Sunday, June 21, 2015

Robeco Summer Nights concert at the Concertgebouw

I've been very lucky that over the years, I have got to see and do things in the Netherlands that locals alone know about. For instance, the Robeco Summer concerts at Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. I'd been hearing about them for ages, and finally got to go.

The concert featured cellist Pieter Wispelwey playing Dvorak, along with the JeugdOrkest Nederland (Netherlands Youth Orchestra). The music was really lovely, and it was played with feeling.

The really amazing thing is how accessible these experiences are. Tickets can be purchased online, in advance, and they include refreshments. The tram from either of Amsterdam's city stations drops you right in front of the Concertgebouw. The building is magnificent and the buzz even better. 

What was truly familiar was the demographic of the audience. Although the musicians were all very young (by definition), the audience was made up of elderly people. I do not think it was just the 'proud grandparents' factor. I think the audience for classical music concerts is ageing worldwide, and it is something we should be thinking about, at least a little. If it is dwindling in a place where access is so easy, how can it not dwindle in a place like India where barriers to access are cultural, social, economic and logistical.

Anyway, here are a few photos that do the day no justice.

Just outside the Concertgebouw
Nighttime lighting outside the Concertgebouw


I know the Netherlands is one of the most urbanised countries in the world but Rotterdam with its very modern, no-nonsense air is the place that seems most city-like to me. This time I took very few photos and here they are.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Crossing the River Maas to have lunch at Hotel New York, some views form the waterferry. 

No, that's not a drowning bus! 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Leiden: Here and there, this and that




Town Hall from the canal side
Off the central square
Leiden central square

Monday, June 15, 2015

Texel's trees

So many of the photos I have shared have been of tree-less, unshaded expanses that I feel like I should post these photos of tree-lined roads just to give you a balanced sense of how green Texel is.

Texel: The dyke

No matter how many times I visit Holland, I still love visiting and driving around dykes.

I love leaning to catch sight of water above those high embankments. I love the silhouette of walkers and joggers and cyclists atop the dyke path. I start reluctantly but arrive at the top of the dyke with great excitement, for now I can see the water clearly--no matter that the wind threatens to make me serious competition for Mary Poppins. I love the grass yielding to the will of the wind and flowers that stay close to the ground but manage to survive getting blown away. I love the ridged glass designs visible in the water. And where the embankment yields to the natural sea-bed, I love the patterns created by pebbles and reeds that lie just beneath the surface of the water, shifting like glass pieces in a kaleidoscope.

Dykes are my favourite places to visit, I'd say!

In Texel too, we drove by and climbed to look over a dyke.

This was what the land-side looked like, so we climbed these stairs to the top of the dyke.

On closer examination (by zooming, not climbing down!), this is what we could see.

While on the town side, when we could tear our eyes away, this is what it looked like. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Texel dunes

We drove after lunch to the most stunning part of Texel--the Dunes National Park. Tired of slowing down my family and keeping them from doing things at a pace that is enjoyable to them, I hung back here at the viewpoint, drinking in the amazing panorama as much as I could. I wanted to hold the vision before me, within me, as long as I live.

It is not that this is a pretty place. But in its largely unmanicured non-chalance, it is stunning. It is what it is, and it lets you be who you want to be when you visit. Most visitors walk down the stairs or use the very (typically) thoughtful ramp to go down the dune and walk around the marsh (salt fen and heath, one website says!) towards the water. I stayed at the viewpoint. And of course, I took lots of photos.


My vantage point