Amsterdam Friends

On Sunday, I met with Friends in Amsterdam.  About two years ago, while in the Netherlands, I traveled to Amsterdam to attend the Friends Meeting for Worship.  I arrived in Amsterdam at 5:00 am this past Sunday, and so I decided to return to this meeting.  I stowed by suitcase in a locker at the airport and made my way to the Meeting House.  I had the address and a vague memory of where the meeting house was located.  The service person at the train station was able to tell me to take a certain tram from the Amsterdam Central train station to get me to the museum district, where the meeting house is.

At about 8:00, I arrived in the museum district.  I walked to the meeting house and discovered that the meeting started at 10:30. I had time to walk around the district.  It was very quiet.  I spent time in Vandel Park, a very large park that was adjacent to the street that the Friends meeting house was located on.  I went by the Van Gogh museum and the Rijks Museum.  I searched for a cafe, but on Sunday morning, nothing was open.

I returned to the meeting house shortly after 10:00.  There were several people there.  I was greeted by a gentleman who had been at the meeting I attended in 2008.  While another fellow prepared coffee, I went into the meeting room and found a seat.  About 15 people were in attendance at the meeting.  There was no introduction, no greeting and no centering remarks.  We sat in silence.  One man gave vocal ministry in Dutch.  After the meeting closed with the traditional handshake, the clerk asked us if anyone had additional thoughts to share.  Marianne, a woman who I had met two years ago spoke, first in Dutch and then shared with me in English what she had said.  She spoke of that fact that the Quaker tree has many branches and we are all different birds in those branches.

I had a chance to introduce myself and everyone actually introducted themself to me at the conclusion of the meeting.  I was pleased to speak with several Friends after the meeting.  I was also invited to lunch.  We walked from the meeting house to a cafe that was situated within the building that contained the film museum in Amsterdam.  This was the Vertigo Cafe.  We had a nice lunch and a nice visit.  Paul, who grew up in India, offered to give me a ride to the train station.  I gladly accepted, and after a ride of about 40 minutes, I arrived in Rotterdam.

As luck would have it, Joop and Margo were not home, although I met them on the street as I was walking to a local cafe to wait for them.  they were riding their bikes home from the opening of their son-in-law’s photorgraphic exhibition.  It was very good to see my friends, and the Rotterdam segment of my visit was now in full swing.

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