Vater-Müller organ, Oude Kerk Amsterdam
The Oude Kerk (“old church”) is the oldest building in Amsterdam, founded 1213 (>800 year old!) and consecrated in 1306. The wooden roof is the largest medieval wooden vault in Europe, and the Estonian planks (1390) claim some of the best acoustics in Europe. Rembrandt was a parishioner the Oude Kerk, his children were all baptized here, and his wife was buried here in 1642. It is the only building in Amsterdam that remains in its original state since Rembrandt walked its halls.
Above is the Vater-Müller organ, built in 1724 and regarded as one of the finest Baroque organs in Europe. It was acknowledged by the church Commissioners as “perfect.” Click here to see an interesting demonstration of the organ accompanied by a Taiko, a traditional Japanese drum.
Nazi Pillbox, Scheveningen Beach, The Hague, Netherlands
When I was a kid living in Holland in ’75 and ’76 I used to ride my bike to the beach (Scheveningen Beach) with my brother Mike and our friends. Near the end of the ride we passed through extensive sand dunes before we reached the North Sea. At the periphery of the dunes we passed these Nazi German R671 Pillboxes, which are remnants of the German Atlantikwall heavy artillery defense system.
The Atlantikwall was an extensive system of costal defense fortifications built by Hitler and Nazi Germany between 1942 and 1944 along the coast of Europe and Scandinavia which included trenches, gun positions, colossal coastal guns, and thousands of German troops stationed to protect against the anticipated Allied invasion of WWII. They are part of a last generation of static defences built on such a large scale.
In writing this entry I came across a website that visually depicts the Third Reich’s massive defensive line established on the European Western coast. Of special interest to me were the photographs of the intricate tunnel systems built beneath these very structures on this small section of the Dutch coast. I highly encourage you to explore this link (Bunkersite.com) and visit the tunnels and trenches under this and other beaches as well as descriptions of other components of the Third Reich’s Atlantikwall. Start with the gray links on the left of the page. This photo is from my 2014 visit back to Holland.
Built 1603-1611, the Zuiderkerk (Southern Church) is a 17th-century Dutch Renaissance design Protestant church in the Nieuwmarkt area of Amsterdam. The church bells date back to 1658, and are still rung once a week.
It was rumored that Rembrandt painted his famous Night Watch in the church because his nearby studio and home was too small (likely untrue), however three of his children are buried here.
The French Impressionist painter Claude Monet painted his famous “The Zuiderkerk, Amsterdam (Looking up the Groenburgwal)” from this very location in 1874.
Reguliersgracht Canal, 7 Bridges, Amsterdam
View from the intersection of the Reguliersgracht and Herengracht canals. The Reguliersgracht is considered to be one of the most beautiful canals in Amsterdam, and at this location it is possible to view the famous seven bridges of the Reguliersgracht. I used long exposures to accentuate the passing headlights of the night traffic. This is one of my favorite photos that I have taken.