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Brussels or Amsterdam?

Old May 6th, 2004, 06:29 PM
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Brussels or Amsterdam?

I am planning a last minute solo trip for just under a week (I'm a young woman). Love architecture, museums, good food, and seeing new places!

Which did you like better and why? What day trips would you recommend from both?

reddattitude is offline  
Old May 6th, 2004, 06:38 PM
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Amsterdam. The museum is better, the city is more picturesque with its 17th century houses on canals. You can take the train and get to any of the different areas in Holland for a day trip: The Hague, Delft, Hoorn, etc.; the length of the trip is usually no longer than a subway ride from the edges of New York to downtown. But then, you can do similar trips from Brussels: Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp. If you have a thing for art nouveau, Brussels might be a better choice.
Michael is offline  
Old May 6th, 2004, 06:59 PM
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A'dam, no contest. It's 10 times more interesting than Brussels, with great museums, beautiful canals, unique buildings and a cheerfully kinetic energy. Brussels might have the food advantage, but that's about it.
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Old May 6th, 2004, 08:19 PM
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I agree with the previous postings: Amsterdam by far, it has many more things to see and do. I found Bruxelles a bit dull (yes the city centre is nice and lively, but in the 3 days I spent in Bruxelles.... I got a bit bored... ). I think that in Belgium Bruges would be far more interesting.
I particularly loved Holland. I spent 2 weeks in a village near the german border and I "commuted" a couple of times to Amsterdam and visited it. From Asterdam you can rent a car and drive around Holland along the panoramic routes that run along the dijks. Near Amsterdam there is Zaansche Schans (surely I spell it wrong and the pronunciation is even more difficult!!!) a lovely village whre the czar Peter the Great worked and lived for a while. YOu can drive up north to Friesland, the coast is amazing, the islands right in front of the coast are also beautiful. The distances from one place to another are really shorter if compared to the other european countries, and the landscape is gorgeous, little villages, lots of canals. Delft is also gorgeous, Edam is a tiny lovely village and then Volendam... There are lots of picturesque villages all around Holland.
BATUFFOLINA is offline  
Old May 7th, 2004, 02:05 AM
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I can only echo the previous replies - Amsterdam would be far and away my choice here. If you are planning to be away for nearly a week then there is much more to do in Amsterdam to keep you busy compared with Brussels. I spent a weekend in Brussels a number of years back and that was plenty long enough.
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Old May 7th, 2004, 03:33 AM
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Why not try to get a taste for both, if you've a taste for the fast-paced? They're very close by train -- probably about 2.5 hours?
111op is offline  
Old May 7th, 2004, 03:50 AM
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I would definitely do Amsterdam - if for nothing else than the VanGoghs alone. IMO it has much more to see and do than Brussels - which has always stuck me as primarily a business city (even though I know its really mostly diplomatic).
nytraveler is offline  
Old May 7th, 2004, 04:27 AM
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Actually, Brussels is neither a business nor diplomatic city, it's a "feeding from the public trough" type city, which is why we have so many good restaurants...;-)
Much as I enjoy Brussels, Reddattitude would have a better time in Amsterdam, IMHO, and there are plenty of day trip Utrecht, Delft, Amersfoort, Haarlem, etc.
Trivia note: the enlargement of the EU is expected to bring more than 4000 new diplomats/bureaucrats etc to the city and 600 more journalists. A bigger trough is on order.
BTilke is offline  
Old May 7th, 2004, 04:35 AM
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A bit off-topic -- do you live in Brussels, BT?
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Old May 7th, 2004, 04:45 AM
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BTilke, did you decide not to post your thoughts on top attractions/ things to do and see in Brussels?
Old May 7th, 2004, 05:05 AM
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Like 1110P I think you should(and you could) try to make both city in one week.
In Brussels, there are some "walking" tours who are very interesting(one with "comic's wall fresques"(1/2 day), one with "art nouveau/art deco." architectures(1 to 1 1/2 days),Jacques Brel itinerary(1/2 day) + the habitual
attractions(grand place, museums,...).
Traditional shopping(fashions,...) and comics shopping are better in B./Am'dam.
Amsterdam is a must also for walking but
perhaps in a "more serious" way(museums,Anne Frank,historic quarters..).
We have made both with our "teens daughters"(5 days each...and so alone
I think you can make both in a week...).
If you decide to stay only in Amsterdam, try eventually to go to
Oterloo at the Kroller museum,but try to
know if they have kept the majority of their masterpieces because part of their collection is on the road...
NB : restaurants are much better in Brussels for dutch or european "cuisine" but A'dam is a must for "world" cuisine(some indian, indonesian.... restaurant are wonderful).
monpetit is offline  
Old May 7th, 2004, 05:15 AM
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111op, yes, I do live in Brussels (4 years and counting). And ChatNoir, just been too busy, it's on the agenda for this week-end.
BTilke is offline  
Old May 7th, 2004, 05:31 AM
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Hi BT, any advice regarding apartment hunting in Brussels? Perhaps I should e-mail you in private. I live in NYC. I'm not moving though. I'll just in Brussels very briefly for a day in June but thought that I'd look around a bit.

Don't worry if you'd rather not spend time discussing this sort of thing. I'd find this interesting and informational, of course, but I bet it's more useful to me than to you.


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Old May 7th, 2004, 05:36 AM
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Thank you all so much for your thoughts! I would love to swing both if I can (we'll see how deep a budget I can carve out for this rather impulsive trip!!)

Much appreciated! Sam
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Old May 7th, 2004, 05:37 AM
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Ok, so it took two minutes to make up my mind!! Any budget hotel recommendations? Thans!
reddattitude is offline  
Old May 7th, 2004, 05:45 AM
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111op, are you planning a move to Brussels? At any rate, the city abounds in temporary furnished apartments. Unfurnished apartments are easily found, too, in fact, it's a renter's market, according to a story I read in La Derniere Heure, a Brussels newspaper. Home prices have risen and it's a tight sales market, but the rental market is pretty open. One web site is
it will give you an idea of some of the typical apartments. Furnished, short term rates are a lot more expensive than long term unfurnished, as would be expected.
I'm assuming you're not talking about renting an apartment for a day...
at any rate, you can email me at (trying to foil the programs trolling for email addresses)
BTilke is offline  
Old May 7th, 2004, 05:53 AM
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Thanks BT -- I'll explain over e-mail. Hotmail is down at the moment. Thanks for offering your e-mail. I should have offered mine but I wasn't intelligent enough to think about inserting some nonsense characters.
111op is offline  
Old May 11th, 2004, 04:16 AM
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My husband and I just got back from a 7-night trip to Amsterdam. We stayed at Blaine's B & B @ the park in the garden room. It consisted of the entire 3rd floor of the B&B so privacy was great. The home is nestled between a rehabilitation hospital and Vondel Park, which makes it very quiet considering such a good location. Just a short 5 min. walk through the lovely park puts you on the Leidesplein. Good access to rental cars and the A10 made day trips very easy. Be sure to get a better map than the rental agency gives you. We spent 4 days in Amsterdam (all activities were within walking distance) 1 day in the tulip fields (worth the trip alone), 1 day Muiden/Delft, 1-day Alkmaar. It was a great time, and a great place. We went to Belgium last year, which included Brussels and Brugge. I would go to Amsterdam and include a day trip to Brugge you can take a train.
patricia_stowell is offline  
Old May 11th, 2004, 04:41 AM
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I'm off to Brussels in two weeks, staying at the Royal Windsor - dump or not remains to be seen!

I went to Amsterdam recently, it's a dump - seedy, grotty, very average. The Van Goghs are superb, but not enough to make me want to return. I'm hoping that Brussels is a more elegant city.

Does anyone know if designers such as Raf Simons, Dries van Noten , and Walther van Beirendanck are available at cheaper prices that in the UK?
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Old May 11th, 2004, 04:44 AM
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Was reading the "Time Out" guide to Brussels and I think it claims that designer wear is available for cheaper. I don't know from personal experience though. But wouldn't Antwerp be better in terms of designer wear?
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