25OCT 2016 (Tuesday). AMSTERDAM. (Day 23)


My breakfast this morning here in Mercure Hotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands

This morning, a wakeup call was made by Mercure Hotel at 6:30AM and breakfast was also served at 7:30AM. Then at 8:43AM we started our whole day city tour around Amsterdam. Amsterdam is the capital and most populous municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, which is The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 851,373 within the city proper, 1,351,587 in the urban area, and 2,410,960 in the Amsterdam metropolitan area. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. The metropolitan area comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million.

Amsterdam’s name derives from Amstelredamme (“dike”), indicative of the city’s origin around a dam in the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age (17th century), a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading centre for finance and diamonds. In the 19th and 20th centuries the city expanded, and many new neighborhoods and suburbs were planned and built. The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Since the annexation of municipality Sloten in 1921 by the municipality of Amsterdam, the oldest historic part of the city lies in Sloten (9th century).

As the commercial capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centers in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) study group. The city is also the cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, and seven of the world’s 500 largest companies, including Philips and ING, are based in the city. In 2012, Amsterdam was ranked the second best city to live in by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and 12th globally on quality of living for environment and infrastructure by Mercer. The city was ranked 3rd in innovation by Australian innovation agency 2thinknow in their Innovation Cities Index 2009. The Amsterdam seaport to this day remains the second in the country, and the fifth largest seaport in Europe.

Famous Amsterdam residents include the diarist Anne Frank, artists Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh, and philosopher Baruch Spinoza.

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city center. Amsterdam’s main attractions, including its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Anne Frank House, Amsterdam Museum, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops draw more than 5 million international visitors annually. It is also the world’s most multicultural city with at least 177 nationalities represented.

We passed the Amstel River, the only natural river, when we started our city tour and the rest of the rivers were made-made. Amstel is a river in the Netherlands which runs through the city of Amsterdam. The river’s name is derived from Aeme-stelle, old Dutch for “water-area,” namely, an area abounding with water.

The well-known bridge Magere Brug in Amsterdam crosses the river, as do the bridges Blauwbrug, Hoge Sluis and Berlagebrug. The Stopera city hall and opera house and Carré theatre are both located on the banks of the river.

The river originally began where two smaller rivers, the Drecht and Kromme Mijdrecht, joined together, a little south of Uithoorn. After the construction of a canal, the Amstel-Drecht Kanaal, the river (including the canal) now begins where the Drecht and another canal, the Aarkanaal, meet one another, near the town of Nieuwveen. Tributary rivers are the Kromme Mijdrecht, Bullewijk and Waver.

We arrived at the Chapel of Our of All Nations for our Mass which was not previously


This is the Chapel of Our Lady of All Nations – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

arranged. Thanked be to God the religious sisters assigned there gave us the opportunity to have the Mass. The Mass ended at around 9:35AM. We left the chapel at around 9:47AM bound for windmill area.

The Lady of All Nations is a title used for the Blessed Virgin Mary in a series of Marian apparitions, known as the Amsterdam Apparitions, to Ida Peerdeman in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Peerdeman allegedly received a total of 207 visions, the first 56 of which involved the Virgin Mary and began on 25 March 1945. After the Marian visions ceased on 31 May 1959, Peerdeman claimed to have received 151 of what she called “Eucharistic Experiences” for 26 years, where she was given divine revelation, usually during Mass.

We reached the windmill area at around 10:07AM in order to see the historic


Old Windmills at my back

windmills of Zaanse Schans on a tour bus from Amsterdam with a professional tour guide. We watched and learned about cheese making, walk on wooden shoes, see the interior of a working windmill and view the wooden green-painted houses and shops.

If you see satellites on top of a house, this means, they are not Dutch family but Muslim homes because they want to see their own Arabic TV stations. And 1/3 of Amsterdam is below sea level (2.3 meters). Windmill’s electricity is expensive due to its maintenance. Windmills are monuments and so therefore, they cannot be destroyed

Zaanse Schans is a neighbourhood of Zaandam, near Zaandijk in the Netherlands. It has a collection of well-preserved historic windmills and houses. From 1961 to 1974 old buildings from all over the Zaanstreek were relocated using lowboy trailers to the area. The Zaans Museum, established in 1994, is located in the Zaanse Schans.

The Zaanse Schans is one of the popular tourist attractions of the Netherlands and an anchor point of ERIH, the European Route of Industrial Heritage. The neighborhood attracted approximately 1.6 million visitors in 2014.

The Zaans Museum locates next to the Zaanse Schans. The Zaanse Schans houses seven museums: The Weavers House, the Cooperage, the Jisper House, Zaan Time Museum, Albert Heijn Museum shop, Bakery Museum.

The Zaanse Schans derived its name of the river Zaan and its original function as sconce (schans in Dutch) against the Spanish troops during the Eighty Years’ War of Dutch independence.

We watched also how to make wooden shoes and then entered in one of the windmills; took some pictures; bought some key chains like wooden shoes worth 15.95 Euros at Souvenirs and Clogs; its address is 1509 AZ, Zaandam, Amsterdam, Netherlands. We left this place at around 11:49AM and went to cruise ship area for our Amsterdam Canal cruise. Amsterdam has no mountains and hills.

We arrived in a cruise ship area at around 12:15PM and started our canal cruise at around 12:31PM. We absorb the canal-front sights of Amsterdam on a leisurely 60-minute sightseeing cruise. We took a seat in a comfortable, glass-topped boat, and enjoy the views as we glided along the city’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed canals and listened to the informative audio commentary. Drift by top Amsterdam attractions such as the Anne Frank House and City Hall, gabled townhouses, bridges and leafy canal-sides from the peaceful vantage point of the water. For me, this is a relaxing way to get to know the pretty Dutch capital for first-time visitors like me. Our canal cruise ended at 1:31PM. We left the place at around 1:35PM and went to a diamond factory. We arrived in this diamond factory at around 2PM. The tour guide of this diamond factory was from Laguna and she is married to a Dutch. She explained to us everything about diamonds, processes, price, etc. We went to Rijksmuseum. Then went back to our tour bus and left the place at 4:40PM bound for Mercure Hotel.

The Rijksmuseum (English: National Museum) is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw.


The square/facade of The Rijksmuseum – Amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum was founded in The Hague in 1800 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808, where it was first located in the Royal Palace and later in the Trippenhuis. The current main building was designed by Pierre Cuypers and first opened its doors in 1885. On 13 April 2013, after a ten-year renovation which cost  375 million, the main building was reopened by Queen Beatrix. In 2013 and 2014, it was the most visited museum in the Netherlands with record numbers of 2.2 million and 2.47 million visitors. It is also the largest art museum in the country.

The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000, among which are some masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. The museum also has a small Asian collection, which is on display in the Asian pavilion.

Tonight we had our dinner started at 7:30PM and ended at around 9PM. Natasha and Angela, Dutch young women and waitresses of Mercure Hotel, Amsterdam served us until we finished our dinner. It was a meaningful dinner since it was our last dinner in the hotel because the next day (October 26, 2016) at 11:30AM we will be at the airport for our 3:20 flight to Dubai and or Manila.

Thank you very much to you, Fr. Estong Bendita, Dante and Long Caluag, Nieda Ramos, Inday Silva, Lucy Decio and Leticia Tecson for a wonderful nine-day pilgrimage extension. You gave your time  for this extension and we enjoyed.

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