Whim of the Week – 57

Room for rent…

I live in Amsterdam now, where accommodation is incredibly hard to find, with most rooms already gone before they’re even advertized. So I was somewhat surprised to actually see a “room for rent” sign in my neighborhood. But upon closer inspection this is for a room with a particular purpose, given away by the barstools behind the window and the little red lights on the outside. Yes, Amsterdam is a funny city, with many contrasts.


But also with much history. As a reminder of the bygone “Golden Age” of this city, a full-size replica of an 18th-century cargo ship is on display at the national maritime museum. Quite impressive to realize that they used to sail all the way to the East Indies in those things.


In fact, as I learned only very recently, this is how Amsterdam’s “red light district” actually originated. When those sailors were away from home for months at a time, their wives would put a little red candle behind the window to indicate their “availability”, so they could earn some money to support their families while their husbands were away…

whimsical (adj.): Determined by chance or impulse or whim rather than by necessity or reason. Playful or fanciful, especially in a humorous way. (Source: The Free Dictionary)

In an effort to continue looking at the bright side of life in these worrying times, the Whim of the Week series features sometimes funny or unusual, sometimes beautiful or inspiring, but generally whimsical observations I happen to capture on camera during my wanderings around the world.