Bookworm in the Netherlands

Hello, folks!

It’s spring. Repeating. It’s spring.

Tulips in Amsterdam
Tulips in Amsterdam

As you know, I love travelling. And books. And taking pictures. Last spring I visited Netherlands. So, today I’d love to share my Dutch memories with you.

First, let me say – yes, this post is going to be especially about books and other bookish things I found there, in Holland. You know, book actually is all around.

Cat in Groningen

Oh, this cat! I met her/him in Groningen. Do you know where it is? Try to find out. I visited Groningen thanks to my dear friend Hanka who was studying there at university.

Once she said: “Go and see Martini Tower, the highest church in Groningen.” Alright, so while she was studying, I was walking around the city. Looking for the… bookstore. (I couldn’t help myself.)

Actually, I should say that I was biking, not walking. Holland is a Bicycle Land, really, bikes are everywhere. It’s unbelievable. But no, I wasn’t biking. I love walking and exploring, so I was just trying to get out of bikers‘ way.

Biker in GroningenBikes in GroningenBiker in Groningen

The bookstore I found is called Boekhandel Van der Velde. Before entering the door, I promised myself, I’ll not buy a book. And guess what – I didn’t buy a book. Actually, I was just thinking about a bookbag with this sign:

Reading Is for Awesome People

But no, I didn’t buy it. Because I promised myself I’ll buy nothing until I get in Amsterdam. Which was very clever, indeed. So, I found the bookstore, I kept my promise, and then I took Hanka’s advice and was looking for the Martini Tower.

The Martini Tower in Groningen
Here it is, the Martini Tower in Groningen

By the way, have you ever thought about the architecture of Netherlands? Their houses are so different to each other. Windows have many kinds of shape, and you see no curtains there.

Houses in Amsterdam
Houses in Amsterdam

And yet stairs. I’ve read that in history if you had lots of stairs in front of your Dutch house, it meant that you’re a very rich guy. Is it true? If so, a millionaire has to live here:

Stairs in Groningen

Alright, let’s go to Amsterdam!

Amsterdam Love

Amsterdam Travel Poster
Amsterdam Travel Poster

It was sunny, beautiful spring day. I was standing in front of the main train station in Amsterdam, and was thinking: “Which way should I go?” I had a map. I knew what I want to see. But first of all I wanted to get wonderfully lost.

I put down the map, and I’ve seen many things.

Bikes, historic canals, bikes, naked women in show windows (eh?), cannabis coffee shops, another naked women in show windows (what?), yet cannabis coffee shops, and red-light district, where I finally understood (thank God) I really got lost. I ran away, and stopped in front of the American Book Center.

American Book Center in Amsterdam

There I spent my free time by reading books. Most of all I fell in love with Wreck This Journal, which I’ve never seen before and which I’m really not able to wreck but people love destroying it, as you can see here. I would like to do that, too, because the idea sounds funny but I literally can’t.

Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith

“Tie a string to the journal. Go for a walk, drag it.”

Next to the American Book Center there is an entrance to Begijnhof, “one of the oldest inner courts in the city of Amsterdam”. There I found a peace. (Not literally.) Because people usually didn’t go that way. It was empty and quiet.

Begijnhof Begijnhof Begijnhof

I was also looking for Anne Frank House. I found it. About this house, my dear fellows, I’ll tell you more later. It was THE MOST, and I’m pretty sure I’ll visit it again.

Anne Frank House

Another day my friend wanted to visit the Rijksmuseum. So, we went there. In fact, I didn’t want to do it as much as she did, but Hanka was sure, and now I must say: “Thank God for that!” If you are a bookworm or if you are in love with art, you MUST go there.

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
Rijksmuseum seen from the Museumplein in 2013. Photo © Wikipedia

Rijksmuseum is a real Dutch treasure. There are many art pieces, especially paintings by Dutch famous painters like Rembrandt. Moreover, there is a huge, beautiful and totally gorgeous library that made me speechless.

Rijksmuseum Research Library
Rijksmuseum Research Library in the cover of the book by Candida Höfer

As you can read here, “the Rijksmuseum Research Library is part of the Rijksmuseum, and is the best and the largest public art history research library in the Netherlands”. Items have been collected since 1885. I love Rijksmuseum. I love art. I love books.

The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer
The Milkmaid (1658–1660) by Johannes Vermeer
is in Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Then we returned together to the American Book Center where I found and bought absolutely gorgeous traditional Dutch book for kids about Jip & Janneke. In English!

Jip & Janneke

Jip & Janneke are the most famous Dutch kids. Their stories were written by Annie M. G. Schmidt and illustrated by Fiep Westendorp. They are “known for its simplicity and wit”. I’d love to tell you more about them in another blog post because these two cute Dutch kids stole my heart.

Jip & Janneke
Jip & Janneke statue in Zaltbommel, Netherlands. Photo © Wikipedia

What else I’ve seen in Holland? Lovely people, tulips, narcissi, canals, shops with cheese, and this summer I’m going there again because other cities must be visited! By the way, if you’re going there in spring, remember to visit Keukenhof Park, also known as the Garden of Europe.

Keukenhof Park
A small boat in the Keukenhof garden, with tulips in the foreground. Photo © Wikipedia

“It is the world’s largest flower garden situated near Lisse. There are 7 million flower bulbs that are planted annually in the park, and cover an area of 32 hectares,” as you can read here. From March 20, 2014 until May 18, 2014 Keukenhof will be open daily. I’m sure you’ll love it, Amélie! Have a great, great spring time, all of you!

Amsterdam Amsterdam AmsterdamAmsterdamAmsterdamHolland

Photos are the property of Bookworm’s Diary, unless noted otherwise.

5 komentářů: „Bookworm in the Netherlands“

  1. Strange – I just grabbed some photo albums of mine from my grandmother’s house tonight. They’re from the trip to Europe I made with my high school German teacher in 1995. I wanted to show the girls pictures and stuff from the Anne Frank House. I found lots from the Netherlands, but not the house. I was very sick during that trip, and it started when we were in Amsterdam, so that may be why. It was just so cool, having just looked at my photos, to come here and see yours! xoxo

  2. Oh, I’ll be keeping an eye out for Jip and Janneke! We leave tomorrow, I can’t wait (as it’s currently snowing on the first day of spring here in Montana)! Thanks for the heads up on the Keukenhof, it’s definitely in the plans. Wonderful post!

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