By tour leader Ayold Fanoy
With a complete group we explored the city of Haarlem Tuesday. In the morning we took a walking tour, ending at the Teylers museum where we had a wonderful guided tour. After that it was on to the Bavo Cathedral next door, with a little detour through the oldest almshouses (hofje) of Haarlem. When we entered the church we were welcomed with organ music.
In the afternoon we met in the Mennonite Church and had a relaxing talk an stroll through the church, meeting the church archivist. Our day ended with a well deserved wonderful Indonesian meal.
We started Wednesday with a 15 minute train ride from Haarlem to Amsterdam. On our way to Amsterdam there was a little shower, but arriving in Amsterdam it was already dry and it stayed dry (and sunny) for the rest of the day. We walked from the Central Station towards the Singelkerk. We had stops at a Catholic hidden church and the Dam square to tell the Mennonite martyr and other stories. We have seen the beguinage and were welcomed in the Singelkerk by Thijs van Hoogstraten, first of all a good friend of mine, second the chairman of the church board and third a direct descendant of Samuel van Hoogstraten, a famous 16th century painter. After lunch in the Singelkerk we toured the Rijksmuseum and Van Goghmuseum.
On Thursday we had an easy pace, a welcome difference from the full day yesterday. We took the train to Amsterdam again. First we visited the “Gallowsfield” that is the place where the corpses of the Mennonites and other dead sentenced men were shown to the public (in the 15/16th centuries).
After a short tram ride we arrived at the Mennonite Archives and Library where Adrian Plak showed us around. The group found the old prints very interesting. After that we went for a boat tour of Amsterdam and a free afternoon.