Atlantis Alumni

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Excursion to the Inaccessible Otterlo

Saturday, our last day in Amsterdam, Jim decided it would be good to take a trip to Otterlo, to see the Kroller-Muller Museum. This is one of the finest late 19th century-20th century collections of art in northern Europe, and I’d been hoping to see it for many years. But the museum is in one of the most inaccessible places imaginable. One can drive there (we decided this would be a bad decision, given that renting a car for a day is complex.) You can also take a taxi from Amsterdam, for about 600 Euros. Nix that, so the only other way is by train and then buses. But Jim is excellent in figuring out difficult connections, via WiFi. He discovered that reaching the collection, which lies outside the town of Otterlo, in a National forest, was possible by a train trip followed by a single bus ride. Many people online have complained about how difficult it is to reach the museum, having to walk through the forest, riding a bicycle or worse. Thanks to Jim we reached the museum shortly after noon, having left our hotel about 9 AM. After a pleasant lunch, we saw some of the highlights of the collection, including works by Signac, Monet and many others. There was a great temporary Seurat exhibit, with almost half of his works on display including both drawings and paintings. But the greatest art in the permanent collection of the Kroller-Muller is by Van Gogh. They have the second largest collection of his works, after the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. His breathtaking and achingly beautiful works such as the picture of the four cut sunflowers or the wheat harvest (see Jim’s pics) are memorable indeed. I’ve been showing his vertical “Night CafĂ©, Arles” to classes for over 40 years, so it was indeed a treat to see the painting first hand. After we left the museum, another three hours via bus, train and tram back to our hotel, we rested before heading out to our last dinner, at Sluizer, a fish restaurant in the old center of Amsterdam There, the cuisine is very light. One might call it nouvelle Dutch/French cooking. My mussels and Jim’s salmon caviar soup were followed by a turbot with potatoes gratin and a tuna tartar with noodles and a side salad Desserts were a vanilla parfait with Romanoff sauce, and my gateau au chocolat. –Dan

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