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Football Hallelujah! at Amsterdam Museum

Football Hallelujah! (Voetbal Halleluja!) is the latest temporary exhibition at Amsterdam Museum. It looks at football as the new religion symbolised by fans making pilgrimages to cathedral-like stadiums. This fascinating exhibition will be of great interest to any sport enthusiasts and runs between 12 September 2014 to 4 January 2015.

The striking image of Diego Maradona in prayer is used as the exhibition logo.

football halleluyah! at Amsterdam Museum

The exhibition has been very well curated and tackles the sport from various angles using photos, video, audio and memorabilia. Of interest is the look at fan rituals – such as prayers before games or Orange-decked Dutch supporters – to the more heated rivalries, like that between Dutch clubs Ajax (Amsterdam) and Feyenoord (Rotterdam). It also covers some negative aspects of the sport such as violence, ultras, hooliganism and racism.

On display are the following thought-provoking “dual” shirts – a combined Germany-Holland shirt, great country rivals and neighbours who played the 1974 World Cup final less than 30 years after World War 2; an Israel-Ajax shirt, which shows the Jewish identity taken on by fans of Ajax; a Morocco-Holland shirt identifying the mixed allegiance of many Dutch Moroccans; a shirt of the 3 Istanbul clubs combined, supported by many Dutch Turks; a Rangers-Celtic shirt, Old Firm rivals from Glasgow.

football halleluyah shirts

The exhibition has a rich collection of memorabilia on show such as an Ajax player shirt, a pair of Maradona-worn Argentina shorts and Daley Blind’s Holland shirt from the World Cup 2014 match against Spain. Perhaps the most iconic piece is Marco Van Basten’s Holland shirt worn during the Euro 88 final against the Soviet Union when he scored that remarkable volley.

marco van basten euro 88 shirt

ajax shirt football halleluyah

There is a free audio tour with the exhibition.

This is a must-see for all football fans whether expats, residents or those just visiting Amsterdam. All info is labelled in both Dutch and English.

Entry is included with the standard admission to Amsterdam Museum at Kalverstraat 92 / Sint Luciënsteeg 27. The permanent collection also includes a small section on 1970s Ajax and Johan Cruyff.

The exhibition is held in conjunction with Historisches Museum Basel and will also tour around various European locations in the future.

KLM 95 year journey exhibition in Amstelveen

KLM (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij or Royal Dutch Airlines) is the Dutch national carrier which today is part of the Air France-KLM group. KLM was founded way back on 7 October 1919 which makes it the oldest airline in the world still flying today. It held it’s first flight in 1920 from London (Croydon) to Amsterdam. klm exhibition
To celebrate it’s 95th anniversary, KLM has organised a small exhibition at the Museum Jan van der Togt in Amstelveen which reflects on the airline’s past and also looks to the future.klm 95 year anniversary exhibitionklm 95 year exhibition
The most fascinating part of the exhibition is a look at how the aircraft on-board seating and service has evolved over time – from the very basic wooden chairs used in the 1920s, the more comfortable seating from the 1950s right throught to the era of mass jet travel. You will also see how KLM’s flight attendant uniforms and onboard crockery have changed over the years.

Other parts of the exhibition include various photos, posters and logos, a wall featuring covers of the Holland Herald (KLM’s inflight magazine), a display of KLM’s well known Delft blue miniature houses (given to long-haul business class passengers) and various aircraft models.klm exhibition amstelveenklm delft blue houses miniatures exhibition

The final part of the exhibition is a film of KLM employees looking to the future and a mock-up of the current business class seating.

If you have any interest in aviation the exhibition is worth a visit although the location is a little bit out-of-the-way. Museum Jan van der Togt is at Dorpstraat 50, about a 10 minute walk from the centre of Amstelveen – just follow the signs from the CoBrA museum. Amstelveen, a town south of Amsterdam, can be reached by tram 5, metro 51 or buses 142, 170 or 172.

The Jan van der Togt museum has a permanent modern art collection of glassware, paintings and sculptures. It is open Wed-Fri 1100-1700, Sat-Sun 1300-1700. Note, closed Mon and Tue.

Exploring KLM’s 95-Year Journey only runs between 19th September to 12th October 2014. Admission costs €6 for adults, free entry to children 0-11 and Museumkaart holders.

Having seen a similar Qantas exhibition at Sydney airport, we feel KLM and Schiphol are possibly missing a trick – they should get something permanent set-up at Schiphol airport – perhaps before the centenary.

The Dutch cloud that looks like…Great Britain?

The Netherlands with its flat landscape is renowned for its dramatic low skies occasionally offering some spectacular cloud formations. We spotted this remarkable cloud somewhere south of Amsterdam a while ago and couldn’t believe what we were seeing -  a near perfect representation of Great Britain with a bit of northern France and Scandinavia thrown in. It was almost like watching a giant BBC weather map in the sky!gb-cloud-holland

By the time we found a camera to take the photo the wind had blown some of North Wales into England. But you will agree that the cloud shows East Anglia and Scotland rather well plus an elongated Cornwall and possibly a heart-shaped Channel Islands.

With Scotland going to the polls today to decide whether to become independent from the UK we thought we’d post this for a bit of light-hearted fun. We will be interested to see if the name “Great Britain” (the island comprising England, Scotland and Wales) will remain if Scotland votes Yes.

Photo © 2014 – can be republished with attribution link.

© 2014

Blokker NS train day ticket offer Aug 2014

Dutch household chain Blokker is again offering a 1 day off-peak ticket (dal vrij dagkaart) in conjunction with NS (Dutch Railways) for unlimited train travel in Netherlands for just €14.95.

blokker ns train ticket

These day tickets are available for purchase at Blokker stores in the Netherlands until 7th September 2014, subject to availability. Online purchase is also possible at with payment accepted by iDeal (Dutch internet banking), Mastercard or Visa. You can pick-up the ticket(s) for free at a specified Blokker store or get free delivery to a Dutch address as long as the order is greater than €20.

The tickets are valid for 1 day’s rail travel between 25th August and 5th October 2014 and are in the form of a disposable OV-chip card. Since July it has been mandatory to use the OV-chip card on Dutch railways.

For travel on NS trains you must check-in and check-out using one of the card readers near the platforms. For travel on other train providers (Arriva, Breng, Connexxion, Syntus and Veolia) you should date stamp the card at one of the stamping machines.

During the week (Mon-Fri) you are not allowed to check-in during the peak hours 0630-0900 or 1600-1830. You are able to check-in before 0630 and then travel during peak hours. Note, the other (non-NS) providers do not allow travel during the peak hours.

There are no time restrictions for use at weekends though be aware that rail works are often scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Domestic travel is also valid on Intercity Direct (Schiphol-Rotterdam) and ICE International trains (Amsterdam-Utrecht-Arnhem) with the appropriate supplement. No travel is permitted on the Thalys trains.

There are a number of Blokker stores in Amsterdam including at:

Kalverstraat 41 (main shopping street)
Ferdinand Bolstraat 100
Kinkerstraat 260-262
Bilderdijkstraat 169
Jodenbreestraat 19
Haarlemmerdijk 72-74
Jan van Galenstraat 107A
Ceintuurbaan 302
Ceintuurbaan 109A
Spaarndammerstraat 99-105
2e Nassaustraat 25A-B
Mercatorplein 88

These tickets can offer superb value, especially if heading to some of the outlying cities in Netherlands such as Groningen or Maastricht. They are also very good for making multiple stops at different places during the day.