. The bar staff was friendly and professional, the rest rooms clean, and good times were had by all. We visited on Thursday April 9th with the Ultimate Party’s Pub Crawl. They were able to meet the needs of such a large crowd with no problems. Good times! Decent music. Good drink specials. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. Continue reading Amsterdamned Cafe (Amsterdam, Holland)

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News Cafe Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The News Cafe
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 77/B * Amsterdam * 020-6261838 * http://www.theagenda.nl/e6139_cafe-the-news.html?eID=35501
A nice little private club on the Korte Leidsedwarsstraat that is the first stop off of the daily Amsterdam Ultimate Party Pub Crawl. Its a cozy little bar with friendy and professional staff. Just like most of the clubs, when I ordered a Rum and Coke, I got the shot of rum in a glass and a bottle of coke for me to mix since for some reason they don’t mix drinks even though they have stocked bars. Apparently its a Amsterdam club thing. The music was good and plenty of music videos. Rating: 3 stars out of 5. Continue reading News Cafe Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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The Ultimate Party Amsterdam Pub Crawl (Amsterdam/Netherlands)


Ultimate Party – Amsterdam Pub Crawl

Ultimate Party Pub Crawl – Amsterdam
Ultimate Party is every Sunday to Friday / 6 Nights a week * Starting : between 08:30 pm and 09:00 pm @ The News Cafe – 4 doors down from the Burger King Leidseplein ( Korte Leidse dwarsstraat 77) * Transportation: Tram 1,2,5,6,7,10 to the Leidseplein *

  • · 6 Dance Bars & Clubs
  • · 6 Free drinks ( beer,wine or soda)
  • · Vodka shots on the road
  • · Unlimited Free house shots between 08:30 and 09:00 pm
  • · Drink specials at each venue
  • · No cover charges for the Bars and Club
  • · Professional Guides
  • ALL FOR ONLY 15 EURO

http://www.joinultimateparty.com/

I have to admit, I’ve never done a pub crawl like this before. Very well thought out, organized, social, and a great way to introduce tourists to a city’s night life. I almost want to start up my own. I’ve been on many alternative themed pub crawls like the SantaCon’s, the Pirate hunts, and the Zombie crawls … but this was quite nice, a normal one for international tourists – partying in the big cities around the world. Apparently they have them for London, Madrid, Berlin, etc. I had a blast. The guides were fantastic and made sure we got drunk and kept safe. One of the best parties I’ve attended while travelling abroad. You pay your 15 Euro (we paid 14 as we had a coupon from Stacey from New Amsterdam Tours), they give you a bracelet, and unlimited vodka drinks/shots from 8:30-9:30. Friends were made and we headed to 6 different bars and clubs, at each cover was free, VIP entrance in, and you were greeted at the door with a vodka shot and a token for a free drink at the bar. For each and every bar: The News, The Pirates Cafe, Amsterdamned, The Royalty, Club Smokeys, Club JV, Jantjes Verjaardag, Cooldown Cafe, and Surprise Bar. Dancing, drinking, and drunken-ness ensued. Wild times. Thank you Ultimate Party! Rating 5 stars out of 5.

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part B (4/9) – The New Amsterdam Free Tour, pt. 2 – Begijnhof, Amsterdam Miracle, Dutch Courtyards & Paintings, Multatuli, The Bird

Part B


Entering the Begijnhof

Thursday, 9 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Sir Thomas Leaf was inspired by the healing energies of the plaza that was mythologically known for its healing and the bread that doesn’t burn. From the crazy wild partying city of Amsterdam – a walk through a door to another dimension – into a Dutch square where it was sacred, quiet, and tranquil. Intriguing thoughts about the key swarmed Leaf’s mind. He realized he is closer yet to discovering the ‘key of life’. After the tranquility, Kevin led the band to oogle over the Dutch masterpiece painting and learning about the seals and marks of Amsterdam. The tour ended at Anne Frank’s house where the story of “tolerant” Amsterdam stood up against the Nazis and the tragedies befell that struggle. Hungry for Thai food, Sir Thomas Leaf and Princess Brea headed over to the Asian District to try out the highly recommended “Bird Thai” restaurant which they quite enjoyed. Wandering back to the hostel for a nap and down time before exploring the nightlife with the New Amsterdam Tour’s Pub Crawl.

Read my telling and review about the Amsterdam Miracle and the Begijnhof / Chapel here …

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part B (4/9) – The New Amsterdam Free Tour, pt. 2 – Begijnhof, Amsterdam Miracle, Dutch Courtyards & Paintings, Multatuli, The Bird

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The Bird Thai Restaurant (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)



The Bird Thai Restaurant

Zeedijk 72, Amsterdam, Amsterdam (Noord-Holland) – +31 20 6201442 * www.thai-bird.nl
Highly recommended by the folks at New Amsterdam tours, as was told to check it out by both Stacey and Kevin, we decided to check it out. We had just missed the main restaurant but the waiter who addressed us was carrying food across the street to their smaller restaurant (called a snack bar) across the street – which was sooo packed it was hard to get in and sit. Everyone stated it was the best thai food in the world … I can’t make that claim, although they were good. I’ve had better pad thai in the States even. But still a highly recommended restaurant for Amsterdam. Its crowded and hard to get in as their reputation proceeds them. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.


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The world’s thinnest or smallest house


[see red thin building scrunched in the middle]

The world’s thinnest or smallest house

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Claimed to be the narrowest house in the world, it is most certain the thinnest in all of Amsterdam is located at Singel 7. It is just a meter wide (3 1/2 feet), barely wider than the front door. Its a false illusion though, only the front facade is so narrow as behind that it broadens out to more normal proportions. The real narrowest house is at Oude Hoogstraat 22 between the Dam and Nieuwmarkt. It possesses the typical Amsterdam bell gable and is 2 meters (6 1/2 ft) wide and 6 meters (20 feet) deep. Its closest rival is 2.4 meters wide (7 3/4 feet) wide which is nearby at Kloveniersburgwal 26; this is the cornice-gabled Klein Trippenhuis, also known as Mr. Trip’s Coachman’s House which faces the elegant Trippenhuis at no. 29, which, at 22m (72 ft.), is the widest Old Amsterdam house. This was done in all of these cases to escape high taxes which the Dutch imposed based on the width of the house facade. A common evasion tactic still made life difficult. More information can be found at: Frommer’s: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/amsterdam/0043021197.html.

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Multatuli Statue (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)



Multatuli Statue

Amsterdam, Holland

The Multatuli statue was an inspirational work of contemporary Dutch artist Hans Bayens (b. 1924) as a tribute to Eduard Douwens Dekker. Eduard Douwes Dekker (1820-1887) who was a strong critic of Dutch imperialism and a popular Dutch satirist of the 19th century. He revelled and was famous for his skewering of the middle classes in their classism and racism. Dekker was actually born in Amsterdam as his father was a ship’s captain. His father intended for Dekker to follow in his footsteps but trade disgusted Dekker and in 1838 he became a civil servant in Java and eventually became the assistant-resident at Ambon. In 1857 he was transferred to the Bantam residency of Java in Lebak gaining all the secrets of the Dutch administration in his career progressions. He really hated the abuses of the colonial system and was threatened with dismissal from his office for his verbal protests. Upon his resignation and return to the Netherlands, he became much more vocal about his indignation and desire to expose all of the scandals he witnessed. He did so by the sword of the pen in newspaper articles and pamphlets, and finally in 1860 with his novel “Max Havelaar” under the pseudonym of “Multatuli”. This name was derived from Latin and means “I have suffered (or witnessed) much”. He exposed the abuse of free labour in the Dutch Indies and caused quite a controversy. He went on to publish Love Letters in 1861 which were mordant unsparing satires. After Dekker left the Netherlands to live in Wiesbaden, he became interested in theater. He wrote the School for Princes (1875 in the fourth volume of Ideas) which expressed his non-conformist views on politics, society and religion. He eventually moved his residence to Nieder Ingelheim, on the Rhine, where he died in 1887. By 2002 the Society for Dutch Literature proclaimed Multatuli the most important Dutch writer of all time.

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The Escutcheon of Amsterdam and the Dutch East Indies Trading Company

The Dutch East Indies Trading Company

The Dutch East Indies Trading Company was the first trading company in Amsterdam, and often set out fleets of twenty ships at a time unlike the one ship at a time that other countries sent. This is how the Dutch escape and minimize pirates, bad weather, and mechanical difficulties that often sank ships during transporation and adventures.



The Mark or Escutcheon of Amsterdam
The flag or mark of Amsterdam is the official mark / flag of Amsterdam as the capital of the Netherlands. It displays three Saint Andrew’s Crosses and is based on the escutcheon in the coat of arms of Amsterdam. The coat of arms of Amsterdam is the red field of the escutcheon (heraldic shield). This is charged with three vertically ordered silver or white Saint Andrew’s Crosses on top of a black pale. The field and the pale result in three vertical bands in the colours red, black, and red. It is believed that these represent the three dangers of ancient Amsterdam – fire, floods, and the Black Death. Others believe it originated with the shield of the noble family Persijn 1280-1282 which refers to “pale water”. The black pale in the escutcheon of Amsterdam would refer to the river Amstel. Both the colours and the crosses are also found in the escutcheons of two towns near Amsterdam: the village of Ouder-Amstel on the banks of the river Amstel to the southeast, and Nieuwer-Amstel (now the suburb Amstelveen) to the southwest. Both villages were also the property of the Persijn family. The three Saint Andrew’s Crosses are used in the logo of the city government and also as decorations on the typical Amsterdam bollards called Amsterdammertjes. These coats of arms are all effectively in the public domain, as the municipalities cannot claim copyright.[wikipedia]

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Old Masters of Amsterdam Exhibit (Holland)

Old Masters of Amsterdam
Amsterdams Historisch Museum Exhibition: Old Masters of Amsterdam 6 March–9 August 2009 Amsterdams Historisch Museum (AHM) (Amsterdam Historical Museum)
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 359 * 1012 RM AMSTERDAM * 020-5231822 * info@ahm.amsterdam.nl * www.ahm.nl
Amsterdam, Holland

This special exhibit tells the fascinating stories about the formation and growth of the rich collection of paintings owned by the city of Amsterdam. With over a thousand works painted before 1800, the city of Amsterdam has one of the world’s finest collections of Old Masters. It includes some of the best works by famous artists such as Rembrandt, Ferdinand Bol, Jacob van Ruisdael and Govert Flinck. This exhibition tells the story of the different ways in which the city acquired these paintings. These paintings exemplify Dutch Golden Age artistry. During the Dutch Golden Age the painters received monetary compensation for painting their subjects. Where the subject would appear was based on how much they paid. If someone paid a high price, they would be “front and center” in the painting, and often depicted in a favorable pose and in high-status clothing. If they didn’t pay enough they would be in the background, hidden, or only a half face or with a silly grin drinking a pint of beer. The exhibit was fabulous. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Continue reading Old Masters of Amsterdam Exhibit (Holland)

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The Miracle of Amsterdam, Begijnhof and Chapel (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Begijnhof and Chapel
*Zandvoorterweg 78 * 2111 GZ Aerdenhout * Tel. 023-5246229 * Fax. 023-5440081 * info: info@stille-omgang.nl * website: www.stille-omgang.nl
Amsterdam, Holland
http://www.begijnhofamsterdam.nl/
It was here, at the Begijnhof that a few days before Palm Sunday on March 15, 1345 a sick man in the Kalverstraat took the Sacrament of the sick from the local priest. The man vomited up the host, which was caught in a basin and thrown on the fire where it “appeared” to “float above the flames”. It was an amazing miracle. A woman then stretched out her hand into the flames to seize the host from the fire and put it in a case. She remained unburnt and unharmed from putting her hand in the fire when touching the host. The priest, who was from the Oude Kerkwas sent for and took the host back to the “Old Church”. The next day a woman in the house in the Kalverstraat opened the case and saw that the host had magically transported back. She sent for the priest again, and again he took the magic host back to the Old Church. The next day for a third time, the host transported back to the case in the sick man’s room. The miracle of the bread that didn’t burn and wouldn’t leave the house became known widespread. Again, the priest took the host, but this time returning to the Old Church with a solemn procession. The next year the Bishop Jan van Arkel declared this host to be a genuine miracle. Two years later, a church was built on the very spot where the miracle took place. As people joined a procession to take the holy sacrement through the streets of Amsterdam in mid-march to celebrate the Miracle. The Holy Stead Chapel (The Ter Heylighen Stede) was consecrated by the vicar-general of Bishop Jan van Arkel, the Bishop of Utrecht in 1347.

Continue reading The Miracle of Amsterdam, Begijnhof and Chapel (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

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The Pee Deflectors of Amsterdam

Pee Deflectors
Amsterdam, Holland
An interesting aspect of grungy, dark cornered areas on Amsterdam, is the city’s methods to keep the city clean and odor-free by teaching those drunken fools who think every little corner is their personal urinal. Most of the buildings near the main squares in Amsterdam are equipped with “pee deflectors” that were installed by the Dutch government. This was instituted from a late 1980’s survey that was conducted asking Amsterdam-ians what disturbes you most about tourists … their answer “they pee on our buildings and stench up our alleys”. 80% of the residents stated this. So city hall devised the implementation of pee deflectors that would splash the pee back on the pisser to teach them a lesson. Most of these are triangular shaped metal sheets that protrude and are angled to splash pee back on the man conducting the act. Some have sharp barbs to conduct a lesson of pain on the perpetrator. In the 1980’s they had electrical charges running through some of the deflectors so that the law-breaker would be shocked, but some accidents happened and it was determined inhumane. In some of the main squares they installed open-air urinals for the men. Women were upset that they had no wear to pee in public so they staged a “piss off” on some of the bridges. In response, the city created sheltered toilettes for women, but they were taken over by heroine users and drug dealers so had to be boarded up. Now there is no place in public for women to pee, and they get a heftier fine if caught squatting than a man gets for peeing in the corner. Continue reading The Pee Deflectors of Amsterdam

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The Leaning Buildings of Amsterdam

Leaning Buildings

Many of the buildings along the canals are “leaning”

Because the buildings have “winches” atop them and for years, this is how residents move their furniture in and out of the upper floors, the buildings have been pulled forward to support the weight, and actually are “leaning”. This was done so hoisted items don’t hit the walls. Some say the City is taking steps to remove “winching”. Some say they are built that way to let the rain run off of them. Because you were “taxed” based on the width of your house, many houses were built “thin” and therefore had small doorways and stairwells going to the upper floors. Winches installed to move up larger furniture. Some of the buildings lean of “old age” and settling on sandy soil, lacking proper pillars, or rotting columns/supports.

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Oude Kerk (Old Church) (Amsterdam, Holland)

The Old Church (Oude Kerk) in the Red Light District
* http://www.oudekerk.nl/ * Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The Oude Kerk is the oldest parish church in Amsterdam. It was consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht and is located in the De Wallen, Amsterdam’s main red-light district. The church spans over 3,000 square meters. Its foundation was set upon an artificial mound. Its roof is the largest medieval wooden vault in Europe. The floor is primarily gravestones as the church was built atop a cemetery. The planks are Estonian and date to 1390. The church has gone through numerous renovations through its history. The first set of alterations occured in the 1350’s where the aisles were lengthened and wrapped around the choir in a half circle to support the structure. During the 15th century, the north and south transepts were added creating a cross formation. This work was completed in 1460. Before the Alteratie or “Reformation” in 1578 the Church was primarily “Catholic”. The Church then became Protestant. The 16th century saw many battles leading to the Church becoming looted and defaced. It became a public space where the locals gossiped, peddlers selling their wares, beggars sought shelter, but in 1681 the Calvinists fed up with the homeless kicked them out. The Church was closed off with a brass screen. Then the Church became a center for the registry of marriages, followed by the city archives. Local citizens continued to be buried underneath the church up until 1865 with a total count of 2500 graves containing over 10,000 Amsterdam citizens. Pipe organs were built in 1658 with the cabinet organ constructed in 1767. The third was built by the German Christian Vater in 1724 establishing the finest baroque organs in Europe. Today, many concerts are performed here including the BBC Singers and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. This is now a center for both religious and cultural activities and can be rented for presentations, receptions, and dinner parties. Continue reading Oude Kerk (Old Church) (Amsterdam, Holland)

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Hand on Breast Sculpture (Amsterdam)


Hand on Breast sculpture

Hand on Breast Sculpture

Ouderkerksplein, Amsterdam, Holland
Embedded into the sidewalk, between the sidewalk stones of the Ouderkerksplein and the square that surrounds the Old Church in the Red Light District is a bronze/iron sculpture of a hand caressing a breast. The artist is unknown. This sculpture was left secretly in the wee hours of the night. Over the last 15 years, this same unknown artist has placed numerous bronze and iron statues all over town, anomynously in the night. It’s been discovered the artist is a local doctor who does the art in his spare time. The City of Amsterdam has since accepted his works as long as the identity of the artist is never revealed. This particular sculpture is a bronze female bust on the pavement in front of the Oude Kerk on Oudekerksplein square. It represents the women of the Red Light District. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part A (4/9) – The New Amsterdam Free Tour

Part A


The Dam Monument

Thursday, 9 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Sir Thomas Leaf awoke shortly after Princess Brea disappeared down to the dining hall. Slowly rustling out of bed, Sir Thomas Leaf headed downstairs to join her and their new friend from Ireland, James for a pretty delicious continental breakfast and good conversation. Princess Brea had been worried a little bit with Sir Thomas Leaf disappearing off with the two girls they had just met – but was glad he was safe and sound. Sir Thomas Leaf was a bit hungover from clubbing with Kristien and Karolien. As 10:00 rolled around, Princess Brea and Sir Thomas Leaf met in the lobby the New Amsterdam (free) tour guide who took the crew of them on the bus and down to Centraal Station. There they were led to the De Dam square to meet at the monument. A New Amsterdam tour guide named Kevin who took them on a few hour foot trek around Amsterdam showing the sights and explaining the history of everything under the sun. The duet definitely felt it was a fabulous tour. Meeting a handful of Canadians, new friends were also made as the explorers all tromped around the streets, canals, and alleys of Amsterdam. Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part A (4/9) – The New Amsterdam Free Tour

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New Amsterdam Red Light District Tour

New Amsterdam Red Light District Tour
“The Red Light District Exposed”
The tour meets daily at 6:45 pm next to the Tourist Information Center directly in front of Centraal Staation. Look for the guides wearing red New Europe T-shirts. €10 Adults/€8 Students
Now I’m not usually a real big fan of “tours” and the whole “tourist” “sightseeing” parts of travelling. I usually like to explore on my own. But this tour was very affordable and had an incredible tour guide who knew her history of the district and was extremely helpful with orientation to Amsterdam. I couldn’t recommend any other tour “more” other than the accompanying “free” tour of Amsterdam each morning by the same company. They market the tour as “The Red Light District Exposed” and they certainly do an incredible job talking about every sensual or creepy corner of the district. They advertise with “Intrigued by the Red Light District at night but don’t feel safe exploring it on your own?” and they perfectly show the area for its beauty, intrique, history, and that its quite safe – with a two hour walking tour wandering from coffee shops and jazz clubs to sex theaters and smart shops, prostitute windows, and condom shops, ending with free shots and cocktail specials at the infamous Belushi’s bar. The guides take you to the Proefokaal and other Historic Bars, the World’s first Stock Exchange, a stroll through China Town, window gazing at the Condomerie, to the Old Church, Jazz legend Chet Baker’s place of death, the Warmoestraat: hardcore leather neighorhood, S&M Specialist, Smart Shops and a talk about Mushrooms, visits to the Sex Shops, Video Cabins, the Elite Streets, The Bulldog: Amsterdam’s first “Coffeeshops”, The Prostitution Information Center, the Word’s first Sex Theater, the Newmarket, and many more intriguing locations. On the eve of April 8, 2009 – we were luckily blessed with a fabulous guide named “Stacey”. Stacey was born in Russia, has lived in Canada, the US, Italy, and Malaysia, and now Amsterdam. She’s studying Art History and completing her degree in Asian Studies. Friendly, courteous, and extremely intelligent, she’s one of the best guides on the planet. The tour is worth the 10 Euro just to pick her brain about great places to eat, see, and experience nightlife. Top rating 5 stars out of 5. Thanks Stacey!!! Continue reading New Amsterdam Red Light District Tour

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Sex Museum (Amsterdam, Holland)


Sex Museum
Damrak 18 * 1012 LH Amsterdam, Netherlands * +31 20 6228376 * http://www.sexmuseumamsterdam.nl/
A fabulous little two house two-story museum dedicated to sex, erotica, and the history of the arts through the ages. From prehistoric application, to the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians to modern day Amsterdam, one can walk through the history of copulation and play through the ages. It is also the world’s first and oldest sex museum, the “Venustempel” in Amsterdam. A leading museum on the theme of sensual love with an extensive collection of erotic pictures, paintings, objects, recordings, photographs and even attractions. All of the exhibits have been gathered together personally by the owners and can be viewed in their 17th century property on the Damrak. The collection is continually growing. One of my favorite stops in Amsterdam. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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The Dam (Amsterdam)

Carnivals / Fairs in Dam Square
Amsterdam, Holland

The “Dam Square” is the central most part of Amsterdam, minus Central Station. Its called “de Dam” in Dutch, or simply “The Dam”. Here resides notable buildings and events that bring together more visitors to the Netherlands than any other places in the country. Deep in the historical center of the city, it is located only 750 meters from “Centraal Station” – the main transportation hub. The square is rectangular in shape, roughly 200 x 100 meters in dimension. It connects Damrak, Rokin, Muntplein (Coin square), Nieuwendijk, Kalverstraat, Damstraat, and Muttoren streets. The main Red Light District (de Wallen) is a hop and a skip from here. On the west end is the neoclassical Royal Palace, bordered by the 15th century Gothic Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), and the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. The National Monument is in its heart which is a white stone pillar designed by J.J.P. Oud in 1956 to memorialize the victims of WWII, and is one of the most famous meeting places in the city, and is where the New Amsterdam tours meet daily. The NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky and the upscale department store “De Bijenkorf” also border the square. The square was originally a Dam built in 1270 until 1544 in the river Amstel. As the dam built up, it became wide enough for a town square, as the city developed around it. The square began with the “Naatje of the Dam” statue in 1890, but was taken down in 1914. The weigh house that once stood here was demolished in 1808 by order of Louis Bonaparte who complained it blocked his view from the royal palace. The Damrak of the Amstel River was partially filled in during the 19th century and became the land blocked square it is now since then. The first stock exchange, the Beurs van Zocher was also originally housed here, where the department store now sits. The square became a “national” square well known to everyone in the Netherlands and became the main location for demonstrations, riots, street performers, meetings, and celebrations. Every May 4th it houses the National Memorial Day celebration at the monument. Queens Day hosts a big funfair in the center. Throughout the year various fairs and carnivals will set up here too.

Continue reading The Dam (Amsterdam)

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The Amsterdam Waag

The Amsterdam Waag
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

In the heart of Amsterdam lies a remnant of the former city walls known as the “Amsterdam Waag”. The walls were constructed here between 1481 and 1494. The Waag was constructed in 1488 and originally housed one of the city gates known as the “Sint Anthoniespoort”. The lower part of another gate also exists here called the Regulierspoort (“Munttoren”) and a defense tower known as the Schreierstoren. As the city wall disappeared, the New Market (Nieuwmarkt) began and the building housed the weighing scales. It became the predominant weigh house in Amsterdam. Weigh houses are buildings where scales are set up to weigh goods and levy taxes on goods transported through the area. From 1550-1690 those accused of witchcraft were sometimes brought here to be subjected to a “witch test” where if the person was found to be lighter than a set weight, s/he was deemed guilty. During the Spanish Inquisition, public executions took place here and to the left of this building you can find an inclined alleyway called the “Bloedstraat” (Blood street) where the blood from executions drained down. “Waag” means “scale” and his how the place got its name. In the late 16th century, as the city expanded, the wall was torn down and the gate lost its function. The defensive canal and palissade was turned into the market square, raising the ground, and filling in the canal. The upper floors housed four guilds – the smiths, the painters, the masons, and the surgeons. Each had its own entrance tower. This is the famous spot where in 1632 Rembrandt van Rijn was commissioned to paint the surgeons at work which is how the Anatomical Lesson of Dr. Tulp made his name. They added a theatrum anatomicum in 1691 so that paying members of the public could witness human dissections. the guilds were dissolved in 1795 leading to many different uses of the building, including a fire brigade and two museums before being taken over by a foundation in 1990. This foundation originally planned to partly destroy the building and build an addition designed by Philippe Starck but because the foundation went bankrupt they were unable to accomplish this feat. The local neighbourhood, historians, and the Amsterdam city council worked to restore it keeping its medieval background. In 1996 the Waag Society became the principal tenant. The Waag Society is the ICT research foundation that is working in the social and cultural domain of Amsterdam, and is a responsible group, according to locals, for its part in shutting down the Red Light district and cafes. The building also houses a very expensive cafe/restaurant on the ground floor that most locals recommend to avoid.


Amsterdam Waag

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 14, Part D (4/8) – Amsterdam, Waag, Dam Square, Cafes, Fair, RLD Tour

Part D


New friends …

Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Onward the adventurers met with the tour guide leading them through the Red Light District on a spectacular tour learning the history of the sex trade, industry, prostitution, and cannabis culture of Amsterdam. The adventurers met some amazing new friends from around the world as well while exploring the darker and redder side of the city. At the end of the tour, those who wanted to, went into the Belushi Bar for their free shots of Jager and some happy hour specials. New friends from Ireland, Australia, Britain, and France … the adventurers chatted, drank, and headed over to a cafe later before figuring out how to get back to the Zeeburg hostel. Hungry, the hostelers dropped into a restaurant for some fries with a tasty peanut satay sauce. In process, two charming sisters introduced themselves as Karolien and Kristien who tried to pursuade everyone off to dancing to celebrate Karolien’s successful interview. Only Sir Thomas Leaf took them up on the offer. The three of them piled into a taxi and was off to the heart of Amsterdam. The original club that Karolien wanted to take them to was closed, so they went to another decent sized club playing “Techno Light” which appears to be a common popular music type in Holland. Dancing and drinking …. the trio had a blast. When Sir Thomas Leaf made it back to the hostel, it was the wee hours of the morning, and he quickly passed out. His daughter princess Breanna didn’t even wake.


Kristien and Karolien

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 14, Part D (4/8) – Amsterdam, Waag, Dam Square, Cafes, Fair, RLD Tour

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Condomerie, Amsterdam, Holland


Condomerie, Amsterdam

Condomerie
http://www.condomerie.com/
Warmoesstraat 141 * 1012 JB Amsterdam * The Netherlands
The world’s first specialized condom shop, the Condomerie takes “condoms” to a whole different level – from studies of fitting and sizing, to intricate fine and humorous artwork made from the rubbers. Located in the heart of the Red Light District in Amsterdam, the Condomerie and its windows will draw more attention than the prostitute windows nearby. Enter in to learn about the Rubber Tree, Condoms and the Church, safe sex, sizing, flavors, varieties, male condoms, female condoms, and its history and philosophy. You can also participate in the First European Survey To Study The Fit And Feel Of Condoms. It was the brainchild of Marijke Vilijn, Ricky Jansen, and Theodoor van Boven on April 10, 1987 during a lively discussion in an Amsterdam restaurant about the disease that has occupied our thoughts since the beginning of the 80’s: AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. They were very concerned with this incurable and deadly virus transmitted via blood or sperm, that attacks the natural immune system of the body. The expectation was that the aids virus, called HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, would quickly spread throughout the world. It seemed clear that man should count on the surfacing of more new viruses. General sexual hygiene and use of condoms became essential: Safe Sex was the motto. Condoms were obtainable from pharmacies, chemists, sex shops and vending machines. There was, however, little choice or good information. It was time for a specialised condom shop with a wide selection, expert information and good service. The aim was to remove the taboo surrounding the sale of condoms and provide proper information about the different types and sizes available in an unselfconscious manner. The Condomerie had to be easily approachable by everyone, men and women, young and old. Artwork with erotic and safe sex themes was used to decorate the interior of the shop. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Diabolo shop, Amsterdam, Holland


Diabolo Goth Shop, Amsterdam

Diabolo
www.diabolo-shop.nl
* Oudezijds Voorburgwal 242 * 1012 GK Amsterdam, Netherlands * +31 20 6234506
A great little gothic, club-wear, and fetish clothing shop with wonderful designs and gear available. Bringing great fashion to Amsterdam since 1988, one of the best shops of this type in the city. They also offer custom made clothing. Excellent shop. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 14, Part C (4/8) – Amsterdam, Red Light District

Part C


Candles in a cafe

Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Looking over the maps, the weary travellers decided against hiking across town to the City center. Sir Thomas Leaf bought the pair some 24-hour Metro tickets so they could hop the bus and trains unlimited for the next 24 hours. The hostel recommended taking the bus, so the duet hopped on the bus, and was blessed with the driver not stamping the tickets, giving it more of a boost of a timeline when they could use it. Now the quest for the sacred key of life is amongst the living. No longer to focus on the crypts and the deceased, but rather amongst the aspects of the living, and that which gives life energy. What form shall the key hold? Only time will tell.

Venturing around the streets, into the Red Light District, along the canals, and into the City Center – where a amusement park was setup in front of Madame Tussaud’s House of Wax. To get a good perspective of the city, the duet took the ferris wheel for some ethereal viewpoints. Afterwards, some shopping ensued and a drop over to the Sex Museum before taking the Red Light District tour. They planned to take the tour of the museum later, but given they were running late for the RLD tour, planned to do it later. Since Sir Thomas Leaf had done the museum on another visit, was not much of a rush. Over to the Tourist Information center at Central Station, they awaited for the tour guide to arrive. [to be continued … ]


Copy free photo of Redlight windows from amsterdam.info

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 14, Part C (4/8) – Amsterdam, Red Light District

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Amsterdam’s Infamous Canals

Amsterdam’s Canals
One of the most picturesque parts of Amsterdam is it’s canals. A tremendous effort that was created by conscious city planning. Beginning in the early 17th century with immigration at its peak, the city decided to develope a comprehensive plan of a design based on four concentric half-circles of canals with their ends emerging into the IJ bay. They called this the Grachtengordel. Three of the canals exist primarily for residential development … these are the Herengracht (Gentleman’s Canal), Keizersgracht (Emperor’s Canal), and Prinsengracht (Prince’s Canal’). The fourth and outermost canal is the Singelgracht that serves the purposes of defense and water management. In the early days, The defensive purpose was established by moat and earthen dikes, with gates at transit points, but otherwise no masonry superstructures. These canals interconnected each other along the radii, created a set of parallel canals on the Jordaan quater for transportation, adding in the defensive purpose of the Singel which later converted to a residential and commercial purpose, as well as incredible employment opportunities with the construction of more than one hundred bridges. The construction began in 1613 going from west to east. Construction was completed in the southern section by 1656. The eastern part of the concentric canal plan, covering the area between the Amstel river and the IJ bay, has never been implemented. In later years, several canasl were filled in to make streets or squares such as the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and the Spui. Amsterdam’s canals is a haven for houseboats and bohemian living. The canals are flushed weekly to keep the water clean and to eliminate any stagnation or stench that usually come with canals. Every week hundreds of bicycles are dredged from the bottoms. Continue reading Amsterdam’s Infamous Canals

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Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Amsterdam

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The largest city in Holland (The Netherlands) and its capital, is world-famous “Amsterdam”. It is the financial and cultural capital of the Netherlands. It is also the headquarters for most Dutch institutions and 7 of the world’s top 500 countries including Philips and ING. Amsterdam is located in North Holland in the western portion of the country. Amsterdam boasts over a million people (2008) and merged with the northern part of the Randstad, is the 6th largest metropolitan area of Europe at over 6.7 million in population. Amsterdam is most popular for its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, its red light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops all of which draw over 4.2 million visitors a year. Amsterdam is named after a dam in the river “Amstel” where the Dam Square resides today. It started as a small fishing village in the late 12th century later becoming one of the most important port cities in the world during the Dutch Golden Age due to its innovative developments in trade. At this time it became a leading center for finance and diamonds. It was named as such when the inhabitants of the area built a bridge with a dam across the Amstel had been exempted from paying a bridge toll by Count Floris and had to bound together as a city. By 1327 it was well known as “Amsterdam”. Amsterdam was granted city rights by 1306. Continue reading Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 14, Part B (4/8) – Off to Amsterdam, Zeeburg, hostel

Part B


Atop the ferris wheel in Amsterdam

Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Arising early and calculating his paycheck, Sir Thomas Leaf spontaneously decided to take Princess Brea to Amsterdam for an excursion enroute to Belgium. Rental motor carriage arranged and lodging set at a hostel in Amsterdam, routing was figured out and plans set in motion. Lord Christian graciously awoke early to shuttle Sir Thomas Leaf to Avis to pick up the motor-carriage. Within a few hours, Sir Thomas Leaf and Princess Brea were off to Holland. The Autobahn was clear and speed was actualized as the duet drove into the rain and was wondering if they would be tromping around Amsterdam in the rain. Quite a few pockets of traffic congestion between Dusseldorf, Germany and Amsterdam, The Netherlands – but by 3:00 pm they arrived at the Park n’ Ride to store the rental, hop the bus to the hostel, and check in. A little lost in the rain, tromping around a neighbourhood they were unfamiliar with, they got a little frustrated as they tried to find where to go. Eventually they made it, checked into a very spacious hotel-like hostel, and unwound before setting off to explore the historic part of Amsterdam.


Amsterdam

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 14, Part B (4/8) – Off to Amsterdam, Zeeburg, hostel

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