Yosef Hajeer

Phillip Troutman

Amsterdam: city as a work of art

July, 19th 2020

I paint a picture of her

She walked in through the door, so beautiful, so sophisticated and rich in culture. Behind that exterior laid an even richer interior, for the things she saw, the things she learned and things she improved have all coupled to create the canvas I wish to now paint, a portrait of her in all her beauty. As I grab my brush I look across the room, applying the first layers to the beauty that frames the economic capital of the Netherlands. Amsterdam’s culture has been one that dictated a default in many others simply due to its elegance, setting an example in the way she poses, the way she moves. Her beautiful culture is adorned with its arts, sports, and history that act as a center for tourist attraction and an economical source to finance her. Her body, built on an arch, curved and beautiful,  shall not distract from the overall of what makes her so valuable, what is that you ask? Well, the aim is to appreciate Amsterdam from the context of her influence and value in the Netherlands as well as what makes her simply a work of art.

I then move on to some of her details, painting her from the words of Nescio as he gives us a preview into the landscape of Amsterdam when he recalls a memory of visiting the shoreline in the past (Nescio, 36). It thus illustrates the various islands in the region linked with a seaport made accessible through various connected bridges, essentially showing off her complexity and overall beauty. The region has a patterned canal system mainly for transport, water management and defense that has emerged and improved with time to support the activities and inhabitants of the region. She grows perfect in balance between low land and high water, according to Feddes’ argument. Taking kindness to her harbors, canal patterns, windmills, wharves, and the positioning of civic buildings and personal houses in the area (Feddes, 18). The water region demonstrates a significant part of Amsterdam’s geography in terms of land expansion and a strategic spot for trade and transport activities in the city. An aspect that adorns the framework of her beauty, but what more about her history?

The very soil she is made off has witnessed major world events over the years, bombs dropped, bullets fired and blood spilt and casting on top of her figure lies the museums that hold her history. The museum’s importance is evident in the work of Nescio as part of his experience in Leiden when visiting the Museum of Antiquities with his associates (Nescio, 43). The most vital museums in Amsterdam are found in the Museum Square, or Museumplein found in Rijksmuseum at the southwestern. The museums are an essential part of her structure since they store the largest and most prominent pieces of art in Dutch history as well as host decorative arts that reflect the Dutch’s selective detailed approach to space (Winner, 53). 

Therefore, Nescio and Winner’s experiences serve a critical propose in reflecting Amsterdam’s art through museums, architecture, paintings, and culture. As I read they further helped paint a perfect picture, hoping to understand the significance of it as part of the heritage of Amsterdam. It is because they serve to reflect the landscape of Amsterdam through art as part of its culture and traditional background. Nescio’s perspective on Amsterdam, particularly his description of the transportation systems, from trains to electric cars, gives us some details about the nature of transportation in the region (Nescio, 51). As I connect and overlap the boat routes, the canals and roads my brush layers her beauty in both detail and effectiveness. The work of Feddes (77) also gives us more insight into the ring of canals in the city used for sailing and in other means as a form of water transport. In theory, Nescio’s perspective informs us of Amsterdam’s excellent transport system connections. Public transport is favorable in Amsterdam and seems predominantly everywhere but several taxi business do run in the city. Bicycles are common in the region due to their convenience, her small frame acting as a limited surface.  

 Moving onto Winner, he uses the context of football to illustrate the importance of space for the Dutch and the strategies of using it effectively for its landscape. AFC Ajax football club is an Amsterdam-based national clubs that represent the culture of football in the region as part of its landscape about the ideas of David Winner. Therefore, to expand on the concept, the city supports various cultural events and also campaigns for the “Amsterdam Marathon.”Winner argues that (47) the Dutch’s landscapes are among the most crowded landscapes on the planet, thus making it a space of importance to their lifestyle. Some of her finest details were established from digging out the sea and using drainage systems and dike-building strategies, something they worked to build and sow together over the many years, careful around her edges I stay, my brush straighter than ever. 

The government’s support of art is part of the Dutch’s God given superior artistic flare through out their history coupled with the given beautiful landscape. It is for this reason that most works of arts created were of reflected observed things as well as the landscape of the region. Historically, the Dutch painters have desired perfection and quality of their work from their surrounding, such as the works of Vermeer or Mondrian, what I hope for own canvas. As a result, the footballers, particularly Ajax members, desired similar skills in a different art form as painters (Winner, 54). Sports, therefore, play a vital role as part of the Amsterdam landscape since it is a form of entertainment and also a game of space strategy in the region.  

As I come closer to completing my painting I look back to the words I read, the stories I heard. They speak of her beauty through night and day, a true harmony, the artificial land aligned with nature and the needs of the people in the region. Winning argues that the way of Dutch as a whole reflects an artificial lifestyle based on its cultural institutions and its relation with the environment and nature (Winning, 53). Preparing to challenge the complexity of such a work of art I concentrated on her construction, how the bricks were placed and why, you tend to ask youself. Her commonly used construction styles are Georgian and Jugendstil or Art Nouveau. As a result, the landscape has shaped the perspective of the Dutch about the world and space hence linking it to the way they see football in recent years as well.  

Overall, Nescio, Feddes, and Winner share a common perspective regarding the Dutch and Amsterdam despite a difference in the approach of the subject. Collectively they have helped me paint a picture of Amsterdam in the most accurate manner possible, through the eyes of people it enchanted. For instance, Nescio uses the perspective of poetry as a form of expression to project the picture of Amsterdam based on its culture, lifestyle, and landscape in general. On the other hand, Winner uses football as the leading sport in Dutch to introduce aspects of art such as painting, architecture, and the use of land to illustrate some aspects of its settings. The perspective of Nescio helps us appreciate the cultural settings of Amsterdam, such as various museums, diverse transportations systems including canal systems, art such as poetry and the way of life in the city. On the other hand, Winner’s perspective complements some of the facts from Nescio and Feddes on matters such as art, sports, museums, effective use of space, and culture in general.Winner bases his arguments more on the space and football culture of the city however. Feddes, on the other hand, helps us see the various settings of Amsterdam city from the perspective painting, considering the various artworks of canals, wharves, civic buildings, personal houses, and harbors. The main connection between land and water in the city is based on north and south, making it easy to bicycle in this region.

Generally, the landscape of Amsterdam reflects a collection of patterned canals, various transportation means, architecture, art, and culture that align with the history of the inhabitants of the region. Collectively, that’s her, how some might see her as anything less is beyond me, but to us she is a work of art. Something I will forever frame in my mind, finding the beauty in every individual brush I made. 

Works Cited

Winner, David. “Brilliant Orange: The neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer,” 2000. 


. “A Millennium of Amsterdam.” 

Nescio. “Amsterdam Stories.”


leonid Afremov “ Amsterdam” 


3 thoughts on “Yosef Hajeer

  1. To start off, your essay was written beautifully. The style was unique, your diction was vivid, and you portrayed a vibrant picture. You managed to depict all aspects of Amsterdam-its government, architecture, and economy- without using only technical terms, which I think is an art within itself. I like the contrasts in each paragraph- how you would start off with a more poetic, creative note and then delve in deeper and analyze what you just talked about. I also liked how you consistently weaved in Nescio and his experiences throughout your essay. The hook to your essay, “I paint a picture of her” was really captivating and I enjoyed how you continued to refer to Amsterdam as “her” throughout your essay. The format of your essay really allowed the readers to appreciate Amsterdam’s beauty. Overall, I really liked reading your essay and am looking forward to your future posts!


  2. Yosef,

    Thank you for your post. You truly painted Amsterdam with your words. This was a lot of fun to read and I felt like I was a part of your picture. I especially liked how you described soccer as art. I am a fan of the game and this perspective brought a whole new meaning of the sport to me.

    I look forward to your next post


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