A WALK THROUGH AMSTERDAM 2: The Baarsjes and Admiralenbuurt.
Two senior sisters who have not lived together for many decades do not always smoothly get along, so when I needed a break during my fortnight at my sister’s home, I had plenty of streets to see and admire the typically-Dutch character details of the Baarsjes neighbourhood, and its the adjacent neighbourhood: the Admiralenbuurt, the later named in reference of the generals of the Dutch marine force that at one point in history had defeated the British fleet. Yes, that did happen!
In the middle of the apartment blocks is a small park with a new, well-laid-out play structure for the children of the “buurt”.
Bicycles everywhere. Few cars!
The Cadillac among bikes. This type of bike first came into fashion about four of five years ago to the chagrin of many other traffic users, especially of other bikers, as these large vehicles hog the space on the bike paths.
The tiles are the original decorations on the walls of the entrances.
Take out a few tiles, and voila: a mini garden plot.
The common model.
A tile embedded in the sidewalk to discourage destruction of the public amenities: DO NOT DESTROY
These underground containers are installed to collect the garbage. Once a week a truck comes by and empties them. These are in every street where there is room for it, replacing regular garbage collection. The large household items can be put once a week on the sidewalk on special, designated spots, next to the containers.
Protected play area. No cars. No bikes.
Hidden street, for bikes and pedestrians only.
Back home after my walk, showing the view of the street and the bike path plus the sidewalk. To the left of the parked cars and bikes: the street for car and tram traffic.
This is the lead-up to the entrances of six apartments. The first-floor apartments with its own door to the far left and the far right are not visible in the photo. The second- and third-floor apartments (each with a room in the attic) have the doors in the middle, next to it, which you see in the photo. The social housing cooperation has installed the chairlift for somebody with mobility issues on the first floor.
There are also two ground floor apartments with their own entrance door on each side of the staircase at street-level. My septuagenarian sister still daily climbs the stairs to the third floor with all her groceries. There is NO ELEVATOR. I have encouraged her to request a ground floor apartment, in case it gets harder to get up the stairs. My impression overall is that the Dutch are pretty healthy, preferring to bike, keeping themselves pretty slim and active. I still seldom see overweight Dutch in the streets.
The reason for my visit was the family reunion we have every two years. My brothers and sister are aging, and we don’t know how long we can still do this event. My eldest brother’s wife has passed. In her memory, my brother has had stamps printed of her.
My youngest brother opened his home up for the occasion, with all of us contributing to the pot luck dinner.
What is this Rivella drink made of?
My parents’ children of mixed Dutch and German heritage.
My parents’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren have mixed Dutch, German, Ojibwa-First Nation, and Zulu-Namibian heritage. Long live diversity!