Netherlands

Camping at Katwijk Aan See, NetherlandsWe visited the Netherlands in late April and camped in a small town, Katwijk Aan See. When first we began our planning we thought we would rent a room in Amsterdam and explore from there, but found that the prices were exorbitant and so opted for a camping site instead. Getting to Katwijk Aan See was very easy with the trains and buses operating frequently.

The campground, Noordduinen, was very neat and tidy and supplied excellent service. The bathrooms and showers were kept very clean, the administration office charged phones and tablets upon request at no extra cost (though there is power available at each pitch for a cost), there was a General Store, and a restaurant and leisure facility, and it was a small walk to the town centre and the beach.

Beer at Katwijk Aan See, NetherlandsBeer at Katwijk Aan See, NetherlandsBeer at Katwijk Aan See, Netherlands

During our stay we visited the Kuekenhof utilising a shuttle bus from the campsite and walked the town on Konigsdag. We also took a day out to visit Amsterdam where we were going to do Sandemans New Europe Cycling Tour, but unfortunately there was no English guide available that day. Instead we walked the city for a while and visited the Rijks Museum.

The Singel Bridge at the Paleissatraat in Amsterdam by George Hendrik Breitner: Rijks Museum, AmsterdamThe Rijks is by far one of the best art museums I have visited. It is four story building with vast halls (some of which are art unto themselves since the building was restored over the previous decade), and while there were a great many pieces on display it never felt cluttered or too much. Different periods of time and art are separated into rooms sequentially numbered to enable ease of progression throughout: 1100-1600, 1600-1650, 1650-1700, 1700-1800, 1900-1950, 1950-2000. The Rijks is highly selective with regard to the pieces on display, and they have taken great care with regards to the presentation, often linking art by theme across a period. A great example of this is Rembrandt’s Nachtwacht (possibly their most famous piece) displayed in a room at the end of a long gallery. One the walls of the Nachtwacht room are other examples of the genre of painting from the period and allows the viewer to appreciate how different Rembrandt’s is.

Along with the paintings the Rijks also has some excellent sculpture, furnishings and clothing, ship models, and an armoury. The armoury was a delight with some excellent examples of the art associated with weaponry and armour. Their display contains hundreds of swords of various design and an impressive array of firearms. The intricacy of the work on these arms is incredible and serves to remind that there was a time when artisans worked tirelessly to create these pieces rather than mass-produce for war.

Rijks Museum, AmsterdamRijks Museum, Amsterdam

Weeping and Captive caryatids: Remorse and Penance by Artus Quellinus I; Rijks Museum, AmsterdamGuided tours are available for the Rijks at a small cost and I found it to be incredibly informative, especially when the guide used their tablet to show us x-rays of some of the art. When you visit the Rijks one of the first things you will notice is a queue near one entry with a sign informing you that ‘waiting in line is part of the Rijks experience’. To the other side of road from this line is an express entry for those who have pre-purchased tickets (which can done from a store next to the nearby canal for a few Euros more).

The Kuekenhof and Rijks museum, and being fortunate enough to be there for Konigsdag, made this trip to the Netherlands a joy and I’m glad to have visited. 

 

Other Netherlands Articles:

A Day at The Kuekenhof

Konigsdag