Sunday, March 19, 2006

A Zans for Cans

At our house, we open cans.
We have to open many cans.
And that is why we have a Zans.
A Zans for cans is very good.
Have you a Zans for cans?
You should.

Consider a set of simple substitutions, based on these classic words from Dr. Seuss's "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" -- substituting "city" for "house," "museums" for "cans," and "museumjaarkaart" for "Zans." Give it a try... The rhyme and rhythm don't work nearly as nicely, and in fact it's a ludicrous exercise. But it's a valuable message that I would urge every Amsterdammer to consider...

As a matter of fact, Amsterdam is home to no less than 68 museums, many of which regularly change exhibitions. Thus, it seems crazy to me to observe the number of Amsterdammers who do not take advantage of a €25 annual investment in a museumjaarkaart.

I've been a cardholder for each of the three years that I've lived here in Amsterdam (I just re-upped for a fourth year), and I probably visit approximately one museum per week. Some frequented more than others. Some enjoyed more than others. But definitely visited. And definitely appreciated. For me, museums are places to think and breathe. Places to be stimulated and educated. Places to be reminded of who man is, and who God is. Places for rest and relaxation. Places for recreation and rejuventation.

Today, I took my kids to the Tropenmuseum (Museum of the Tropics) and enjoyed a fun (and inexpensive) morning of building mosaic masterpieces, riding a motorized rickshaw, and listening to Iranian folk stories.

On Friday, I visited the Bijbelsmuseum (Bible Museum) and basked in the stillness of the renovated mansion on the Herengracht. Honestly, the exhibitions there are typically less appealing than the quiet corridors and glorious garden... But they've recently brought back a multimedia presentation called "De Bijbel NU" ("The Bible NOW") that is extremely well-produced and well-worth one's time and attention. The presentation's depiction of the Bible is actually surprisingly secular (detached, academic, even irreverent at times), but the images and sounds and stories are truly moving -- even if one's Dutch is less than fluent... I almost posted a recommendation for this exhibition last summer, after I first saw it -- but now that it's back (until the end of June), I simply must offer my endorsement.

Of course, there are so many other museums that I could mention... Marci and I recently enjoyed a Friday evening at the Rijksmuseum (the National Gallery), which has extended hours and special live performances on the weekends -- although we probably prefer Friday evenings at the Van Gogh Museum and the FOAM (Photographic Museum) is a favorite museum that is always open later on Fridays. But you should perhaps discover this for yourself...

A museumjaarkaart for museums is very good.
Have you a museumjaarkaart for museums?
You should.


At 11:00 AM, Blogger Michaël said...

Maybe I should. In all these years that I live in Amsterdam now (5 1/2), I've only been in museums during the 'Museumnight'.
Let me know when you plan to visit 'Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder' or the 'Molen van Sloten'. I'd like to join you for those visits.

By the way: what's a 'Zans'?

At 8:10 PM, Blogger Eric Asp said...

I don't think there's any such thing as a Zans. The picture in the book makes the Zans look kind of like a big moose... But Dr. Seuss is famous for making up words that help to fit his rhymes.

I'd be glad to go with you sometime to one of the two sites that you mentioned. I've been to "Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder" several times (and I really enjoy it), but I've never had a chance to see the Molen van Sloten...

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hukd en fonix werkd fer mee, 2! ;-p


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