Amsterdam. A journey through time
Words: Ilanka Verhoeven
Believe it or not, there are far more reasons to visit Amsterdam these days than its infamous coffee shops or its red-light district. Along the harbor and in the city’s South Axis area, futuristic buildings have been going up – a modern counterpart to the city’s canal houses. Amsterdam touches the heart of anyone who is passionate about architecture, from historic to modern buildings. To explore them, just act like a local: hop on a bike and go.
1. The Eye Film Institute
All tourists arriving by train in Amsterdam are immediately treated to a view of the beautiful futuristic building across the IJ harbor. The free commuter ferries leaving Central station are mostly packed with locals who are familiar with the new creative center of Amsterdam. Designed by the Vienna-based firm Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, the Eye Film Institute opened in April 2012 in North Amsterdam, a district which was considered to be a no man’s land at the time. The Eye institute offers the visitor a large choice of attractions. The building houses four modern film auditoriums, an exhibition space and a freely accessible basement where movies and clips from the Eye collection can be viewed. The café-restaurant completes the Eye’s headquarters. The terrace offers a great view over the water. Enough reasons to cross the waters and be entranced by the architecture of the Eye Film Institute.
2. Jan Schaefer Bridge
The futuristic steel bridge named after the politician Jan Schaefer is located on the IJ harbor and connects the Piet Heinkade with Java Island. Designed by Ton Venhoeven, the shape of the bridge generates a multiplicity of experiences. An intricate web of connections divides the bridge into separate flows of traffic. Whether you are on foot, by car or on a bike the bridge is accessible to everyone. The bridge provides an interesting combination of modern and historic architecture since it passes under the old ‘De Zwijger’ warehouse. The monumental warehouse built in 1933 in the business- expressionistic style, was renovated in 2006 and now serves for cultural institutions and events.
3. Museum het Schip
Designed by the prodigy born of the Amsterdam School movement Michel de Klerk, Het Schip is located in the district of Spaarndammerbuurt. One of the few of de Klerk’s designs actually built, the building was designed in 1919 and since 2001 it’s the museum of the Amsterdam School. The highly unusual and unique monument to expressionist architecture is a great site for anyone interested in learning more about Amsterdam’s history. Next to the building there is also a collection of street furniture in the style of the Amsterdam School.
Zuidas is best known as a leading international business centre. Home to international companies, the Zuidas area seems to have been created by and for lovers of modern architecture. The skyscrapers of renowned architects such as Toyo Ito provide a spectacular view over Amsterdam. One thing is certain: The Rock building at the Zuidas evokes strong reactions, both positive and negative. The work of Erick van Egeraat distinguishes itself from others by facades with leaning panes of glass, aluminum, stone or concrete with hardly any 90 degrees corners. The playful base of 24 floors, consisting of transparent parts and a robust concrete top is characteristic of Deconstructivism, a1990s movement. Aside from the Rock there are many other buildings worth the visit, among them Ito and Viñoly.
5. Theatre Tuschinski
Rising above the neighbourhood of the Rembrandtplein are the two towers of the Art Deco façade Theatre Tuschinski. Built in 1921, the Theatre was erected based on the designs of architect H.L. De Jong, with interior decor by Pieter den Besten and Jaap Gidding. The exterior is a crossover between the Dutch Amsterdam School style, art nouveau and art deco. Despite the renovation works between 1998 and 2002 the theatre holds on to its original style. Today, the Tuschinski Theater belongs to the big distributor Pathé, which gives you a good excuse to see the latest movies while enjoying its art deco interiors.
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A Canal Ride Through Amsterdam
When you picture Amsterdam, what inevitably springs to mind are its canals. As they traverse the city all over the place, you are bound to cross several bridges whenever you go for a stroll here. Any number of snapshots with you standing on bridges are also likely to feature among your holiday photos. The capital of Holland has over 100 canals, and the ones bounded by the Singelgracht canal were listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2010. But, do you know the story behind them?
Amsterdam’s fabulous network of canals dates from the 17th century, when marked urban population growth sparked by the arrival of waves of immigrants required the city to be enlarged. At that time Amsterdam was one of the wealthiest cities in the world, thanks to the huge volume of goods from all over the planet that were moved in and out of its harbour.
The urban extension works were based on a plan that called for land to be reclaimed from the sea by draining the neighbouring marshes. Arranged in concentric circles, the canals were built in two stages. In the first stage, which lasted from 1613 to 1625, the north-west sector was laid. The Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht canals were earmarked for residential housing projects, while the encircling Singelgracht canal was designated for defence and water control works. During the second stage, which began in 1660, the southern sector starting from Leidsegracht was laid out.
For those who would like to learn more about the subject, we recommend you check out Museum Het Grachtenhuis, the museum dedicated to the canals of Amsterdam.
Boat Rides Along the Canals
Getting about the city by boating along the canals is a great way of sightseeing in Amsterdam. It also affords interesting views of the beautiful buildings lining the canals, prompting stopovers to visit some of the major landmarks, like the Rijksmuseum, the Rembrandt House Museum, the House of Anne Frank and the Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market) – where flowers are sold from stalls on houseboats – all from a new perspective. There are various options, from a classic tourist boat with audioguides in several languages to a full boat rental for a small group. One of the most magical moments for plying the canals is at dusk, with its amazing interplay of light, providing the best picture postcard views of the city.
Don’t miss the chance to enjoy Amsterdam and its canals – book your Vueling here.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
Images by Per Salomonssonmore info
Amsterdam Dance Event
In the past eighteen years the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) has grown into a globally renowned platform for the international dance and electronic music scene. The festival (from 15th till 19th of October) is the perfect place to spot the latest musical trends and emerging talents, as well as hear the most recent work of both electronic music pioneers and current superstar acts.
In addition to the extensive live line-up of ADE Festival, ADE Playground offers music enthusiasts a large and varied daytime program including five days of film screenings, music hardware presentations, art shows and exhibitions, exclusive fashion offers, interactive talk shows, promotional activities and pop-up musical performances at 25 creative hotspots around the city, including roof-top terraces, clothing shops, and art galleries, as well as outdoor exhibitions and cinemas.
The business arm of the event (ADE Conference) is recognized as the most important of its kind. Divided into seven themed programs, ADE's comprehensive conference covers every aspect of the modern music industry, featuring dedicated programming for business professionals, start-ups, aspiring producers and musicians, international students, VJs, visual artists and stage designers. The programs also feature in-depth expertise and insight into the harder music genres, the relationship between music and technology, and sustainable, ecologically responsible practices for the global dance music industry.
The ADE Festival features 300 events and 2,000 DJ's over five days in 80 clubs and venues, which together combine to make Amsterdam one of the busiest and most inspiring clubbing cities in the world. Every year the ADE Festival attracts 300,000 festival visitors from around the globe and is truly the biggest international club festival covering the whole spectrum of electronic sub-genres.
Image from Amsterdam Dance Event
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Amsterdam Fully Lit Up
Any time of year is good for visiting the capital of Holland, which shines with a beauty of its own, regardless of the prevailing weather during your visit. There are lots of things to do here, from touring the city – preferably by bicycle, locally the leading form of transport – to taking a boat ride along the canals, enjoying the cultural activities – featuring museums of the likes of the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, among others – delighting in the leisure offerings or soaking up the vibrant atmosphere.
You have to admit, though, that there are some events during the year which make the city shine even brighter. The most popular of these takes place from January to April and its protagonist is a veritable symbol of the Netherlands – the tulip. The city is flooded with multi-coloured tulips, particularly on 17 January, National Tulip Day, when Dam Square is lovelier than ever with its huge tulip market.
Another, lesser known event which is however gaining traction among visitors is the Amsterdam Light Festival. Although quite a recent addition – this will be its fifth year – it has gradually taken over the canals and bridges and some of the city’s buildings, greeting the winter cold with a beautiful landscape of lights. Thus, from 1 December to 22 January, you can relish this wonderful show that floods Amsterdam with “light art” installations crafted by both national and international artists.
The festival is staged in two parts, in two different arenas and at two different times. First, there is the Water Colours Boat Route, with lights arranged along the city’s canals and bridges, designed to be perused on a boat ride. Several companies provide facilities for this tour, although all rides start at Amsterdam Central Station. The tours operate from 1 December to 22 January between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Then there is the so-called Illuminade Walking Route, with an itinerary which takes visitors through the cultural Weesper and Plantage neighbourhoods. On this occasion the chosen theme is biomimicry, a new science based on a study of naturally occurring models, systems and processes with the aim of imitating them for the purpose of seeking practical solutions for human needs, as long as these are sustainable. The event is made up of 23 works, on display from 15 December to 8 January between 7 p.m. and 22 p.m.
Ready to take in a heady shot of “light art”? Book your Vueling to Amsterdam and enjoy this magnificent festival.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
Images by Udo Geisler