The countdown is on and now we are less than 2 weeks to departure on our four-month adventure to Europe with arrival in Amsterdam set for September 9th! We are very excited to see our son who is starting school there and to visit this iconic city filled with bicycles, canals, and art.. mixed in with a healthy dose of taboos 😉
Getting into the Dutch mood
To prepare, we have assembled a few books and movies related to Amsterdam and some of the other Dutch cities we will visit:
The Dinner by Herman Koch, is a suspenseful philosophically challenging story which takes place in Amsterdam and revolves around a dinner shared by two brothers and their wives. The narrative revolves around their relationships and the unravelling mystery of a murder! The book I couldn’t put down, while the recently released movie I thought dragged on.
The Diary of Anne Frank by thirteen-year-old Anne Frank recounts the 1942 Nazis occupation of Holland, when Anne and her Jewish family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding for two years in “The Secret Annex”. I’ve read the book, seen the play on several occasions over the years…now, we’ll have a chance to visit the hide-out house!
The Girl with the Pearl Earring written by Tracy Chevalier, is an exquisite exposé of the somewhat turbulent and extraordinary atelier life of 17th century artist Johannes Vermeer. This historical fiction was later made into a movie bringing the city of Delft, where Vermeer painted, to life.
Loving Vincent, the colourfully animated movie about the incredible Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh’s troubled end of life and the mystery surrounding his young death. The blues and yellows are so inviting, pulling the viewer in, and enticing one to visit the Van Gogh Museum where his paintings can be admired up close.
Why the Dutch are Different by Ben Coates is, apparently, packed with little-known facts, blending travelogue, history, and memoir to explore the past and future of a fast-changing country. According to the San Francisco Book Review “Coates’ interesting and curious odyssey is a mix between engaging self-discovery and cultural simulation”. I look forward to finding this jewel in a second-hand book store in Amsterdam, so I can savour it as we wander the streets and discover the hidden treasures within!
Family friends have also recommended the virtues of the beautiful towns and countryside on the outskirts of Amsterdam, including Laren, Breda, and even the north of Holland where the sea meets the land.
Let us know about your favourite Dutch beers and cheeses and we’ll be sure to tell you about what we’ve discovered in the Red Light District and beyond!