A bit in the same vein as a Dutch talent show jury not recognising an established singer-songwriter, this time a fake artist peddles copies of works by Russian avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich in the hopes of being accepted to two possible art academies. Watch the video to find out more about why that is.
Someone actually does recognise the suprematist style of the candidate’s portfolio, with one man claiming to be ‘walking through art history’ when browsing through it. The general consensus is that the candidate’s work is ‘at the very early stages’ and not good enough to get into art school. However, these same works are worth millions of euro, some of which I believe are currently on display at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum for the Kazimir Malevich and the Russian Avant-Garde exhibition.
In Dutch, with English titles and subtitles, with a nice facepalm factor:
(Link: www.amsterdamadblog.com, Photo of Malevich’s works by ngEdwin, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, Malevich, Stedelijk
Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars of Amsterdam, known internationally for projects such as his building to be built using a 3D printer, has designed a house with a 360 degree view (video).
Inspired by the Russian game Tetris, Ruijssenaars thought up a row house made of blocks placed in such a way that every room has a different view of outside instead of just being able to see out the front or out the back. His idea was based on a building contest in Peru in 2009 which was about increasing density. By having more people use the same space, he was able to increase the density as well as the quality of the residences.
It remains to be seen who will be the first to build these houses. And although different, they do remind me of Habitat 67 in Montreal by Moshe Safdie.
(Link: www.telegraaf.nlPhoto of Tetris cookies by Rakka, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, Janjaap Ruijssenaars, Tetris
Amsterdam’s famous canal ring turned 400 this year and as part of the celebrations an art exhibit is being held in 15 historical canal houses.
The houses include the mayor’s residence just past the Golden Bend. The artists were selected by curator Siebe Tettero because they had some connection with Amsterdam. They include current darlings of the Dutch art scene Joep van Lieshout and Viviane Sassen.
The exhibit—called Chambres des Canaux—started this week and will run until 17 November except on Mondays. You can buy a ticket for 14 euro at the tourists offices which will give you access to all the venues.
Getting access to the former homes of rich traders sounds like a pretty unique in itself. Should you not be able to make it before 17 November, there is always the Museum Willet-Holthuysen on the Herengracht, which is the home of 19th century art collector Abraham Willet and which has been preserved in the style of its last residents.
(Link: I Amsterdam. Illustration: Gerrit Adriaensz Berckheyde, public domain)
Tags: Amsterdam, canals, Joep van Lieshout, Vivianne Sassen
According to years of research carried out by the Netherlands Museums Association on the origins of artworks, some 139 pieces of art acquired by Dutch museums between 1933 and 1945 (during the Nazi regime) are suspected of being stolen, confiscated or were sold to them by force. Some 41 museums have such artworks in their collections, many of which were owned by Jews.
The research, started in 2009, had as a goal of establishing what the extent was of the possession of contentious paintings after the end of WWII. Some 162 Dutch museums collaborated with researchers in order to help return artworks to their rightful owners and/or their heirs. A special website
will go live at 4 pm has now gone live on Tuesday, 29 October (CET) for everyone to peruse and maybe even help.
The museum with the most ‘stolen’ artworks is the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (The Hague Municipal Museum), followed by Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Museum and Stedelijk Museum.
(Link: www.volkskrant.nl, www.museumvereniging.nl, (Illustration: Charing Cross Bridge by Claude Monet. Source: politie.nl)
Tags: Amsterdam, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, stolen art, The Hague
Greg Shapiro, an American-Dutch comedian and actor, has just published his new book How To Be Orange, which I had the chance of perusing one morning before we both went on the air on Amsterdam’s English Breakfast radio. I laughed everywhere I opened it as an immigrant with 14 years on my Dutch clock because I could relate to it and it is well written. Some of you locals may recognise the book’s illustrations by Floor de Goede.
Many of the better known guide-like books written about the Dutch are just a collection of superficial observations written by English-speaking expats who don’t speak Dutch and think the entire expat community thinks like they do (colonialism, anyone?). These books were written 10-15 years ago, use Amsterdam as a metonym for the Netherlands, and are quite offensive at times, giving me the impression that the Dutch are an obstacle to living and working here because actually adapting and learning Dutch is unfortunately seen as a downgrade for many expats.
But Greg has come up with something that the Dutch and the rest of us can really laugh about probably because Greg has seen both sides, the immigrant having to take Dutch lessons with illiterate adults (not an insult, but a fact) and goes Dutch, bike, cheese and all like a boss. In my books he lives up to his nickname, the American Netherlander.
Here’s an older video shot downtown Amsterdam with Greg sporting his best British accent:
Tags: Amsterdam, comedy, orange
When I saw this list, I tried first to guess which cities would be on it. Barcelona for sure, having been there and having heard how bad it was, and then I assumed some South American city, but had not guessed Buenos Aires specifically.
What I didn’t expect was Amsterdam. I mean, there are so many other bigger European cities, but then a dense city centre probably does make for easy pickings. The article mentions drunk tourists being an easy target and I can picture that.
On a side note, I lost my wallet last Sunday for the first time in like 12 years after a very long weekend, albeit in a good part of town, and only noticed it the next day. Someone picked it up and brought it to the nearest police station and called me, so all good.
(Link: www.escapehere.com. Illustration: fragment of Hieronymus Bosch’s The Conjurer)
Tags: Amsterdam, pickpocketing
“Harry and his huge, oblivious son run a moving company together. When they help a girl move apartments, their dull, tiny lives are disrupted.”
‘Gracht’ (‘Canal’) was made for the Utrecht School of Arts in Hilversum as a graduation project by four students. The process took six months, and the four guys not only graduated but were also honoured with a ‘staff pick’ on Vimeo.
I like the mover’s watch and the somewhat trendy yet anachronistic use of the compact cassette with Dutch gabber music.
Gracht from Gracht2013 on Vimeo.
Tags: Amsterdam, animation, gabber, Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Utrecht
When I wrote Unesco pulls trigger on Amsterdam in 2010 I was unaware that a day later urbanist Michiel van Iersel would tackle the same subject a day later in NRC.
At the time Unesco had added Amsterdam’s historic city centre to its famous World Heritage List. Critics feared that Amsterdam would fare the same way as Bruges, a city in Belgium that has a lot mediaeval architecture still intact, but that also has the reputation to be staid and boring. They were afraid that the municipal government would turn the city into a museum in which nothing could be changed.
In an essay called Who cares about Unesco? Van Iersel counters these criticisms by saying that “in fairness it should be pointed out that the Belgian town was well on its way to being a museum exhibit before it was included on the list in the year 2000″. He adds that a Unesco listing is unlikely to act as a Trojan horse because if anything, Unesco’s rules are vague and ambiguous.
So, should Amsterdam embrace its Unesco listing? Van Iersel doesn’t seem to care either way. He feels the great number of sites on the World Heritage List has made it the Starbucks of distinctions. He proposes that Amsterdam should “pretend that UNESCO does not exist.” It doesn’t seem to matter much if you’re on it, because everybody else is, too. In fact, when Unesco dropped Dresden from its list for building a bridge, the joke was on Unesco: “in opting for innovation Dresden gave up its place on the list, while UNESCO lost one of its sites and also the support of some of its partisans.”
Tags: Amsterdam, UNESCO, War on Fun, World Heritage Sites
The Coen (pronounced ‘coon’) Tunnel which runs under the North Sea Canal in Amsterdam built in 1966 is currently being fully renovated, a project that should run until 2014. The Second Coen Tunnel (that’s its name) was built from 2009-2013 and has me worried as a passenger when I go through it. I thought it was just me that felt claustrophobic in that tunnel as compared to the first one (shown here), but apparently traffic psychologists aren’t fans of the very narrow tunnel either, calling it names like “crash tunnel” and “death tunnel”.
Since its opening in mid May, there have been 55 accidents in the Second Coen Tunnel (65 according to other sources), which is either way much more than the average of four accidents a week in the first Coen Tunnel. The experts say they are too many red lights (red lights are used to indicate the right-hand side of the road, while white is for the left-hand side), which look like brake lights, no possible place to stop like in the first tunnel and it is very narrow.
First Coen Tunnel (gets full screen near 0:25), with some hip hop music:
Second Coen Tunnel, straight up, no music:
(Link: www.kennislink.nl, Photo of Coen Tunnel by Erik Tjallinks, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, Coen Tunnel, traffic, tunnels
It’s not too much of a surprise that student rooms in Amsterdam are the most expensive in the Netherlands at 100 euro a week, but maybe a little surprising that Dutch student housing is the second most expensive in Europe after the UK at 139 euro a week. Belgian and German neighbours are lucky, paying respectively 66 euro and 57 euro a week.
The typical ‘I’m looking for a room ad’ shows that people are willing to pay just as much and even more than people renting an entire flat to get a room. I also know a lot of Dutch adults who still have roommates, but then the amount of British television shows where adults share flats taught me as a non-European that it’s perfectly normal in Europe.
A few weeks ago I was part of a Canadian documentary about Amsterdam North’s NDSM dock area and both cameramen were stunned by the container village (see pic) that students have to live in, first thinking it was some sort of elaborate artwork. When I told them it was student housing, we talked about the differences between Amsterdam and Montréal were the entire crew and myself are from.
- I actually know rich Dutch parents who bought a second house so that their daughter could have a room and share the house with friends.
- There used to be parties in Amsterdam where students could win a room in a house, not rent-free of course.
- Some adults stay in their student room years after graduation because there are very tough laws about throwing people out of their homes.
- Student housing provided by universities is overpriced and usually full of foreigners who don’t know better. They usually wise up really quickly and get a normal flat.
- Renting a flat is easy, so there is no need for students to live in student housing. They live in flats just like normal people.
- The idea of renting a room in a house is weird. People rent a flat or share a flat, but don’t usually go looking for a room with the assumption that renting a flat is very difficult like it is in Amsterdam.
(Link: www.iamexpat.nl, Photo of Multi-storey container housing by Rory Hyde, some rights reserved)
Tags: Amsterdam, containers, housing, students