Apr 15, 2003
Sep 01, 2011
Open Monument Day was pretty cool. We went into 4 buildings yesterday. The first was a church that I walk by on my way to the gym. It's normally open for services but not for tourists and looks like nothing from the outside but turns out to be BEAUTIFUL inside. There's also a very old corn measuring house across the walkway from the gym that was open today. On the outside it's a beautiful old building but it's never open. Turns out that it's the office of an organization that works to protect old buildings and neighborhoods. We learned how farmers used to bring their corn there to be measured and judged for quality. Then we went to a very old house (1520s) in the Red Light District that is now home to the Salvation Army (2 floors) and where a family lives on the upper floors. Finally, we went to the old weigh house which sit on an open area (plein) at the edge of the Red Light District, Chinatown, and a residential area. The building used to be part of Amsterdam's wall and was later a weigh house. Now there's a restaurant on the ground floor. For Monument Day the upper floors were open and we learned that 4 guilds used to occupy the tower. One floor was for the masons and it had beautiful stone and brick work on the walls and ceilings. The top floor was for the surgeons guild and had an anatomical dissection theater that Rembrandt had been commissioned to paint (the painting is now in a museum in The Hague). We had no idea these things were sitting above the restaurant! Tomorrow we'll go explore some more buildings.