We went to the Anne Frank house today and the line was the longest we have seen thus far. We decided not to wait as it appeared to be at least two hours worth of a lineup. We chose to walk to the public library by way of Dam Square and the Himalaya Tea House. Both of these places have been recounted previously by Janet but I had not been to either. Both were excellent, if not a little hectic in the light rain, which, for some inexplicable reason, seemed to cause people to fill stores, queue for hours, and wander through the streets.
We decided to head to the library to get some late lunch that turned into an early supper.
I would never have thought of visiting a public library for food. We only went because we had been told that the top floor of the library had a restaurant that provided an excellent view of the city. In fact, we were told this by the boat captain on our canal cruise and by the lady who owned the bed and breakfast where we stayed on our return to Amsterdam. Two recommendations were enough.
I was awestruck when we entered the building. It is beautiful (even one writer who is not a fan of the architect admits its beauty: “this is joy”; and there are lots of good pictures). It turns out that the library
We were told that it would make sense to get a library membership when we arrived and I now feel like a complete fool for not doing so. It seemed rather silly to get a membership to a public library as a part of our vacation. However, having seen what the library offers, it makes perfect sense. There is an enormous collection of video and audio. The magazine floor is equally huge. The environment inside the library is comfortable and the lighting is beyond anything I have seen before. There are computers everywhere and, unlike most libraries, there are enough computers to ensure availability. There was no need for signup sheets because there was no need for lineups. It was that big and there were that many computers.
The video below will introduce you to the library (English subtitles).
Because our plan was to go to the Anne Frank house, neither Janet nor I brought a camera. We have no photos of the library. So, the photos you see here have been taken from various sights where people have been equally infatuated with the library.
We did wander over to the NEMO science centre after our supper at the library but we found it closed. The shape of the NEMO is such that a person can climb up the slope of the building exterior to the top of the building (on the outside). The large top area is a series of concrete stairs that extend across the width of the building. It is called the BovenNEMO. In the centre there is a waterfall that travels down the centre of the stairs (looking something like a fish ladder). There were areas for games (checkers, connect-4, etc.) and places to look over the city–we were quite high up. There was also a small snack bar in an enclosed area. The best part of the snack bar was the elevator that (I thought) would take us straight down instead of walking down the rather long stairs. It turns out that it does take people straight down. Unfortunately, it takes people straight down into the darkened and empty (of people) museum.
We felt decidedly awkward looking at the darkened exhibits that were devoid of any people. Neither Jan nor I thought it was particularly smart to get out of the elevator and wander around a closed museum–it was plenty creepy just looking out of the elevator doors. We did try a couple of floors before being sure it was fully closed before returning to the top floor where we were now quite happy to walk down the many stairs to ground level.
Our plan was to return to the Anne Frank house around 7:00pm as we had been told that this was a good time to visit because the crowds were gone by then. The line was longer than it was in the afternoon so we came home. We will have to try the lineup very early in the morning. It is very high on our list to visit but it appears that we will be spending alt of time queueing up for the privilege. We have plans for tomorrow so I am not sure if we will queue tomorrow morning. I do want to visit The Annex before we leave.
I will leave you with a photoset from “The Shifted Librarian” of the Amsterdam public library.