Day Eight: Haarlem and Amsterdam: Corrie Ten Boom and Anne Frank (among other things)

Friday, the 21st was a whirlwind day. We arose a little earlier than usual to make the 45-minute drive to the quintessentially Dutch town of Haarlem. (You may be more familiar with the Harlem of New York City. You may not be surprised to know that there is a connection between the two. New York City was once a Dutch colony called New Amsterdam. The inhabitants, naturally, named a nearby area after Amsterdam’s nearby town of Haarlem in The Netherlands.)

A Haarlem Canal

The De Adriaan Windmill, actually a recent replica of an older windmill that burned down in 1932.

The huge 15th century Grote Kerk, which we did not have time to visit. You’ll notice all these churches have names like “Old Church, New Church, or Market Church.” That is because the protestants changed them from the names of saints. This was once St. Bavo Church.

Upon our arrival in Haarlem, we hurried to the Corrie Ten Boom House for the 10 a.m. tour. We were very fortunate to get in at 10. It was booked solid, but there were a few no shows. We were able to see “the hiding place,” where the Ten Boom family hid up to six Jews at a time in a concealed secret room just off Corrie’s bedroom. The devout Christian family was eventually arrested, and Corrie’s father and sister died in the concentration camp. Corrie survived and spent many years telling her story and sharing the Gospel.

Cindy standing in front of the house of Corrie Ten Boom. Here was a safe haven for Jews during WW II.

Cindy stands in the hiding place (the wall of course was not broken through as it is today for the purpose of visualizing the space. It was a tiny place in which six Jews at a time could hide.

Actually, the hiding place was never discovered by the Nazis. The Gestapo, who had been tipped off to the activities taking place here, burst into the Ten Boom house on 2/28/44. In this hidden compartment by the staircase they found a number of ration coupons for the hiding Jews, which was enough for them to be arrested and hauled off to concentration camps.

The Ten Boom residence on the corner. The family business, a clock shop, was run below. Today, fittingly, it is a watch shop.

The hiding place was built in the already small bedroom of Corrie Ten Boom. The entrance to the hiding place was through the bottom cabinet on the left. The six Jews that were in the hiding place when the family was arrested were not found by the Nazis. They continued to hide for 47 hours until they were set free by police officers who were secretly members of the Dutch underground.

After spending an hour-and-a-half at the Ten Boom residence we walked to the museum of the Netherlands’ great portrait painter, Frans Hals. Haarlem was his hometown and this museum contains several of his important works.

Exterior of the Frans Hals (1582-1666) Museum, who hailed from Haarlem. He earned his reputation as the portrait painter of the Golden Age of Dutch art.

This is not by Hals, but another representation of St. Luke painting the virgin.

Look at this masterpiece I found at the Hals Museum! What a beauty!

Cindy in a Dutch painting. 🙂

Officers and Sergeants of the St. George Civic Guard, 1635, Frans Hals

A Room in the Frans Hals Museum

Before long, we were back in the car for our final destination, the capital of the
Netherlands, wild and crazy Amsterdam. I put forth my best efforts to dodge all the bicyclists, pedestrians, scooters, and other vehicles which at time seem to come from all directions at once. I quickly dropped Cindy off at our hotel on the Singel Canal while blocking traffic unloading. I then returned our rental car, catching an Uber for the ride back to the Hotel.

A view from our window in the Hotel Brauwer in Amsterdam

The Singel Canal from our window.

After just a short rest, we walked across three canals to the Anne Frank house, where we then stood in line for 2 1/2 hours to enter in to the house and museum. Photos were not allowed inside, but the tour was sobering. For two years, eight Jews hid in a secret annex in this house before being discovered by the Nazis and sent to concentration camps. We walked through the bookcase entrance to see where Anne Frank recorded her thoughts in her diary.

Captivating Amsterdam Canal

A small segment of the 4 block line to enter the Anne Frank Museum

Exterior of the Anne Frank house (from Wikipedia)

The bookcase entrance into the Secret Annex (taken from the web; photo were not allowed inside)

Eager to sit down and fill our bellies, we walked deeper into the Jordaan neighborhood to La Perla for some great wood-fired pizza. Once our stomachs were full, we decided we could stomach the Red Light District. Prostitution and Marijuana are, as you probably know, legal in Amsterdam. We’ve passed numerous “coffee shops” where the smell of marijuana was pungent and strong as we walked by. The Red Light District is ironically and unexpectedly centered around the Oude Kerk (Old Church). During the early evening, its a rather touristy place, but we understand that after dark it feels much more dirty and seedy. A couple of hours before the sun set, we passed by several shops selling all sorts of sex paraphernalia before actually getting to the red lights, where nearly naked women display their wares and wink at men that might be interested in purchasing through their red curtain-framed windows. We didn’t linger long before our curiosity was satisfied and we were ready to get back to better environs.

Amsterdam Canal

Jaw-dropping beauty.

Waiting on our pizza at La Perla

The Bulldog Cafe, supposedly the first “coffeehouse” in Amsterdam marks the beginning of the Red Light District. The small alley just to its left contains the red lights and windows in which women attempt to entice the men walking by.

No close ups of the ladies in the Red Light District will be provided, but in this photo you can see several windows with red lights above them.

Our room with a view. 🙂

Sunset in Amsterdam

Since it doesn’t get dark until almost 11 p.m., we are rarely out after dark. This almost-nighttime photo of the lit up canals is from our room.

3 thoughts on “Day Eight: Haarlem and Amsterdam: Corrie Ten Boom and Anne Frank (among other things)

  1. Pictures from your hotel window is gorgeous! That would be something to be in the very room Carrie Ten Boom & Anne Frank was! Something how many bicycles are used there to get around! Thanks for sharing ❤️

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