“Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ capital, known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses with gabled facades, legacies of the city’s 17th-century Golden Age. Its Museum District houses works by Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and modern art at the Stedelijk. Cycling is key to the city’s character, and there are 400km of cycle paths.” – Wikipedia
Amsterdam conjures many images – from diamonds to Dutch masters [see an upcoming blog post], Indonesian rijsttafel (the many platters of meat and vegetables and shrimp and rice dinner from Indonesia that we enjoyed at a restaurant one night) to velvety chocolate, stone bridges arching across narrow canals to flawless bicycle ballets (pedestrians must give way to all bicyclists riding in the city’s pervasive bicycle lanes!).
The panoramic photographs of the city were taken on a rainy morning from A’DAM Toren (A’DAM Tower), the new name for ‘Toren Overhoeks’. The tower was designed by the architect Arthur Staal as a commission by Royal Dutch Shell. In fact, the tower is also affectionately known as the ‘Shelltoren’ by many Amsterdammers. It was officially opened in 1971, and was home to the multinational oil company until 2009. A’DAM is proud of its roots – as it boldly claims the well-known abbreviation of Amsterdam. The brand name A’DAM also stands for ‘Amsterdam Dance and Music’, which reflects the business of the owners and main tenants: ID&T, AIR Events and MassiveMusic. Staal designed the office tower at 45° to the IJ [Amstel River] waterfront. This diagonal position (‘overhoeks’ in Dutch) gave the building its first name – and, in fact, informs much of A’DAM’s edgy, innovative and surprising personality. A’DAM went through a massive renovation that transformed it into an iconic multi-functional tower, becoming home to a mix of offices, cafés, restaurants, a hotel, an observation point on the 22nd floor and a revolving restaurant; it opened just one week before our visit in May 2016.
“The Anne Frank Huis (Anne Frank House) is a writer’s house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is located on a canal called the Prinsengracht close to the Westerkerk, in central Amsterdam in the Netherlands. During World War II, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the 17th-century canal house, known as the Secret Annex (Dutch: Achterhuis). Anne Frank did not survive the war, but in 1947 her wartime diary was published [by her father, Otto Frank, the only one of the eight people hiding in the Annex to survive the Nazi concentration camps]. In 1957, the Anne Frank Foundation was established to protect the property from developers who wanted to demolish the block. The museum opened on 3 May 1960. It preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, and has an exhibition space about all forms of persecution and discrimination. In 2013 and 2014, the museum had 1.2 million visitors and was the 3rd most visited museum in the Netherlands, after the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum.” — Wikipedia