Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Dutch History Museum

The Dutch History museum was interesting, but if the time you spend in Amsterdam is short, you can skip it. The history recounted through the art at the Rijkesmuseum is much more interesting (IMHO).

I also found the history to be a bit one-sided. For example, the museum discusses how the Dutch dominated the seas and had trade routes around the globe. However, they fail to state that a good portion of the trade taking place was for African slaves. They discuss new ships being built, but also do not illustrate that if even 50% of the "cargo" arrived alive, it was considered a sucessful voyage.

They did have a temporary exhibit regarding cesspits. Apparently before sewers or plumbing, a huge hole would be dug in the ground and people would go dump their chamberpots, etc. into the hole. Eventually, they would cover the hole back up with dirt. Unfortunately, on occasion the liquid waste would seep into the groundwater.

Not the most pleasant exhibit I have ever viewed, but not all history is pretty. I think it is too bad the museum's curators are willing to show how the Dutch handled their waste, but unwilling to show the country's other "dirty laundry."

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