Sunday Travels #4: The Netherlands (Amsterdam)

Amsterdam Revisited

For our last Sunday journey to The Netherlands, we’re heading Northeast from the Metropoolregio Rotterdam Den Haag to Amsterdam. We’ll stop at Haarlem on the way, as well as taking a look at some of the surrounding environs, but this will be a short post. We’ve already been to this city, albeit half a century later. And I’ve already discussed the stereotyping in Keystone’s subjects and context in the Rotterdam post. If you’re European, or have read last week’s post, you probably already know that Amsterdam is the nation’s capital, but not the seat of its government. So today, we’ll just enjoy the views – because next week, we’re boarding an aeroplane bound for Australia!

Since these views are over a century old, check your preconceived notions at the door. For example, when I think of Amsterdam, one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is “Van Gogh Museum”. Next up is likely “Rembrandt”. Most of my friends (and my wife) would probably name the coffeeshops which sell legal marijuana. I don’t know what the big deal is here – few enough people in my circles regard weed as materially more “naughty” than alcohol. Regardless, that and bicycling seem to be the current stereotypes.

But if you worked for Keystone View Company around the turn of the century, you didn’t care about Dutch painters or reefer. Rather, you cared about canals, windmills, and wooden shoes when portraying the Netherlands. You cared about quaint, welcoming street scenes. Maybe a building or two – the first of today’s views is a gorgeous museum stereograph. But the main theme is the quaint and the alien. And you did your darnedest to portray this!

The Stereoviews

The first view today focuses on the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, a place I’d quite like to visit. Then we hit the city proper – and predictably, two of the three views are of Amsterdam’s most famous canal. Bizarrely, although the cards have different image numbers on the front, they have the same verso text with the same image number. No matter though, as they’re basically the same scene. However, the overview of the city is quite nice. And we’ll end our visit to North Holland with two nice street views of what are basically Amsterdam suburbs – and with the knowledge that Keystone apparently never ventured to the entire Eastern half of the country. Ah well – we have a plane to catch, so let’s enjoy our last peek at The Netherlands before boarding!


These are now in the “Travel Stereoviews” section of the boot sale.

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