Amsterdam is such a great city just to walk around in. Its tiny, its NOT based on grid which means you can get lost and meander around, there are canals everywhere to refresh and provide great vistas. The only hair-raising part is the hoards of dedicated cyclists whizzing by chatting on their cell phones, smoking cigarettes and chatting to the children draped on the handlebars or built-in carriers – all at the same time. Its real easy to get skittled as you gawk around at the architecture and canal boats and whizzing bicycles. So it was at great risk to life and limb that I bring you this little collection of wall plaques.
Most of the traditional buildings in and around the canal ring have these terracotta or stone plaques imbedded in their masonry walls. Originally they indicated the trades of the people who owned the buildings but they now represent the history of the building itself or probably a more ironic or aspirational comment by the present owner who restored the building. The animals have more poetic meanings – heraldic beasts, totemic icons, creatures recalled from exotic travels, domestic pets perhaps or even a caricature of the owner?
And then there’s all the animals!!