War, action heroes, the balance of family travel in Amsterdam

H, Happy day!

So, after the wedding in Amsterdam we had some days to sightsee and eat more bread and cheese.  They aren’t big on lunches there, you just grab a crusty, cheese thing with a piece of cheese and go.  That diet might mean you never have a bowel movement, but they have great iced coffee drinks.

I’ll eat veggies when I get home.

Mark and I were in complete agreement on where we wanted to go the most:  The Dutch Resistence Museum.  What 6 year old doesn’t want to go to an in depth look at the oral histories of the civilian response to Nazi occupation and deportation?  There is a zoo across the street, so as we dragged her to our WW2 fix I promised that after the exhibit and lunch ( because I love eating at museum cafes) we would go to the zoo.

When I’m in Europe I get fixated on the Holocaust.  In the town of Anne Frank’s hiding place, all the more.  I went to that place years ago  ( now it’s quite a long wait).  The Resistence Museum is across town and less known, but packs a lot of history and emotion for your 8 euros.  It has tons of oral history and goes chronologically.  You can see how The Dutch were hoodwinked initially by the Germans that they might not be that bad.  But, as time went on The Dutch got the picture and held a strike to protest the deportation of the Jews.   They had to stop the strike after a couple of days since the Gestapo was threatening to kill them.  The museum does not try to make it sound like everyone were heros.  There are plenty of stories of collaborators or people who said, “well, I work for the German’s now, so what?”

The first 15 minutes of our visit Vivien was whining, “This is boring mommy.”  I finally said, “Look, daddy and I love this, and we are not leaving.  You can participate or not, but we are not leaving.”  Then she did get into a bit.  I distilled some parts down for her.  “You know how name calling is bad? This is name calling to the inth degree.  Do you know what De humanizing is?”  They had some cool things like drawers you would open and read underground messages, so that kept her busy.  Pushing buttons, stuff like that.

“Vivien, a big take away here for you is that the US and Russia stopped this bad stuff from happening.  Had the US not come in it would not have stopped.”

After two hours my eyes were drying out.  I was thinking, oh, good the war is almost over I can have lunch.  Which, after reading about the 20 thousand Dutch who starved during the last winter of the war I felt a big bad about.  Just when the Allies had arrived Mark and Vivien appeared. Mark said excitedly, “go in there it’s all about the Japanese occupation of Indonesia!”

Oh, great.  I started to, but I felt we had pushed Viv to the brink.  The adjoining cafe was lovely.  I said, “Let’s talk about what we have learned.”

Mark looked like, huh?  I gave him the “trying to engage our daughter intellectually , ok?” look.

Vivien said something like, “There were some people who treated other people really badly, and that’s not okay.”

Yes.  That’s the message.  I didn’t want to go to into the graphic nature.  Gassing children, etc.  It gives me nightmares.

While we were there I bought a book that I loved.  Cannot reccommend it enough.  It’s called “Eva’s Story”.  Written by Anne Frank’s stepsister Eva Schloss.  She had been a neighbor of the Franks and her family also went into hiding and also were captured.  Her father and brother perished, but her mother and she survived. Her mother later married Otto Frank.  It is her memoir and it reads like a thriller.  Except, it’s real people.  Very good, very interesting.  Inspiring what people can live through.  Makes ones own problems seem very tiny.

After lunch we walked across the street.  The weather had been perfect all week.  Until now.  The clouds opened and the rain started.  Not the light rain that can occur there, but cold and heavy.  Great, the kid gets dragged through her parents deal and now this.

“We can wait it out or go back to Aunt Leslie’s.”  She opted for the latter.

Rain stopped after 15 minutes.  After that it was hard to get her to leave the house with us. Hang out with Grandma, who she loves, or risk another “history lesson” with her parents.

Fortunately my daughter loves the Kassvlinders like I do, so she agreed to come along.  I decided we needed to spice up the family travel pics.  “Let’s be action heros!”  After examining the horrors of war I think I need to role play war heros.



IS she my kid or what?

I want to do action poses in front of a variety of world landmarks.

There was an advertisement that was posted all over Amsterdam.  So, MP and I did our own version.

Finally, Viv got to go to a local park.  She played while I watched for Nazi’s.

7 thoughts on “War, action heroes, the balance of family travel in Amsterdam

  1. Great to hear your take on the resistance museum. That was a tough one to get through, so after eating lunch at the same cafe, my friend and I walked over to Rembrandt’s House. Viv would have liked it, too. They let you try mixing paint colors, and show you how Rembrandt made prints. It’s a sweet little house.

  2. Oh, I love your version of the advertisement too. Hilarious!!! I live in Amsterdam and my friend and I were just talking about it yesterday as we were heading out to dinner. My friend thought the model looks like she wants to eat the baby (which I don’t by the way).

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