Brussels or Amsterdam?

Old Jun 11th, 2013, 08:59 AM
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Brussels or Amsterdam?

Hello friends,

Basically need to do a 1.5 day trip somewhere (travel time excluded) and it's come down to a choice between Brussels and Amsterdam. Have read a couple of things on both on the internet. I'm not much for night life or drinking so most of the other threads I've read on this (other forums) haven't been particularly helpful. I'm more into artsy things and a good city for street photography and nice architecture and plenty of interesting nooks and crannies just for strolling around with an ice cream cone (Hong Kong, Old Quebec, Siena, and Venice come to mind in terms of these wonderful walkaround places). Would pass on museums unless they have super-amazing contemporary art that is beyond half-hearted abstractionism. I like the sense of feeling lost without actually being lost, and the fewer the relative number of English speakers, the better!

Would appreciate the help!

Thanks
oliveroliver is offline  
Old Jun 11th, 2013, 09:08 AM
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I'd recommend Amsterdam. Both are enjoyable cities, but I found Brussels to be a little more "business like" and less casual (the cafe culture).
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 09:11 AM
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Amsterdam has architecture by the bucketload, and all sorts. the Stedelijk Museum, amongst others, has modern art.
Good city for walking and for street photography. Whilst there are plenty of people who speak English there you will hear mostly Dutch if you get away from the tourist drag a bit.

If you are into photography you may enjoy FOAM - www.foam.org

You could also consider visiting Rotterdam instead - modern architecture and lots of it, maybe in combination with Den Haag - the Escher museum is in Den Haag for instance.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 09:23 AM
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Definitely Amsterdam, if it's a choice between the two.

Or Antwerp.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 09:51 AM
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I also agree, Amsterdam.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 09:59 AM
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No contest... Amsterdam!
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 12:21 PM
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Wow an overwhelming response for Amsterdam! Any points at all for Brussels?

Also, given above preferences, any Amsterdamy neighbourhood in particular I should look into for accommodation?
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 12:23 PM
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Definitely Amsterdam, no question!
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 12:24 PM
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I've been to both and I recommend Amsterdam. Brussels was nice, but to me not outstanding. In Amsterdam we stayed in Jordaan area. We were only there for one night and 1.5 days. We took the train from Paris.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 12:36 PM
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i would definitely pick Amsterdam over Brussels. Outside of the Grand Place there just weren't many "must sees" ...... and their Metro sucks
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 12:40 PM
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Our #1 choice is the Renaissance. Second might be Barbizon Palace Hotel. There is a nice Crowne Plaza also. These are all within easy walking distance to the Central Station area and also the shopping and Dam Square area.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 02:24 PM
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I'll 10th it for Amsterdam... hands down over Brussels. The Jordaan neighborhood makes for a great base to explore this very charming and photogenic city.

http://www.jordaaninfo.com/

If you'll be in Amsterdam on a Sunday, you can check out the Artplein 't Spui, over 60 Dutch and international artists display their works for sale. And there's another Sunday art Market not far from the Rembrandtplein, the Kunstmarkt Thorbeckeplein. I've bought a couple of fabric art pieces from a woman artist on the Thorbeckeplein. I try to buy an original art piece as my "souvenir" whenever we travel. Markets are open March through October.

Robyn
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 02:36 PM
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Another vote for Amsterdam!
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 02:47 PM
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The only thing I would say about Brussels which has not been said yet is that it is the capital of Art Nouveau. It's not much on the little nooks where you can eat an ice cream but it has some spectacular examples of AN such as the Horta Museum (outstanding), the Museum of Musical Instruments, the Maison Cyr, and whole suburbs of AN such as St-Gillis and pockets of Schaarbeek. You can do these via self-guided walks or tours from the tourist office. It also has the Magritte Museum which is world-class (obviously not Art Nouveau), which is part of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, and the comic museum, and part of the Musée Cinquantenaire now has some rooms dedicated to Art Nouveau, which I haven't yet seen. So if that's your interest, this is your city.

In Amsterdam I would also recommend the Stedelijk Museum!

Lavandula
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 04:30 PM
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Amsterdam and check out Marcel's Creative Exchange for lodging. More fun and reasonable than an hotel and Marcel is the perfect host. He's an graphic designer and has had quite the personal life and career. Sits down with you and a map, listens to your interests and helps you plan your stay. Easy taking the #1, #2, or #5 tram from Central Station or the #179 bus from Schiphol to his place, right off Leidseplein.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 05:14 PM
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I came here to see if even ONE person voted for Brussels - lol.

The only criterium you listed that it might not possess "in spades" is an absence of English speakers. I think the Dutch speak better English (but with the most awesome accent) than many native English speakers I know. Whomever has been heading the Dept. of English in the Netherlands school system for the last 50 years or so (all of them) should receive some sort of award from England.

Belgians are not too far behind.

They do, of course, speak Dutch unless they know you speak only English
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 05:52 PM
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English speakers in Brussels? Yes, but you are just as likely to meet francofones with an attitude.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 05:57 PM
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Oops, forgot to vote. Amsterdam of course.
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Old Oct 24th, 2014, 02:26 PM
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If you love good food go to Brussels
If you wanna be a tourist go to Amsterdam
If you like a good beer go to Brussels
If you like a joint go to Amsterdam
If you don't know a local to show you around go to Amsterdam
If you know someone ask them
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Old Oct 24th, 2014, 02:33 PM
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I just thought someone should vote for Brussels, even though I prefer Amsterdam. But I agree with Louis44.
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