Masters of light and shadow

So what does all this say about Rembrandt and Vermeer? Can we draw any conclusions about the two men based on the work they produced? As a writer myself, it’s hard for me to imagine that you can separate an artist from their creation. One depends upon the other.

Amsterdam wasn’t always gay-friendly

These days, Amsterdam is known as haven for human rights and open-minded people. The Netherlands was the first country to allow same-sex marriage, in 2001, and it had been known as a city of come-as-you-are inclusiveness for decades before that. As you might imagine, it wasn’t always that way.

What’s bigger than big?

Quick: Name the biggest company the world’s ever seen. Apple? Amazon? Some bank or real estate developer? Nope. To guess correctly, you’d have to pick a company that went out of business in 1799.

You heard of the Protestants … now get ready for the Remonstrants

The Netherlands was a place where great forces were battling to see their view of the world hold sway. The Dutch Reformed Church with its predicant preachers, strict and orthodox, wanted to have the final world over the standards — both legal and social — being set in the new nation. They were opposed by the Remonstrants, their more liberal-minded rivals who were required to meet in private homes instead of public churches. And perhaps most powerful of all was the merchant class, whose vast wealth kept the heart of Amsterdam beating throughout the Dutch Golden Age.