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Moco Museum: Contemporary art in Amsterdam

Banksy and Dalí on show in one museum? When I heard that, I was definitely up for a day trip to Amsterdam to visit the new Moco Museum. Moco Museum Moco stands for Modern Contemporary Museum and, like the much better-known Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum, it is located on the Museumplein in Amsterdam. The…

Ceramic cats in a cabinet at the Cat Cabinet, Amsterdam

The Cat Cabinet: another quirky Amsterdam museum

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. Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of what you spend. Born in 1966, J.P. Morgan received…

The Houseboat Museum in Amsterdam

The Houseboat Museum, Amsterdam

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…

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…

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…

In the background, the Palau de les Arts. In front of that, the IMAX theater. At the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain

The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia (with teenagers)

I caught my first glimpse of Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences last year as we drove by on our way to see the old center of the city. It was astonishing: massive, futuristic architecture contrasted sharply with everything we had seen so far. Note: Updated in February 2021. Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links…

a view out of the main building toward the lake at Öster Malma

Öster Malma Estate: Not for Animal Lovers

Öster Malma Castle and Wildlife Park, which I visited as part of a familiarization tour organized by Visit Sörmland and Visit Sweden, includes a beautiful estate house and a large wildlife park. It is more modest (read: smaller) than the others we visited, like Gripsholm, Nynäs and Sparreholms, but was nevertheless interesting. Built in the 1600s,…

This grave was left in place inside the excavation. A mirror above the skeleton allows visitors to view it.

The Medieval Museum of Stockholm

Back in the 1970s, the Swedish Parliament planned to build a garage underground next to the Parliament building in Stockholm. As often happens in European cities, the construction stopped when excavation uncovered the remains of what turned out to be the original medieval center of Stockholm. For two years, archeologists excavated and studied the city wall, built by…

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