Amsterdam at 52 degrees North latitude places the Dutch capital at a more northerly location than any state in the USA, except Alaska. Visiting in late December means fewer than 8 hours between sunrise around 8:45am and sunset around 4:30pm. Chances are the sky will be cloudy and gray, but when the sun shines the light of day against the red brick architecture and canal water can be heavenly colorful.
Zuiderkerk, close to Rembrandt’s house, played an important role in his life. Three of his children are buried in the church. His wife Saskia is buried in Oude Kerk where her gravestone can still be seen on the floor.
InterContinental Amstel Hotel is the Grande Dame of hotel architecture in Amsterdam. Built by Dr. Samuel Sarphati, a prominent Dutch Jewish doctor who dedicated his effort to Amsterdam public health, city planning and assistance for Amsterdam’s poor Jews and children. Dr. Sarphati died at the age of 53 in June 1866 about 10 months before the hotel opened in April 1867.