Night At The Museum
Sorry for the hiatus, but deadlines took over my life during October. Although it does mean that I've got a number of posts lined up - so keep tuned!
Museums and galleries are a big part of Amsterdam life. Which is good news for me because I love nothing more than getting lost wandering through their whitewashed rooms. To me, galleries are magical places. And you only have to have watched one of the Night At the Museum films to know what exciting places they can be once the sun goes down.
So in my book drifting around the Rijksmuseum in the early hours of the morning after a few G&Ts, with the distant sound of the DJ set two floors below, was a pretty great way to spend a Saturday night.
Museumnacht (or Museum Night) is an annual event in Amsterdam when 50 of the city's museums stay open till 2 am. There's live music, DJ sets, dance performances, debates and, best of all, silent discos! You simply pick up a wristband at the start of the night and then you choose where to go.
It's basically like the Edinburgh Fringe Festival rolled into one night.
We picked up our bands from the Museum Het Grachtenhuis, having listened to the jazz band's entire set from outside in the queue we had a quick look round the museum which is all about the history of Amsterdam's canals, before heading off to the Van Gogh Museum in search of cocktails.
On our walk, we stumbled across George Cafe, which, if you follow any Amsterdam based bloggers, will no doubt have filled your Instagram feed. Curly fries and espresso martinis might seem like a strange combo but were the perfect fuel to keep us going for the dancing to come!
The Van Gogh Museum was awesome.
The theme of the gallery for Museumnacht was "the future is female". So alongside Van Gogh's masterpieces were workshops for female DJs, artwork that drew attention to issues such as FMG and an exhibit by The Guerilla Girls.
If you haven't heard of them The Guerilla Girls are an anonymous group of feminist activists artists. Their work is aimed at undermining the mainstream narrative by revealing statistics that are so often overlooked or ignored. Like for instance did you know that less than 5% of artists in the Modern Art sections of the world's galleries are women, yet 85% of the nudes are female?!
Having the chance to look around the Van Gogh without all the tourists was incredible. The only downside was we couldn't bring our glasses of wine with us - not that that stopped us from getting told off for taking pics!
The Rijksmuseum was the main hub for the Museumnacht so that's where we headed next, and obviously went straight to the silent disco! Don't pretend you wouldn't have done the same thing! Though 90% of the music was either Dutch House or random French tracks, there were some true bangers. I never thought I'd be singing along at the top of my voice to Sex on Fire surrounded by Vermeers and Rembrandts.
As with the Van Gogh, getting to see some of the world's most famous paintings without the crowds of people was fantastic.
I spent the first 6 weeks of uni here studying the Dutch Golden Age, in particular, its art. So it was great to finally get a chance to see the pieces in real life, rather than on a powerpoint slide. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that seeing Rembrandt's Night Watch really did take my breath away. Not only is it huge, but his incredible use of chiaroscuro makes it look as though there's a spotlight shining on it. (God my lecturer would be proud!)
The night ended with a search mission for chips and a stupidly long journey home. There's a reason why the Dutch cycle rather than take the bus!