By Andy Baker
The other day, we decided to see a movie, and the theater we decided to go to was the Tuschinski. While walking through it, I was once again wowed by how elaborate the place is. They don’t have fresh popcorn, but they do create a really nice atmosphere, both inside and out. It has the look of one of those old time movie theaters that my mother always complained were torn down (that was in South Texas) in favor of more modern movie theaters, to keep up with the times. And as this is a tourist town, there were tourists inside snapping pictures, of the elaborate interior.
The Tuschinski was opened in 1921 and, depending on whom you ask, is either Art Deco or Art Deco that is heavily influenced by “the orient.” At any rate, it’s beautiful to look at and a pleasure to walk through – lots of dark wood, red paint and detail. The name comes from the Dutch businessman who built it, Abraham Icek Tuschinski, originally from Poland. Interestingly, during WW2, the name was changed to Tivoli. So with the name change, the theater survived the war. Sadly, Tuschinski did not.
One of the things I love about this theater, and a lot of the older cinemas in Amsterdam, is that there are tables in the lobby and you can sit and have a cup of something while you wait for the rest of your party or wait for your film to start. It’s crowded, but it’s conceivable that there’s an opening once in a while.
Even the trip to the restroom is a treat, depending on which theater your movie is in. The WC in the main theater is in the basement. It’s actually more the trip to the WC than the actual room. And, as eluded to before, they have a fairly well stocked snack bar, but it doesn’t carry everything that a modern (or American) movie house would carry. Popcorn is a bit pricey and comes in a prepackaged bag.
You probably won’t find the Tuschinski in many guidebooks. It might suggest doing a walkby. But after a long day of walking around and visiting the usual suspects, a night at an old movie theater seeing a very modern film might be just the thing to do – and there are plenty of restaurants nearby for an after movie dinner.
Andy Baker grew up in Texas and moved to Amsterdam after living in New York City for fourteen years. Having relocating here four years
ago, he teaches English, writes and enjoys the beauty of the city.
He also keeps a blog at www.andyinamsterdam.com