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EAC S'14 #7

Holland can be summed up into one word, which may seem like a hard thing to do but it is not. In my eyes, Holland is perfection.


photo: Vance

When I think of the meaning of perfection, it is completeness and flawlessness that has a range of diverse concepts. As soon as I stepped off the plane at the Eindhoven Airport on Sunday morning, I could sense that this place was one that I would instantly fall in love with.


photo: Vance



First, though, we had to take a train to get us up north for the beginning half of our adventure. After exiting the train in Amsterdam, we received our first dose of what this highly talked about city was all about. We rode the tram to the hostel where we would be staying for four nights. Gazing out the windows of the tram, it hit me that the city of Amsterdam was a place unlike any other, with its elaborate architectural designs, people riding bikes everywhere, and canals everywhere you looked.


photo: Ben Mello

We all dropped our stuff off at the hostel very quickly because everyone was excited to go explore a city that we only have learned and heard about but have never seen. After a quick time of exploring, we headed back to the hostel for dinner and had a traditional Dutch dinner.



After dinner, Dave took some of us out again where we did some more exploring and made a stop at a café with a live jazz performance.



On the way back we saw a man juggling a soccer ball in ways I’ve never seen before. Dave said that he has seen this man for the past ten years doing the same thing. It was time to call it a night and I knew this place would only get better.

At breakfast the next morning, Jen introduced haagelslaag to Eli and me. She said it was what the Dutch would have with a coffee after they were done with their breakfast. What it consists of is a piece of white bread, butter, chocolate sprinkles, and it must be cut into 4 squares. I highly suggest trying it with your coffee in the morning, as it became the only thing I ate for breakfast for the remainder of the trip.


photo: Vance

It was time to dive into art culture and our first major stop was the Rijks Museum, which showcases some of the most famous Dutch artists. Some notable artists that we saw were Jan Vermeer, Rembrandt, Hals and also some Monet and Van Gogh.



Just seeing this place from the outside blows you away, never mind the art inside. It was just opened last year after being closed for ten years due to major renovations. Everyone was very interested in the paintings because they were done by most of the artists we have studied in depth.



It was definitely my favorite museum so far because it is just the perfect size where you have a chance to view everything in a decent amount of time. It was time for lunch and we all walked to Dam Square, which was our typical meet up place for the week.


photo: Jen

Dave decided to make a pit stop on the way there while seeing a stand that sold herring, a fish the Dutch eat raw. I decided with a few others that we must try it even though it looks disgusting because it is literally a raw fish on a plate with onions and pickles. It was a mixed reaction from the group, where some loved it and some people couldn’t eat anymore after one piece.


photo: Jen

It was not the worst thing I have ever eaten but it will probably not be on my list to have again. After a couple hours for lunch and perusing the city, we went to the Rembrandt House.


photo: Ben

It was the real residence where he lived before going bankrupt, where all of his possessions were catalogued upon foreclosure. After exploring the Rembrandt House, I decided that I must try the two things the Dutch are most famous for when it comes to food, which is french fries and cheese. The french fries are to die for because the outside is perfectly hard while the inside is soft, making a perfect combination of texture in your mouth. They are usually topped with either peanut sauce or mayonnaise.


photo: Vance

After my great experiences with food, it was time to head back to the hostel for some rest before dinner.


photo: Vance

After dinner, we went on a night canal tour of the city that was spectacular.


photo: Ben

Some say Paris is the city of lights but after visiting Amsterdam you will probably have a different opinion.


photo: Ben

The following day was another day that was filled with even more excitement for everyone. We took a little stroll through the park next to our hostel in the morning to the Van Gogh Museum.


photo: Vance

Vincent Van Gogh has been someone that we have studied a ton while here in Europe. Before this trip, we traveled to Arles, St. Rémy, and Auvers-sur-Oise, where Van Gogh did his most famous paintings in the last seventy days of his life. To see several of the paintings of the places we saw in person just a couple weeks before this trip was incredible. I am always taken aback by how much paint he used in all of his paintings. All of Van Gogh’s paintings are just indescribable and they are a must see.


photo: Vance

A couple of hours later, we met up at the Anne Frank House. The line was very long, but that was expected because of how famous it is. We finally got in after waiting outside and were rewarded with a moving experience. I think everyone in the group felt the same emotions because of previously reading, The Diary of Anne Frank, in middle school. Knowing that she came so close to survival breaks your heart and everything really settles in emotionally when you are in the house. After the museum we had a little time before going back to the hostel.


photo: Ben

Axel and I decided to get some pannekoeken (pancakes) which the Dutch are also very famous for. We headed back to the hostel, relaxed, had dinner and called it a night.


photo: Vance

Everyone was preparing for his or her solos the next day. The group had scattered departure times the next morning for our solo day. The solos ranged from the Botanical Gardens, to the Stedelijk Museum, the Houseboat Museum, the photography museum “FOAM,” and Open Air Markets. For my solo, I did a street art tour. I have become very interested in street art and also did the same thing for my solo when we traveled to Paris. It was cool to see the differences in street art from Paris compared to Amsterdam. It was funny that the tour guide was from Toronto because the group has an on going joke that I am from Canada. The tour was more than just seeing various types of street art but also the history of Amsterdam. After my tour, I realized that this would probably be my last little bit of alone time in Amsterdam. I had to take it all in. Because of how good the pancake was the previous day, I decided to go get another. It was even better than the one before. After exploring the city for the rest of the day, it was time to do a little show and tell of what our day was like.



Dave decided to meet up with Proctor alum Georg Müller for his solo day. Georg took a two and a half hour train ride into Amsterdam to meet Dave.


photo: Vance

The group got to meet Georg during our show and tell.


photo: Nathan French

It was cool to see how people can still stay connected years later.

That night, we split our own ways for dinner and then met up later on at a movie theatre, which was not your typical theatre. The inside of the Tuschinski Theatre is very ornate with paintings on the ceilings, intricately patterned rugs, gold all around, and designed completely in the art deco style.

The next morning we were off to the History of Amsterdam Museum and got our first dose of rain. We all had an expectation that it was going to rain at least once while we were there.


photo: Ben

After the museum, it was time to get our things from the hostel, get on the train, and head to Eindhoven where we would be staying for the next two nights. It started sinking in that it was time to leave the place I fell in love with. We got to Eindhoven by train, which was surprisingly quick. It was pouring rain out and Axel and I decided that we were not hungry just yet for dinner so we pulled out our phones and tried to Google map a bowling alley. After getting lost several times, an older lady by the name of Anke asked us if we needed help. We told her we were trying to find the bowling alley but she looked at us like we were crazy. She said that she had never even heard of one being in Eindhoven and she has lived there her whole life. She pulled out her iphone and tried to help us find the street but that didn’t work either. Anke felt bad for us especially since we were soaking wet and she decided to invite us to her house to get warm and have some tea. We didn’t hesitate when she asked and we followed her to her house. She gave us a little history of Eindhoven and how the street she lives on is the oldest in town, over one hundred years old.


photo: Axel (Anke)

We walked into her house and were greeted by her husband Ton, and there dog Sill. We had tea with them for about forty-five minutes and talked about everything ranging from art to Proctor. It was great to talk art because Ton is an Art Journalist. They gave us a Van Gogh book because of how much we said we liked him as an artist. After having a great talk, Anke walked us to an area of exceptional restaurants. We had a great meal and it was the best experience of my trip. Axel and I felt overwhelmingly thankful for having this couple bring two strangers into their house and making us feel welcome.

It was time to get up early and head to the national park of Holland, the Hoge Veleuwe.



We got off the bus, headed to the entrance of the park and got on our free bikes.





We all biked our way from the start of the park to the Kröller-Müller Museum. It was approximately an 11 kilometer ride and we avoided the rain on the way there and the way back.


photo: Vance


photo: Vance


photo: Axel


photo: Axel


photo: Axel





photo: Vance


photo: Vance


Shanghi Cathy, the road warrior took one for the team.


photo: Vance


photo: Vance


Vance not taking any chances
photo: Axel

This museum was not particularly huge but it ranged from many Van Gogh’s to a couple Picasso’s. The highlight painting in the museum was the famous Night Café by Van Gogh.



It was exciting to see the actual painting because a few weeks prior we had coffee at the same café. We returned to the hotel a little before dinner. Axel and I decided to get Anke and Ton a couple of gifts for being so generous to us. We went back to their house before dinner and delivered the gifts to Ton because Anke was sleeping.



You could tell how happy he was, which put a smile on our faces. It was definitely something I will never forget. He gave us his business card and said that if we ever need a place to stay in Eindhoven to give him a call. We had our last dinner together of the trip before it was time to head back to our home in Aix.


photo: Ben

We returned home Saturday and used the remainder of the day to recover and relax. Holland will always have a special place in my heart after this week, which was filled with excitement, culture, and art. My experiences from Amsterdam and Eindhoven will always be ones I cherish and will never forget.

Hope all is well back at Proctor. Happy Mother’s Day!

Ben
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Located in  Andover, NH,  Proctor Academy is a private coeducational day and boarding school for grades 912. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program, experiential off-campus programs, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.
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