Amsterdam, water and colors

I love traveling, especially when I can meet people to share my passion: drawing. This time the destination is Amsterdam and the occasion is provided by the 10th Urban Sketchers Symposium held from July 24th to 27th. The route is towards the Dutch city, therefore, armed with papers and pencils. The best way to visit it is on foot, the distances are reasonable and I like to observe, own the place, study its details and synthesize them in small sketches. Amsterdam is a city where “perspective” is an abstract concept. Buildings are narrow, tall and uniform, with large windows and cheerfully colored façades. The individual houses are personalized with the most extravagant pediments and cornices. The buildings are “lopsided”, they hang, and their appearance is quite funny. There is no vanishing point, but as many as there are houses, embellished with pretty colored tiles. Crossing the “golden elbow”, with the sumptuous dwellings of the rich merchants, we find ourselves at the Bloemenmarkt, the floating flower market. What a show! Floating houses between two bridges with an infinite variety of colorful flower bulbs. From here we reach the museum area where the Rijsk Museum, the Stederlijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum dominate. To the west an immense green spot is offered to our gaze, the Wondelpark. The next day we go to the Zuinderkerk, a Renaissance church with a bell tower with hanging columns, clocks and an onion dome, the emblem of the city. From here we reach the Rembranthuis, a building where Rembrant worked. We then enter the red light district, disturbing at night with its dense network of narrow alleys. We leave this lively district and cross the paved square of the Nieuwmarkt, which, together with the last stretch of the Gedersek, constitutes Amsterdam’s Chinatown. Even the sunset on the river Dam is splendid and an aperitif concludes another splendid day. The city still offers us the Jordaan district, in the circle of canals to the west of the Singel, a maze of narrow streets, terraced houses and small bridges. The Westerkerk, the “Western Church”, with the tallest bell tower in Amsterdam and the Renaissance facade, intrigues me, I stop and do a sketch. I postpone tomorrow’s visit to Dam Square, now have dinner! We reach the old walls and the Café de Schreierstoren welcomes us with its specialties: Bitterballen en Frikadellen, cheeses with aromatic herbs, Satay daging and Satay ayam, various sauces, fried potatoes and Heineken. The medieval atmosphere re-emerges in the Dam, which was the Town Hall, with a classical facade and elegant sculptures and re-emerges in the Nieuwe Kerk, built at the end of the 14th century. We move to a more modern area that runs along the harbor basin and we reach the NEMO, designed by the architect Renzo Piano, whose shape recalls a ship that sinks and from whose bow you can enjoy a suggestive panoramic view.