When a 40 year-old lady sits butt naked in a brightly lit, red tinted window gazing seductively into your eyes and you stand there with a camera, one doesn’t feel entirely comfortable. This is Amsterdam.
Last weekend, after 12 hours on a coach watching Disney films and 1 hour getting blown away by Channel winds, I got the chance to wonder Amsterdam and visit some intriguing and interesting, but very strange places. Let’s begin lightly by mentioning the anal section in the sex museum, or how about the flame-grilled, cactus shaped condoms in the condomerie? Is this a culture bespoken to the majestically sexual hedonisms of tourists, or is this just the Dutch way of being candid, gratified and Dutch? It’s probably me being boorish.
I read all about bondage fetishes and the rise of mainstream bondage in the 70s with Madonna’s book Sex and various other sex manuals. But, I was startled when a barbarous and dirty model chained to a cave leaped out at me from the shadows. Museums are full of all sorts of fruitful exchanges in Amsterdam.
Next up was the hash museum. This museum was genuinely thought provoking. Long lists of names hung on the walls, from Bob Marley to Walter Benjamin – everyone who was somebody and smoked marijuana. My question was, what is the intention of this museum: converting tourists to becoming pro marijuana? Does this mean the others want us to have dirty sex and use 12-inch metal penises? (Excuse me). The hash museum certainly liberates the fact that the drug shouldn’t be scrutinized as much as it is… agreed. But, this is an argument for a different day.
It may not seem like it, but not everything is sex and drugs in Amsterdam. That is, everything except Heineken beer. It is like the Greggs of the North; every street corner has a Heineken trademark. Though, applause to the Heineken experience, it was a rather impressive array of beer tasting, posing for selfies and indulging in a so-called immersive brewing experience of being psychically shaken around.
I’ll stop being so critical about Amsterdam’s assortment and cultural traditions because, in fact, the place has plenty more to offer, if the copious exploitations of the above nature don’t overtly distract you. Anne Frank’s house was a remarkable endeavor; the house felt like it was built on stilts and would tumble at any minute, if one didn’t fall down the nail-bitingly steep stairs first. The thing that surprised me most was the fact that the house was actually rather large, the phenomena is that Anne and her family were laid bare in a space too small to fit a bed and sink. However, the reality of the situation was inevitably beyond imagining and the immersive experience of walking the narrow corridors is not to be missed.
Finally, we had time to visit the Van Gogh museum, the highlight of the trip… until we ask, “We can’t find the sunflower painting, it’s here in the brochure, could you direct us?” “Sorry Sir that was moved to London two weeks ago.” What? The Van Gogh museum is only the pride and joy of the artist’s great work and Amsterdam’s great city, and they get rid off his most famous painting? It would intrigue me to here the figures associated with such a deal.
It was a plentiful weekend, and I haven’t begun on the after dark activities, another time… or perhaps not. Anyway, here is a video I made from the trip. A trip is never complete without some visual language to remember it by. Watch it below and thanks for reading, even if it was a struggle.