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Amsterdam and Delft

I left for Amsterdam on April 17 for work. I didn’t know exactly when I’d return; turns out I left April 26.

Here’s a picture of the current state of the front of Vijzelstraat 32, where I worked a few years ago. The building has been sold to the city of Amsterdam and will be a museum of some sort

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Vijzelstraat 32

I got to take the weekend off, so on Saturday I decided to visit Delft. Delft is a small city about one hour by train from Amsterdam. You can take a Sneltrain (fast train) without transfers. Here’s a picture of the Delft station – there’s a large bus station right outside, and an Albert Heijn (a large grocery chain) inside.

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The Delft train station The canals in Delft are smaller than the ones in Amsterdam

I walked into town (5 minutes max) and had lunch at a pancake shop – I had a pancake with cheese, onions and bacon (more like ham or Canadian bacon) – it was large (the size of a plate) and very tasty.

Fortified, I headed to the museums – first the Prinsenhof, then the Nusantara. The Prinsenhof was the last residence of the William the Silent, the Prince of Orange, who was the leader of the independence movement in what became the Netherlands. Just after securing independence from Spain, he was assassinated in the Prinsenhof on 10 July 1584; two bullet holes are behind glass in a wall at the bottom of the stairs from when he was shot. On the second floor is a display of surgical instruments, a few wax anatomy models (including a fetus in a uterus) and four large paintings of human disections. The second museum I visited is the Nusantara, which is full of items from the old Asian colonies of the Netherlands.

I then walked across a canal and visited the Oude Kerk (old church). The church has very nice stained glass windows. Johannes Vermeer is buried in the church; the pamphlet gave a location for his memorial but I couldn’t find it. Otherwise, the church is very spare inside, reflecting the Calvinist changes. And yes, the bell and clock tower does lean about 6 feet from straight. Just down the street is the Nieuwe Kerk (new church). This is where William the Silent is buried. His tomb is very ornate, whith over 20 columns. At the feet of his effigy is an effigy of his dog, who died of starvation because he wouldn’t eat after William died. The windows are very simple and slightly grey, but the outside red roofs look great through them.

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Oude Kerk tower, which leans The Nieuwe Kerk

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William the Silent’s tomb inside the Nieuwe Kerk

I then headed towards the Oostpoort; I almost got lost but instead found the Techniek Museum, or technical museum – its the museum for the local technical university. They have two rooms of steam engines, presses, etc. and one room with hands-on exhibits about how bridges work, which was fascinating.

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A steam engine in from of the Techniek Museum

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Some of the presses inside

I then walked down to the Oostpoort, or east gate, the last remaining gate from the old city walls.

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Oostpoort, or east gate

I then walked back towards the train station. I tried to find the synagogue but failed, so I walked back to the train. Here is the Hague train which left on our track just before the train back to Amsterdam.

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The train just before mine – this one to the Hague

Saturday night I had dinner with a friend from work – we went to a great little Italian place in the Jordaan called Hostaria; the food was excellent but its very small and busy so make sure to call for a reservation.

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On Sunday I went to Vondel Park – on nice days, this is one place that’s really popular. Its like Chicago – the community maintains a large park for the residents to enjoy in nice weather (of which there isn’t enough in either Chicago or Amsterdam).

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The statue of the man the park is named for poet
Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679)
A willow tree next to the pond

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