Farewell, my new lovelies!

The bags are packed, the boarding passes are printed (I still don’t trust those QR dots on my phone) and we’re ready to leave Amsterdam to fly back to family and friends Australia.

There are still a couple of hours left in a late summer’s day, in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. How to spend them? One last bike ride of course – first through the Vondelpark, happy to cruise slowly behind the pairs of tourists wobbling on their matching rented bikes.

Then over to the Rijksmuseum, where I’m still excited by the cycle path passing through its belly. A mounted policeman clip-clops his horse through the tunnel ahead of me, a living statue works on her makeup and a busker plays Stairway to Heaven. All’s well with the world.


I lock my bike to the rack with a chain that could moor a battleship, go straight to the door that says ‘Visitors with Ticket’ and flash my Museumkaart. That magic piece of plastic (EUR59.90 for annual membership) not only gives me visiting rights to most Dutch museums, it makes me feel that I own the Rijksmuseum and the riches it contains.

I don’t need to see the Nightwatch this time, and I barely pause as I walk past the Vermeers. I want to say goodbye to two wonderful paintings before I leave Amsterdam and so do they.

This year, the Netherlands and France jointly bought the wedding portraits of Marten and Oopjen. I’d never heard of them until this year, but I predict they will before long be among the most famous paintings in the world. The full length portraits by a young Rembrandt (by my calculations he was 28 when he painted them) were acquired from the Rothschilds after nearly 400 years in private hands.

They will hang side by side, alternately housed in the Rijksmuseum (till October 2016) and the Louvre in Paris.

Since Marten and Oopjen arrived in Amsterdam in July I’ve made three trips into the Rijksmuseum to see them and I’m sure I’ll be back again, each time they return from their holidays in France.

The good news is that this year Nederland saw fit to issue me with a ‘Verblijfstitel’ card. It’s Dutch residence permit. I own a piece of the Rijksmuseum and I own a Dutch bike. I feel I belong here. Marten and Oopjen are my friends. See you soon!


Filed under Amsterdam


  1. Caroline Whiteside

    Have you read “The Last Painting of Sara de Vos” by Dominic Smith – weaves together Amsterdam, Sydney and paintings – a great read.

  2. Dan moloney

    Would love. To catch up in Sydney. I have been house sitting around the country , but will be in Sydney for awhile . Cheers dan

  3. Ah, we have bad timing, Richard. I arrive back in Amsterdam on the 20th. Too late to meet up with you, but in time to pay Marten and Oopjen a visit. Wishing you and Mevrouw T safe travels!

  4. My wife and I were in Amsterdam a few months ago. What a great place. We loved it. I was so jazzed by Amsterdam, it inspired me to write a few stories for my blog. I’m someone who often is scrambling to come up with story ideas, so Amsterdam eased that situation temporarily.

  5. Damien Jameson

    Sorry we missed you Richard and Agnes.We arrive in 12 days. Please leave some good weather for us. Have enjoyed your summer writing tremendously. Safe travels.

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