Thought I’d fit in a quick post about my latest day trips before I set off for Munich tonight (and fill my mind with a lot of new great exploring-based memories). I took time this week to explore a few museums on my own and ended up having a super spiritual journey by visiting Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic) and de Oude Kerk (The Old Church). These are two of Amsterdam’s most famous tourist spots located RIGHT in the Red Light District… go figure. Not surprised to find where Rembrandt’s wife was buried right next to a brothel. Welcome to Amsterdam!
Our Lord in the Attic is a tour through a winding canal house that happens to have an entire Catholic church built into it. When Catholics were prosecuted, they could come to this hidden church to worship. Priests live in the house (technically two houses) and then the church occupies a large middle portion of the house. The house also included a confessional and dressing room. I’m not sure if all canal houses are built like this, I’ll have to go to the canal house to museum to investigate, but I found there is basically one route throughout the entire house that you have to take. There are tons of tiny staircases to climb up and down and around, and none lead to you a common room of sorts, but new higher rooms. How exhausting, but it makes for a fun maze. I loved seeing the box beds where the priests slept (basically bed-rooms) and their kitchens were completely decked out in blue and white Dutch tile. This house had a room just for washing clothes and dishes, which is an excellent idea. So smart and condensed here!
The Old Church was equally incredible and nothing like I had seen. I don’t spend too much time in big old churches but I feel like this one was special. First of all, the floor is made up entirely of tombs. You walk around literally on where people are buried. Rembrandt’s wife, Saskia, is buried in the Old Church and you can go stand on her grave too. The stained glass windows were detailed and beautiful, and I was particularly impressed with the wood carvings. My favorite part by far was the choral section that had all of these little seats with little people engraved in them called misericords. Maybe these are common in churches, I’m not sure, but these ones enacted Dutch proverbs that were quite funny. I couldn’t help but laugh at the one of a little man “excreting” coins with a description along the lines of “I don’t have money coming out of my arse,” only at a Dutch church!
These museums only make me want to study more Dutch history, so I’m getting more and more excited about my Dutch Culture and Society class next block. There are so many museums to see that I’m a little overwhelmed, but I’ll get time. Annie, a friend from Hockaday that is studying abroad in Florence, came into Amsterdam last night and we met for drinks at my favorite bars. I lent her my museum card for the weekend and I’m jealous she’s seeing the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh before even I get to! I hope she enjoys them, who wouldn’t!