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Amsterdam - My Favorite Things!

Old Nov 2nd, 2011, 12:30 PM
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Yup the new high-rise library on the east side of Centraal Train station is something to behold - open to all and from the top floor cafe is one of the neatest views over Amsterdam I have seen.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2011, 12:34 PM
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I remember some construction going on in the Centraal Train station vicinity. Is it a high-rise museum...but what's this about a tattoo museum? Not the same I hope.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2011, 01:58 PM
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Ozarksbill - the library is on the Oosterdokseiland east of the station.
It has been there since 070707.
It has a couple of cafés and free wifi too.

The tattoo museum is near the zoo.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2011, 05:38 PM
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the Tattoo Museum joins the like of Amsterdam's Sex Museum, Torture Museum (actually for a good cause and sobering) and the Hash Museum as unique museum offerings - I read there is now even a museum in the Red-Light district on the lives of women of the night who work there. The Red-Light district is, for good or bad, one of Amsterdam's top tourist attractions but has been scheduled to be largely demolished by the current Amsterdam government - perhaps hetismij, who is a Dutch resident though of Welsh heritage I believe, would kindly give an update on the status of the Red-Light district, which has been around I think since Amsterdam's founding - formerly called the Sailor's quarters because it served the needs perhaps of sailors sailing into Amsterdam's port with high expectations of "the girls of Amsterdam" as one rock sound calls them!
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Old Nov 28th, 2011, 11:29 AM
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TIME RUNNING OUT FOR COFFEESHOPS FOR FOREIGNERS!

Amsterdam's unique coffeeshops - where cannabis is sold in dozens of varieties from posted menus - quite legally to anyone but laws are changing and supposedly after Jan 1, 2012 you will not only have to be a Dutch citizen or resident to buy marijuana from coffeeshops but also have to be a member of a certain shop at a cost of 80 euros a year or so.

so one institution in Amsterdam - for some thirty years or so now bites the dust in its present operation at least.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2011, 02:00 AM
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The information about coffeeshops is not entirely correct. The new law (that you need to become a member of a coffeeshop which is only open to Dutch residents) is a) introduced gradually starting in the South of the Netherlands (not in Amsterdam) and b) heavily objected to by everyone who has a brain.
So during 2012 everything will stay the same in Amsterdam (meaning locals and tourists can freely buy cannabis) and it remains to be seen what changes will be made from 2013.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2011, 06:27 AM
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My favourite bit of Amsterdam is The Oude Kerk ("old church"); the oldest church in the city, 14th century, beautiful stained glass windows, and the roof is the largest medieval vaulting in Europe. But best of all it has an amazing tower you can go up for a fantastic view of the city - be warned the tower climb is not for the fainthearted or broken-winded!
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Old Dec 2nd, 2011, 06:45 AM
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PalenQ, you did not mention

THE RAW HERRING STALLS

Only in season (starts in May?) but delicious with chopped onion. My favourite is on a bridge over the Singel near the flower market.

TULIPS IN THE FLOWER MARKET

GARDENS IN GENERAL

The Dutch are fabulous garden designers and horticulturalists. I go to Amsterdam during the open gardens weekend.

LICORICE

Salted and double salted (really, a bit too salty.)

WHEAT BEER

PAUW

Wonderful, expensive women's clothes, on the Leidsestraat. Try to aim for sale time. Just across the street from Sissy Boy.

INDONESIAN FOOD

Why has it been so long since I've been to Amsterdam?
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Old Dec 5th, 2011, 11:31 AM
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tarquin - thanks for the great input! I am not familiar with the Licorice but will look next time and even though licorice ain't my cup of tea generally will go for a double salty one!
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Old Dec 6th, 2011, 10:04 AM
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about flowers and plants - I did enjoy the Amsterdam Botanic Garden that showcases '4,000 species from all over the world,' according to its web site - www.dehortus.nl

If doing the Troppen Museum or Dutch Resistance Museum this rather tiny garden is easily included - National Museum Year Pass honored.
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Old Dec 9th, 2011, 09:23 AM
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Sjoerd - thanks a lot for the uplifting info on the coffeeshop situation in Amsterdamned! Will re-insert Amsterdam into my upcoming 2012 trip - I actually stay in a lovely cosy B&B in Haarlem for about 35 euros and assume Haarlem may have the same approach, being the self-anointed Cannabis City of Holland.

anyway Dank u very wel!
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Old Dec 10th, 2011, 09:19 AM
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Bookmarking!
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Old Dec 10th, 2011, 05:00 PM
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IMHO the Dutch Resistance Museum is one of the most interesting museums in Europe...not just in The Netherlands.

SS
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Old Dec 11th, 2011, 08:32 AM
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Just talked with John Sinclair, American pot guru and poet and he recommends Coffee Shop 420 on Olde Brugge Straat not far from the main train station - John says whenever he is in his home base of Amsterdam he is there. See an American icon of the anti-war and hippie movement. the shop used to be called Cannabis Cafe but Dutch law says the word 'cannabis' cannot be used for names of such places so they changed it to the universal meaning to get stoned - 420.
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Old Dec 12th, 2011, 10:46 AM
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The European Hotel is something special and was the subject of an article in the Dec 4, 2011 NYTimes Travel section. Unique location and look and appeared in Hitchcock films. Right across from the Stopera and on the Amstel River - right at intersection of Amstel and a large canal.
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Old Dec 15th, 2011, 07:59 AM
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Content removed was not mine but an Amsterdam guy who was pushing his individual boat rentals - there are several places in Amsterdam where you can rent a pedalo or individual small boat to do your own canal tour and this can be loads of fun as long as you keep out of the way of larger tour group boats that regularly ply the narrow canals.

At night these individual boats are popular with young adults who often have lots of beer with them, etc. The canals being especially neat when illuminated after dark.

There are several companies offering DIY boats - and you need no reservations to get them.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 07:28 AM
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and taking a canal boat tour IMO is an absolute must in Amsterdam - but your have choices - I would consider going at night when the canals and humpbacked bridges are wondrously illuminated and also a tour that goes out into the Harbor - some do not.

There is also in the daytime a Museum Boat that docks near several popular museums and sites like the Anne Frank House. You buy a day ticket on it I believe.

There are also dinner cruises with wine and cheese.

anyway taking a canal boat tour is a must in Amsterdam.
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Old Dec 21st, 2011, 10:55 PM
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PalenQ: I have enjoyed reading your recommendations, and will take you up on many when we visit next spring.

I indeed found the canal boat tour to be a very memorable highlight of my previous visit. Besides the great sightseeing, I encountered a group of British sailors on the boat, with whom I engaged in some lively and hilarious banter.

Also, if one is in the vicinity of the Neuwe Kerk, and is of the inclination, consider visiting De Blauwe Parade Bar for a jenever tasting. They have gins ranging in age from practically "newborn" to well into their twenties. Highly interesting and informative (although some of the older spirits can get costly).
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Old Dec 22nd, 2011, 11:52 AM
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thanks Dave - yes jenever tasting is great - and check out the iconic Brown Bars in the Jordaan, the area to the south and west of the train station - also arguable the nicest canals in Amsterdam.

I guess men take unflavored gin (jenever) and the perfumed ones are for ladies!

Again thanks for the comments.
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Old Dec 25th, 2011, 08:50 AM
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New Year's Even in Amsterdam is bombastic! Fire crackers and fireworks going off everywhere from early afternoon to early morning - I have never seen anything like it - same in most Dutch cities like Haarlem where I spend New Year's Eve two years ago - next morning streets are strewn with remains of fireworks - burnt wrappers, launchers, etc.

Amsterdam also I believe has a large concert for younger folks on Museumplein - free I think with lots of beer - saw the big beer lorries - huge 18-wheeler beer vans parked in readiness for a night of revelry!
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