Amsterdam travel ideas

Aug 17th, 2009, 06:37 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,856
It is all about personal opinion, and bdjtbenson's experiences and opinions are obviously as valid as anybody's.

That said, my experience of Amsterdam was not one of drugs, pornograph and dirt. I spent a long weekend there last September, and really enjoyed it. I found the place to be very clean and never felt unsafe. I loved just walking around near the canals, sitting in cafes watching the people etc. I really like Vondelpark - just wandering around - I should have hired a bicycle, but didn't get around to it.

The red light district was a little tacky, but also contained some great architecture. I am not sure I'd want to go there late at night, but it was hardly frightening, and I am glad I visited it.

I thought as a museum, the Van Gogh was stunning - I just find the artist to be one of the most over rated.
willit is offline  
Aug 17th, 2009, 06:37 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
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I recommend a day trip to Utrecht, or even using Utrecht as a headquarters for touring the Netherlands. It is a train hub so has many easy train connections. There is a beautiful medieval area along the Oude Gracht. The Utrecht Centraal Museum is well worth a half day. The guided van tour they do to the Rietveld Schroeder Huis is excellent; be sure to book ahead. The Dom Toren (cathedral tower) is also worth a visit. Utrecht has all the Netherlands ambiance without the crazy honky tonk of Amsterdam.
enchantedacres is offline  
Aug 18th, 2009, 07:51 PM
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We filled three days in Amsterdam and still had things on our list for the next trip. Tops for us (in no particular order): rijksmuseum, van gogh museum, diamond museum, gin factory/museum, anne frank house, willet house, our Lord in the attic church, oldekuirk, newkuirk, dutch resistance museum, canal cruise, flower market, coffee in the square, vondel park, dam square, amstel hotel for wine or tea, bike tour along the canals. Oh yes, we did walk through the red light district on our way to another spot! and no, we didn't see everything listed above but with a couple more days, we would have!
cmeyer54 is offline  
Aug 18th, 2009, 08:00 PM
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Agree with spaarne about Haarlem. In fact we made Haarlem our base and for us it was the perfect choice. From there we visited Amsterdam several times as well as Delft and Utrecht - both wonderful.
basingstoke2 is offline  
Aug 19th, 2009, 01:59 PM
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Will also disagree strongly with bdjtbentson's assessment of Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum is a world-class art museum that I feel stacks up favorably to those anywhere else in the world. Would also give very high marks to the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam Historical Museum, Our Lady in the Attic, Stedelijk Museum, Royal Palace, and Vondel Park.

Am thinking that anyone who believes prostitution and marijuana are the primary tourist attributes of this city either doesn't know it very well or has a very narrow set of travel priorities.
bachslunch is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2009, 07:26 AM
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I have been to Amsterdam 3 times. We will be there again in Sept.

My sister found it full of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
I found it full of canals, museums, and cafes.

Everyone has their own perspective.
jetsetj is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2009, 12:55 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
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We just got back from a week in Amsterdam and had a terrific time. The weather was great, so we didn't see many museums - mostly spent our time outside instead. We took 2 bike tours with Mike's Bikes, polked around neighborhoods, took a day trip to Delft, hung out in canal-side cafes, went to the Aris Zoo, visited a brewery in a windmill, had a picnic in the Vondelpark on a Sunday and happened on an outdoor concert, checked out some bars in the evenings. Tons of fun. I would have definitely stayed a few more days.
november_moon is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2009, 02:01 PM
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Oh - forgot to mention - we stayed in the Neumarkt area, which is next to the red light district, so we walked through there quite a few times, even in the small hours of the morning. Didn't find it to be dangerous or anything - just sort of an odd place and kind of interesting from a social science perspective.
november_moon is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2009, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We enjoyed the 'cheese market' at Alkmaar, a short train ride away. Go the afternoon before (it's on Friday mornings) and take a walk or bike ride out to the larger canal/river with several windmills, large open rural area, wildlife, very nice and pleasant. The old town is walkable from the train station and very attractive. We stayed at the Amrath Hotel Alkmaar, between the train station and the old center (would stay there again).
Travelnut is offline  
Aug 29th, 2009, 07:59 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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I absolutely love Amsterdam. Have been many, many times. Do not listen to bdjtbenson. Aside from the many places already mentioned: Anne Frank House, Rembrant House, Rijksmuseum, and the Van Gogh Museum.....(has the Stedelijk reopened) something that I would suggest is becoming familiar with the CoBrA movement, and go to the CoBrA Museum. This movement was post WWII, principal cities were Copenhagen, Brussells, and Amsterdam, thus the name. Karl Appel and Corneille are two famous artist from this movement, plus Alenchinksy, Constant, Brandt. The Jaski Gallery is a well know privately owned gallery selling the work of Appel, who BTW had a large installation in the old Stedelijk. Very well worth doing some research since Amsterdam celebrates this movement. Also, due to the far flung Dutch trading empire there is a vast multi-ethnic array of dining options. A fun place for lunch is the top floor of the Metz Department store, where you have a panoramic view of the city. Buying a ticket for a day pass on the canal boats allows you to hop on and off at various sites, plus is a very easy way to get around. Haarlem is a good day trip, it's like 15 minutes from Central Station. The only time I have felt uneasy is around Central Station, however, that is true with any of the big train stations, there are hustlers and pickpockets. One notable difference with the urbane and civilized Dutch, is that they will make public service announcements to "watch your bags". A great place to go for a drink and "people watch" is the Night Watch Bar on the ground floor of the American Hotel. A beautiful landmark. Amsterdam is a friendly city, language has never been a problem, limitless photo oportunities. Dutch and Belgium beers are the BEST. There is not a place in the world which makes my old heart skip a beat like Paris, however, Amsterdam is close. The Dutch have got it figured out. Live and let live. Yes, there is the legal sale of small amounts of weed and hash, big deal. So what? If you wish to smoke pot, you can find it, it does not find you. There are not drug dealers on every corner with a stick with a crook to pull you aside. The Netherlands enjoys a strong economy, life expectancy exceeds the United States, and YES, they have a national health care system. So, go and have a great time, take a lot of pictures, enjoy food from around the world, and sip a Palm. The streets are NOT littered with needles. Matter of fact, the streets and side walks are clean. Your biggest danger is not paying attention to bicyle and tram lanes. Now, that is a legitamate concern. Look both ways.
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