On our walking tour of the city we encountered two homes of wealthy Dutch Burghers that were open to the public. These dated from the seventeenth century but were largely decorated in eighteenth century style. The main thing from our point of view was that they afforded an opportunity to understand the interior of so many of the house whose exteriors we saw everywhere. We had wondered what lay behind the houses in the spaces between the next set of houses lining the next canal. Now all was revealed and in a slightly unexpected way.
We made a special trip to the Hermitage Museum. In fact we were so eager to get the day going that we arrived at 9.40am and had to wait till 10am for it to open. While waiting we wandered alongside an adjacent canal and were treated to a bridge opening for a large barge.
There are many museums and galleries in Amsterdam as you would expect from a significant European capital. The whole city is a museum in many ways, of the Dutch “Golden Age” of the 17th century, when the Dutch led the way in trading and exploring the world to bring back riches and spices from the east before Britain got into full trade and colonising mode from the 18th century onwards. Evidence of the wealth is all around in the sheer extent of the houses still standing from that period and the canal system cast like a spider’s web over the city. A country’s past is so often documented in its art and Holland is no exception. The Rijksmuseum houses some of the most representative work from cities heyday.