Friday, February 28, 2014

Amazing 17th Century Doll Houses at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

The last time I have visited the Rijksmuseum was in 2001. That is a long time ago. I barely remembered what I saw except for the masterpiece of Rembrandt, the Night Watch painting and the huge 17th century doll houses.

So when I recently paid a visit to the newly renovated Rijksmuseum, I cannot wait to see the doll houses again.


A doll house in Amsterdam, circa 1676. Oak cabinet, veneered with walnut, cedar and ebony.

17th Century Doll Houses | Poppenhuizen
Rijksmuseum website: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

The doll houses were were made for by Petronnella Dunois (1650-1695), a wealthy orphan who lived with her sister in Amsterdam.

During the late 17th century and early 18th, spectacular doll houses were created in the Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam. These were not children's toys, but display pieces, furnished for and by wealthy ladies who lavished enormous amounts of time, money and attention on them.

These houses present a picture of a well-ordered and prosperous Dutch household. The focus lies on the world of women and directs attention to life behind the scenes, in attics, cellars and kitchen. A regular feature is a lying-in chamber, complete with mother and newborn baby.

All the dolls and objects in these doll houses are made to scale and highly detailed. As a result, they provide a wealth of information about the furnishing and use of Dutch houses that has long since vanished from our own.

[text from Rijksmuseum Amsterdam]


A game or tea room.


The foyer and the peat room.


The nursery room.


Could be the reception room.


The kitchen. The details are amazing.


A lying-in chamber.


The linen room.


The dining room.

This is Petronella Dunois, the owner of the doll houses:


Portrait of Petronella Dunois by Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693), oil on canvas, circa 1680.

In 1677 Petronella Dunois married Pieter Groenendijck. The young woman brought some extremely valuable goods into her marriage - stocks and bonds, of course, as well as stacks of napkins, tablecloths and bed linen. Also included were the doll houses and contents displayed here. This had been fitted and furnished in Amsterdam the previous year.

[Text from the Rijksmuseum]

Here is another of her doll house with dolls in it:


If I was a kid, I would love to have a doll house like this. 


Looks like a lying-in chamber.


The kitchen with the cook.


Could be the dining room?


Reception room, and just look at the fashion =)


The linen room.


A lying-in chamber.

If you visit the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, do not miss this!

Visit Period: February 2014
Destination: The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Quick Visit: Vathy City, the Capital of Samos Island, Greece

Vathy, also spelled as Vathi is the capital city of Samos Island. We have only been here once in the afternoon because it really is quite far from where we were staying in Kampos/Votsalakia. Its like east to west and takes more than an hour with the scooter.


Vathy, Capital City of Samos
Website: Vathy

The main square of Vathy called Pythagoras Square is located across the Port of Vathy and is ringed with many outdoor cafe and restaurant terraces. Dutchman and I quickly took a seat in one of the cafe terraces for our favourite drink in the Greek Isles, the thirst quencher frappe coffee. This thing is bloody good and are very popular here. We never miss a holiday in Greece not ordering them.

At the back of the square is the main shopping alley which was very quiet because it was siesta time. The mediterranean countries know when to do business and how to make the most of living life. A little siesta time never hurts. They even say it will only increase productivity?

Further ahead from the marina on the coastal road Dutchman and I spied several nice lounge bars on the seaside cliff. They look very cool and inviting and I am sure the action starts later in the evening. Too bad we would have gone back to our nook of the woods in the island.

A very laid back city, I like it, sadly it is too far and we do not have much time.

Here is our route going through the mountains and northern coastal roads:


You can move the map with your mouse, as well as zoom in and zoom out the map by clicking on the + and - signs on the lower right hand side corner.


The city is basically concentrated around the port marina. There are regular sailings to other Greek Islands and Turkey here. More sailings at the Port of Pythagorion.


Must make a selfie haha.


The Pythagoras Square. Pythagoras was born in Samos in nearby Pythagorion/Pythgoreio.


There are many outdoor cafe terraces here but it looks like the holidaymakers are at the beach.


The Greek Frappe Coffees! They are so good. Must try in the Greek Isles.


The cafe terrace scene on Pythagoras Square.


Checking out the window displays on the shopping lane. I really like the influence of traditional Greek-style fashion. I probably would have been tempted to buy if the shop was not closed.


The main shopping lane of Vathy. Shops are closed for the afternoon siesta.


Eastern Orthodox Church in Vathy. The door was locked.


The European Union has bailed out Greece from bankruptcy so it is indeed a good idea that the EU flag fly side by side with the Greek flag.

Travel Period: June-July 2013
Destination: Vathy, Samos Island, Greece

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Croatia (Istria) and Slovenia Here I Come!

Sooo excited I have just booked =)


I mentioned awhile back that Eastern Europe has been haunting me like crazy. I will be flying into Zagreb, Croatia and will be renting a car, visiting the lovely Istrian countryside and coastal towns, then driving north towards Ljubljana, Slovenia as well as to the Julian Alps, and then back to Zagreb.

It looks like it is going to be springy weather (I see sun in the forecast!). As long as it does not dip below 10C I am all set (prefer colder climate than hot when it comes to trips like these, ideal would be 15C-18C).

Leaving in just a few days!!!


Left: Flag of Croatia | Right: Flag of Slovenia

Both countries used to be part of Yugoslavia that came to existence after World War I. Yugoslavia that disintegrated in 1991 following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 which was the symbol of the communism divide comprise of present-day countries: Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo.

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