The Netherlands part 2
On Sunday morning we managed to get up early and were at the train station in time, but with the help of strangers we figured out there was a special training for bad winter weather going on. So we had to take two trains instead of our usual one to get to Amsterdam and then another two trains to get to Breda.
Lunch in the Park
On our way from the train station to the museum which was only 10 minutes away, we stopped to have lunch in a park as we so often do. There we witnessed a real bird fight for food that went on for about 5 minutes and we saw a new kind of skate that is more flexible and shaped like an 8.
Graphic design Museum
Around 12:45 (we left home at 7:50) we finally got to the museum. I was really excited because we made a special detour to see it and that it’s the only museum I found completely dedicated to graphic design. Now let me say to any of my graphic designer friends that if you ever are in the Netherlands or nearby, you absolutely have to make a stop in Breda, it is worth it!
The museum had an exhibition on women magazines and told the history of feminism through their evolution. It also had an exhibition about the history of Dutch design and it reminded me of a lot of history classes where they explained the different currents. I wish I could have taken pictures because my memory is fleeting, though the museum has a very nice free application that shows some of the exhibitions and has explanations for them.
There was a whole room with videos explaining the process behind several projects including the redesign of the Dutch Politie (police), a newspaper, LetError (the creators of the Beowolf type) and a poster for a play where a girl stands for a horse. We spent more than an hour in that room and it was very interesting. It made me want to design stuff and go through elaborate creation processes. I can’t wait to be back home and working!
Upstairs was a photograph exhibition that was a triptych with “Tableaux de guerre”, “Tableaux d’histoire” and “Tableaux Politiques” The war series depicted places that were soon to be at war or that had been at war but not the war itself as to emphasis the damages done to environment. The power series contrasted normal people with a power element such as putting side by side a Coca-Cola bottle with people dressed as trojan warriors. The last series, depicted government people in behind the scenes situations as to show what they are really like instead of what they want people to believe they are.
It was hard to leave the museum and while going through the shop I would have bought it all if I had room in my luggage or money to waste. It was full of very interesting books and goodies such as Pantone mugs (they had my personal favorite: 376 :D) and moleskins and more. I didn’t buy anything but I did gather all the brochures and flyers laying around!
The way back to ‘t Zand involved 6 different trains, a half hour wait and free coffee. So seeing the museum is all we did on Sunday. It was well worth it though!
Anne Frank’s House
Monday morning we decided it was time to stand in line and wait to visit Anne Frank’s house. The queue was almost longer than the first time we had seen it but it was our last day in Amsterdam and we didn’t want to leave without having visited it. So after 40 minutes we finally entered. The place housed her father’s business and the whole team helped with their hiding. It was very emotional walking through the place, with quotes from the girl’s diary on the walls and various photographs and books exposed. The place was unfurnished as per Otto’s wish. But it was so small that it would have been impossible to visit if it would have been.
A part of the exhibition explained the arrest and deportation of the family as well as their later fate. There were videos with testimonials from a girl that had seen Anne in the camp as well as from her father about the diary. The whole last part was dedicated to the work of Otto Frank with the house, making it available to visitors and fighting to spread tolerance and acceptance. The actual diary is on display in the museum as well as several other things written by her. It was very unforgettable and of course we bought a copy of the book to read afterwards.
Van Gogh Museum
After lunch we walked to the Van Gogh museum. It tells the story of van Gogh’s life through the evolution of his paintings as well as explains the evolution of his style through his various influences and encounters. I found it particularly interesting and it made me want to paint or draw again. His use of color is such that you can only marvel and the technique is so different. It is a sad story that he didn’t see himself as a master and that he didn’t understand his talent for he was not trained in the arts and he taught himself how to draw. He was a free spirit and became one of the most recognizable painters.
Monday we had to come back to ‘t Zand by bus because Peter was out to the Kermess. After dinner, when he came back, he brought the party with him and invited Ed back for a last drink before our departure. We had an amazing time. 4 bottles of beer (for me) went by during which we heard amazing war stories, saw a typically Dutch way of eating raw fish, tasted smoked Mackerel (well Felix did, anyways) and drops (salty black licorice), learned how to say good morning in Dutch, and were promised to be invited the next time Ed and Peter cook Surinam Chicken 😉
The next morning was a bit harder but we woke up anyways. Peter’s sister, who had been kind enough to do our laundry for which we are forever thankful, came by and said goodbye. The we left and went to the next village, to Peter’s summer house and got to see the North Sea. The place was very beautiful and the beach runs for 200 km. We also saw Ed for a last time, since he was working on Peter’s house, and promised to see him again in January when he comes back to Quebec.
Then Peter drove us across the Afsluitdijk. This dike was built to gain some more territory on the sea. It was finished in 1933. It transformed the Zuiderzee into the IJsselmeer, a fresh water lake. The water level of the lake is lower than the sea but not considerably so it’s kind of weird to look at. We stopped at a monument commemorating Lely, the engineer and also the workers that built it. It was a very beautiful spot.
On the way to Leeuwarden, in the Freesland region on the other side of the dike, we caught two open bridges and had to stop while the ships when through. This made us 5 minutes late to catch our train to Hamburg but it gave us the opportunity to write the blog while waiting (and probably sleep on the train 😉 )
So ends our trip to the Netherlands. It was very lovely and we will miss the little house in ‘t Zand. We’ll see you Peter and Ed in a few months in Quebec! Until then, Hamburg awaits!