‘Subversive Art’ on display
Moco (Modern and Contemporary Art Museum)
A three-minute walk from the Rembrandts and Vermeers in the Rijksmuseum, a one-minute stroll from the Van Gogh Museum, a new exhibition space presents the work of Banksy, Dali, Warhol and their contemporaries. Described as a ‘boutique museum’, Moco (Modern and Contemporary Art Museum) was set up by a local couple, Lionel and Kim Logchies, proprietors of a popular gallery in Amsterdam’s Art Quarter.
The works of art on show have been borrowed by the Logchies from an international network of art collectors in order to “offer visitors an unparalleled collection of subversive art in which irony and humour are used to reflect on modern society”. The museum’s permanent exhibition, ‘Moco Masters’, celebrates a variety of artists with ‘Rock Star’ status such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Keith Haring, but when I visited, it was a temporary exhibition of Banksy’s work that was drawing the crowds.
Moco is installed in the Villa Alsberg on Museumplein. A private home until 1939, it was designed in 1904 by Eduard Cuyper, the nephew of the architect of the nearby Rijksmuseum and of the Amsterdam Central Station. Reconfigured as a museum in 2016, the exhibition spaces are on several floors. (Not wheelchair accessible). In addition, there are art installations in the Moco Gardens.
The museum’s popularity is a force to be reckoned with; buy tickets online and visit early or late in the day to avoid the crush. www.mocomuseum.com. If you haven’t bought a ticket online, note that the entrance fee at the door is by credit card only. The museum is open daily from 9.00 and closes at 19.00, except on Friday and Saturday when it is open until 20.00.
A museum no photography buff should miss is FOAM, which tops the ‘Expert Photography’ list of the world’s best photography museums. Installed in a beautiful old canal-side house in Amsterdam’s City Centre, it’s a stylish space with exhibits on several levels, a cafe and a book and print shop where prices range from €6.50 for an enamel food pin to €1,000 or more for a print. Free one-hour guided tours in English Thursday evening 19.30. Website at www.foam.org.
A 10-minute walk along the Keizersgracht Canal brings you to Huis Marseille, Amsterdam’s first photography museum, founded in 1999. Two adjacent canal houses were joined to provide 14 exhibition spaces; the houses themselves are exquisite examples of 17th-Century Amsterdam architecture. There’s a charming garden that can be visited and a photo book shop (but no coffee shop). Closed Mondays.
Admission to all museums mentioned (except Moco) is free with Amsterdam City Card
Get lost down the meandering narrow streets or quickly see the sights
Of all Europe’s capital cities, Amsterdam is arguably one of the easiest and most rewarding to explore on foot. Getting lost in the meandering narrow streets, wandering down the canals, letting your imagination be your guide is a great pleasure – providing you have the time. If, on the other hand, it’s a challenge to fit leisure time into your schedule, consider making the most of a free morning or afternoon by organising a private tour. You will go at your own pace and see only what’s important to you. Your guide could introduce you to the famous Red Light District, picturesque Jordaan and charming Begijnhof but could also suggest any number of lesser known alternatives based on your personal interests. A bespoke private walking tour of three hours costs in the region of €250. Details at http://bit.ly/ET-ams-walking-tour
On your bike for a tour as easy or as challenging as you like
If you want to ‘feel like a local’ there’s no quicker or better way than to hop on a bike. And if you want to cover maximum territory in minimum time a bike scores there, too. No wonder bike tours are one of the most popular tourist activities in Amsterdam. If there’s anything better than a bike tour, it’s a private bike tour. If you want to bike flat out with few stops, it’s up to you. If you feel that a cup of coffee and a piece of apple cake make the wheels turn more smoothly, that’s your call as well. Locals, one of my favourite tour companies, offers a private guided bike tour that takes about three hours and costs €101. Meet the guides available for your dates and book. http://bit.ly/ET-ams-bikes
Sit back and enjoy your own private trip down the canals
Water, water everywhere… and canal cruises everywhere, too. But why not sit back in your own boat while your skipper navigates through the canals and under the bridges, telling you the local history (or keeping silent if you prefer)? Zavi is a comfortable saloon boat that is heated, with an open or closed roof. It has an onboard toilet and can carry you – or up to 12 guests – on every water in and around Amsterdam. There’s a wine bar on board or BYOB (corkage fee applies) The cost is €200 for the first hour and €150 per hour thereafter. Book at https://www.vaartuig.amsterdam