Daily Archives: August 24, 2013

Open Air Concerto Prinsengracht

pgc2013We have a lot of things in Amsterdam, but not an open air theater which is big enough to hold the whole Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. So what do these Amsterdammers do? They build a concert hall on a pontoon in the middle of Prinsengracht!

Prinsengracht-Concert-BoatsYou only have to bring a good mood, a drink and something to eat, the concert is free of charge. Oh, and also important… a small boat so you can dock in front of the stage.

A few days ahead of the concerto the canal is already blocked by small boats, and when you live close to the venue you have “friends” who visit you once a year, only on this date.

One of the traditions of this concert is the last song of the program “Aan de Amsterdamse grachten”, sung in Dutch, by the [mostly foreign] soloist.

You can see the whole TV performance here. If you have problems viewing it abroad go to Instellingen and check the square behind Buitenland.

Unique Location, Extremely Normal Exhibition

okerk_1-wooden-roofThe red light district of town is not an area I normally frequent, but by visiting the 800 year old Oude Kerk [“old church”] which is Amsterdam’s oldest building and oldest parish church, I like to make a change to my habits. It was founded ca. 1213 and finally consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht with Saint Nicolas as its patron saint. After the Reformation in 1578 it became a Calvinist church, which it remains today.

I wasn’t here for the building, which is a looker by the way, but the opening of the Pride Photo Award 2013 exhibition. I’m glad to live in a city where Freedom of Speech is normal, where a unique location can be used to show tourists, this is the red light district after all, not only the gravesite of Saskia van Uylenburgh [wife of Rembrandt], but also a unique photo expo.

logo210This years theme is: Extremely Normal, and it shows GLBT people from around the world in their normal habitat. From 48 different nations some 3,300 photos were send in on this subject, and an international jury made a selection out of them. After several speeches, Councillor Andree van Es, who manages portfolios of Work, Income and Participation, Citizenship and Diversity and Administrative System for the City of Amsterdam, opened the expo.

For all those Amsterdam people who don’t visit this location in the Oude Kerk, several of the photos can be seen around town on squares, in shopping malls and other places that attract many people.