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Another angle on the "environment" at Electric Ladyland in Amsterdam

Electric Ladyland: hippie heaven

This entry is part 16 of 21 in the series Amsterdam Museums

Electric Ladyland in Amsterdam is definitely one of the weirdest museums I’ve visited yet. (Okay, the Toilet Museum in Suwon, South Korea, was pretty weird too, but this isn’t a contest. At least not yet … ) The museum claims to be the “first museum of fluorescent art.” It certainly includes a lot of fluorescent paint. Whether…

Ceramic cats in a cabinet at the Cat Cabinet, Amsterdam

The Cat Cabinet: another quirky Amsterdam museum

This entry is part 15 of 21 in the series Amsterdam Museums

The founder of the Cat Cabinet, Bob Meijer, named his cat John Pierpont Morgan. Why name him after a 19th century American financier? I don’t know. Born in 1966, J.P. Morgan received a special gift from Meijer every five years. On his fifth birthday, it was a portrait by Ansel Sanberg. On his tenth, his present was a…

The Houseboat Museum in Amsterdam

The Houseboat Museum, Amsterdam

This entry is part 7 of 21 in the series Amsterdam Museums

If you’ve ever wandered the UNESCO World Heritage-listed canal rings of Amsterdam, you’ve noticed the many houseboats moored along the canals. Have you ever wondered what they’re like on the inside? What’s it like to live in a houseboat? The Houseboat Museum Amsterdam gives a glimpse of that life: a very quick glimpse, given how…

Two Rodin works: In the foreground, a small plaster cast of St. John the Baptist Preaching (1878). In the background, a large statue of The Thinker in patinated plaster from 2903.

The Groninger Museum does Rodin

The Groninger Museum is best known for the building’s design. Considered a post-modern masterpiece, or a post-modern monstrosity, depending on who you ask, each of the seemingly disconnected parts was designed by a different architect: Alessandro Mendini, Michele de Lucchi, Architectural bureau Coop Himmelb(l)au and Philippe Starck all had a hand in designing different “pavilions”…

The Stasi Museum Berlin looks like an ordinary office building from the early 1960s.

Stasi Museum Berlin: The Dark Heart of East Germany

At both the DDR Museum and the Palace of Tears, I learned about the kind of everyday surveillance that East Germans endured in Cold War Germany. To find out more, I went to the Stasi Museum as well. Disclosure: As at all the museums I visited in Berlin, I received free admission. Nevertheless, all opinions…

metal faces on the floor of the memory void in the Jewish museum Berlin

The Jewish Museum in Berlin

After my experience at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, I was apprehensive about visiting the Jewish Museum in Berlin. This, I thought, is something they will have to get right. After all, Berlin was Hitler’s capital city, the place where leaders managed the bureaucratic tasks necessary to carry out the genocide he planned. You…

Getting a visa was no easy task unless you had official business in West Germany or elsewhere in the world.

Berlin’s Palace of Tears

Walking into the Palace of Tears is stepping back in time. The floor tiles, the wall clock, the “modern” design of the building: all hearken back to a 1960s aesthetic in interior design. Standing on East German territory since 1962, the Palace of Tears was an addition to the older Friedrichstraße train station. This station…

souvenirs available to East German tourists when they visited East Bloc countries. The sign explaining them states "Wall units displayed Russian dolls or other products from the series Knicknackery and Dust-gathery until they were finally stowed away in the cellar." DDR Museum, Berlin

A Peek into East Germany at the DDR Museum

In my last post, I wrote about the Berlin Wall as a gash across the city. What brought me to the Berlin Wall Memorial was my visit just the day before to the DDR Museum in Berlin. That museum and its hands-on portrayal of life in the former DDR (called the German Democratic Republic or GDR in…

the view of the restored piece of the Berlin Wall in the Berlin Wall Memorial

The Berlin Wall Memorial Illuminates Berlin’s Divided Past

The consequences of the division of Berlin by the Berlin Wall (1961-1989) are visible all over the city. The Wall was a wide, empty gash through the city, and that gash has, ever since the Wall “fell” in 1989, been repurposed in a variety of ways. In some places, buildings encroach on the space: Potsdamerplatz is a…

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