Silence in the busy city
When you think about Amsterdam, you probably will have images of a busy town on your mind. The overcrowded Dam and Damrak and the canals where honking cars find their way. Still, there are plenty of quiet spots in Amsterdam, even in the Center. Thom Breukel wrote a book about it. More than a hundred silent places in our capital.
‘Stil A’dam (Silent A’dam); Survivalgids voor de stedeling (Survival guide for the city dweller)’ is a book full of surprises. Quiet spots where you may have heard of, but you never visited, Breukel has listed them for you, with a historical story. Nice! Also for the tourist. With beautiful stylistic black and white photos and drawings that support the stories.
A number of examples from his choice:
The Men’s Market
Where the Brouwersgracht and Herengracht meet, is the Herenmarkt. Nowadays there is little fence around it, so that children can play here. In the past this was different according to Breukel. There was a meat market and a pig market. Truly a place to stop.
Not a place you will visit quickly if you don’t have family or friends who live here. Yet Sloten is worthwhile. It is a very old and quiet village. That Sloten is older than Amsterdam, every ‘Slotenaar’ knows. In the agreement (1063 A.D.) between William of Utrecht and the Abbot of Echternach is ‘ Scloten ‘ already mentioned.
In De Krijtberg, a church with spire Gothic towers opposite the Spui, a divine silence reigns. Church guards are unfortunately necessary to keep the ‘ talkers ‘ under control. Though those Church guards themselves are not always quiet, according to Breukel. (Source: still A’dam; Survival guide for the city dweller)
Do you want to survive in the big city? The book ‘Stil A’dam; Survivalgids voor de stedeling’ you can buy for € 6.95 at bol.com. Unfortunately, not available in English, but maybe a nice present for a Dutch speaking friend?
Photo credits; Nicolien Brzesowsky