Amsterdam, City of Museums (Day 2)

Breakfast! Jonathan went to a place the day before I arrived for an omelet and he said it was marvelous, but that there would be a line; I didn’t mind. We waited for maybe 20-30 minutes. The place is called “Omelegg” and this is what their menu looks like (you can’t tell so much from the picture but it’s made of wood):


I ordered the “create your egg” option and my omelet looked like this:


I don’t think I have to tell you that it was delicious… Jonathan went to the Van Gogh Museum before I arrived so we didn’t consider going there again; but I did want to check out at least one museum while I was in Amsterdam, since the Anne Frank House worked out so badly. We both decided that most likely the Rijksmuseum would be a good choice.

What I didn’t know is that one ticket would cost 17.50 euro, and given that my train was at 4:40 and it was 1:30, I was pretty angry! It’s not like we had enough time to check out everything in the museum! So before going there, keep in mind the price because if you don’t have enough time on your trip, it might well not be worth the investment.

I took pictures of some paintings, scultpures, and porcelain items that I thought might be interesting to see. Hold your cursor over the images to get their names and descriptions. You could also click on the pictures to scroll through them because some captions are long and don’t fit in the short view. All credit for the captions goes to the Rijksmuseum Department of History.

At a certain point in time, I noticed that I recognized some Dutch words because of my familiarity with them in Russian and German; I began paying attention to the Dutch words to see if I recognized their roots. Some of the similarities I found to Russian included: Tazza, Zaal, and Garderobe. Tazza means bowl or deep dish in Dutch, and Таз (pronounced Taz) means bowl in Russian. Zaal means room or gallery in Dutch, and Зал (pronounced Zal) means hall in Russian. Garderobe means wardrobe or cloakroom in Dutch, and Гардероб (pronounced Garderob) means wardrobe or cloakroom in Russian.

My favorite discovery was that of the word for artist’s gallery or studio in 5 different languages. In Dutch, Atelier (pronounced Oteliyey) means studio. In German, Atelier (pronounced Ateliyey) means studio. In French, Atelier (pronounced Ateliyey) means workshop or studio. In Russian, Ателие (pronounced Ateliye) means studio. AND in English, we could also use the word Atelier to, according to Merriam-Webster, describe “an artist’s or designer’s studio or workroom”! I got a little cocky and found out that it’s the same word and spelled the same–unless I wrote otherwise in parentheses–in Azerbaijani (atelye), Bosnian (atelje), Bulgarian (ателие), Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Icelandic, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian (ateljė), Polish, Slovakian (ateliér), Slovenian, Ukrainian (ательє), Welsh, etc., etc.!! What surprised me is that the word does not exist in Spanish, as it is either el taller or el estudio. Obviously this word has Latin origins, but the origins it apparently has are unusual (according to Etymology Online): it might have derived from the Latin word hastella “a thin stick,” diminutive of hasta “spear, shaft,” which seemingly does not even bear that much of a resemblance to the word “atelier” or even mean a workshop, making it all the more surprising that so many languages and their dialects adopted it. I guess it’s just one of the world’s many mysteries. 🙂 I also found this while I perused the web(!)(notice how, again, Spanish is left out):


Apparently, the English word came from around the 1660s when it was used to describe a tropical fruit based solely off of its resemblance to a pine cone and an apple. But I digress. Additionally, but not nearly as cool, I learned that Luxembourg was once a part of the Southern Netherlands (after 1648) by looking at the following plate. This fact answers a few questions I had in my mind, particularly those of 1) why the Luxembourgish flag is almost identical to the Dutch flag, and 2) why the Luxembourgish language is a mix of French, German and Dutch, when geographically speaking, Belgium (which, admittedly, was also once part of the Netherlands) is closer to Luxembourg and in some regions the Belgians speak Flemish.

Plate Depicting the Great Kingdom of Luxembourg

Luxembourg’s government is now called the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Grand-Duché de Luxembourg or Großherzogtum Luxemburg)

Despite feeling like I overspent at the museum, I did manage to self-educate myself to a great extent! I could only hope I imparted some knowledge on my readers, too. Although I was only able to go to one museum, I would be remiss if I did not at least encourage travelers to visit the other museums in Amsterdam. Here are some museums to consider attending:

  1. Van Gogh Museum (Van Gogh was Dutch, so this museum holds collections of his works)
  2. Anne Frank House (the house where Frank hid during WWII)
  3. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (museum of modern and contemporary art & design)
  4. Hermitage Amsterdam (a branch of the legendary Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg)
  5. Rembrandt House Museum (Rembrandt was Dutch and lived in the house where the museum is located between 1639 and 1656)
  6. Museum of Bags and Purses (houses historic handbags and purses dating back to the 14th century)
  7. Heineken Experience (having originated in the Netherlands, this was the location of Heineken’s former brewery)
  8. Bijbels Museum (maintains a collection of historic Bibles and other religious objects)
  9. KattenKabinet (hilariously, the museum is a collection of works depicting cats, even from artists such as Picasso, Rembrandt, Toulouse-Lautrec, and more)
  10. Sexmuseum Amsterdam Venustempel (there’s always the sex museum for those adventurous types)

To close off this awesome trip, here’s a 2-minute video of what it’s like to bike down the streets of Amsterdam.