It seems like an unlikely relationship - perhaps the greatest ruler of Russia and a city that lies many thousands of miles outside the realms of his kingdom. But it's true - much like you and me, Peter the Great had a soft spot for Amsterdam.
You may have seen posters around Amsterdam advertising the Van Gogh exhibit (which, FYI, is fantastic) that is currently being held at the Hermitage, and wondered, "Hey, isn't the Hermitage in Russian somewhere?" Well, you're right - the Hermitage Amsterdam was imported into Amsterdam in 2009 as a satellite of the world famous Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. It is the only European affiliate of the Saint Petersburg Hermitage, and the museum's largest satellite. It symbolizes the strong historic relations the city of Amsterdam has with Russia, a relationship that was put in place because of Peter the Great's love for the Dutch Republic. This relationship lasted throughout the Golden Age based on a strong trading partnership, to the days of Napoleon when Russian Cossacks reached the gates of Amsterdam, and all the way through to the opening of the Amsterdam Hermitage in 2009 by Queen Beatrix and President Medvedev. 2013 is a year dedicated to the celebration of Dutch-Russian relations. This is why the Hermitage is holding a Peter the Great exhibit that runs from March 9th - September 13th 2013.
I think that my favourite part so far of the year of Dutch-Russian relations is this video about the opening of the house Peter the Great lived in during his time in the lowlands trying to learn the art of shipbuilding. And this is not just because the Czaar Peterhuisje is in my new temporary hometown of Zaandam! (GO ZAANDSTAD GO!) It's mainly because some awesome Dutch person made this video to promote the official opening.
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Seriously, you guys, can anyone explain to me why the Tsar of Russia is trying to fit into a closet? I've scoured his bio and excepting the fact that he was over 2 meters tall so he probably WOULD have trouble fitting into a closet, I still can't figure out why he would even try... did 17th century Dutchies sleep in closets?? Explanations are welcome!
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