I am based over in Munich with Christian now for the next few months until I begin my artist residency in Mexico in October. We recently returned from a 9 day trip in The Netherlands comprised of 3 days in Amsterdam, 4 days at a conference in Utrecht and then 2 days in Delft.
Amsterdam was pretty much as I expected and I loved it. A beautiful city with its many canals and old buildings leaning one direction or another and a very relaxed atmosphere. Had great weather there too so wandered around a bit, drank beer in the sun in the afternoon, visited the brilliant Van Gogh museum and checked out some interesting craft, design and antique shops. I particularly loved this place: http://www.kitschkitchen.nl/home/home.php
Heres a few of the things I liked..
The highlight of the Amsterdam portion of the trip was dinner with artist Chrystl Rijkeboer and her husband at their enviable large apartment ( and even larger studio upstairs!!) in Haarlem, about 20 minutes train ride from Amsterdam. I discovered Chrystal on the internet when looking for contemporary artists of interest in The Netherlands. I was struck by the eerie otherworldly quality of her work and the use of unusual materials – namely human hair, which she spins on one of those fairy tale spinning wheels. When the hair has been transformed into a bundle of wool, it is then ready to be transformed again into sculptural works. Quite a process. Heres a link to her site. http://www.rijkeboer.com/gallery
So finally on to Delft which was so gorgeous with lovely old architecture and tree -lined canals , everything a bit topsy turvy including the church which had about a 5 degree tilt where the foundations were probably sinking. ( one of those towns built on reclaimed land) . The people were very friendly and polite and there was tasty food to be sampled at a great Tapas restaurant we discovered as well as at the markets. Delft have a wonderful flea market on Saturday mornings in the centre of the old town. Its more like a vintage market with loads of beautiful and often very old Dutch things. I could have bought loads of stuff but resisted the urge as I am traveling but did buy some vintage postcards for a friends art project and a couple of miniature artworks an old man was painting and selling for just 5 Euro each!! This is so ridiculously cheap that I considered going back and talking to him about raising his prices.
We stayed at a friendly hotel in the centre of the old town called Hotel de Emauspoort which I would recommend. Good breakfast included, great customer service and even a goodies bag with mostly promotional material for local places but also a couple of free entry passes to the Vermeer Museum, some chocolate bars, a pair of miniature Delft blue ceramic dutch clogs and a little Delft blue kissing couple ornament…the later of which is seriously kitsch but now adorns the bathroom shelf in Christian’s Munich apartment regardless. Why not? Heres a link to the hotel for those interested. http://www.emauspoort.nl/eng/
Delft also has a Vermeer Museum which is very informative about the life and work of the artist although sadly there are no actual Vermeer painting there. The museum goes into great detail to describe and demonstrate Vermeer’s unique use of light in his paintings at the time. You can also make your own Vermeer artwork using your camera and the simple set up they have in the museum which was fun.