The Dutch East India Company

The Dutch East India Company was during the seventeenth century the most powerful company in the world. It was one of the few companies in Europe that traded with the East. It was certainly the largest trading company on the planet until things went awry. New sea lanes Portugal first discovered the way to Asia, … Read more

The Flower Auction of Aalsmeer (Flora Holland)

If you say Aalsmeer, you say flowers; many tourists feel they cannot leave it out of their itinerary; they must go there. Flowers are big business in The Netherlands, we are famous for our tulips but believe me, that is not all there is to see. The Aalsmeer flower auction is a part of FloraHolland. … Read more

Country Houses

Just as the British well to do had houses to which to retreat to, immortalized in the books of Jane Austin, to so it was with the Amsterdam gentry. The Canon, of course, always tries to paint as rosy a picture as possible. There’s not a word in it, I believe, about the plaques that … Read more

Amsterdam’s Markets

Amsterdam has, like many other cities in the world, quite a few markets. And more importantly, we also have a flea market. It’s called Waterlooplein (Waterloo Square) and located near Rembrandtsplein (Rembrandts square) and certainly worth visiting. It is a great place to shop for clothes, 2nd hand kitchenware, and electronics. But I’m only scratching … Read more

The Old Amsterdam Town Hall

Pomp and circumstance, that’s what the administrators of Amsterdam wanted to portray when the old town hall no longer sufficed. The eighty-year long war with Spain had finally come to an end, peace at last and money in the coffers. So, the ink on the treaty of Munster (finalizing the war) wasn’t dry yet when … Read more

The Olympic Games of Amsterdam in 1928

What is the big deal about a city hosting the Olympics? Doesn’t it cost bucket loads of money, having to build all those buildings and stadiums? Are you really going to get all that money back? Or does it have to do with prestige? Is that’s what it’s all about, having the name of your … Read more

Events and celebrations In Amsterdam

Each major city in the world has its own yearly reoccurring events and festivities, and so it is with Amsterdam. Some of these happenings are worth leaving the comforts of home for and celebrate with us. The city may not be the centre of drugs, sex and rock and roll it once was but what … Read more

1900 De Pijp

De Pijp (the pipe) was a monotonous neighbourhood that hastily built houses of rather poor quality. But the area was full of life. The houses around the Albert Cuypstraat were soon filled with artists, prostitutes and students. The Albert Cuypstraat in 1912 became the Albert Cuyp market open six days a week. The Quellijnstraat became … Read more

The Amsterdam House of Correction

Amsterdam’s city started to develop all sorts of social services; in 1596, it opened up a “house of correction” in one of the outbuildings of a monastery. The idea was that if you treated youngsters who had committed a crime with some compassion and did not sentence them as adults but tried to re-educate them, … Read more

Exploring The Jordaan District on Foot

I’m a native of this city, an Amsterdammer, born and raised here. Am I proud of that? Well, let me put it this way, I consider myself lucky to have been born in such a lively city with such wonderful architecture, but I can also understand people who are glad to be home once more … Read more