Thursday, February 09, 2012

Ice in Amsterdam

My brother Michael and his family live in Amsterdam. It's cold there at the moment - certainly colder than it is here. In an email to me today he wrote:

For days it has been well below freezing day and night, with sunshine and clear blue skies. This weather people describe as 'lovely'.

Why lovely? Because they have a passion for ice skating - even though it's not always cold enough.

Of course Amsterdam is known for its canals. So when it is cold for long periods, then this happens:

I love Michael's photo, with all the little figures on the ice - it's like a kind of Dutch L.S. Lowry or - closer geographically to Amsterdam - Breughel. The painter Pieter Breughel was born in Holland - - or perhaps Belgium - it's not certain.

This is Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap and at first glance it doesn't look too different from a village in the snow with a frozen river today. No television aerials, mind, because it was painted in 1565.

So there we have it. Times change: people don't change much, in essence. I bet Breughel would have liked a digital camera so he didn't have to freeze his ass off painting his winter landscape. Thank you for the lovely photo, Michael.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Michael Communistson said...

You're right, it really is like those 16th century paintings when the hidden skating culture emerges.

YouTube is full of videos like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLk7I2V4gZ0&feature=related
or this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlWRg6skKpo

Absolutely everybody does it, young and old. Only foreigners like me can't skate. And of course, the hospitals are packed!

8:23 pm  
Blogger Silverback said...

And a warm thank you to Michael for freezing HIS ass off taking the digital photo....and videos.

8:53 pm  
Blogger Katherine said...

Breughel even captured the golden yellow sky... Lovely!

1:07 am  
Blogger JeannetteLS said...

That's remarkable how much alike the scenes ARE.

1:45 am  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

I think you're right - essentially people haven't changed much through the ages. That was something I felt strongly when I looked closely at "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymus Bosch - painted around 1500 - over five hundred years ago.

12:41 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I don't understand how Yorkshire Pudding could have looked at Hieronymus Bosch's painting over 500 years ago.

10:38 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

RHYMES WITH PEE I'm a Time Lord!

12:26 am  

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