On the southern stretch of the Amsterdam orbital motorway is ING House, head office of the ING Bank, built in 2000. The shoe-shaped building was designed by Robert Meyer and Jeroen van Schooten. The extensive use of glass means that everyone working there has an expansive view.
The Van Gogh Museum was designed by Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964). A new wing was added in 1999, designed by the Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. Van Gogh was a great admirer of Japanese prints, and this was one of the reasons the commission was awarded to a Japanese architect.
Walk along the right bank of the Maas in Maastricht and you will eventually come to a sort of spaceship. It is the Bonnefanten Museum, which specialises in traditional and contemporary art from Limburg. The museum was designed by the Italian architect Aldo Rossi.
The Nemo building, in Amsterdam, by the Italian architect Renzo Piano looks like a big green ship moored at the harbour from a certain angle. It was never meant to look like a ship but as a mirror image of the tunnel that runs beneath it. Nemo is a museum that tries to make science accessible to children and adults.
The Groninger Museum is an extravagant building by the Italian architect Alessandro Mendini contains design elements by Michele De Lucchi, Philippe Starck and Coop Himmelblau. The museum is located in the northern city of Groningen on the canal between the train station and the town centre.
Java Island used to be part of the old port, but it is now a modern residential neighbourhood, designed by 19 young architects. The canals are spanned by nine bridges for cyclists and pedestrians, the work of Guy Rombouts and Monika Droste. have a look at some other buidlings at what we call “the Isles”
Take a step back to the Middle Ages… The Muiderslot is located at the mouth of the river Vecht, some 15 kilometers southeast of Amsterdam, where it flows into what used to be the Zuiderzee. It’s one of the better known castles in the Netherlands and has been featured in many television shows set in the Middle Ages. The history of the Muiderslot [Castle Muiden, where muiden means rivermouth] begins with Count Floris V who built a stone castle at the mouth of the river back in 1280, when he gained command over an area that used to be part of the See of Utrecht. The river Vecht was the trade route to Utrecht, one of the most important tradetowns of that age. The castle was used to enforce a toll on the traders. It is a relatively small castle, measuring 32 by 35 metres with brick walls well over 1½ metres thick. A large moat surrounded the castle.
Noordeinde Palace in The Hague was built in 1533 by Willem Gundt and since then has undergone extensive renovations. The building acquired its current Renaissance character in 1640, thanks to alterations made by two of the leading architects of the day, Jacob van Campen and Pieter Post. This is the workplace of Queen Beatrix and Crown-prince William Alexander, or Alex in short. Her Majesty lives nearby in another palace “Huis ten Bosch”.
The Zaan district [Dutch: Zaanstreek] is believed to be the world’s first industrialized area. During the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, the Zaan district became dotted with windmills. By the mid-17th century, some 900 windmills could be found along the river. Today the Zaan district continues to be a heavily industrialized area with many factories, particularly around the city of Zaandam. Verkade, Duyvis, Honig and Albert Heijn are four of the well-known companies that started here. Their factories, warehouses and offices are now industrial monuments.
The massive Hoofdtoren [Main Tower], located near the harbour, was built with white stone from Belgium. The tower dominates the skyline of this town on the IJsselmeer, 40 kilometres north of Amsterdam and acquired city rights in 1357. Hoorn was an important home base for the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and a very prosperous centre of trade. The Hoorn fleet plied the seven seas and returned laden with precious commodities. Exotic spices such as pepper, nutmeg, cloves and mace were sold at vast profits. With their skill in trade and seafaring, sons of Hoorn established the town’s name far and wide.
Gouda was granted a town charter by Count Floris V. The town hall, which is now a restaurant, was built in 1450. For ages, Gouda cheese and cheese according to Gouda recipe have been conquering the world. Gouda cheese, or in Dutch: ‘Goudse Kaas’ is found on all continents.
Also known as the Grote Kerk (‘Great Church’), the 15th-century St Bavo’s is a late-Gothic cruciform basilica. It is famous for its organ, which dates from 1738. This church started as Catholic church but after the Reformation it became Protestant. A more modern Catholic Cathedral is also called St Bavo, building started in 1895 and was finished in 1928.
The Rijksmuseum- National Museum of Art and History, was designed by P.J.H. Cuypers in a style that mixes elements of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. The building was officially opened in 1885. At the moment the main building is closed for massive restoration work. Have a look at how the museum will look in a few years time
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