Monday, 11 June 2012

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

Apparently the most visited museum in the Netherlands, the Van Gogh Museum hosts the largest  collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world. There  are two buildings: the main building (Rietveld), which  hosts permanent displays, and an oval shaped  building (Kurokawa) which you can reach from the  main building by going underground. 
In the main building, there are 4 floors. Amongst  these 4 floors are some of Van Gogh's most famous paintings, along with his lesser known art. There is also work from some of Van Gogh's contemporaries, as well as information on restoration. You can see works such as 'The Potato Eaters', 'Sunflowers' and 'Self Portrait', as well as others.
From here you can travel through an underground tunnel to reach the Kurokawa building. Here there is a display of major temporary displays. Outside is also one of Van Gogh's works recreated with pebbles.

I have to say though, for the price of 14 Euros, it is only really worth going if you are a big Van Gogh/art fan. For me, it was wasted. The majority of the paintings I didn't know, as I am not a big art fan, so I couldn't fully appreciate the experience. However, if you are an art lover, then this is a must!!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Anne Frank Huis, Amsterdam.

The first thing I’m going to say about the Anne Frank House is, make sure you go and get there early!! The line does get quite long, understandably, as it is a major tourist attraction. For any of you who don’t know, this is the house where Anne Frank and her family lived during WWII. With the family being Jewish, they lived in a secret annex that they were not allowed to leave. They were eventually found and arrested by the German Order Police and the family were killed, apart from the Father, Otto Frank. He survived and went back to Amsterdam in search of his family. After discovering they had all been killed, he found Anne’s diary and got it published. Since then, it has become a best seller worldwide.
For 9,50 Euros, you can walk around both the house and the secret annex and see for yourself the conditions in which the Franks and their friends lived in. The house has been turned into a museum, showing furniture, belongings and extracts from Anne’s diary. You really get a feel for Anne and everyone else who lived there. It is particularly saddening to read about how much Anne wanted to be a journalist and how she spoke about it with such enthusiasm, not knowing what the future held for her. The museum also holds Anne’s original diary, however it is not on display all the time for preservation reasons. 
You exit at the gift shop (of course!!) were you can buy different editions of her diary in many different languages. I would suggest buying the book off the internet as it is far cheaper. You could even read it before you go so you understand the ‘story’ and can relate to Anne when you get there. 

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The city of Amsterdam, located in North Holland, attracts around 4.6 million tourists each year. They flock from across the globe for various reasons, including the infamous red light district and the numerous ‘coffee shops’ in which you probably leave a lot happier than you entered. However, Amsterdam isn't all about the sleaze; it is home to a number of museums and attractions and, of course, it's famous canals.
I visited the capital of The Netherlands with my university, a trip which cost around £154 (inc. accommodation, coach, breakfast, an evening meal and travel insurance). I arrived at the Stayokay hostel, Zeeburg, on Friday night. We stayed for two nights (Friday and Saturday) before leaving by coach on the Sunday. I did find that this was enough time for me to see the sights I wanted, but you could always stay an extra day or two to do more. My itinerary was this:
Friday: Dansen Bij Jansen, a student night club.
Saturday: Anne Frank Huis, the Van Gogh Museum, the Sex Museum, Dansen Bij Jansen (again!!) and some other clubs.
Sunday: Artis Royal Zoo, Canal tour. 
Overall, Amsterdam is a very nice place. It is so unique in terms of its many canals and its distinct 17th century canal houses. A lot of the buildings are old with amazing architecture, and the sight of the many cyclists riding around this busy city is something that makes you watch with curiosity. Yet there is a very modern feel to Amsterdam as well, with its many shops, its large tram system and its trendy night clubs.Though expensive, Amsterdam has a lot to offer.
Everyone here speaks English, so if you can speak English or Dutch, you should be fine. The locals are very friendly and you can’t help but feel a relaxed atmosphere here, as if you can do whatever and nobody will judge. I can see why Amsterdam is so popular with partygoers and why it is an ideal place for stag/hen dos. It is also a great place for culture, with amazing sights and a lot to do.
Hi all!!

Just thought I'd give you a quick update on what's been happening and my plans for the summer. I've been so busy with my final year of uni, so I haven't posted about Amsterdam yet, but I'll get that to you soon. Also, I'm off to Munich, Germany in June, so expect a post and some pics by the end of June.

Hope you're all liking the blog so far. Still plenty more to come though!!

David (EuropeanExplorer)

Tower Bridge, London, England.

One of London's most iconic symbols.