Scooting Through The Stedelijk

Icy, icy cold and gray. With skies as flat and colourless as a dull nickel coin, we headed down the street to catch the tram and the wind set our eyes streaming as soon as we walked out the front door.

Our destination was the Uitburo (ticket office) at Leidseplein where we planned to purchase a Museumkaart, a museum card for both Amsterdam and the rest of Holland that covers more than 400 museums or sites. Two trams later we arrived and noticed that the lights were on in the area around the ice skating rink and on the front of the Uitburo. They didn’t seem out of place because, even at 10:30 in the morning, it was rather dim outside.

Uitburo (ticket office) at Leidseplein

Lights on in Leidseplein at 10:30 AM on a dim winter morning

The charming young woman inside the ticket office apologized to us and explained that she had sold the last of the Museumkaarts the previous day and another shipment was not expected until later in the afternoon. Our plans were rescued when she phoned the Stedelijk, the modern art museum and they did have some in stock. So we thanked her and backtracked via tram to the museum district.

Central stairwell at the Stedelijk Museum

Upper central stairwell at Stedelijk Museum

What we expected to see versus what we did see was altogether different than those expectations that we had as we left the apartment in the morning. The museum is currently undergoing a massive renovation and a new wing will be constructed that will transform both the amount of space needed to house the collections and the climate control for preserving what is on display. As a result, well over half of the building is a series of empty rooms and that was quite disappointing since we hadn’t known that prior to entry.

When a young woman with a clipboard approached me as we prepared to leave an hour later and asked me to rate my experience on a 1 to 10 basis, I told her quite honestly that it was a 5 at best since there was almost nothing to look at.

None of the permanent pieces such as the Bauhaus or Post-Impressionist works that I had been expecting were there. What is within is sparsely sprinkled over two floors with long walks through empty rooms in between.

We had a nice coffee and pastry in the cafe which is still open and fully functional and oddly, that ended up being one of the highlights of our visit to that particular museum.

Here are a few examples of the artwork that is still ‘in residence.’

Exhibit at the Stedelijk Museum

Modern art exhibit at the Stedelijk Museum

Thank you to the staff at the Van Gogh Museum. Someone sent them a copy of my article from two days ago, A Visit With Vincent and they sent a note on Twitter around the world that increased the number of visitors to this site dramatically over the next 2 days. The museum staff also took the time to write me a personal thank you note for the article, so I am reciprocating by letting you know about that charming courtesy.

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