Amsterdam, Netherlands and a Night at the Rijks Museum

2019 HAL World Cruise

Friday, April 26, 2019


Holland America Cruise Lines began in the Netherlands 142 years ago.  So, it seemed very fitting that this year, since we were docking there, HAL would throw their big “World Cruise” fete in Amsterdam, the capital city.  Every year they plan something special for the World Cruise.  Once, it was dinner at the ruins of Ephesus, another time, they hauled tons of sand onto the Lido Pool Deck, hired the lifeguards from Australia’s Bondi Beach and threw an Aussie beach party BBQ.  This year, we were treated to a Night at the Museum where we had the rare opportunity to view the entire Rembrandt Collection at the Rijks Museum.  Our private event began after closing hours with cocktails and dessert.  We then enjoyed free and unhindered access to ALL the exhibits!  When we completed the viewing, we danced to the live band; toasted the hospitality of our hosts; shopped the gift store; and shuttled back to the ship.  It was a lovely evening.

Fittingly, we crossed several canals as we shuttled to the Rijks Museum.
Fittingly, we crossed several canals as we shuttled to the Rijks Museum.
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We arrived with great expectations. Several years ago, Rog and I had the pleasure of dinning amid the aircraft displayed at the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio. We knew this would be a very special experience!
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There is something awesome about entering a museum after hours and knowing you are free to roam to your heart’s content!
We began with drinks and snacks at the eastside Great Hall.
We began with drinks and snacks at the east-side Great Hall.
From there, we set off on our self-guided tour of the Masterpieces!
From there, we set off on our self-guided tour of the Masterpieces!
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Our first stop was Rembrandt’s Night Watch in the Main Gallery at the end of this hall.
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Night Watch was painted in 1642 for a company of Amsterdam’s civic guard. Rembrandt used light and shadows to emphasize important details and introduce “action” i.e. running, pointing, hand gestures to animate the composition.
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From the Main Gallery, we walked all over the museum, up and down, across and over, to several more halls to view some favorite works by other famous artists.
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Van Gogh, upon hearing about the new, colorful style of French painting, went to Paris to try it out. He created several self-portraits to avoid paying a model. Using rhythmic brushstrokes in striking colors, he portrays himself, here, as a Parisian.
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The Milkmaid, by one of my favorite artists, Johannes Vermeer. This work highlights Vermeer’s eye for how light plays over a surface. Here, he uses hundreds of colorful dots to create the brightly lit room.
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The Threatened Swan by Jan Asselijns. Perhaps a political allegory symbolizing the statesman, Johan de Witt (assassinated in 1672) protecting the country from its enemies. It was the first acquisition, in 1880, by the forerunner of the Rijks Museum.
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After viewing the amazing and awesome artwork, we found ourselves in the Rijks Museum Library. At his own initiative, architect Pierre Cuypers included a library in his plans for the Rijks Museum. He insisted it was an integral part of a museum!!!
We returned to the westside Great Hall for a nightcap....
We returned to the west-side Great Hall for a nightcap….
.....a little browsing in the Museum Shop.....
…..a little browsing in the Museum Shop…..
.....a little music.....
…..a little music…..
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…..and then we walked back to the shuttle bus for our return to the ship. We had a wonderful night in the Rijks Museum!!!

Our next port is Copenhagen, Denmark.

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