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PhillyFan Jun 18th, 2014 02:41 PM

Getting around Amsterdam: bike v. tram
Hi all. For our first full day in Amsterdam, here is our itinerary:

Start from our B&B (near the Centraal station)

Visit Rijksmuseum

Visit Tropenmuseum

Visit Anne Frank House (16:40 reservations).

Is renting a bike an efficient way to get from the Rijks to the Tropenmuseum? Or would we be better off on the trams? (Obviously, if it's rainy we'll be on the tram....)


Andrew Jun 18th, 2014 03:22 PM

If you love to bike, rent bikes. Maybe it would be fun. Just know that Amsterdamers on bikes don't fool around sight seeing - they are serious and ride fast, and there are a lot of them. You really need to watch out for them, even if you are pedestrian!

If you don't love to bike, then walk or take the tram - or both. You can easily walk to the Anne Frank House from the Central Station - I'm pretty sure I did (my hotel was right around the corner from it). I'd guess you can walk to everything, actually.

PalenQ Jun 18th, 2014 03:26 PM

Trams go right from the RijksmuseumI believe to the Troppenmuseum - biking like Andrew says in Amsterdam can be very hectic - I say this having done a lot of it but now I would never bike around but walk or take the tram.

Know the rules of the road or bike paths if biking and bike theft is still rife I understand. You could probably take the tram cheaper too then renting a bike.

Biking is great if you want to go out of Amsterdam on a little putz - like taking the bicycle/pedestrian ferries across the Ij and then heading for some nice countryside with those nifty Dutch bike paths - but in Amsterdam it is often like LA in rush hour IME and even unsafe for the novices - getting tripped up on tram tracks is very possible if you do not cross them at the proper angles, etc.

snowgirls Jun 18th, 2014 04:13 PM

We are very experienced cyclists but chose NOT to bike around Amsterdam. Trams were efficient, tram tracks tricky to navigate over by bike, no worries about theft of bikes while we were in museums or shops( that was a big concern). Holding hands and walking was a nice change and slowed the pace for us to just enjoy.

Surfergirl Jun 18th, 2014 06:18 PM

You're going to the Rijksmuseum but not the Van Gogh Museum? It's the biggest collection of Van Goghs in the world, and a stone's throw from the Rijksmuseum!

On biking, it would be efficient, yes, but more efficient would be the trams. If you want to do it for the experience, sure, but as others said, it's a mode of transport vs. a thing to do with the kids on the weekend kind of thing -- meaning a popular way of getting to point B from point A.

debragartin Jun 18th, 2014 06:59 PM

I have just returned from a month long trip starting in Amsterdam...and really, be careful if you do the bike thing, they are very serious about biking. If you fall over, or have an accident, it would be the domino effect for miles. And be careful being the pedestrian, you have to watch for cars, trams and bikes at all times when crossing the streets. With all that said, have a great time, Amsterdam is truly a wonderful city, one of my favorites!

debragartin Jun 18th, 2014 07:09 PM

also, we found it was better to buy the year long museum pass for 50 euros since each museum charges for entry. And you can use it to go back to museums that you like a lot or wasn't able to finish. At the end of your time there, it's possible to maybe give it or sell it or pay it forward to another tourist in your B&B or hotel? This advice was pass to me by our hosts at the B&B we were staying.

IMDonehere Jun 18th, 2014 07:11 PM

We returned from Amsterdam a few weeks ago and bicycles rule the streets. As noted be careful crossing streets. It is like crossing the streets in London be sure you are looking in all directions, because it is not your natural reaction and I am native New Yorker who lives in Manhattan.

hetismij2 Jun 18th, 2014 11:51 PM

Take the tram and your feet. It is not a city to cycle unless you are super confident, prepared to go with the high speed flow, and to watch out for tramlines. Plus you need good locks, and a place to park it legally, and the ability to navigate from one place to the next without a map.

PatrickLondon Jun 19th, 2014 07:21 AM

In my experience, one rarely has to worry about where to park a tram, locate it again among all the others parked all round it, or guard against its being stolen. A bike, especially if rented,
is just one more thing to fret about.

Dukey1 Jun 19th, 2014 08:06 AM

I agree with the tram idea; we'll be in the city for one night just to do the Rijks in a week or so.

The Van Gogh? great place when it isn't mobbed.

PhillyFan Jun 19th, 2014 11:32 AM

Thanks for your insights; I will stick with the tram and take the Paris night bike ride for a biking experience.

My husband might rent a bike while I'm at the Rijks; he's not into art museums like I am. Anything nearby there he occupy himself with for a few hours? (that's not an art museum).

suze Jun 19th, 2014 11:38 AM

I was coming to ask (*loved* the Tropenmseum btw) how good of a bike rider are each of you?

The bike scene in Amsterdam is intense and unless you are a decent and fairly experienced urban rider, it's not something I'd recommend. I've never seen so many bikes in my life, it's very cool, just not for rookies.

hetismij2 Jun 19th, 2014 11:40 AM

He could ride through the Vondelpark maybe, or take an organised ride.
The latter is probably better as you can then enjoy your time in the museum knowing he is occupied for X amount of hours.

Leely2 Jun 19th, 2014 11:42 AM

It's not that far from the Heineken Experience (haven't been). He could also check out Vondelpark if the weather is nice.

Amsterdam is a great city just for walking around and enjoying. I walked everywhere, never got on a tram or a bike. I am a committed museum person, but there are plenty of places to hang out, have a beer or a coffee or something to eat, shops, etc.

hetismij2 Jun 19th, 2014 11:48 AM

Incidentally to me it would make more sense to visit the Tropenmuseum another day, and combine the Rijks with either Van Gogh or the Stedelijk.
Just because of the geography of it all, going from the Rijks to the Tropen to Anne Frankhuis.

Challiman Jun 19th, 2014 12:17 PM

I second what Andrew and others said about how fast paced bikes are in Amsterdam. We were just there and never rode a tram, we WALKED everywhere! And walked, and walked and walked. Also, it was quite warm when we were there and very few places had any a/c, so cooling off anywhere after those bike rides could be an issue, depending on the weather.
Have a great time. The 18 and 19 year old grandsons loved it, explored all sorts of places with me and on their own. I was so naive, I kept smelling something that smelled like a skunk, did not realize what I was smelling.
Also, one of the grandsons was approached many times about buying drugs. Walking with me and the other grandson, they singled him out for some reason. He kept shaking his head no, and we all kept walking, but a couple were pretty persistent.
Loved the Anne Frank House, my third visit, and it has been updated since I was there in 2008.

PalenQ Jun 19th, 2014 12:42 PM

Not sure that the Museum Boat - a public boat on main canals that stops at major museums, including the Anne Frank House - stops near the Troppen Museum - it may but I doubt it as it is out of the main tourist loop - but for other museums a neat way to move around (though more expensive than walking and trams!)

PalenQ Jun 19th, 2014 01:15 PM

IMDonehere Jun 19th, 2014 08:41 PM

On today's CNN website

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