Day 1: the Amsterdam canal house! A fascinating study of 4 extraordinary 5-bay houses, and the evolution of the city and its architecture. The day began at the Burgemeester's House (or mayor's residence), moving on to the Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis, the Museum Willet-Holthuysen, and the Museum Van Loon (the latter retaining its original garden and coach house, albeit somewhat altered in the 18th century). The day ended with dinner and drinks in the garden of a private residence (a typical 3-bay canal house).
What became clear very quickly is that nothing in Amsterdam is static. While all of the houses we studied have occupied their plots since they were first built in the 17th century, they have evolved over time to reflect the changing tastes and lifestyles of the intervening centuries.
For some history the development of Amsterdam and its canal ring, see:
* Paul Spies, The Canals of Amsterdam (1991) ~ currently out of print, but due to be revised and reprinted in 2013
* and Amsterdam's Canal Belt: The Expansion of Amsterdam in the Golden Age, on view at the Rijksmuseum, 1 June - 6 September 2010
(above: a 17th-century leaded glass window in the collection of the Willet-Holthuysen)
P.S. I started a Netherlands set on flickr. . . ahhh, slowly, slowly.