What’s new in Amsterdam?

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Cecily Layzell

The Observatory on the roof of Felix Meritis has reopened to the public — and this time its telescopes are not pointing towards the skies.

Housed in an imposing neoclassical building on Keizersgracht, Felix Meritis has been an independent center for arts, culture, and science since it was founded in 1788. In celebration of its 225th anniversary in 2013, the center has reopened its astronomical Observatory, the oldest of its kind in the Netherlands.

In addition to offering superb unimpeded views, the lofty vantage point is the setting of an installation by Amsterdam-based artist Joseph Semah. Positioned on a specially designed granite floor, telescopes are no longer focused on the heavens but on quotes by leading thinkers, writers, artists and philosophers written in lights on 10 of the city’s most significant buildings. Titled “Amsterdam of Above, Amsterdam of Below,” the installation aims to connect past and present, stars and city.

The Observatory and art installation can be visited daily (except Sundays) until the end of October 2013. Admission is €6.50 per person and includes a guided tour that starts every half hour. Check the website for opening times, as these vary according to the season.

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