On the second day of our weekend in Amsterdam, we decided we needed to see some Dutch culture, so took ourselves off to the recently restored Rijksmuseum, home to an array of Dutch masters, from Rembrandt and Van Dyke to Vermeer.
The building itself is a masterpiece with beautiful hand painted walls and enormous stained glass windows, with a brand new glass central atrium, housing the museum shop and cafe.
The Night Watch Rembrandt
The Milk Maid Vermeer
The paintings were set against a dramatic backdrop of dark moody painted walls, which perfectly enhanced the detailed realism of the artwork on show. On the upper floors of the museum you can see the work of the De Stijl group and an original Gerrit Rietveld chair.
After our culture fix, we jumped on the tram to the outskirts of the city and West park, where on the first Sunday of each month there is an artisan market. This has got to be one of the best markets I have ever been to. Stretching for about a mile along the banks of the canal in the Jordaan area, the market has a wide selection of handmade and vintage clothes, textiles, art and homewares.
Lovely hand made toys & jewellery from Hidde & Sa
Shades of Yesterday specialise in chunky crochet homewares and you can buy their patterns from their website if you want to make your own.
Jewellery inspired by nature at Ish-Jewels
Vintage homewares and bric a brac from RoomService
I bought these lovely childrens Sunday best clogs from Miriam at Roomservice. She told me they would have been worn only on a Sunday for church. I love them and they’ll always remind me of my first trip to Amsterdam.
In the centre of the market there is a wide selection of street food vendors and then inside what looks like an old church or library, there are numerous indoor bars and eateries.
Instock is a pop up bar & restuarant that have a daily changing menu based on food that would normally end up being sent to waste. It’s a great concept and the use of recycled materials in the interior design of the bar area, further highlights the amount of waste we have every where.
As well as shop and eat, you can have a salsa dance lesson or a massage and the whole atmosphere is brought to life with live music from local artists. I can not wait to go back. There was so much I wanted to buy, so next time, I’m going to check in an empty suitcase onto my flight just to fill with the treasures from West Park Sunday Market.
If you are in Amsterdam on the first Sunday of the month, I can’t recommend this market more but check their site for dates & venues, there are other markets in The Hague. We were of course blessed with glorious weather and we all agreed what a fantastic trip we had had and what a beautiful city Amsterdam was. As we sat sipping our drinks by the side of the canal before we took our journey back to the airport, it seemed the perfect end to the perfect birthday weekend with my lovely friends.