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Travel: Jewish Amsterdam and More.. Holland. 3/4 -5/2023

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

Continuation of the trip which started on


3/2/2023 - Amsterdam (part 1)



The sky reverted back to its natural Dutch cloudy grey drizzly cold weather. after 2 short dry weather sunny days.


However what had warmed our hearts was spending a special time with our long time dear Dutch friends- Hans and Betty -who drove all the way from Antwerp, Belgium where they reside, as to meet with us,


Hans, who some of you had met upon his 2017 visit to CA, when the excellent film "Menten Affair" (based on his book) also called "The Body collector" premiered at the EBJFF



Hans is cast as the Jewish Hero Journalist ,who unmasked, after the war, a monster Dutch Nazi .How timely is to mention this now when Purim is celebrated!


I made sure to have this important film be screened at the East Bay Jewish Film Fest. (EBJFF) and at the Jerusalem cinimateck , It was screened in many other countries around the world, and is on view now on Netlex.


Despite being ostracized, blacklisted, and threatened with death, Hans didn’t stop his journalistic investigation until the murderer of hundreds of Polish Jews was behind bars, and Hans

was belatedly honored for his journalistic investigation (read more) (and more)


The day was spent by hopping in and out into few popular eateries, sampling Dutch ambiance and food, in between pilgrimage to Jewish commemoration sites.



Trendy Cornelius Schuytstraat in Amsterdam Sud




Cornelis Schuytstraat.- the section visited starts at JohanesVerhulstraat square, and is

a beautiful shopping-area in Amsterdam South, near the museums zone, famous for its luxury products, exclusive fashion brands, and stylish cafés./restaurants.





We sampled food at 2 Brasseries places, opposite of each other,

In Vandam Brasserie had lunch, and in the other -

Brasserie De Joffers had the famous Dutch Apple Geback with Schlach-Zanne - Apple cake with whipped cream



Van Dam Braserrie with Hans and Betty


Funky art at the Restaurant



Across from the Restaurant in the street




At the other end of Cornelis



2 Iconic City's landmark passed



Built in 1867 on the east bank of the Amste River,. This fully preserved iconic city's landmark now an InterContinental is characterized by luxury and rich history, has always attracted the rich and famous

In 2007, it was the only hotel in the Netherlands on the list of World's Best Hotels, ranked in 90th place





VondelPark - an important large green zone in the city

The park which was opened in 1865, is a public urban park of 47 hectares (120 acres) situated west from the Leidseplein and the Museumplein.



Named after the 17th-C playwright and poet Joost van den Vondel, it is the largest and most-famous park in Amsterdam. and one of the favorite spots to go for a stroll, and a bike ride along its pathways. There is an open-air theatre, a playground and several food service facilities.Within the park



The Jewish Quarter of Amsterdam


Portuguese Jewish merchants began to settle in Amsterdam in about 1590 following the 1492 Spanish Jews expulsion.

The first Ashkenazi settlers in Amsterdam arrived in the 1620s Their number rapidly increased and soon exceeded the Sephardi community.

Jews from Poland found their way to Amsterdam after the Chmielnicki massacres in 1648-49, and after the Swedish invasion in 1655.

From the end of the 19th c, Amsterdam became a cultural center and a high birth rate led to the growth of the Jewish population in Amsterdam from 30,000 in 1870 to 60,000 in 1900 .

Of about 140.000 Jews that were living in Holland before the war, about 102,000 were murdered, either by gas, torture, starvation or illness in concentration camps.

That is 87% of the Jewish population in the country, one of the highest percentages of Europe.

In Amsterdam around 28.000 Amsterdam Jews survived the war

In three massive raids during the Nazi occupation (in May, June, and September 1943) approximately 13,000 people were arrested and transported to Westerbork from where almost all were sent to the extermination camps Auschwitz and Sobibor.

Amsterdam Jewish Quarter was raided and left in ruins. After 1945 a community of 30.000 Jews remained in Holland .(more))


The Dutch invented the concept of Self 'Marketing" (before it was further elevated in the US) and had presented themselves as a "liberal tolerant society" ,while the fact is that many Dutch eagerly collaborated with the Nazis, and facilitated this highest Jewish death rate, not to forget that Apartheid in south Africa was facilitated by the Dutch Boers

(“husbandman,” or “farmer).


The area between Nieuwmarkt and Plantage was historically known as Jodenbuurt

(more)



On NWE Keizers Gract


In the center of Amsterdam from a building on NWE Keizers Gract, #58 photo left) once operated the

Dutch Jewish Council - Judenrat

during the occupation of Holland by the German Nazis

A 5-part historical drama series, on this Dutch Council, which is based on a true story from World War II. (each episode lasts 50 min) will soon air out on Dutch TV Chanel 1, it tells the story of distinguished chairman David Cohen and his daughter Virrie, a heroic nurse. It is based on a book written by my dear friend - Hans,


The Dutch Jewish Council (Translated from the Dutch Version)

From no other country in Western Europe were so many Jews deported during the Second World War as from the Netherlands. How could this have happened?

The Jewish Council was established by order of the German occupiers and consisted of high-ranking members of Amsterdam's Jewish society.

What was originally supposed to be a communication medium quickly grew into a lurid conduit serving the efficient deportation of more than 100,000 Dutch Jews.



The historical drama series tells the story of both family members firmly believing that they were doing the right thing for their people, but this puts them at odds with each other. Gradually, their relationship suffocates in the middle of an equally suffocating situation that only knows losers.



Caviar and Dutch production company- Levitate Film are once again joining forces for this project. The previous joint project, the film De Slag Om De Schelde, not only topped the list of most watched films on Netflix for weeks, it also won no less than 5 Golden Calves.

The art director is the Belgian Hubert Pouille, who won a Golden Calf with The Battle of the Scheldt.

Hannes de Maeyer from Ghent will compose the music for this special series,

++++++++++++++++++


On the same NWE Keizers Gract there used to be 2 additional Jewish services in the buildings carrying a plaque, that are transformed into regular residential housing


The Nurses Resident

The 1915 Building once housed the nurses from the neighboring Dutch Jewish hospitals - one of three




Dutch Jewish Hospital

Former location of the 1884

Nederlands-Israelitish-Ziekenhuis, one of many Jewish healthcare institutions

in 8/13/1943 the patients and personnel were deported to Nazi concentration camps


By NWE Keizers Gract Canal





On Plantage MiddenLaan

The building under construction was the Jewish Theater into where in August 1942, the Nazi rounded and held Jews-a " deportation center", before transporting them into the Westerbork. camp.

Across is the white building where the children of the incarcerated parents, were held.

Some of the lucky surviving children where smuggled into the Tram that stopped on the tracks in the Road's center ,between the 2 building and were hidden from the eyes of the Nazi guards



The Dockworker Memorial in front of the 17th C Portuguese Synagogue



'De Dokwerker' Memorial


Commissioned by the municipality of Amsterdam in 1952, the

Statue 'De Dokwerker' on the Jonas Daniël Meijerplein,designed by Mari Andriessen,. is a memorial which recalls the February-strike of 1941 (25 and 26 February) by the Dock workers, who were the only one who stood up against the violence against Jews by the Nazi occupying forces, with a general strike,

Since the Dock workers were stigmatized and deligitimized as communist, it took many years for the Dutch Gov/people to acknowledge and

pay the strikers this due respect for showing brave solidarity with the Dutch Jews.


Most unexpectedly

At the Dutch Dockworker Site we run into 3 tourists who shared they were from CA. and who inquired about entry hours to the near by Portuguese Synagogue,

Closely observing one of the 2 women, I had a DeJaVue, that I had met her, someplace before, as she looked familiar. After 3 minutes of conversation, when she divulge her name- Luba from San Fransisco, I realized I know her, and her partner Dr. Nik , whose house we visited few years ago when they hosted an art event for a visiting Israeli painter. - Alexander Gurevitz, ..what a small world...



The "Shadow Wall" Holocaust Memorial


Designed by the acclaimed architect Daniel Libeskind, the memorial (opened in 2021) is made up of walls shaped to form 4 Hebrew letters spelling out a word that translates as לזכר “In Memory Of.”. Glass design and sunken red bricks with the 102.000 names of Jews from all over Holland who perished under the horror of the Nazi occupation.

Curved into the memorial red bricks the site meant to blend and undertone so it wouldn't perturbed on the rest of environment (opposite of the one in Berlin)

Shadow Wall is a memorial created in 2013 with plaques listing names of more than 200 residents of Nieuwe Keizersgracht laid in the stones of the canal bank beside the Hermitage Museum. Jack crisjamer founder of the idea of the memorial




The Historical Jewish Museum

mideland street It is the only museum in the Netherlands dedicated to Jewish history.

Opened in 1932 and was initially housed at the Waag (Weighing House) on Nieuwmarkt, the museum was forced to close under Nazi occupation and much of the collection was lost.

It reopened in 1955. In 1987 and moved to the new location, occupying four former synagogues on Jonas Daniël Meijerplein square, across the road from ther Portuguese Synagogue (for which joint tickets are sold).



The new National Holocaust Museum due to be open in 2924 in the former Teacher School and the Hollandsche Schouwburg

It is the first and only museum to tell the entire story of the segregation, persecution, and murder. of the Jews of the Netherlands. A history of Yet also of rescue, survival and solidarity.


+++++++++++++++++


Now a days the majority of the Dutch Jews, 45,000 in total of which 10,000 are Israelis, reside in the South districts of Amsterdam and by Amstelveen


After connecting with the very sad Jewish history and sites, moving on and into a completely different modern shopping environment, lightened the afternoon.



Gelderlandplein in door Shopping mall Amsterdam South (here)


Over 90 (specialty) shops, restaurants and multiple artworks by renowned artists. Combine. Sampling afternoon drinks and enjoying funky art on display at the mall












Zuisad Business Center District




Dinner took place at the modern high-rise Business Center district in a strategic location, at the south of the city and in close proximity to Schiphol Airport. ,It is an urban hub with international allure.but doesn't resemble at all the Dutch historic charming center's architecture. The district is most important office locations in the Netherlands for large group of leading companies and institutions includes Google, AkzoNobel, ABN AMRO, The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and VU Medical Center




Cafe Loetje Zuidas

Cafe Loetje - on Parnassusweg 1021in the Business area ( chain with few locations)


Betty and Hans, from whom we sadly departed, returned back to Belgium that Saturday night after dinner . While our time was spend on last day on Sunday 3/5, by exploring more by foot, the museum area and attending a concert.


By the Museum Plein


A municipal museum for modern contemporary art and design from the early 20th up to the 21st c, . It is housed ina 19th c building which was designed by Adriaan Willem Weissman and features artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, , Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning +




An independent Modern Contemporary Museum, since 2016, in the historic Villa Alsberg, - townhouse designed in 1904 by Eduard Cuypers the nephew of Pierre Cuypers, designer of Amsterdam Central Station and the Rijksmuseum., one of the first privately-owned residencies on Museumplein and remained so until 1939. (Tickets are at 22 Euro a piece...)


The pieces displayed at the Moco exterior courtyard fee to the public



The Concert Gebouw in the back and the Van Gogh Museum, on the right



Concert at the Concert Gebouw


This 1886 Concert Main Hall (Grote Zaal) seats 1,974 and is world famous.

It is the house of the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra) as well as the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest which provide regular concert series in the Concertgebouw.

We were lucky to get tickets to a concert in the afternoon (as per the add on the left) enjoyed it very much.



This landmark regal hotel building which once housed a Sweenlink music conservatory, is situated adjacent to the cultural city’s Museum Quarter, and concert hall, and is a combination of an elegant 19th C, Dutch exterior architecture, and a contemporary luxury clean lines interior design of architect Piero Lissioni .


The hotel is nice to visit /or have drinks in when spending time by the Museum zone. But spending 52 Euro (per person) for a Sunday breakfast or 75 Euro (per person) for Sunday brunch, both only fair don't justify the expense, so we skipped,,






And here our 4 days' trip to Amsterdam came to an end and tomorrow our travels continue to London



A very Happy Purim




To be continued...




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