Amsterdam Reunion

My last stop in the Netherlands was Amsterdam. I decided to stop in Delft on the way to meet up with Laura and Emily who are two old colleagues from my undergrad who studied their masters in Delft. We caught up over a nice lunch at a cafe, walked around a bit through the old center, and then I had to head out already! Once I arrived at Amsterdam Centraal I walked to my cousin’s place where I would stay for the last two nights. That evening I caught up with them and also took note of some things to see in Amsterdam for the next two days. I was super excited because the next day I would be reunited with my good friend Andrea who has been working for several years in Switzerland. In the late morning the next day I walked to meet her at the train station and we went straight from there to explore the city! First we went to the Jordaan neighbourhood to look for a place to grab a coffee. We also had delicious apple pie! Yum! From there we decided to explore the north part of the harbour that neither of us had seen before. We took the ferry and visited the Eye Film Institute by Delugan Meissl Architects, then we took the ferry back and walked to the Palace of Justice building by Claus en Kaan Architecten. I’ve never seen so much marble in a modern building before! Then we took a different fairy to another area on the north side called NDSM Wharf. Well actually, that’s where we intended to go but it brought us to a place called Distelweg instead but we decided to walk to to the wharf instead of wait for the ferry back! NSDM is the historical remainder of the largest shipyard in Amsterdam. We explored the NDSM Warehouse, a large building that houses creative ateliers and exhibitions. It was a patchwork of different mini constructions inside the larger building. NDSM presented a very different side to the Amsterdam (primarily the old center) that I had experienced before!

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Shipping container room complete with balcony at NDSM. Can that be mine please??

By this time our feet were tired from walking and we needed a break! We took the ferry back again, this time to the central station. From there we decided to head east towards a few more buildings I had on my list (yes I’m nerdy like that), but planned to stop at a lunch place on the way. We ended up going up to the Sky Lounge at the Mint Hotel by Bennetts Associates. It offers a beautiful view of the city even if it hurt my wallet a bit! We explored the building a bit afterwards and found that there were some nice spaces and details. The next building we came across was the Amsterdam Public Library by Jo Coenen & Co Arkitecten. We only went in and out quickly, but we both decided that though there were some nice spaces in the interior, the building as a whole had way too many architectural languages happening at once! Our next building to see was the NEMO (the National Center for Science and Technology) by Renzo Piano Building Workshop. The building looks like a boat launching into the harbour and is built on top of one of the tunnels that connect the North and South shores. Also nearby was Architectuurcentrum Amsterdam (ARCAM), the city’s architecture center and exhibition space.

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Enjoying the view from the Mint Hotel’s Sky Lounge

Lastly we walked Southeast towards the zoo and then followed the canal Southwest to the Museumplein. On the way we passed the Hubertus House by Aldo van Eyck and the Sarphatistraat Offices by Stephen Holl Architects. The offices have perforated metal cladding that extends past the wall and has a beatuiful weathered green patina! Another great thing to see was that the Rijksmuseum at the Museumplein is finally complete (it has been under renovation for years), and I also liked the look of the new addition to the Stedelijk Museum by Benthem Crouwel Architects. Few! That about covers our architectural explorations!

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Sarphatistraat Offices

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Stedelijk Museum

The following day Matthew and his aunt joined us for one more foray into the city. This time we walked more into the old city. We went past the palace where there was a big carnival midway set up! I directed us to a small enclosed courtyard called the Begijnhof that was built as a sanctuary for the Begijnhofjes who were a Catholic sisterhood. Because it was a rainy day, we took the tram to the Rijksmuseum where the others intended to spend the afternoon. Andrea and I took a remake photo in front of the I amsterdam letters before I headed out to go and catch my flight home! We were reminiscent of the time we spent wandering around Amsterdam on Christmas eve back in 2010. It snowed that day (a rare thing in Amsterdam) and the city was deserted! Not this day! There were people everywhere! I felt so fortunate to be able to spend this time in the Netherlands and have this quick reunion with Andrea. It was a nice way to transition from my time in Uganda to home. img_20161014_182654

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