Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

December 2013: Amsterdam

My second 'December Diversion' for 2013 was a short hop over to Amsterdam between Christmas and New Year. This had been prompted by seeing the news, earlier in the year, that the famous Rijksmuseum had reopened following a ten-year makeover. Having never actually visited the place in its old guise, I was keen to have a look and see what all the fuss was about. The trip turned out to have rather a highbrow agenda: I also went to the Van Gogh museum and indulged my interest in classical music with a tour of the city's world-famous concert hall.

My plans were also partly designed to weather-proof the trip as much as possible. In the event, however, I was particularly lucky in this respect, with conditions more suggestive of autumn than midwinter. 


Centrepiece of Amsterdam's renowned Museumplein (Museum Square), the reopened Rijksmuseum was indeed the main reason behind this trip. I turned up at opening time on Saturday morning, but already there was a substantial queue for holders of pre-purchased tickets and a similar line for those still to buy their tickets. Needless to say, the former moved much more quickly than the latter and I was soon inside. The vast collection, mostly artworks, kept me contentedly occupied for several hours.

Van Gogh museum

Americans say 'go' and the British say 'goff', but the Dutch pronunciation seemed to me to be closer to the German word 'hoch'. However much we foreigners play fast and loose with the man's name, we all manage to agree that Vincent van Gogh was one of the most influential artists of the 19th century. Echoing my experience at the nearby Rijksmuseum the previous day, this very interesting and well presented tribute to one of the Netherlands' most celebrated sons was busy from opening time, and the queue for admission had grown to frightful proportions by lunchtime.

Time for some fresh air

With the weather looking this good, I didn't want to spend my entire stay indoors!


While the name literally means 'concert building', I noticed that the famous venue was announced in English on the trams as 'Royal Dutch Concert Hall', which sounded altogether more impressive.

I very much enjoyed touring the building, so closely associated with one of my all-time favourite conductors, Bernard Haitink.

Base: Hilton