Monday, October 8, 2012


Where did September go?  I have some catching up to do.  This blog will be a bit of this and a bit of that. 
Piet Hein and his wife Janneka who have stayed at our place in Vancouver  had us over to their place for lunch.  They live in a big Polder (land that has been claimed from the sea) north of Amsterdam about 1 1/2 hours away near a town called Volendam.  They live in one of the old farm house/barns.  As the farms join up they do not need so many of the barns so people are starting to buy them as homes.  These are the kind of places where the family lived in part of it and the barn was attached for the cattle with the hay stored in the middle.  The Polder is about 15 feet below sea level.
Of course we went to a windmill.  They cost about 20,000 to 30,000 Euro to maintain per year. There used to be about 80 of them and now there are about 15 left in that area.  The one we went into was a water pump.

water pump windmill
The house inside the windmill
This would be the screw that brings up the water to a higher level.
Civic building in the Polder
Dutch landscape
Some interesting visuals around our neighbourhood....

The canal we live on.

moving day from the 3 floor for the neighbours
our neighbours boat returning from getting the bottom repainted
fishbowl setup in an aquarium in a cafe
love the colour pallette
Opera singer travelling around on this boat and giving impromptu concerts
our friend Evold on a canal boat with us.  His wife Marianne made the cake!
what to do with an old bridge...stores in the old bridge and offices above
crooked house
We took a trip with our friends Marianne and Evold to Maastricht which is in the south of Holland about two hours or so away.  

One of the towers
cobblestone streets everywhere
we climbed the red tower
old church
view from the tower
cool store the old speakers
beautiful cafe
thick metal door to the bookstore
this is the a church!
cafe in the church/bookstore
street musicians....four accordions!!
wood front on this storefront
When in Maastricht we went to the fabulous museum called Bonnefanten.  They were having a furniture show by a famous Dutch designer,  Marten Vissers, now passed away.  Also included was his and his wife, Joke's amazing collection of art.  Most of this art and his furniture had been in their house which was designed by Gerret Rietveld.

Entrance to the gallery
Sol Le Witt
Giving you some perspective...also the room was a dome
Marten Visser's couch
Marten and Joke's collection

Marten and Joke's Collection
Sol Lewitt's colour palette for a piece painted on the wall
Sol Lewitt
Sol Lewitt's piece on the wall.  Two days after we saw it they painted it over in white.
Ceramic installation
Richard Sera
Men tired after gallery
We stayed in this lovely town outside of Maastricht called Norbeek.  A great little inn with only 6 rooms and an amazing chef and a great wine list.   Only one road and lovely walking paths.  They had a huge church though!

Marianne and I on the terrace of our hotel
One street in the town and this huge church 
Hmmm....looks like they were trying to spell Arntzen!
A peek inside the wall of a housing complex
Love the box car red on this place
old barn
Marianne and Evold took us on a walk about the area
grapes, cows, sheep, horses and apples
At every intersection there is a place to pray

gorgeous views everywhere...this is right on the Belgium border and the hilliest part of Holland
typical house from this area
same style but painted
very organized garden...not like at our home
On the way home we stopped in Thorn where all the buildings are painted white.  Lovely little town with community gardens, babbling streams with trout and great cafes.

Our dear friend Rob celebrated his 60th with lots of family and friends and great food.  Pauline and Simon and Alida came over from Canada to help celebrate.  Our very first trip to Amsterdam was with Pauline over 15 years ago.   We went to markets, piano concerts with tap dancing, canal boating, bike riding and visited old haunts. 

Alida and Pauline
Simon and Arnt kicking back
very skinny canal
boat from Indonesia
Interesting plant...but after all it is Amsterdam

reminds us of our old cabin on Gabriola Island
typical Dutch Boyer sailing vessel
and another one
then there is this!!   

these bridges are all over and a man opens them up and then bicycles to the next one to open
the ugliest boat in Amsterdam
Theo who rents and restores grand pianos put on this outdoor concert and yes she is tap dancing on the piano!
Went to a Festival at NDSM in Amsterdam Noord.  Lots of music, kids stuff, food, beer and prosecco.   They had the best set up of stage and sun covers.

Not sure about this Teddy Bear!
This stage all folds up and gets towed away
Shipping container bar at NDSM
Love the tents they used...metal and aged canvas
Nothing like kids and inner tubes
cutest juice bar
cutest car on the merry-go-round
cutest bike on merry-go-round
He is the most creative busker I have every seen.  Plays classical music on the organ (note the paper going through) and plays along with his horns, steers boat and turns crank of organ all at the same time!  To get money he sells postcards that he raises up on a fishing pole with a wooden shoe on the end for the money!  So creative!
double rainbow over Nemo
Our cousin Randi who lives in Isreal came to visit.  Had a great time with dinners, bike rides and lots of catching up on family.

gondola on the canal
Valerie and Randi relaxing and taking in the view
Arnt and Swan friend
Houses right on the canal
swans going by the front door

Next up more cousins...Helle and Ola from Norway on their second trip to visit us and Kaja and her brand new baby from Copenhagen.  This trip we walked around town as we had the baby pram.  Lots of dinners on the beautiful house boat they were staying in on the Amstel River.  They also all came to our show at NP40!

this is the house boat they rented on the Amstel
Ola and Helle suit this lifestyle
view from the houseboat
Cousins Kaja, Kornelius, Ola and Helle

Ola, Arnt and I went to the newly opened Stedelijk Museum which is the big modern museum here in Amsterdam.  It has been closed for over eight years.  Fantastic collection.  It is huge and we only got to see part of it so Arnt and I will go back.  Ola and I also went to the Oud Kerk (old church) and Arnt took the gals to the Waterlooplein Market.

new addition attached to the very old building
outdoor portion of the cafe
installation in the new addition...goes all the way around in a square

this was a film from Chernobyl...very haunting images
Canadian Rodney Graham's camera
Happy to be in the Stedelijk
the orange room
a peek out to the big park that is part of the Museum area

Great ceramics..all different artists
this was about 6 foot long and made of wood

installation by Dan Lavin
love this man's paintings
Ellesworth Kelly...93 and still painting

Of course I love this piece!
Yves Klein
Jan Schoonhoven (cardboard)
Just the lips of this portrait
love the Buddha watching himself on TV
crazy metal, wood and leather 3D piece

Finally our show at NP40 Gallery.  We made all the art here in Amsterdam (except for my prayer flags) in our home studio.  We were pleased with the gallery space and how the art looked.  And most of all lots and lots of people came.   Great conversations about art and life and good reaction to our show.  Special thanks to Rob and Eric for all the help and support.  What is left from the show we will show at the Eastside Culture Crawl in Vancouver.  
If you got this far thanks for checking out the blog.  It was a long one as I had not posted in a while.  There will be a couple more posts and then we leave Amsterdam.
getting started

maquettes of new designs by Arnt which will someday be full size

Helle, Joos and Maraatsj
the youngest visitor, Kornelius 3 1/2 months
Millie from England and Hans from Amsterdam
Sabina, Alexander and Harold
we inspired a little girl to make art
ended the night with dinner at the house boat with family and friends


  1. Eye popping pictures as usual! Such an amazing trip, Val.
    Thanks for sharing these images,

  2. Your photos have taken me on such an enjoyable journey...thanks so much.

  3. thank you for the wonderful adventure Val. Now I
    want to go to Amsterdam.