Amsterdam art, off the beaten path
Rembrandt and Vermeer, of course. But this city's art treasures hardly end there.
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Rembrandt was one of the world's greatest etchers, creating prints from copper plates on a wooden press. In a new wing, the museum rotates its nearly complete collection of Rembrandt's 290 etchings (www.rembrandthuis.nl).Skip to next paragraph
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Privacy-seeking celebrities stay at the cloistered Grand Amsterdam. That tradition dates back 500 years when A-listers like William of Orange and Maria de'Medici were guests at the convent turned royal palace.
The Council Chamber where Queen Beatrix held her civil wedding ceremony in 1966 features painted and carved wood panels and a massive table carved with animals representing the four points of a compass. Weddings are still performed in the exquisite marriage chamber, commissioned by city officials in 1925.
Artist Chris Lebeau depicted a couple's courtship and wedding in Jugendstil murals and luminous red-, purple-, and lime stained-glass windows.
At the entrance to the hotel's cafe hangs the postwar mural "Asking Children," by Karel Appel. The 1949 work, depicting children begging for food, caused such a controversy when it was hung in front of the then town hall's canteen that the city hid it for a decade (www.thegrand.nl).
Foam Photography Museum and Huis Marseille
Old and new contrast dramatically at a pair of 17th-century canal houses along Keizersgracht canal. Behind the elegant facades of the Foam Photography Museum and Huis Marseille are the striking contemporary photographs of established artists and emerging talent.
A short stroll down Keizersgracht, Huis Marseille hosts a retrospective by well-known Dutch photographer Edwin Zwakman (through May 25). With images of suburbs and Dutch panoramas, Zwakman appears to be working in the tradition of conventional documentary photography. In fact, his photographs are actually of scale models reconstructed in his studio. In photos of cities including Shanghai and Beijing, China; and Tehran, Iran; German photographer Hans Scholten aims his camera at new mushrooming neighborhoods devoid of urban planning (www.huismarseille.nl).