Sunday, September 10, 2017
I don’t suppose a visit to Amsterdam would be complete without checking to see what the Red Light District is about. Because we were going to be out late tonight we had a nice relaxing morning and finally headed downtown early afternoon. Our first stop was the Oude Kerk, or the Old Church, which is the oldest building in Amsterdam. This church took shape in phases from 1300 on. Over the centuries this church has functioned as a public space where citizens could meet, close transactions of any kind and listen to beautiful organ music.
Today there was an art installation by Sarah van Sonsbeek, Check out the link to see more information about the show. https://oudekerk.nl/en/programma/sarah-van-sonsbeeck/ The painted pillars lead your eyes up to the ceiling which is made of wood and was built by shipwrights. It looks like the upside down hulls boats.
I loved this winding stairway which led high up to a little tiny door right near the ceiling. Wish I knew where it led to.. Although most of the floor was cover with the gold blankets we were able to see some of the old tomb covers in the floor. Note the dates, 1590 and 1596. I wondered about the family crest of a bird leg and wing. It seemed rather strange.
After a brief visit to a Buddhist shrine in China town we visited De Waag. This building is only open today for a Open Monument Day which is held once a year. It turns out that this building held the Anatomical theatre where Rembrandt painted his famous ‘The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp’ in 1632.
We were in the Anatomy Theater that was built just above where Rembrandt worked! That was quite amazing.
There were a lot of stairs to climb to get up to the theater…which was in the old watch Tower which used to be a gate in part of the wall that protected Amsterdam.There was a flea market outside so the bottom of the building is hidden. We were in the centre tower where the little yellow windows are. Rembrandt painted in the room below.We had a bite to eat and wandered about waiting for it to get dark and we were very surprised to see two huge Hudson Bays Stores, each four stories tall.The houses along here were old and beautiful. The Red Light District, not so beautiful.There are sex shows along both sides of the street.
Where ever there are red lights along the street, as in the right hand side of the above photo, there are very small rooms with doors opening onto the streets. Inside each rooms is a chair or stool, a bed and a washroom, and a woman selling her body. The women stand or sit in the windows so that the men can inspect them and choose the woman they want to have sex with. You can just see the edge of one of these rooms at the base of the stairs. The streets were packed with people, the majority of whom were men. We saw several men enter these little rooms, and then the curtains were drawn. I found it all very sad, and felt for the women who were in this profession. It is hard to believe that anyone would choose this line of work if they had other choices or opportunities available. The views of the canals gong home were much nicer than the streets of the Red Light District.