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10/16/2013

TRAVELLING BACK IN TIME: THE GOLDEN AGE OF AMSTERDAM

First step into the Maritime Museum and I'm awestruck at the interior of the building. One delicious cappuccino and coconut cookie later, and our stunning Dutch tour guide is showing us the interior of a real Dutch East Indie trading company ship of the 17th century! After biking past this ship with curiosity many times, I was excited to finally get a look inside. Voc ship 11"Back in the 17th century (the Golden Age) the Netherlands was one of the most powerful and rich countries in the world. The VOC – the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie – was founded in Amsterdam and developed into the "storehouse of the world”: the VOC had goods from all over the world in their warehouses. Their success was mainly due to shipping."

Touring the boat gave me a lot of insight on the life and experience of the people who lived in it. I definitely recommend this tour to anyone interested. Hearing about the lives of people who traveled on this ship was so intriguing. Their lives were so uncertain and in a way, primal. Our tour guide had detailed explanations and answers to all of our questions, and I left the boat seeing and learning way more than I had expected. After touring the boat we took some time to explore the museum, and I learned much about the navigation techniques they used back then. A special exhibit reminded me of the gruesome Middle Passage and all of its horrors. There were some incredible paintings of ships and the ocean. I literally could have looked at these paintings for hours, the texture and color and techniques was incredible. I had to pull myself away.

VOC dagFrom there, my lovely day only got lovelier! We proceeded to indulge in a delightful lunch of sandwiches, wine, and delicious chocolate cake in Ship Chanlders Warehouse, a restaurant tucked away in the heart of the city. The restaurant made me feel like I was in a different time period because it had so many unique details and artifacts. I was impressed with the authentic feeling, and excited to learn ship captains would go to this warehouse to eat when their ships would dock.

After lunch, we took a tour of the city center. I walked down streets I didn't know existed and explored the hidden graveyard in the center of the city, learning facts along the way. We even caught the man who assembles the Iamsterdam signs in action, and took a cheesy picture with the sign with no one else on it but us!

Voc dag 1Over all I had a truly magical day, and I felt relieved that I could glide along with the group without having to worry about organizing, planning, or paying for anything. Lekker!

Margot Keen

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