Van Gogh Museum

This wonderful museum traces Van Gogh’s life and artistic development via the world’s largest collection of his work.

Van Gogh Museum

More than 200 canvases are on display, stretching from his early, bleak portraits of peasants in the Netherlands through to his later years in sunny France, where he produced his best-known work with its characteristic giddy colour. Also on show here are 500 of his drawings and 700 hand-written letters.

The museum is spread over four levels, moving chronologically from Floor 0 (ground floor) to Floor 3. Allow at least a couple of hours to browse all of the galleries.


Paintings and artworks

Van Gogh’s works are scattered in museums around the world, but the Van Gogh Museum holds the largest collection, comprising a staggering 200 paintings and 500 drawings by Vincent and his contemporaries, including Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Monet. Van Gogh’s earliest works ­­– showing raw, if unrefined, talent – are from his time in the Dutch countryside and Antwerp between 1883 and 1885. 

He painted peasant life, exalting their existence in works such as the masterpiece, The Potato Eaters (1885). Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette (1886) is another highlight, painted when Van Gogh was a student at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. 

He then moved to Paris in 1886 and began to paint self-portraits as a way of improving his portraiture without paying for models, which he couldn’t afford. Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat was painted in the winter of 1887–1888 and is one of his boldest color experiments.

One of his most beloved works, Sunflowers (1889), is a result of him leaving Provence for Arles, intent on painting the vibrant landscapes and achieving his dream of creating an artist’s colony. 

Another of his iconic paintings, The Yellow House – a rendering of the abode he rented in Arles – is also from this period. In 1890, Van Gogh painted one of his last paintings Wheatfield with Crows – a particularly menacing and ominous piece finished shortly before his suicide.

Aside from admiring the massive collection of masterpiece paintings, don’t pass up the opportunity to hear recordings of Van Gogh’s letters at the multiple listening stations in the museum. The letters are mainly to and from his younger brother, Theo, who championed his work, and offer a poignant insight into their relationship.

Kohima: A Tapestry of Tradition and Tranquility
Exploring the Enchanting Beauty of Darjeeling: A Year-round Haven
Egypt Unveiled: A Journey through the Cradle of Civilization

History of the Van Gogh Museum

After his death in 1890, Vincent left his complete collection of works to his brother, Theo. When Theo died shortly after in 1891, the collection was handed over to Theo’s widow, Jo van Gogh-Bonger, and after her death in 1925, it was then passed on to her son Vincent Willem van Gogh. He loaned the collection of artworks to Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, before a dedicated museum was called for to house the late artist’s impressive oeuvre.

Opened in 1973, the Van Gogh Museum’s main building was designed by the influential Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld, who was an important member of De Stijl ­– a group of progressive artists and architects active in the 1920s. Behind the main building, reaching towards Museumplein, is a separate wing, which was opened in 1999 and designed by Kisho Kurokawa. The transparent building with its state-of-the-art glass structure hosts temporary exhibitions by big-name artists.

In 2015, a swish new extension and entrance hall added 800 sq meters (8600 sq ft) of space to the museum.


The museum usually offers 50-minute guided tours (in Dutch) which take groups of four around Vincent van Gogh’s masterpieces. However, due to Covid-19 these are currently unavailable. 


Opening hours and best time to visit

Opening hours for the museum vary throughout the year. During the peak summer months (July-September), the museum tends to open daily from 9am-6pm, while at other times of year the hours are 10am-5pm (until 6pm on weekends). Winter opening hours are even more limited, with the museum sometimes closing completely on Mondays. Check the official website for up-to-date opening hours.

As you’d expect to be the case for the world’s largest collection of works from one of the world’s most famous artists of all time, the museum gets packed. The best times to visit to try to avoid the crowds are before 11am and after 3pm.


Tickets and location

The museum is located at Museumplein. Tickets must be purchased online where you choose a starting time slot. It allows you entry to the permanent exhibition, as well any temporary exhibitions showing at the time.


Adult: €19 ($22). Admission is free for those under 18.

Discount cards

There is free admission for Museumkaart and I Amsterdam cardholders, but you still need to book a timeslot on the museum’s website. I Amsterdam cardholders must reserve online at the I Amsterdam website.

Nearby restaurants

Set in a beautiful space with huge windows and high ceilings, Rijks was awarded a Michelin star in 2016. Chef Joris Bijdendijk uses locally sourced produce, adheres to slow-food philosophy and draws on historic Dutch influences in his creative, highly imaginative cuisine. The restaurant is part of the Rijksmuseum.

With old family photos adorning the walls, cozy Hap Hmm almost feels like dining in a relative’s home. The menu offers an array of classic Dutch comfort foods, from rich beef stews to chicken casseroles, and a good selection of vegetarian options. Just like any home-cooked meal, dishes are served with a selection of boiled vegetables. Note: credit cards are not accepted.

Renzo’s deli resembles an Italian tavola calda (hot table), where you can select hot and cold ready-made dishes, such as meatballs, pasta and salads, plus stuffed sandwiches and delicious cannoli (Sicilian ‘little tubes’, filled with ricotta cream). There are a few tables crammed into the space, or it’s perfect to take away to nearby Museumplein.

Hotels near the Van Gogh Museum

There are a number of excellent accommodation options within walking distance of the Van Gogh Museum, including the Hilton Amsterdam, famous as the place that John and Yoko staged their “bed-in for peace” in 1969, and the Conscious Hotel Museum Square, which boasts a lush garden terrace and furniture made from recycled materials.

However, for proximity to the museum, it’s hard to beat the palatial, Conservatorium Hotel, an eight-story, five-star hotel with a huge covered courtyard and contemporary rooms with designer furnishings. The hotel is a one-minute walk from the Van Gogh Museum.

Should I visit the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum?

The Rijksmuseum is a magnificent art gallery located in Museumplein close to the Van Gogh Museum. If you start early and have plenty of energy you could tackle both in one day, but it’s probably  too much – considering The Rijksmuseum itself is over half a mile (1.5km) of gallery space! Spread the visits over a couple of days for a more enjoyable experience. 

If you must choose only one and you are a Van Gogh fan, the Van Gogh Museum will be more to your liking as the Rijksmuseum has only a few Van Gogh works on display. But if you want to get an overview of Dutch art and see more of the Dutch masters (Rembrandt, Vermeer, Steen), then spend the day at the Rijksmuseum.


Article source 

A Green Holiday in Jersey, Channel Islands

A Green Holiday in Jersey, Channel Islands
Take the train and fast ferry, and then cycle around the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands, and make your travel sustainable.

A Green Holiday in Jersey, Channel Islands

The largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey is a haven for cyclists seeking both natural beauty and sustainable travel options. One of the island’s unique features is its network of “Green Lanes,” designated for cyclists, walkers, and horse riders. They’re marked with special signage and are away from main roads, often following picturesque coastal paths and quiet countryside lanes.

It’s a green travel experience, a way of reducing my carbon footprint and minimising noise pollution. Even better, I opt to make my travel to the island environmentally friendly so take the train to Poole and then the fast Condor Ferry to St. Helier.  Even though the island is only 5 miles long and 9 miles wide, it’s not exactly flat and cycling can be tough. So the solution is an e-bike, perfectly capable of conquering the steep hills.

Route 1, Circular Island Tour

The simple way of discovering the island is to follow the coastline all the way around. Route 1 is well signed and offers picturesque coastal landscapes, charming villages, and leafy lanes. I set out from St. Helier, in an anti-clockwise direction, cycling west along the bike path along the bay. So far it’s flat but at St Aubin, I climb uphill and follow an old railway track to the Corbiere Lighthouse.

Here I turn the corner and head north along the flat expanse of St. Ouen’s Bay. I stop at the Channel Islands Military Museum, housed in a WW2 bunker, and then cut inland at L’Etacq. This is a fairly steep climb north-east and then dropping down to the coast at Grève de Lecq. The contrast between the long flat sandy beaches of the south and west and the wooded deep coves of the north is startling.

From here the trail turns inland but still follows the coast passing the villages of Sorel, St John and Trinity before descending to the sea at the attractive fishing village of Rozel. Here I stop for lunch, before another exhilarating climb which leads back down to the sea at Fliquet and St Catherine’s Breakwater. In the distance I can see the distinctive shape of Mont Orgueil Castle, overlooking the port of Gorey, and it’s worth a stop here for a brief visit.

I’m now homeward bound, turning west passing through the village of Grouville before arriving back in St. Helier. It’s taken me most of the day, cycled 50 miles and without the bonus of an e-bike it would have been tough. In fact toward the end it’s looking like the battery is about to give out, but I just about make it back.

Kohima: A Tapestry of Tradition and Tranquility
Exploring the Enchanting Beauty of Darjeeling: A Year-round Haven
Egypt Unveiled: A Journey through the Cradle of Civilization

Routes 4 and 3, Jersey Zoo and Elizabeth Castle

I’m keen to visit Jersey Zoo so I take Route 4 North from St Aubin’s Bay into the centre of the island. There I meet Route 3, the central island route, and then take its feeder, Route 3a to the Zoo at Les Augrès Manor, near the village of Trinity. The park is situated in 32 acres of landscaped parkland and water-gardens and is committed to animal conservation.
It’s home to 1,400 mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians and over 130 endangered species. Sumatran orang-utans, Andean bears and Montserrat orioles, rescued from beneath the smouldering volcano, live in lush, spacious environments which closely replicate their native habitats. Madagascar lemurs and tiny lion tamarinds from Brazil roam free in woodland, leaping through the trees. Other exhibits include a walk through aviary and a cloud forest housing otters, coatis and howler monkeys.

It all fits in with my objective of sustainable travel and, on the way back, I travel west following Route 3 to reach the coast at St. Ouen’s Bay and then follow my coastal route of yesterday in the other direction. Back in St. Helier, there’s just enough time to take the amphibious ride to Elizabeth Castle in the bay. It dates from the 16th century, built to replace the defences at Mont Orgueil and named after Elizabeth 1. The tide’s out after my visit so I walk back along the causeway to St Helier.

Jersey takes the environment seriously. They say they’re constantly looking to develop more ways to live sustainably and in harmony with their island environment. They have the grand ambition to be a carbon neutral island by 2030. They encourage you to collect the plastic and rubbish from the beaches and you can exchange a full bucket for a free hot drink.

As for me, I’m going to be doing my bit by heading home on Condor Ferries back to the UK mainland and then taking the train home. It takes a bit longer than flying but it’s certainly a more relaxing way to travel. And I can feel a tiny bit smug, feeling I’m doing my bit to help save the planet.

Article source


Inspector Merer’s Journal

In 2013, Pierre Tallet, an Egyptologist at the University of Paris, Sorbonne, and his team found papyrus scraps stuffed between stones in a building at a Red Sea harbor used during Khufu’s reign. It was part of a day-to-day log by an inspector named Merer, who oversaw a cargo boat crew transporting limestone from Tura to the Giza Plateau. Merer refers to the Great Pyramid as “The Horizon of Khufu” and calls a harbor at the pyramid site “Khufu’s pool.”

For more details on this article

Hiking the GR131 in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain

Hiking the GR131 in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain
This long distance walking trail crosses the mountainous centre of Gran Canaria, starting and ending at the sea.

Hiking the GR131 in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain

The GR131 is an island-hopping trail that runs east to west and coast to coast across each of the Canary Islands. Of course you can’t walk on water so you have to take ferries to connect the islands. In order, you walk across Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma, and end on the tiny island of El Hierro. It’s a massive undertaking to do it in all in one go, but on separate trips I’ve already picked off La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro. Now it’s time to tackle Gran Canaria which until recently had not signed its stretch of the GR131. Unofficially, for years, people walked south to north through the island, starting in Maspalomas and ending in Agaete and that’s the route I propose to take.

Yet as of May 2023 there’s a newly signposted route, which starts at Playa El Burrero (on the east coast near the airport) heads up the Guayadeque valley, passes Pico del Nieves onto Cruz de Tejeda then descends to the Ferry port at Agaete. The western side of this route is fully signposted, but the eastern side is not yet complete. Unfortunately I only find out, in the middle of my walk when I see the new signs in the centre of the island.

This could be a change for the better as the old route always had a problem with a lack of accommodation in the early stages. Indeed, although I sleep in Playa del Inglés near Maspalomas, I have to take a taxi to Tunte to start the hike. This is actually the beginning of the third stage but the only way of doing the first two would be to travel to and from the hotel every day.
A little further at Degollada de Becerra, there’s a stall offering tastings of Canarian products, but I press on uphill and then down to Cruz de Tejeda. The excellent Parador hotel is my destination and has a wonderful heated pool. On the terrace, the mist comes and goes, suddenly revealing views of the sunset over Roque Nublo and Roque Bentayga.

Day 1: Tunte to Cruz de Tejeda 15.5km (9½ miles) 5hr 30

I arrive in Tunte and follow the Camino de Santiago signs, which shares some of the same route of the GR131. The path zigzags uphill, to a road at Cruz Grande, at 1215m (3986ft), then picks a stone paved trail up a rugged cliff face. Pine forest follows and there’s a glimpse of Roque Nublo before climbing up to Degollada de los Hornos, at 1719m, the highest point on the walk.

My guide is keen to spot the rare Gran Canaria Blue Chaffinch, and later we’re rewarded with two sightings. Pico de las Nieve, the highest point on Gran Canaria at 1951m, is to my right but I carry on, walking on gentle forest trails. There are tremendous views of the mountain tops as I descend to Degollada la Cumbre and here see the new GR131 signs.

A little further at Degollada de Becerra, there’s a stall offering tastings of Canarian products, but I press on uphill and then down to Cruz de Tejeda. The excellent Parador hotel is my destination and has a wonderful heated pool. On the terrace, the mist comes and goes, suddenly revealing views of the sunset over Roque Nublo and Roque Bentayga.

Day 2: Cruz de Tejeda to Puerto de las Nieves 31km (17.51 miles) 9hr

This is going to be a long day so I start at sunrise, in mist and light rain, climbing gradually through pines to Degollada de las Palomas, at 1623m. The path descends passing Cuevas de Caballero, caves once inhabited by aboriginal Guanches. It continues past another cave, Cueva de los Candiles, and works its way down to the attractive village of Artenara. Here the caves have had a makeover and are still inhabited – you can even stay in one.
After climbing, the trail runs parallel to the road and eventually leads to the forest at Pinar de Tamadaba. There’s a campsite here and it’s all downhill from now on, following a rugged path which drops down 1200m on a steep and rugged slope. During the descent, there are fine views of the west coast of Gran Canaria with the ultimate destination of Puerto de las Nieves tantalisingly close.

When I reach the sea I bathe my aching feet in the natural volcanic saltwater pools and celebrate my achievement. This is a tremendous walk and once the signage is up and running, I vow to return and start the GR131 just by the airport. That’s something to look forward to.

Source articles