Our Unschooling Europe Girls and Anne Frank in AMSTERDAM

16 07 2009

en route

“Seeing the Amsterdam Sights”
Posted by Favorite Daughter (penguindust) under Amsterdam

As shocking as it may be to some, Amsterdam, it turns out, has lots of legitimate, non-sexy history worth exploring.

This morning we went to the Anne Frank House first thing to beat the lines (you would not BELIEVE the lines). We were there about fifteen minutes before it opened, and were among the first people to go in, and there were still ten to fifteen people ahead of us.

The House/annex/museum is a very well-done and sobering reminder. They’ve worked really hard to turn it into not just an Anne Frank or Holocaust memorial, but a sort of advocacy center for democracy and human rights. They’ve integrated the artifacts (including the actual original diary on the way out, presently on loan from somewhere) with mulitmedia, like heartbreaking interviews with Otto Frank before his death.

Then we went on a free three-hour walking tour with a tour group we’ve taken to calling “the redshirts”(not in the Star trek sense). We first encountered them in Edinburgh, and Lindsay informed us, a little sadly, a little wistfully, that this particular group hosts free tours all over Europe, and most people like the consistency of the same tours in every city they go to.

Well, we understand now. Claire, our tourguide, was an Irish dynamo, literally bouncing up and down for much of our time together. Unlike Lindsay – whom we still love – Claire was by no means wet behind the ears. She knew exactly what she was talking about, and you could tell she found everything she was talking about absolutely fascinating.

She told us, of course, about the Red Light district and about how “coffeeshops” work in Amsterdam, but she also shared delightful stories of Napolean’s conquest of the Netherlands and the Dutch’s lack of respect for the new regime. Apparently, King Louis had been working very, very hard on one phrase in Dutch – ‘”I am your king,”- to communicate to his new people. Unfortunately for him, he got a little confused, and came out on the steps of his new palace proclaiming, “”I am your rabbit!””

Obviously, the Dutch were unimpressed, and when Louis forced them to pick family names (not a practice in the Netherlands), they sat around thinking up amusing Dutch words to call themselves, so that French soldiers would look ridiculous yelling for them in the streets. Claire told us that a fun activity is to get a Dutch-English dictionary and a phonebook.

Well, we’re pretty exhausted, and heading off to lunch, there may or may not be another update later today.



2 responses

16 07 2009

First off, if you’re still in Amsterdam do check out the Pancake Bakery (pretty sure that’s what it is) – sure it’s touristy and has a long line but it is GOOD.

As for historical/cultural sights- you’re completely right. The oldest church located in the Red Light District is of course a sight. But also the secret churches set up within apartment buildings are very interesting.

Well, have a papercone of fries for me with kerry sauce!


16 07 2009

Thanks, I passed this along to them on their family blog. Hopefully they’ll see it in time for breakfast tomorrow! 🙂

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