Experience Museum Quarter 180 degrees different after lockdown

After a 12-week lockdown, museums and restaurants were allowed to reopen in early June in compliance with the 1.5-meter rule. A totally new experience of culture sniffing and culinary enjoyment. Amsterdam Magazine spoke with people in the area about their experiences about the easing of the lockdown.

Museum Square_larsvandenbrink

In early June, the museums, bars and restaurants around Museumplein reopened their doors after more than twelve weeks. Mieke Tacken (48), a local resident, was one of the first to enter the Stedelijk Museum on her own and visit The Future Is Now exhibition: "I missed the museums tremendously all those months. Once inside, it felt magical, like the red carpet was laid out. I was seen, greeted, the staff was courteous and happy to receive people again. In terms of routing, everything was clearly marked with arrows. The peace inside was almost surreal, a whole new experience for me. I got a taste for it and also visited the Van Gogh museum. In one room I stood with two, in another with seven and in the larger rooms with a maximum of fifteen people. And sometimes I was suddenly alone in such a large room. When I stood in an empty room in front of the Potato Eaters, I noticed that the art came much more to me, so I experienced it more intensely and with more concentration. I learned more about Van Gogh than ever."


Peace and space
As it turns out, Mieke is not the only one for whom the museum visit is now so special. In all that space, it is a surprising experience for many. Declan Stone (49), a local resident and father of Robin, 2.5, and Holly, 5, also experiences his museum visits and the surrounding square with his family as a luxury. Declan: "On Friday morning, I went to the Van Gogh museum with my daughter. There was no line and everyone was super friendly. It felt like the museum opened just for us and we got a private tour. My daughter could almost sprint there; there was hardly anyone there, we had the halls all to ourselves. What a relief, this really felt like quality time with my daughter."

mocomuseum building

Garden Moco Museum opened
Declan: "On Saturday we were at the City Museum with the whole family. There were TVs, robots, it was relaxing, and the kids loved it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, something we will never experience again." The family also decided to go to The Rijksmuseum on Sunday. Declan: "Standing in your up in front of The Night Watch was phenomenal. By the way, during the lockdown, Museumplein also proved to be a new experience. It was practically our garden. The kids had free access to the Moco garden with large sculptures where they could play wonderfully. And on the square itself, they could really ride bikes everywhere. Many families picnicked there during the day. The kids played in the water where normally the ice rink is. In all honesty, the last few months were strange but also warmer than normal. People had more contact with each other and I felt more togetherness."

Carter terrace

Back to the terrace
The hospitality industry is also being experienced in a new way. Christa van der Pal (56), living in Oud-West was a regular customer of the Seafoodbar in the van Baerlestraat before the lockdown. Christa: "That last day when the restaurant had to close we had a nice dinner there. But actually it was with a smile. We left the premises at the same time as the staff. During the lockdown we regularly got take-away. When we heard we could come again June 1, we immediately made reservations online. We were warmly welcomed and sat outside on the patio, though behind a bulkhead, but lovely after weeks on our own balcony. For us it was a celebration of reunion, to look back on and talk about how they survived. We were genuinely happy to be there again and the food was tastier than ever. The hostess asked us a few obligatory questions about our health, but we experienced that as helpful. Also inside, we saw that the tables were set up spatially and hand pumps gel so it was safe to sit there. We drank delicious wine until the wee hours of the morning. I like to support my own food addresses, they need us badly."


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