Holanda // Holland

Monday, 16 April 2012

Amsterdam (053)

A viagem à Holanda levou-nos a um país de contrastes e rico em ofertas culturais e artísticas.
Da animada e mágica cidade de Amesterdão, passamos à distinta e moderna Roterdão, com visitas ainda a Utrecht, Delft e Haia.

Passeamos entre canais, reconhecemos a história nas fachadas de edifícios antigos e admiramos o futuro nas obras de arquitectura moderna; percorremos paredes de museus, preenchidas com velhos mestres e artistas emergentes. Visitamos lojas alternativas e mercados tradicionais, cheiramos as flores, provamos o queijo, repetimos o cappuccino a acompanhar a deliciosa tarte de maçã. Passeamos de barco, pedalamos a bicicleta, validamos o bilhete no tram e esgotamos as energias a andar a pé, por entre canais, jardins e bairros residenciais povoados de casas sem cortinas onde apetecia entrar... Andamos à chuva, gelamos com o vento marítimo e admirámo-nos com o à vontade dos locais perante as condições atmosféricas, tantas vezes vestidos com roupa de Primavera, quando a nós nos faziam falta as luvas.

Os holandeses são um povo simpático e sorridente. Embora pareçam ter sempre pressa em cima das suas velozes bicicletas, nunca fazem cara feia se lhes fazemos uma pergunta e não negam ajuda, mesmo quando não a pedimos... falam inglês a par da primeira língua e parecem estar habituados ao imenso fluxo de turistas, emigrantes e estrangeiros de passagem com que se cruzam diariamente. São educados, respeitam regras e prezam o silêncio, mas nota-se que gostam de viver a vida, de conviver com os amigos, de sentar nas esplanadas e cafés, de fazer da sua casa um espaço vivido e confortável. Das janelas, na sua maioria sem cortinas, é possível admirar o ambiente descontraído do interior, as cozinhas onde se adivinham receitas caseiras, onde sobram frascos e garrafas; as plantas que se multiplicam nas janelas e varandas - que têm sempre mesas e cadeiras à espera, ainda que esteja frio.

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Aterramos na capital, Amesterdão, e começamos com um dia em cheio de passeio pela zona central dos canais. A quantidade inacreditável de bicicletas, a cor dos mercados de flores, a beleza dos canais e das fachadas tradicionais, tantas vezes perigosamente inclinadas, fazem as delícias de qualquer visitante.
A câmara fotográfica não parava de disparar, porque cada enquadramento, ainda que vagamente parecido com o anterior, era absolutamente único à sua maneira. 
Perdi-me durante horas no Museu Van Gogh, fizemos uma visita à casa de Rembrant e vimos os clássicos de Vermeer no Rijksmuseum.

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Percorremos os bairros residenciais mais modernos, onde a arquitectura contemporânea surpreende e inspira, entramos na réplica do Amsterdam no Het Scheepvaartmuseum e ficamos a saber mais sobre a história de Anne Frank, naquela que foi, certamente, a visita mais tocante de toda a viagem.

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Entramos em coffeeshops, curiosos para perceber a naturalidade com que é encarado o uso das drogas leves e passeamos de noite no Bairro da Luz Vermelha, com a sensação estranha de estar a transformar em espectáculo turístico para grupos e famílias, um negócio que talvez devesse ser feito em privado...
Experimentamos muitas das variantes de refeições de inspiração oriental (tailandesa, indonésia, chinesa e afins) em alguns dos muitos restaurantes de emigrantes que proliferam na zona do centro.
Amesterdão é uma cidade animada e ao contrário do que acontece em Portugal, a diversão nocturna começa cedo - na área central, o fluxo de pessoas é constante: bares, cafés e ruas estão cheios, de turistas e locais, que bebem cerveja, ouvem música e convivem animadamente. Esta é uma cidade para ser vivida em cheio.

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No quarto dia fizemos a partir de Amesterdão um passeio de um dia até Utrecht, uma deliciosa cidade de origens medievais com uma forte presença universitária. A vida social e cultural é rica, é grande o movimento de pessoas ao longo dos canais principais e as esplanadas, cafés e lojas simpáticas de arte, joalharia e objectos em segunda mão multiplicam-se. A torre da Domkerk é o elemento histórico que se destaca na malha do núcleo medieval, mas não é preciso afastar-nos muito para admirar a contemporaneidade da arte no Centraal Museum e da arquitectura, num dos exemplos mais famosos do modernismo: a casa Rietveld Schröder, da autoria de Gerrit Rietveld, visitável por marcação. Afastando-nos mais um pouco, vale a pena visitar o fantástico complexo da Universidade de Uithof, onde a arquitectura contemporânea explora cores, reinventa formas e conceitos a cada esquina.

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De volta a Amesterdão, era agora tempo de apanhar o comboio para Roterdão, uma viagem de apenas cerca de 1h, ao longo da qual é possível admirar alguns campos de bolbos que se estendem entre Haarlem e Leiden.
Em Roterdão a história é outra. Esta cidade, a segunda maior do país e dona de um dos maiores portos marítimos do mundo, viu o seu centro ficar quase totalmente destruído pela II Guerra Mundial, o que a fez ressurgir como uma cidade renovada, palco de alguns dos mais surpreendentes exemplos de arquitectura contemporânea. A Ponte Erasmus é um desses casos, um gesto expressivo e assimétrico que juntamente com uma série de torres, complexos residenciais, espaços comerciais e infraestruturas marítimas definem o arrojado perfil de Roterdão.

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No centro, mantém-se a Sint-Laurenskerk e alguns poucos exemplos históricos, mas são as Casas Cubo, o Euromast, o NAI, a arte moderna da Kunsthal e do Museu Boijmans Van Beuningen que mais chamam a atenção. Resta-nos ainda Delfshaven, um encantador recanto que parece perdido no tempo, onde um canal de barcos e fachadas históricas nos fazem recordar Amesterdão... e onde comemos, num simpático café com vista para o canal, alguns deliciosos petiscos holandeses!
Por fim, não nos despedimos da cidade sem antes percorrer uma vasta extensão do imponente porto de Roterdão ao longo de uma viagem de 75 minutos a bordo do Spido.

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Como a viagem de comboio a partir de Roterdão é rápida e prática, num dos últimos dias tivemos ainda tempo para espreitar Delft e Haia. Este foi um dos dias mais chuvosos e desconfortáveis, por isso o passeio não terá sido tão bem aproveitado quanto podia... ainda assim valeu a pena, até porque descobrimos uns fantásticos tesouros vintage num dos mercados de rua de Delft!

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Em Haia, sede do governo dos Países Baixos, fizemos ainda uma visita à exposição Escher no Palácio, onde demos voltas à cabeça com as fascinantes ilusões deste artista holandês.

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Muito mais podia contar, mas aposto que já estão cansados de me ler! Concluindo: são muitos os pretextos para visitar os Países Baixos, continuando Amesterdão a ser o mais atractivo de todos. Adorei a viagem e voltei com a sensação de que seria muito interessante viver por lá algum tempo... acho que só o frio me deixa a pensar duas vezes! Entretanto, conto nas próximas semanas dedicar posts exclusivos a algumas das atracções visitadas... de cada vez que revejo as fotos revivo um pouco a viagem, por isso há que fazê-la perdurar na memória, não concordam? Se quiserem, podem já espreitar todas as fotos aqui.


Our trip to Holland led us to a country of contrasts, culturally and artistically rich.
From the lively and magical city of Amsterdam, we went to the distinct and modern Rotterdam along with visits to Utrecht, Delft and The Hague.

We walked along the canals, recognized history on the facades of old buildings and admired the future in the works of modern architecture; admired museum's walls, filled with old masters and emerging artists. We visited alternative shops and traditional markets, smelled the flowers, tasted the cheese, had cappuccino in the company of the delicious apple pie. We traveled by boat, rode the bike, validated the ticket in the tram and spent our energies walking, between canals, gardens and neighborhoods where houses without curtains made us want to come in... We walked in the rain, froze in the sea wind and felt surprised with the goodwill of locals before the weather conditions, often dressed in spring clothes, while we were longing for our gloves.

The Dutch are friendly and smiling people. Although they seem to always be in a rush on top of their fast bikes, they'll happily answer your questions and don't deny help, even when not asked... they speak English along with their mother tongue and seem to be accustomed to the huge flow of tourists, immigrants and foreigners they come across daily. They are polite, respect rules and cherish the silence, but they seem to enjoy living life, hanging out with friends, sitting on terraces and cafes, making their home a lived and comfortable space. From the windows, mostly without curtains, you can admire the relaxed atmosphere of the interior, the kitchen where we can guess homemade recipes, filled with jars and bottles, plants that multiply in the windows and balconies - which always have tables and chairs waiting, even though it's cold.
We landed in the capital, Amsterdam, and started with a full day touring the central canal area. The unbelievable amount of bikes, the color of flower markets, the beauty of canals and traditional facades, often dangerously inclined, make the delight of any visitor.
The camera repeatedly kept shooting, because each frame, even vaguely similar to the previous one, was absolutely unique in its own way.
I got lost for hours in the Van Gogh Museum, visited the house of Rembrandt and saw some Vermeer classics in the Rijksmuseum.
We walked along the more modern residential districts, where contemporary architecture surprises and inspires, we entered the replica of Amsterdam at Het Scheepvaartmuseum and learned more about the story of Anne Frank, in that which was certainly the most moving visit of the entire trip.

We went to coffee shops, curious to see how naturally it is regarded the use of soft drugs and walked at night in the Red Light District, with the strange feeling of seing transformed into a tourist spectacle for groups and families, a business that should perhaps be done in private...
We tried many variations of oriental-inspired meals (Thai, Indonesian, Chinese and so on) in some of the many restaurants of emigrants that proliferate in the central area.
Amsterdam is a lively city, and contrary to what happens in Portugal, the nightlife starts early - in the central area, the flow of people is constant: bars, cafes and streets are full of tourists and locals drinking beer, listening to music and chating cheerfully. This is a city to be lived in full.

On the fourth day we took a day trip to Utrecht, a delightful town of medieval origins with a strong university presence. The social and cultural life is rich, along the main canal there's a large movement of people, terraces, cafes and nice shops with art, jewelry and second-hand objects. The Dom tower is the historical element that stands out in the fabric of the medieval core, but we don't have to go much further to admire contemporary art at the Centraal Museum, and architecture, in one of the most famous examples of modernism: the Rietveld Schröder House, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, open to visitors by appointment. Moving away a bit more, the amazing complex of the University of Uithof is well worth a visit - here contemporary architecture explores colors, reinvents shapes and concepts at every corner.

Back in Amsterdam, it was now time to take the train to Rotterdam, a trip of only about 1 hour, during which you can admire some bulb fields extending between Haarlem and Leiden.
Rotterdam is a different story. This city, the second largest in the country and owner of one of the largest seaports in the world, saw its center being almost totally destroyed by World War II, so it had to emerge as a renewed city, becoming scene of some of the most striking examples of contemporary architecture. The Erasmus Bridge is one of those cases, an expressive and asymmetrical gesture which together with a series of towers, residential complexes, commercial spaces and maritime infrastructures define the striking profile of Rotterdam.
In the center, Sint-Laurenskerk still stands along with a few historical examples, but it's the Cube Houses, Euromast, NAI, the modern art at Kunsthal and Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum that attracts more our attention. We still have Delfshaven, a charming corner that seems lost in time, where canal boats and historic facades remind us of Amsterdam... and where we ate, at a nice cafe overlooking the canal, some delicious Dutch snacks!
Finally, we couldn't say goodbye before traveling along a vast extension of magnificent port of Rotterdam over a 75-minute journey aboard the Spido.

As the train journey from Rotterdam is quick and convenient, in one of the last days we still had time to peek at Delft and The Hague. This was one of the rainiest and uncomfortable days, so it wasn't as well spent as it could... still worth it thought - we even found some amazing vintage treasures in one of the street markets of Delft!
In The Hague, seat of government of the Netherlands, we visited the exhibition Escher in the Palace, where we got puzzled with some fascinating illusions of this Dutch artist.

And I could tell you so much more, but I bet you're already tired of reading me! In conclusion, there are many excuses to visit the Netherlands, and Amsterdam continues to be the most attractive of all. I loved the trip and came back with the feeling that it would be very interesting to live there some time... I believe only the cold makes me think twice! Anyway, in the upcoming weeks I intend to dedicate exclusive posts to some of the attractions we visited... every time we review the photos, we also relive the trip, so we must make it linger in the memory, don't you agree? If you want, you may already have a look at all the photos here.

13 comments:

  1. Oh, we should go there again! Love Amsterdam so much! Architecture and food...

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  2. acredita que tens mais frio em Portugal com casas mal isoladas e sem aquecimento do que na Holanda! Ainda bem que gostaste! Por isso.... vem!

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    1. Sim, acredito!
      E vontade não me falta de voltar e ficar... pelo menos durante algum tempo ;)

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  3. What a beautiful trip this sounds like! I hope to visit Amsterdam this year, looks lovely.

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    1. Yes, it's really a wonderful city, don't miss it!

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  4. Hi Ana!
    I like your blog and the way you write in it very much. Being an architect by profession it is no big surprise that you have such a good eye in taking pictures of buildings and interiors either, but don't you agree that the Kubuswoningen in Rotterdam are just awful?

    Prima vista they look like a funny idea. But what's for example about "Form follows function"? In there it seems to be quite the opposite, every function has apparently to be squeezed in in some way or another the form allows. I don't think this is the way houses for human beings to live in should be built but Rotterdam is in many examples a playing ground for architects to realize the fanciest or craziest ideas they are able to draw with the assistance of their computer programs. In my opinion, sometimes the result is brilliant, sometimes its terrible.
    I live in the Netherlands, close to Rotterdam, for some years now so I know some of the buildings you visited including the Kubuswoningen quite well and I really dislike them. For the time being I am lucky enough to travel through New Zealand and Australia and I do not only enjoy the more favourable weather down here but (to stick to the matter) some good architecture, too, from the Te Papa Museum in Wellington to some recently built homes at the countryside or the coast. And even if I - like everybody else - have seen numerous pictures of Jørn Utzons Opera House in Sydney before, I was overwhelmed when I stood in front of it and could study this masterpiece in detail.
    Seeing the poor Kubuswoningen again on your blog, then, I could not help commenting. But now I am looking forward to seeing more of the lovely views of Porto and Portugal you often share with us.

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    1. Hi, thank you so much for your feedback!
      It's really nice to know that you follow my blog and enjoy my pictures and the posts I share about my city :)

      About Kubuswoningen, in part I must agree with you... I mean, this is not functional architecture at all, that's for sure! But I think that this is a quite interesting exercise: not to follow or apply, but to consider as a kind of a "livable art installation". They're not aesthetically attractive, but I don't think they're that awful - in fact I believe they create some unexpected sculptural perspectives of themselves and their surroundings that I found interesting at the place. While I visited the Cube House open to the public I just kept thinking: this guy is crazy! On the other hand I kept wondering how would it be living in a place like that - would we take it for how long?... You know what I mean?
      I found the concept interesting but its implementation is definetely questionable.
      I think you put it right when you say that Rotterdam is a kind of playground to architects - and the result isn't always nice or functional...
      I have lots of photos of Kubuswoningen, maybe you've seen them on my Flickr already, and I'm planning to post more about it soon!

      By the way, I'd love to visit New Zealand too! But I'm sure it won't be soon... it's very far, unfortunately... you're lucky ;)

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  5. hmmm... adorei o cheirinho da viagem! já não vou à holanda há que tempos, foi a minha primeira paixão! e se fosses para lá? como a sónia disse em cima, acredita que passas mais frio em portugal que em qq país nórdico. há muito mais num lugar que o tempo e ias adorar a experiência... :-)

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    1. ai... olha que vocês... deixaram-me a pensar!
      Estou tão farta de sonhar e planear no vazio, quando terminar o curso de joalharia, depois do Verão, tenho mesmo que ganhar coragem e decidir-me!

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  6. Que saudades tenho desse país maravilhoso!!

    Parabéns pelas fotografias que são excelentes, pois acabo de sentir que cada uma conta uma "estória"...

    Parabéns pelo blog que acabo de conhecer, com muito prazer!!
    filipa

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  7. So nice to see my country through your eyes :)
    Hope you had a lovely time, despite (probably) a lot of rain!
    I fell in love with your country again after visiting the Costa Vicentina - maravilhosa!!

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    1. Oh yes, we had a lovely time! I really loved to visit your beautiful country... despite of the cold and rain ;)
      Costa Vicentina is one of the most wonderful spots of Portugal! I'm so glad you've been there and enjoyed it. I love Alentejo for its landscapes, beaches and for the food... yummy!

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