Saturday, June 2, 2012

Uni day 2012

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I went to town just after 9AM today to meet Marjolein for her uni-day 2012. The university she studied at organizes this day every year. There is a guided tour through town in the morning, interesting lectures in the afternoon and a classical concert in the evening.

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The weather was fantastic for walking around town and I took some great pictures. This was while walking to the meeting point. The building at the end is "De Waag" at the Nieuwmarkt.

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This is the "Noorderkerk". The views in the old town are really fantastic.

I picked up my pass and then we had a coffee before the tour would start.

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We did a tour that would take us past a few places that hold an important place in Amsterdam Jewish history. The lady in the middle was our tour guide. There were about 6 groups like ours.

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Late 16th century, a few spanish and portuguese jews lived in Amsterdam. Around the year 1600 a rabbi and a dozen or so other jews from Emden (DE) arrived at the tower in the above picture (Montelbaanstoren). They came to Amsterdam because it was one of the very few places in Europe where they were kind of free to practice their religion. They were at the time not allowed have a synagogue though and they were not allowed to do most common jobs. They were however allowed to trade goods and to work in the diamond trade.

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Due to the jew-friendly climate in Amsterdam, more jews kept arriving and their numbers grew rapidly.  On the Houtgracht (which bordered the island "Vlooienburg" and which was later converted to the square which is now called "Waterlooplein") the first three Jewish congregations were created. One of these in a warehouse in 1618 and 2 others in nearby quarters.

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In 1639 the warehouse was enlarged and the three congregations merged together created the very first synagogue of Amsterdam called "Talmud Torah". After construction elsewhere of a much bigger synagogue in 1675 it was renamed to "De Herschepping" as its function changed to a wedding hall. In 1875 its function became a general meeting hall for the poorest of jews and finally in 1931 it was bought and demolished by the city of Amsterdam.

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It wasn't until after the second world war that an apartment building was build in its place. The plaque above the door is all that remains of this large chunk of Jewish history...

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This is the new (Portugese) synagogue. You can find a bit more info on it by clicking here.

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Also in front of the synagogue is the statue "De dokwerker", erected to remember the big strike in February 1941.
I had never been here before. It's a wonderful statue, I like it a lot.

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This building was a house to a Jewish family.

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They were all deported and murdered during WWII.

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After the tour we got lunch on a canal boat. All canal boats take you past this replica of the famous Dutch ship "Amsterdam".

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Even though it's a replica, it can actually sail!

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Marjolein just before we had to go to our first lecture.

It was quite busy.

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The first lecture was about tourists (and how they got to see the city) in Amsterdam in the 17th century. A historian presented us with old paintings and drawings and explained the off phenomena that could be seen in those days. Very interesting.

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The second lecture was about a new process of converting CO2 in to energy. Also quite interesting. The process has been in beta test for a month now and the results are promising.

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And then there was free booze!

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Outside a pigeon was having a nap.

We went to have dinner. On our way to the Indian restaurant we saw "Amsterdammertjes" (that's what all those little poles in town are called...) that were converted in to seats by putting a bicycle saddle on them. Marjolein couldn't resist ;-)

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After dinner we went to the concert of the uni orchestra. They played three pieces. The first one was modern crap and I hated every second of it. The 2nd and 3rd were very nice though.

It was a lovely day :-)

Friday, June 1, 2012

The lorry

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As I was leaving for work, a very large lorry pulled up with a tiny load that could've been delivered with a pickup truck even. It looked kinda pathetic...

I took the squash trophy to work with me.

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The ferry was quite busy on the way home.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The fountain

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I had to go to the dentist for a check-up. My super cute dentist had a good look but couldn't find anything wrong. Because I clean my teeth better than ever I probably don't ever need to see the dental hygienist again :-)
She also removed a sharp edge from my root canal tooth and smoothened the surface a bit coz the filling was a bit too big. All is good now. Almost a pity I have to wait another 6 months ;-)

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Then I had a choice to make: Going home or walk in to town. I chose town. Next to the Nederlandsche Bank they have done up the park a lot! Looks real nice now.

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I walked to the fountain.

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It's my favourite place in town.

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And finally I caved in and went to the snackbar where I always used to get my chips, the Belgian opposite the Febo in the Reguliersbreestraat. It was there that I also felt the gravitational pull from Mulligans and it sucked me right in. Jon K. was there too and we had a few drinks together which was fun. Miriam came in as well, had a wee chat with her too. After 2 whiskies I thought it was time to go home.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The new contract

New graffiti on the submarine close to my work.

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On my way home.

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Nicole got her new cake cooler today. It looks great.

But what looks even greater is this: my permanent contract :-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pigeons, gulls and roses

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"Are you lookin' at me mon?"!

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Black headed gulls were looking for fishies behind the ferry.

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My rose is doing very well!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Around town

I took it very easy today. Had breakfast with Saturday's paper, played computer games and then went to town to return a broken battery charger.

The weather was awesome. Town was awesome. Days like this make you forget the shit winters we have here.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Today I visited Vuurtoreneiland (lighthouse isle) with Marjolein and Gerrit. The island is part of a defensive ring of fortresses around Amsterdam. The only thing in use today though is the lighthouse but even that only by popular demand, not because the government thinks it's neccessary.

Currently the island is inhabited by sheep, birds and a few snakes. Once a month they allow 2 small ships (old ferries) to drop off about a hundred people each. You can see the old barracks, the ammo storage, old gun points (no guns though), the lighthouse and the house that the caretaker used to live in.

These kinds of places are interesting and fascinating. This blog shows the photos I made on this beautiful day. I hope you'll enjoy them :-)

PS: Click a photo to view a bigger version.

We left at the Bimhuis (aka "Muziek gebouw aan 't IJ").

Gerrit and Marjolein.


Old silos.



The lighthouse.

Being dropped off.

3 of the 4 ammo storages.

There are three of these semi circles that used to house 1 cannon each. They pointed towards the water because that's where the danger could come from back in the days.

This is my favourite photo.

At the back of the barracks.

This used to be the kitchen.

The loo.

Back of the barracks without people.

All 4 ammo stores.

Boarding already!

Bye bye Vuurtoreneiland!

Afterwards we went up to the bar of the Hilton hotel for a few drinks and to cool down. The view from upthere is amazing.

See for yourself:

I had a Heineken out of an aluminium bottle.

After the Hilton Gerrit went home and Marjolein and I went past my place first and then went for a bite at Wagamama.

Then we walked to Mulligans for a few drinks and some music. All the canals are beautiful now with the trees so green and the blue sky above.

Garreth was behind the bar. He's moving to Leiden in the near future so we won't be seeing much of him again I think. Pity, he's a nice bloke.