Last week I visited a friend who lives in the Netherlands, in Friesland but she came down to meet me in Amsterdam. Together with her two sisters we explored some of Amsterdam and the Hague. I had made these gifts for her and for her little grand-daughter:
In Amsterdam there were the canals, pretty old houses, and a lot of new tall buildings growing everywhere. After some travelling the last years I have noticed a rapid change of the skyline in many cities in Europe. Development is generally good, bit is this really necessary? Coming back to Stockholm I realize how comparably modest this city is when it comes to construction projects and keeping the skyline low. And this in spite of being one of the most rapidly growing capitals in Europe. I am thankful for that. Having said that, both Amsterdam and the Hague are still very enjoyable cities.
I knew that the Hague is known for hosting international courts, but I had not realized the scale of it and how much it defines the city’s identity. “The city of peace and justice” has several courts, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and Hague Academy of International Law. The Hague has a history of peacework long before the UN was formed and monuments over this are still manifested, here the World Peace Flame:
You can’t go to the Netherlands without looking at art. One fascinating painting I had not heard of before is the Mesdag panorama painting. Hosted in a house built for the purpose it is a huge circular painting of the sea village of Scheveningen in 1881. With foreground of real sand and natural light from the ceiling it gives a perfect illusion of really being there. Beautiful!
Another wonderful museum in the Hague is “Mauritshuis” full of paintings from the golden age in Dutch art, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Rubens, Frans Hals and other. Some of my favourites:
At last two pictures from Stockholm, one from my place, a nature reserve 15 minutes walk from my home. The other from the city, one of the bridges of Stockholm.