Way back in elementary school, I was a little Daisy. No, not a flower, a Girl Scout. Our troop did heaps of fun things. We would make friendship bracelets, sell cookies, and go cabin camping, but my all-time favorite Girl Scout activity was our annual sleepover at the Museum of Science in Boston. We would spend the early evening wandering the halls and exploring the exhibits, and when our little legs got tired, we would unroll our sleeping bags and snuggle down for a night at the museum. I think sleeping next to a 65-million-year-old fossil is secretly every kid’s dream, right?
Fast forward 20 years and that’s why I love Museum Nacht in Amsterdam. There’s just something about wandering past a van Gogh at 3am that feels electric. Like history can come alive in the dark, or tell a different story. If you’ve seen Night at the Museum, you know what I’m talking about ;) On Museum Nacht, one ticket gets you entrance to every museum in the city from 6pm till 3am. There are parties, performances, and special events, with Amsterdam’s stunning galleries as a backdrop.
We started at the Rijks, which is actually less than a ten minute walk from our house. It’s a fantastic thought that so many famous paintings and artifacts are housed right around the corner. The Delft was my favorite, followed by the beautiful jewels and crowns. I’m fascinated by collections – stacks of vases, model ships, china, guns, cups sipped by royalty and art that defined an era. The Rijks holds a wondrous pool of Dutch history.
We spent two hours in the Rikjs, and only managed to get through the first floor (and two beers). Fortunately, your Museum Nacht bracelet also acts as a ticket to any one museum during regular hours, so we vowed to come back, before hopping on our bikes and heading over to the Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam’s very own Maritime Museum. The sea plays such an interracial role in Dutch history, and the Scheepvaartmuseum (which I keep referring to as the ‘sheep fart’ museum in my head) documents some of Holland’s most brilliant Maritime achievements. Our last stop of the night was the Portuguese Synagog. With no electricity, the 17th-century Sephardic synagogue was illuminated by hundreds of candles, draped from golden chandeliers hung around the room. In the center, a beautiful band hummed, hypnotizing visitors in a daze of candlelight and eerie melody. If you’re a history buff and thinking of visiting Amsterdam in the fall, it’s well worth planning a visit over the first weekend in November. Imagine seeing Rembrandt, van Gogh, candlelight synagogs, and Maritime marvels, all in a matter of hours! You can follow the Museum Nacht site here to keep up to date on events and plan your evening about town next year. Xx