Top 5 podcasts, vlogs and video diaries

Didn’t Roman philosopher Epictetus already say it two thousand years ago?: “He who is free in the body, but bound in the soul is a slave; but on the contrary he who is bound in the body, but free in the soul, is truly free.”

You may feel physically imprisoned during the quarantine measurements. It’s a good moment for broadening the mind. Historical Amsterdam Tours can still enlighten you while you’re glued to the couch at home.

Here is a list of the Top 5 sources of local listening material: podcasts, vlogs and a video diary about the narrative of the city, the country and its art.

1: Podcast – History of the Netherlands

Some say that Amsterdam and the Netherlands are worlds apart. The so-called Republic of Amsterdam residing inside the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Like it is a different breed of people.

This extended podcast series follows the timeline from the country’s big bang towards the  present day. The latter is an assumption though. By the time of writing this article the most recent post – episode 22 – still was about the Netherlands in the 1400s.

2: Podcast – BBC The invention of the Netherlands

The BBC offers a more compact trilogy on the creation of the Netherlands. They rather speak of the ‘invention’ of the Netherlands, answering the question ‘why the Dutch are different’.

It’s a very informative rollercoaster from the revolt in the 1500s, via the ‘Golden’ 17th century towards the birth of Belgium about 150 years later.

The trilogy on the Dutch is part of a larger body of podcasts about European countries. Seen from a British perspective but with the high standards of the BBC.

3: Video series – Yale University on Dutch Golden Age art

The prestigious U.S. Yale university is so kind as to allow us a glimpse of their highbrow curriculum. The professors take you on a journey introducing the Dutch Masters like Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals, Jan Steen and of course Rembrandt van Rijn.

Most lectures have an accent on the paintings displayed in the U.S.. Once you can, book a private tour in the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum with Historical Amsterdam Tours. Together we’ll make the guards nervous. 

4: Video series – Rijks Creative vlog

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is closed for visitors. That doesn’t mean they’re sitting still. Their website is more alive than ever, with online lectures by the curators and historians of the museum.

In fact the Rijksmuseum challenges you to also become active and creative. In a very informative and accessible series of YouTube videos you can get inspired to become artistic yourself. Yes, you can become a master painter as well.

5: Video series – Anne Frank’s video diary

When the Anne Frank house was still open a journalist once interviewed the people waiting outside. Surprisingly almost no one had actually read the diary prior to their visit to the writer’s house.

After numerous films, musicals and plays the Anne Frank House Foundation has now found a way to reach out to the 13 to 15 years old visitors of today. Keeping up with a diary in Anne Frank’s time is much like a vlog today. In this ‘video diary’ the role of Anne Frank is finally is, for the first time, played by someone of the similar age of Anne: thirteen. Like everything involving Anne Frank this new project is not without discussion. We’d say judge for yourself and send the link to your (grand)children.

Honourable mention: 

Arcam video on Amsterdam Modern Architecture 

Not really a podcast or vlog, but we’d like to share some more recent history as well. The Architecture Centre Amsterdam – Arcam has made a nice overview of the city’s most recent urban developments.

This birds’ eye view gives you a good idea of what has been built in Amsterdam over the last twenty years. Most of the featured modern icons are too far out outside the centre to visit on foot during our tours anyway. Arcam on Amsterdam modern Architecture: 


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