I’m flashing back to being in Amsterdam around this time last year: my first canal ride, aboard a private salon boat courtesy of the swanky InterConti; my first space cake and the many lost hours in thrall to the architecture (and the flowers); my first crazy museum night, lined up for days outside the Rijksmuseum and not getting a glimpse of Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God until well past midnight. (verdict: Judith Leiber did it first)
Amsterdamers really know how to enjoy themselves, and Museumnacht is one of the most popular nights of the year in one of the coolest cities around. More than 40 museums stay open well past the witching hour with special programming like an all night rave of dance and fashion in the Old Church or Oude Kerk; animation played out against the music of Radiohead and Goldfrapp; an interpretive taste of historical food from the 65,000 cookbooks at Bijzondere Collecties van de Uya; and at the Olympic Stadium built for the 1928 games: a surprise midnight challenge. It’s a great way to see parts of the city you might not ordinarily trek to see – and possibly the best way to interact with locals out for a night of groovy good fun. That’s right, it’s groovy good fun.
There’s even an upside to all that time spent in line: when it snakes through an enfilade of pictures by Vermeer, Cuyp, Steen and van Ruisdael, you don’t care how long the wait is.