14 Feb 2018

Art & Design Adventures in Amsterdam

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There’s nothing better than a teacher’s testimonial to truly highlight just how an overseas school trip can bring a subject to life. If you were thinking about taking an Art or DT tour to Amsterdam, then read on!

From the 31st January to the 3rd February, 24 of our brilliant Art and DT students embarked on a research trip to the cultural capital of Holland, Amsterdam. During our four-day trip we managed to pack in a huge range of activities and visits, ensuring all left having seen something they had always wanted to see in person or having had a new experience. The students were, as ever impeccably behaved, true ambassadors to the school.

Amsterdam & Dutch Coast school trip

Dutch clogs – a classic tourist souvenir from the Netherlands.

Day one saw us make our way from the UK through France and Belgium to reach Holland, en route to the hostel we stopped off at a Clara Maria Cheese Farm and Clog Factory, Bovenkerkerweg, where we were shown the cheese-making process and were able to try a wide range of cheeses. During this visit Alyena was chosen to create a clog on the 100-year-old machinery.

Creating a clog during the demonstration was an experience I never thought I would have. The process was quite quick using the machines rather than doing it all by hand.Aleyna

Vincent van Gogh

By 9.30am on day two we were at the Rijksmuseum getting lost in the world of Rembrandt and Vermeer, the Dutch masters created a perfect starting point for the students to begin exploring the golden age of Amsterdam, its wealth and fashion of the time.

After a short walk in the cold we arrived at the Van Gogh Museum, the students spent time exploring five floors of inspiring pieces by both Van Gogh and his contemporaries. Students gained a deeper understanding of the way in which he took reference from the Masters before him and how now, contemporary creative are still exploring his iconic techniques. With this museum filled with some of his most well-known pieces, students were seen simply standing and staring in awe at a number of the pieces which they have waited years to see in the flesh.

The Stedelijk Museum provided the students with a contemporary experience exploring work spanning the last 100 years from across the globe, with may famous pieces they have learnt about catching their eye.

It was refreshing to look at such a diverse range of artwork and pieces; it gave us a better understanding of the importance of context in an artist’s work.Abid

Leaving the museum district we made our way along the narrow roads and canals to Anne Frank’s House. As you enter the rooms and make your way up the tight passageways to the annex the initial talk and explanations to how they arrived at this situation became a stark reality. The students all listened to their guides, silently making their way from room to room. This sobering experience helped to bring Amsterdam in the midst of war to life.

Amsterdam school trip

Amsterdam is an ideal destination for school groups.

Friday morning saw us board a canal cruse to take in all the sights by water; the guide explained the importance of the plaster reliefs which adorn the front of each building their links to the owners’ religion and profession. The city by canal enabled the students to gain a better understanding of the architecture which gives Amsterdam its iconic look. 

It was really interesting to see how the structure of Amsterdam’s urban environment has been formed, with the canals and tall buildings. I gained an understanding of the window tax and the affect it had on the style of the architecture.Abid

Amsterdam’s Museum of Bags & Purses

Leaving the water behind we walked through the “many weird and wonderful, winding streets of Amsterdam”, stopping at the Gassan Diamond factory to see the process of taking a rough diamond through to the finished product, the students enjoyed trying on and modelling £10,000 rings and watches before we moved on to Rembrandt’s house. Here students were given the opportunity to learn about the pigments used in his work and how he created his oil paints. As you can see the students were given the opportunity to mix them too.

Then on to the floating flower market and the Tassenmuseum Hendrikje (Museum of Bags and Purses) which is housed inside the old mayor’s home which was as interesting architecturally as the thousands of bags it holds.

The final stop on Friday took us out of the city to the Ajax arena, home to Amsterdam’s football team (AJAX).

Taking in Amsterdam’s AJAX Arena.

The Ajax arena was fascinating with its impressive retractable roof [the first of its kind in Europe]. It taught us about the way in which the architect and interior designers had used psycho analysis to create the home and away rooms. Making the visiting teams feel anxious and uncomfortable while the home team are warm, comfortable and relaxed by the space they are in.Abid

Learn more about tidal power at Delta Park Storm Surge Barrier.

On Saturday our journey home took us to the western shore of Holland to the Delta Park (Delta storm surge barrier) impressive feet of engineering which spans three vast tidal rivers and protects thousands from the rise in sea levels as well as their harsh winter storm.

Besides the fact that it was a massive investment it is also key to their survival and the protection of the land and its people. The thought and complex engineering behind the building of the barrier was impressive.Andrei
It was impressive to see how we as humans work to push back nature.Eshan

Overall the trip was a huge success giving our students a broad view of Amsterdam and its diverse culture and creative history. After a long drive we arrive back with a very happy driver “this is the cleanest my coach has been left by a school in 24 years!” Thank you for this opportunity and we look forward to next year.

If we can help put together the perfect Art or DT school trip to Amsterdam, then why not get in touch to discuss your ideas?

Images courtesy of SKS, Magnus Manske, NBTC.

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