Within a hectic week I still found, or should I say made time, to visit three palaces. Monday started at the hospital, an echo of my heart was made. It’s still ticking and not much has changed since my last one in 2012. On Tuesday I went with friend Ger to the Palace off Art, aka Rijksmuseum in my hometown. At last we could find time in our agenda’s to visit the Asia > Amsterdam exhibit aka Luxury in the Golden Age. We were both amazed we took 3 hours to see the 170 art pieces in the 8 halls, including several stops to rest. Most museums let mobility scooters in, not the Rijks. That’s why I only visit one era at a time.
Made of special, precious materials and adorned with intriguing exotic patterns no one had ever seen before, the Asian treasures caused a sensation in Amsterdam. With their colour and richness, they aroused the curiosity and stimulated the imagination of the Dutch bourgeoisie. Very fine white porcelain with blue designs from China, boxes displaying excellent lacquer work and ivory from Japan, gem-studded jewellery from India and Indonesia, silk fabrics from Japan, remarkably shaped shells, black ebony, filigree from India… the Dutch gasped at the beauty of it all and enthusiastically incorporated these treasures into their hitherto more modest interiors. It was also remarkable that not only the super rich could afford to buy these items, but also a large part of the growing middle class. All that precious luxury was shipped to Amsterdam – at that time ‘the world’s harbour’ – by the ‘world’s first multinational’, the Dutch East India Company.
The exhibition: Asia > Amsterdam will be on view in the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, US from February 27 till June 4, 2016.
Wednesday was a Coffee Morning for the elderly Gays in my part of town. The Old Age Pensioners home (OAP) provides the coffee (freshly made, not instant!) I bring cookies, cream and talk with the visitors. There are a few regulars but also new faces who complete our group. Afterwards I visited my Dad, he wasn’t feeling that well, maybe he had the flu or something else. Just before I arrived he had a visit from a nurse who checks in on him on a weekly base, first she came to look out for my Mom, but since she’s passed away last year, he’s the next in line. He didn’t need anything, but seeing one of his kids is still something to make his day.
Thursday came, and an appointment was made to visit the Royal Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. Yes, I do know one of the curators but didn’t want to bother her. We, friends Nicky, Adrie, Mario and me, saw the expo on Emperor Wilhelm II, the last emperor of Germany. But also Royal Showpieces II, another display I know the curator off. The whole palace is turned into a Christmas spirit, trees decorated as they would be in the period of the room but also decked tables, with porcelain plates, silver and/or gold cutlery, crystal glasses, sweets, exotic fruits… We had lunch in the Royal Ballroom, three of us had croquettes and Nicky, who likes something different, had guinea fowl pâté.
Afterwards we also visited the Kanselarij der Nederlandse Orden (Chancellery of the Dutch honors). It has one of the biggest collections of Orders in the world. Adrie is a military woman, she liked the military awards of course the best. We could see an original Order of the Garter but also the Order of the Golden Fleece. But also orders as far away as Nepal, Australia or mid-Africa.
Friday was a day of rest, most of the day. Something I really needed after the long walks the day before. But I was expected to turn up at the OAP home for the volunteers day, which I did. We were welcomed with Glühwein and delicious snacks, after a thank you message from the director of nursing, we all had a choice of a box of chocolats, a Volunteers Agenda and a giftcard with code. Online we could pick out the gift we really wanted to have instead of something you don’t need. Or you could give the amount to a good cause of your choice. I’m not telling you what I did.
Saturday was a day off, so I slept in and didn’t do that much except a visit to Dad to see if he needed something. He was enjoying some play on TV, which was a bit strange to me because he’s a Master in Channel hopping. During the festive days, which are coming up, we all program or VCR’s to the shows we want to see, at Dad’s home we only see snippets.
Sunday came faster than I thought. Friend Mario obtained tickets to a musical play at the Palace of dramatic Arts, aka Amsterdam’s Stadsschouwburg. The title was “Juliana, moeder van het volk” (Juliana, mother of the people). A look back at the life of the late Queen Juliana, who wanted to be normal, one among the people she ruled. On Saturday evening was the world premiere with former Queen Beatrix in the audience, on Sunday was the last performance.
It was a nice play, great songs, and performers you wouldn’t expect on stage in a normal play. A former news broadcaster was one of the storytellers, same as a royalty reporter, but also the former mayor of Amsterdam.
Afterwards Mario and I had a warm beverage in the main hall of the theater and we would meet again in a bar on Zeedijk for a final drink. He took a tram to the bar, I drove my mobility scooter and after two drinks we both went home.
The coming days ‘My Home is My Castle’ after I cleaned up, and before the domestic help turns up at my doorstep. Wednesday is again fully booked, domestic help, a dentist and specialist appointment, shopping for Xmas etcetera. On Thursday I will read two poems during the Christmas celebration at OAP home… and on Friday…