Tag Archives: Baltic Vacation

Final Sights in Amsterdam

The houses in Amsterdam are built on pilings and, because the piling settle, the houses shift with time. As a result, all the older buildings are a bit crooked. How the windows and doors in some of these houses can continue to operate in the crooked walls is beyond me. The Sint Nicolaaskerk is a Roman Catholic church in Amsterdam, built in Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance styles. At the front of the church are two neo-Baroque towers with a rose window between them. The Hotel Di-Ann is an impressive structure composed of five buildings between the Herengracht and Keizersgracht canals. Continue reading

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The Anne Frank House and Westerkerk in Amsterdam

Of all the sights in the Netherlands, perhaps the one with which the greatest number of people are familiar is the Anne Frank House at Prisengracht 263 in Amsterdam, the location of the secret annex where the Frank family (Otto, Edith, Anne, and Margot), the van Pels family (Hermann, Auguste, and Peter), and Fritz Pfeffer hid from the Nazis. The building was nearly demolished after years of neglect, but with the pressure of public opinion and the help of Otto Frank’s friends, the building was saved. Today, the Anne Frank house and the two buildings adjacent to it serve as the Anne Frank Museum. Continue reading

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The Canals of Amsterdam

While in Amsterdam, I walked along Raadhuisstraat and took photos as I crossed each of the major canals of Amsterdam. The first, the Singel was originally the moat around the medieval city of Amsterdam until 1585. The Herengracht (Patrician’s Canal) was named after the heren regeerders who governed the city in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Keizersgracht (Emperor’s Canal) is named after Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor. The Prinsengrach (Prince’s Canal) was named after the Prince of Orange. To the casual observer, one canal looks pretty much the same as another, although I’m sure a resident of Amsterdam could easily identify which is which from the photos. If I hadn’t known which was which, I could have identified only the photo of the Prinsengracht, since that photo shows a line of people on the right, waiting to get into the Anne Frank House. Continue reading

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Farewell to Stockholm

The Grand Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden is located on part of the Saltsjön, a bay of the Baltic Sea. From the Grand Hotel one can see the Amiralitetshuset (Admiralty House) on the island of Skeppsholmen, one of the many islands that make up the Stockholm archipelago. The present design was rebuilt in 1844-1846 in a Neorenaissance style with turrets. The Amiralitetshuset has served various purposes in its lifetime, housing the Admiralty Board, serving as an archive, and acting as a corn stable. Today, it is the home of the Swedish Tourist Association. Continue reading

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St. Olov's Kirkoruin and the Mariakyrkan in Sigtuna, Sweden

Not far from the main street of Sigtuna, Sweden lies St. Olov’s Kirkoruin, the ruins of a 13th Century Benedictine Monastery. A cemetery, including a mausoleum, lies adjacent to the ruins. Legend says that the mausoleum was built to inter an old woman who demanded that after she was interred there, the door should be locked and the key tossed through a hole in the structure so that visitors could not enter and she could rest in peace. The Mariakyrkan, or Maria Church, is also adjacent to the ruins, cemetery, and mausoleum. It is the oldest building in Sigtuna still in use, also dating from the 13th century. Inside the church is a beautiful painting entitled “Getsemane” by Bror Hjorth (1940). Continue reading

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A Visit to Sigtuna, Sweden

North of Stockholm lies the town of Sigtuna, the oldest medieval village in Sweden, founded around 790 AD. The town hall dates from 1744. Visitors are told that, at one time, the residents of Sigtuna all knew that a key to the town hall was hidden behind one of the shutters. On occasion, if someone had too much to drink and was reluctant to deal with his wife’s scolding for getting drunk, he would let himself into the town hall to sleep it off and then face his wife in the morning. Continue reading

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Trädgårdsgatan and Stortorget in the Old Town of Stockholm, Sweden

A block to the south of Slottsbaken is Trädgårdsgatan (Garden Street) named after the Royal Gardens that were formerly maintained there. A small public square called Bollhustäppan (Ball House Square) may be entered from Trädgårdsgatan where the diminutive statue of Järnpojke (“Iron Boy”) sits staring at the moon. Visitors leave coins and sweets for Järnpojke and rub his head in the belief that doing so will insure a return visit to Stockholm. A short distance away is Stortorget (The Big Square) with colorful buildings, the Stock Exchange Building, and a well. The Stock Exchange Building was built in 1773-1776 and now is home to the Swedish Academy, the Nobel Museum, and the Nobel Library. Continue reading

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Slottsbacken in the Old Town of Stockholm, Sweden

Gamla Stan is the Old Town in Stockholm, Sweden. There, on Slottsbacken (the Royal Slope), one finds the Royal Palace and the Stockholm Cathedral (St. Nicholas Church). On 19 Jun 2010, just a few weeks prior to the time these photos were taken, Crown Princess Victoria (the eldest daughter of King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia) married Daniel Westling in the Stockholm Cathedral. Continue reading

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The Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden

The Vasamuseet or Vasa Museum is located on the island of Djurgården in Stolkholm, Sweden. It is home to the Vasa, a 17th century warship that sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 and was recovered after much searching on 14 Apr 1861. Remarkably, the ship remained largely intact even after over three centuries underwater, owing to the brackish nature of the water in which the ship sank. Continue reading

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THe Church of the Rock in Helsinki, Finland

Temppeliaukio Kirkko or the Church of the Rock, located in Helsinki, Finland, was constructed by Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and completed in 1969. It was built inside a 40 foot tall outcrop of granite by blasting the granite from within. From the outside, the Church of the Rock is barely noticeable except for the copper dome just above the level of the rock. The church is a popular tourist attraction in Helsinki, serving as a Lutheran Church and hosting classical concerts. During the day, the interior of the church is well lit by natural light and is highlighted by copper accents and a dome of copper wire. Continue reading

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