Day trips from Amsterdam

May 17th, 2019, 03:11 AM
  #1  
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Day trips from Amsterdam

I will be in Amsterdam this July with my wife. We will be there for 5 full days plus about half of the day we arrive from Frankfurt by train.

After doing a relatively small amount of research we settled on Rotterdam and Utrecht for day trips.

Now that I'm looking into details some questions have arisen.

Since we're in the Netherlands we probably want a Dutch flavor. However, if all we see is a smaller, quieter, less touristy version of Amsterdam why not just stay in Amsterdam and skip a day trip?

At first glance Rotterdam appears to be a new city with ultra modern architecture. It appears that after being demolished a decision was made not to rebuild the old but move in a more modern direction.

Utrecht appears to have that old Dutch flavor but does it have enough of its own flavor?

Are these two day trips actually good choices?

Myer is offline  
May 17th, 2019, 04:16 AM
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I think you will be amazed at how different Rotterdam is from Amsterdam. It's really quite an amazing place, full of architectural surprises. I would definitely make a day trip of it.

I haven't been to Utrecht for ages, so won't comment on that.
StCirq is online now  
May 17th, 2019, 08:13 AM
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I haven't been to either but sounds like if modern architecture isn't something drawing you to Rotterdam, why do you want to go there? Why did you choose that? must have been a reason. It is a port city so has a maritime museum if that's enticing. I personally am not interested in all these reconstructed places. I think it's fine if they did that and necessary, but I don't find it interesting in and of itself to view as a tourist (the ones that try to rebuild to look old, just seems like Disneyland to me, like old square in Warsaw). So I appreciate not doing that. But if you aren't interested at all in a new reconstructed city nor the port/martime aspect, why did you want to go there?

All I can say is when I was there I did both Alkmaar and Deflt as day trips and enjoyed both a lot. Almaar is big on cheese, fantastic cheese market. It's easy to get to.
https://www.holland.com/global/touri...ns/alkmaar.htm
Christina is online now  
May 17th, 2019, 11:41 AM
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You also can easily visit Kinderdijk from Rotterdam by waterbus.
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May 17th, 2019, 11:48 AM
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Rotterdam will not much fulfill your expectations of a Dutch regional town like say Haarlem, right on Amsterdam's doorstep will, but it does have some neat museums and flashy modern architecture and some old Dutch streets in its Delftshavn district that looks like it did before the war and is the place where Pilgrims set off from.. Or any of dozens of cities - Delft is a favorite and you can tour the Delftware ceramics factory/museum too. Utrecht yes does have a nice old central city with canals and a great cathedral and also is into transports the Netherlands Train Museum. Alkmaar is cool too, especially on Friday morning about May thru Sept or so for its famous old-time cheese market in a main square. Trains are great - www.ns.nl - Dutch railways and also www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts.
PalenQ is online now  
May 17th, 2019, 12:17 PM
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Rotterdam is a good contrast to Amsterdam. certainly not a duplicate of it. Not a reconstructed Disney city but a modern thriving city with some challenging architecture. Menachem is the one to recommend places in Rotterdam.
Utrecht is a mixture of very modern, very 70s bad taste and old and beautiful, all in the centre. Not as touristy as other places like Haarlem or Delft, it is still a busy city with some interesting museums.
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May 17th, 2019, 05:51 PM
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We've been to Amsterdam twice before but quite a few years ago.
The first time we were there we went to Delft.

I may have given the wrong impression.

Actually, I'm kind torn between day trips to towns that have that Dutch feel that would make them look the same and each with its own character.

Actually, Rotterdam appears to have taken its own route to reconstruction.

And Delfshaven appears to be Rotterdam's look into the past.

It was the choice of Utrecht that I was a little concerned about. Maybe a few people will wade in with comments on Utrecht.
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May 17th, 2019, 06:47 PM
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Very personal opinion of course, but we have been to Rotterdam and it has become one of the European cities both my husband and I clearly did not like at all. Yes, there is modern architecture there, but we found it to be rather boring, maybe because we see it in our hometown of Boston every day and very frequently in NYC. I am not trying to compare Rotterdam to NYC - nothing in common.

But Delft is very different from Rotterdam and from Amsterdam as well. Delft is very charming typical Dutch town with lovely canals, Dutch houses, beautiful Main square, Markt, with magnificent New Church on one side and Stadhuis van Delft (City Hall Delft) on another, plenty of cozy cafes, restaurants, shops. Delft porcelain is very pretty - it will brighten up any kitchen. I would definitely add Delft to your day trip choices.

We have nit been to Utrecht yet, but hopefully will make it there at some point.
vinonobile987 is online now  
May 17th, 2019, 11:11 PM
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Have you visited Den Haag? It has a very different vibe compared to Amsterdam, and very worth while for a daytrip.
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May 18th, 2019, 10:09 AM
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The Hague can easily be combined with a look at nearby Delft too. I got off at Central Station and walked to the Mauritshuis and royal castle or whatever it's called area and walked to The Hague's other train station for trains to Delft - or you can take a tram there to going right down main streets of suburbs.
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May 18th, 2019, 10:18 AM
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I would not advise to combine The Hague and Delft. Both deserve one day each, IMO.
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May 18th, 2019, 10:24 AM
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I would not advise that either but just said it is possible - The Hague is so big and has so many sights like Schevigngen (sp?) - the seaside with lots of entertainments and Maurodam (sp?) - Holland in miniature plus the cluster of stuff around Mauritshuis.

Delft get walking tour from tourist office and spend a wonderful day traipsing around old canals and abbeys and monasteries, etc. And the Delftware Factory/Museum a few miles outside of town (lovely walk along main canal).
PalenQ is online now  
May 18th, 2019, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Myer View Post
I will be in Amsterdam this July with my wife. We will be there for 5 full days plus about half of the day we arrive from Frankfurt by train.

After doing a relatively small amount of research we settled on Rotterdam and Utrecht for day trips.

Now that I'm looking into details some questions have arisen.

Since we're in the Netherlands we probably want a Dutch flavor. However, if all we see is a smaller, quieter, less touristy version of Amsterdam why not just stay in Amsterdam and skip a day trip?

At first glance Rotterdam appears to be a new city with ultra modern architecture. It appears that after being demolished a decision was made not to rebuild the old but move in a more modern direction.

Utrecht appears to have that old Dutch flavor but does it have enough of its own flavor?

Are these two day trips actually good choices?
Rotterdam is a city unlike other Dutch cities. And Utrecht is the one major city north of the Big Rivers that has a distinctly catholic flavor to it, in contrast to the large number of cookie cutter "was a prominent city until the 18th century, then froze in time" provincial cities in the west of the Netherlands.
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May 18th, 2019, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Christina View Post
I haven't been to either but sounds like if modern architecture isn't something drawing you to Rotterdam, why do you want to go there? Why did you choose that? must have been a reason. It is a port city so has a maritime museum if that's enticing. I personally am not interested in all these reconstructed places. I think it's fine if they did that and necessary, but I don't find it interesting in and of itself to view as a tourist (the ones that try to rebuild to look old, just seems like Disneyland to me, like old square in Warsaw). So I appreciate not doing that. But if you aren't interested at all in a new reconstructed city nor the port/martime aspect, why did you want to go there?

All I can say is when I was there I did both Alkmaar and Deflt as day trips and enjoyed both a lot. Almaar is big on cheese, fantastic cheese market. It's easy to get to.
https://www.holland.com/global/touri...ns/alkmaar.htm
Have you been to Rotterdam, Christina?
menachem is offline  
May 18th, 2019, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Myer View Post
We've been to Amsterdam twice before but quite a few years ago.
The first time we were there we went to Delft.

I may have given the wrong impression.

Actually, I'm kind torn between day trips to towns that have that Dutch feel that would make them look the same and each with its own character.

Actually, Rotterdam appears to have taken its own route to reconstruction.

And Delfshaven appears to be Rotterdam's look into the past.

It was the choice of Utrecht that I was a little concerned about. Maybe a few people will wade in with comments on Utrecht.
Myer, there's a lot to Rotterdam. The story of its reconstruction is only one aspect. Rotterdam and its port yet another viewpoint. But to the people who live here it's the city with a vibrant and exciting arts scene. Also, only the city centre (and its port as it was in 1940) was bombed. Around that, the 19th century neighbourhoods are still intact.

The story of its reconstruction is interesting too (I live in what has always been the most historic part of town, but that's not obvious if you look at what is built there today) Indeed, the plan, right after the bombing, was to do a historicizing reconstruction of Rotterdam (Disneyland) but that plan was abandoned for a plan that just specified the functionality of the buildings, but not their design. These fault lines in approach are still very visible.

If you want pointers, or even to meet up for a wee walk, drop me a PM.

Last edited by menachem; May 18th, 2019 at 11:08 AM.
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May 18th, 2019, 11:05 AM
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Also, Myer , if you choose to visit The Hague, please DON'T do Madurodam, but visit Panorama Mesdag instead. You can thank me later.
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May 18th, 2019, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
The Hague can easily be combined with a look at nearby Delft too. I got off at Central Station and walked to the Mauritshuis and royal castle or whatever it's called area and walked to The Hague's other train station for trains to Delft - or you can take a tram there to going right down main streets of suburbs.
It's called Binnenhof and they're our houses of parliament.
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May 18th, 2019, 11:10 AM
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There's some old castle too, ain't there there. I also toured the World Peace Palace or whatever it's called - World Court - rather interesting tour.
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May 18th, 2019, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
There's some old castle too, ain't there there. I also toured the World Peace Palace or whatever it's called - World Court - rather interesting tour.
The Hague doesn't really have castles. It never had city rights until the 18th century. It was a hunting estate, for the Counts of Holland: the Ridderzaal, the large ceremonial hall inside the Binnenhof complex, started as their hunting lodge.

The really wonderful thing about The Hague to me are sights like the Voorhout or Vijverberg, or the warren of streets off Noordeinde.
The Royal Palace is on Noordeinde, but that's not a castle either.
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May 18th, 2019, 01:57 PM
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One more choice is Leiden where we spent a week. It is beautiful . flowers and canals, and filled with history including being the location where the Pilgrims lived for ten years before leaving for the New World.
The University gives it a special energy.
We also really liked The Hague with Mauritshuis Museum and Parliament Buildings.
Delft is interesting, but not very large and can be combined with another location on the train route.The Old and New Churches( One ticket is good for both) were highlights for us. Lots of tourists were there compared to other places we visited.
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