Damn! Damn! Amsterdam!


Prince Willem Alexander is going to be invested as King of the Netherlands on the 30th of April in the Dam Kerk. They don’t crown kings and queens here– more on that later, but they do invest them. This means that the Native American exhibition at the Dam Kerk in my least favorite city in the world, Amsterdam is going to have a shorter run than was first planned. Yesterday Vincent suggested that I ride into town with him, see the exhibit before it packs up next week and meet up with him in the evening for dinner. So I did.

About the crowning: Wiki-icky pedia tells us:

The Dutch monarch is not crowned; the monarch’s swearing of the oath constitutes his acceptance of the throne. Also note that this ceremony does not equal ascension to the throne; this would imply a vacancy of the throne between monarchs which is not allowed. The monarch ascends immediately after the previous monarch ceases to reign; the swearing-in only constitutes acceptance in public.

The crown is, of course present at the investiture. The Prince, who bears more than a passing resemblence to my husband, has a big head. I imagine that adjusting the crown to fit him would require serious workmanship and cost a fortune so perhaps it is a good thing that he doesn’t wear a crown. I hope he, like his mother, takes to wearing fabulous hats for state occasions. I like this one in particular.


This little missive was written in the bar of the famous café Luxembourg, or, as we insiders call it, “The Lux”.


Many years ago I spent entire Saturdays within the confines of this fine establishment. It hasn’t changed much.

But I digress.

I drove in to A’dam with Vincent.

He dropped me at the tram station and I took the No. 5 from Amstelveen to the Dam. It’s about a 20 minute ride and a great opportunity for people watching.

Even more opportunities presented themselves on The Dam.


Photography was not allowed at the exhibition, which was an overview of Native American culture in the United States. I particularly liked the totem poles and shamanic items. Since the entry price was only €3,50 for me, because I have a yearly museum ticket, I bought the catalog, some great notecards for Celtic Sif, who wasn’t able to join me, and a book on the totem symbology on the way out.  I’m a bibliophile and in this way I can kill two birds with one stone: adding a few shekels to the museum coffers while indulging myself.

There was still time to kill after the museum, so I popped across the street to the Bijenkorf to have a peek at the Spring collection, The Bijenkorf is comparable to Nordstroms or Saks 5th Avenue. I get overwhelmed in department stores and I quickly decided that I wasn’t in the mood to shop for clothes. I decided I wasn’t in the mood to shop at all when I cast my eye down the scuzzy channel that is the Kalverstraat.

Instead I walked along the tram line to Het Spui and found my feet taking me toward “the Lux” where I enjoyed a decent (but not more than that) Sauvignon Blanc. The Spui is also home to The Athenaeum and The American Bookstore, purveyors of fine reading material. Vanity Fair called to me from the magazine rack, and with De Niro as the Proust interviewee, it went into my little shopping basket. Again, overwhelmed by choice, I zeroed in on the Bargain Books section and found two great books for cheap! The first caters to my space tic, the second’s title was so weird, it has to be a great story.

By the time I found my way to the exit of The American Bookstore, it was getting onto 5 pm. and time to get the tram back to Amstelveen. Vincent met me at 5:30 on the dot and we drove a few blocks to the restaurant. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going, so when we found ourselves standing in front of The Red Sun, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I love sushi and was under the misapprehension that my husband most certainly did not. Apparently he and his colleagues are regulars there. We had the 3 course chef’s surprise menu and it was fabulous.


I still don’t like Amsterdam. This afternoon I discussed this over lunch with Celtic Sif. It is one of the few areas of culture on which we strongly disagree. The other is classical music. I blame this on her early exposure to Shostakovich. We badmouthed Shostakovich for a while then watched a jazz doc called “Jazz on a Summer’s Day”.


If you haven’t seen it, please do. It is breathtaking. By the end of the afternoon I was prepared to admit that Amsterdam is, on the whole, still not my favorite city, but taking the The Red Sun, Café Luxembourg, the browse friendly indie bookstores and Vondel Park on a warm spring day into consideration, it is not entirely without merit.

* Crossposted from my primary blog: http://oursalon.ning.com/profiles/blogs/damn-damn-amsterdam

** All photos are my own. Images of bookcovers found at Google.


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