Sunday, January 31, 2010

Exploring the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam

The other day, I conducted a slightly accidental, slightly sneaky, secret tour of the Beurs van Berlage with Isabel. She's my German, architecture student friend who likes to explore Amsterdam and do touristic things with me. I'd say we're more like pseudo-tourists because for one, we live here and and we know that the red path with a bike painted on it is not (I repeat not) for pedestrians! Basically, we just enjoy spending time riding bikes through the city and to stumble upon things that we've read about in books, blogs or something that's on my lengthy 'to-do' list. These activities typically end up being something related to architecture (via Isabel) or culture/art/food (via me). Then, depending on the topic at hand, one of us spends a lot of time educating the other person. It's a great trade off and for this particular day, I did most of the listening as Isabel has a higher familiarity with the design and architecture of the Beurs van Berlage.

We plan on booking an actual tour of the old stock exchange building but accidentally walked into a secret room (we were trying to find the toilets, really!) and up some stairs and around a few corners because every corner had something else cool behind it! The interior walls are floor to ceiling of colored bricks with lots of stained glass windows. It wasn't until we had climbed a few flights of stairs and attempted to open one too many locked doors that we realized maybe this wasn't really a public area. And that being said, we quietly snapped some photos and headed back down the stairs. After seeing a glimpse of what's inside we're both looking forward to the authentic tour. Also inside was a cafe showcasing the lovely decor for which the building is known. On the other side of the building was art exhibit called NIET NORMAAL but we decided to skip it, not really my taste but maybe some of you are interested, so just click the link.



I love these wrought iron hooks

Bricks+ Stained Glass

A very excited Isabel who found a secret architecture room.

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