Amsterdam Ideas??

Mar 15th, 1999, 01:28 PM
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Amsterdam Ideas??

We'll be in Amsterdam for a couple days in April and would love any suggestions on restaurants, sites, walks, etc. Van Gogh and Anne Frank Haus are on the list, but any ideas for something a little different?
Mar 16th, 1999, 07:41 PM
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Hi, you are in for a treat! We were in Europe last year at this time and enjoyed Amsterdam the most. Go to the Westerkirk and climb the bell tower for a fantastic view. Don't miss that! A night cruise on the canals is touristy but it was great fun. The Van Gogh museum was worth the visit but I have heard that it is closed right now, although I'm not sure of that. A walk thru the red light district is surely interesting as are the theatres there. Oh, don't miss the french frys! Absolutely the best anywhere! Try them with sate'. What a great town!!!!
Mar 16th, 1999, 08:53 PM
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I certainly agree with Stephen - it's a great place - easy to find your way around and the people are super friendly. Don't hesitate to ask directions.
Too bad if the Van Gogh is closed but you might want to visit the Rijksmuseum nearby. While in the area you can stroll by the diamond places and through Voldelpark. We had a nice lunch at the American cafe (I think it was called) but you can also pick up a good snack upstairs at De Bijenkorf department store while shopping for chocolates. The Jordan district is also interesting to walk. Definitely take a night-time canal cruise, and if you can fit it in, a daytime one too. The canals are lovely - I wanted to take them home! Amsterdam had its share of surprises, for me anyway, from the crooked buildings to the clock illuminated at night on the sidewalk between the Anne Frankhuis (speaking of which, try get there early in the day) and the Pulitzer Hotel. If you need some lightening up after that you could take in the half hour Holland Experience show where the seats move, wind blows, the air smells of flowers, etc. It's sure to leave you with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. If you had more than a few days, you could hop a train and tour the countryside on an all day pass. April would probably be a perfect time to visit the Keukenhoff gardens.
Mar 17th, 1999, 04:50 AM
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The Van Gogh museum is currently closed due to renovations. Much of its collection is currently in California.
Mar 17th, 1999, 06:04 AM
wes fowler
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There have not been many postings to Fodor's regarding Amsterdam. The following is information I provided to a traveler who had contacted me directly. While lengthy, you may find something of interest in its content.

Take a stroll along the Herrengracht. It's the canal between the Singel and
the Keizersgracht and has the most notable collection of Amsterdam's
impressive canal houses. You'll obviously note the varied and distinctive
gables of the houses, but keep your eyes open, too, for the cartouches on
many of them. There are fascinating details by and over doors and windows
that are too frequently overlooked by sightseers. It will only take a few
minutes walking for your curiosity to be aroused about what the innards of
one of these houses are like. At 605 Herrengracht at the canal's eastern
end near the Amstel is the Willet-Holthuysen museum, a furnished
three-story home dating from the late 17th century. The museum also has a
fine collection of silverware, glass and ceramics. As a bonus, there's a
garden in the French style. If you want to pass up the museum, the garden
is visible from the Amstelstraat, the street on the banks of the Amstel

Since most of Amsterdam's museums are closed on Monday, you might want to
look into the Van Loon museum, another late 17th century home with a lovely
formal garden, which is only open on Monday. It's at 672-674
Keizersgracht, the canal just south of Herrengracht. On your way you might
want to stop in at the Six collection. Another house dating from the late
17th century it houses a number of 17th century paintings including a
number of Rembrandts (Six was his patron). For admission, you need a card
of introduction available from the information desk of the Rijksmuseum on
presentation of your passport.

If an early morning trip to Aalsmeer is out of the question since you
really should be there long before 9AM, look into the Bloemenmarkt, a
retail flower market held on a dozen or so canal boats by the Mint Tower.
The flowers and bulbs come from the tulip fields around Haarlem and from
the Aalsmeer auction house.

I've got a few more suggestions regarding Amsterdam and environs. I never
thought to ask if you would have access to an auto. Whether you do or not,
distances in the Netherlands are so short that public transportation can
get you most anywhere in quick time. Assuming you don't have a car and you
do plan on an Aalsmeer visit, the No. 172 bus from the Centraal Station
will get you there post haste. (It's only about 8 miles away.) It never
occurred to me either that while you've been to Amsterdam before, this
might be a new experience for your mom and sister, either or both of whom
might be interested in the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum and Anne Frank
house, all of which I'm sure you've considered. If not, consider this a
gentle reminder.

You mentioned your mom has a farm in Wisconsin where you grew up. To me,
Wisconsin means dairy country, which implies cows and ultimately cheese!
Your mother might enjoy the Friday morning cheese market held in Alkmaar.
It's a half-hour train ride north of Amsterdam. Regarding other towns in
close proximity to Amsterdam, avoid Volendam (too touristy and gimmicky);
do consider Marken and/or Haarlem. Up until 40 years or so ago, Marken was
a rather remote island in the Zuider Zee, thus not overly impacted by
tourism. It's now connected to the mainland but still retains a great deal
of the charm and quiet of its former times. Many of these towns are
particularly interesting because of the dramatic changes they had to
undergo when the Zuider Zee was drained and they had to change from fishing
villages with large fleets of vessels to other industries. Marken's
populace, about 2,000 staunch Calvinists, can still be seen wearing
traditional costumes and living in houses painted green and white with red
shutters (the same color scheme as the boats in the harbor). Marken is
about 12 miles north of Amsterdam and accessible by Bus No 11 from
Amsterdam's Centraal Station.

Haarlem, under 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam, has two unique
offerings, the Franz Hals museum and St. Bavo's church. The Hals museum
used to be an old folks home and dates to the early 1600s. It's got a
number of Hals' portraits and group paintings and some lovely rooms. St.
Bavo is noted for a couple of things: a magnificent, immense organ upon
which Mozart, Haydn and Saint-Saens played at one time or another and a
covey of shops dating from the Middle Ages that are built into the church's
exterior walls.

Final recommendation for a spot outside of Amsterdam and that's the
Kroller-Muller museum and sculpture park in the Hogue Veluwe National Park.
There are over 200 Van Gogh's on display as well as Seurat, Picasso and
Braque. In the sculpture garden there are works by Rodin, Henry Moore,
Giacommetti and Barbara Hepworth among others. If your sister isn't into
museums, she can hop on a white bicycle and pedal all over the park. Bikes
are free; at least the white ones in the park are. It's about an hour and
fifteen minutes from Amsterdam to Arnhem where you can pick up a bus for
the short ride to the museum.

Theatre, tea and gardens - theatre, tea and gardens, what to do? Well,
now, the Netherlands Theatre Institute housed in a flamboyant early 17th
century mansion at 168 Herrengracht, Amsterdam has a spectacular staircase, lavish stucco work, murals and ceiling paintings and an interesting history of
Dutch theatre from the 17th century to the present, including working
models of backstage areas and a fine costume collection. AND - a garden
where tea is served!

One final thought on tea. Geels en Co, 67 Warmoesstraat, has a tea and
coffee shop in conjunction with a museum of the history of tea and coffee

Regarding pubs and pub foods, Amsterdam offers "brown" cafes that are the
Dutch counterpart of Britain's gathering places. What Britain doesn't have
in the quantity that Amsterdam does, are Indonesian restaurants. Try the
rijstaffel in one, but be prepared to down great quantities of beer to
quell the heat of the spices used in each of the fifteen or eighteen dishes
you'll be served.

Mar 17th, 1999, 06:27 AM
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Thank you for all of the wonderful ideas! It looks like I'm going to have to schedule another trip to get everything in. On this note, is Spring the best time to be in Amsterdam? I would love to be there when everything is blooming but the crowds aren't too huge.
Mar 17th, 1999, 09:40 AM
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two things which must not be missed...

1. the anne frank house
2. a canal boat tour (ride)

and if you have a time take a day trip to one of the outlying cities like gouda or edam.

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