Dear Visitor, This post is a follow-up on the previous parts 1 and 2 showing the beauty of Amsterdam and some of its museums on my first photoblog. However, in this post, I have to start with a museum I visited a second time over the years, and I have to warn you that my impressions were far from favourable. The good news will only come after this one.
This particular museum is situated near the great Rijksmuseum (shown in part 1 about Amsterdam) and the famous Concertgebouw at the Sourthern edge of the old city and is diagonally opposite to the greatness of those two. When I visited it years ago first, I had good impressions about the exhibition on show, but somehow my memories may have been polished by time, because this time I felt it was time and money wasted. Not that it took a long time to see. Basically, if one goes to a museum called after Van Gogh, one expects to see at least several paintings by said painter. Here, however, there is one painting on show by Van Gogh, a couple by Chagal, Goncharova and a few other 20th-century Russian painters, and the rest is difficult even to see how and why they made it to a museum. Most of the pieces are on par with the museum of Arnhem, or a smaller museum in rural Hungary for that matter, so I haven’t taken photos of them. If it weren’t for two dozens of huge transparencies, or ‘installations’, transparent photos lit from behind, by renowned Canadian photographer Jeff Wall, the museum would be completely off the list of museums to be seen in Amsterdam. However, one doesn’t go to the Van Gogh Museum for photos, and these were there probably temporarily, it is no excuse for the museum. The content of the permanent exhibition is very meager, a real let-down in Amsterdam. My friend with me had to pay for it and was quite put out. Even when visiting free with a Museumjaarkaart, you should not expect much so as not to feel it. On the other hand, visiting the local Madame Tussauds was agreeable. As I lived and travelled in China about a decade ago, I had no opportunity to see the recently opened Shanghai and Beijing versions and the others mushrooming up around Asia. My most recent experience with Madame dates back to London in the 1980s. So I took an opportunity to see the one in Amsterdam with this friend a couple of weeks ago. Of course, all MTs have to include figures of local political leaders and celebrities. Instead of Queen Elizabeth, in Amsterdam we can see the new Dutch king and his wife, and the previous Queens, all of whom were generally loved in the country. You can pose with the former Queen, and can even put a crown on your head as you please. But the exhibition actually begins with a very important historical figure, Peter Stuywesant, director-general of New Nederland in the middle of the 17th century. That was the time when New York was still called New Amsterdam, and a large part of the wealth of the then young, but prosperous Netherlands came from. Unfortunately, a series of problems with the English texts also start here, which I can’t resist to expose here. I’m sure it’s not difficult to find which sentence was written with Dutch grammar … Those interested in more of my explorations about mistakes in this museum, please follow the link to my language-learning site on the left side of this blog. The rest of the exhibition consists of the usual great international figures of history, arts and sciences. There’s not too much bias, though I personally do not know or care about any of the Dutch celebrities, but then again, the show provides one an opportunity to learn about the local culture as well. The quality of the artifacts is good, or at least decent, with only a couple that I didn’t really feel similar to the originals. But all-in-all, it a great success. I was also happy to get in for half the price with the Museumjaarkaart, the one-year card that provides free access to a lot of museums in the Netherlands for a year.