The final post in a short series based on my recent trip to the EDPOP conference in Utrecht.  Although this one isn’t about EDPOP itself, it’s about Amsterdam.


It seemed a long way to go, not to see anything.  As I wasn’t going to be able to fly back to the UK at a reasonable hour until the following day, I decided to give myself a full day in Amsterdam.  I walked from the station to the museum quarter, enjoying the surroundings, and then I treated myself to breakfast, in the shape of a delicious waffle.  Next, I  headed in to the Rijksmuseum, which was the top recommendation of the conference delegates when I asked around for ‘things to do in Amsterdam’.

I spent several hours looking at the collections, scouring the paintings for the street singers in the background.  In the Seven Works of Mercy by the Master of Alkmaar, Christ stands among the residents of the Dutch city and watches how they treat those who are in need of help. The notice points out that it gives a good indication of urban Dutch life around 1500, and there, in the background of the very first panel, are some street musicians.  Even more impressive was Peter Baltens’ A Flemish Kermis with a Performance of the Farce ‘Een cluyte van Plaeyerwater.


It was also interesting to see how many musicians were painted as warnings against vice!


And the earthenware violin was utterly fascinating.  Sometimes considered to be the masterpiece of Delft, it is purely decorative.

Given that I’m planning to look further into the links between ballads and memorialisation of the dead, I was interested in all the memorial paintings and sculptures too.  For example, this painting by Aertgen van Leyden of The Raising of Lazarus was painted to commemorate the couple kneeling in the wings, while the Memorial Tablet by the Master of Spes Nostra commemorate the four canons.




I’ve commented before that I don’t know a lot about art, but Van Gogh has always interested me (you can probably blame Don McLean), so as well as looking at the three Van Goghs in the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum itself was a must-see.  One of my favourite paintings is on show there – his Kingfisher by the Waterside.

The presence of planters full of dwarf sunflowers outside the ticket booths wasn’t lost on me either.