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Less than 12 hours in Amsterdam (never been there before)

Less than 12 hours in Amsterdam (never been there before)

Sep 16th, 2004, 08:44 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Less than 12 hours in Amsterdam (never been there before)

I know 10 hours is a short time but that's all I can get! I'm planning on arriving at the Central station by 9 or 10 AM and leaving around 8:00 PM or so. I have never been to the Netherlands so I was hoping to get some suggestions from those in the know. I dont think I will have time for Museums but I am into cultural sites (no matter how liberal they are). Your suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

FBDII is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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Try to see the Van Gogh museum, Ann Frank house and the rijks museum even if you aren't into museums. The Dutch masters will awe you. They have audio tours so you can hear the unique aspects of various paintings and move at your own pace. The Ann Frank house is worth a visit.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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Easy to spend a day in Amsterdam. Just walk towards Dam Square from the station. You can take a boat tour there if you like, and get a rough idea of the city.
See Anne Frank House; very moving. Walk around the canals. The Jordaan is a particularly nice area here.
Walk to the Leidseplein, and from there you could walk on to the Museum area; the Van Gogh is good, and you can easily do that in a short time.
Amsterdam is an easy city to walk in, perfectly do-able in a day. If you must see the red light district, you can do this on the way back to Central Station.

Tulips is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 09:18 AM
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On Spui, Cafe Luxembourg is a popular place to stop for a drink, or lunch, and next door Cafe Hoppe is a very well-known 'brown cafe'. Just get a good map of Amsterdam, and start walking.
Tulips is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 09:45 AM
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I agree with the "just walking" approach. I also think a canal boat tour (lasts about an hour) is a good idea. The Anne Frank House is a must-do, and the walk there along the Prinsengracht is lovely.

I believe the Rijksmuseum is largely closed for renovation. We enjoyed the Van Gogh Museum, but I think it's a bit overpriced at 12 euro for a ticket! Leidseplein is a great area for people-watching, cafes, and restaurants. To walk there from Centraal Station will take around 30-40 minutes. Enjoy!
strass is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 09:46 AM
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Well, you can turn slightly to the left as you exit the front of Centraal and you'll find the VVV office (tourism). You can buy tram strippenkarts there..faster than walking to get to all the places mentioned..several stop directly outside the Rijksmuseum (if you only have time to see ONE museum, this is it since it is considered one of the four greatest museums in Europe).
I suggest tram use since you have little time to do a LOT of walking.

Canal boats just beyond the VVV office..can't miss them. VVV will give you directions to everywhere you want to go. have a great trip.
TopMan is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 11:17 AM
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Amsterdam is very small and you can do a lot there in that period of time.

If only do one thing: canal boat ride.
Absolute best way to see the city, as it is all on water and its houses are its primary interesting feature.

2 things: do Ann Frank House.

3 things: Rijksmuseum if it's open, Van Gogh Museum if Rijksmuseum is not open.
I would plan to eat a meal in the cafe at the Rijksmuseum.

If you don't eat in museum, I recommend Chinese restaurants or pizza if you see it - I don't htink you want to sit around and wait for slow-ish service of Dutch food, which you may not like.

I might get a map & then take taxis if distances look long, as you have only the one day.

I agree, nice walk to Ann Frank House.

If you don't like museums than of course forget them. In that case I'd just walk--on the Prinsengracht I guess-- or do some restaurant/cafe research and station myself somewhere charming.

You could also go see the floating flowermarket. Not far from where you'll be.
Elizabeth is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 12:24 PM
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This is good to know-that Amsterdam is small and you can actually do some sightseeing in a full day. It's alot more practical to do instead of when some people wish to see Paris in 6 hours or so!
francophile03 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 05:46 PM
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Take a tram to the Rijksmuseum, a truly great art museum open daily 9:00 to 18:00 except January 1. After visiting the pleasures of Rembrandt and Hals and buying a poster or two walk across the Singel Canal and toward the city center trending NW (left) through the Leidseplein. Walk up Leidsestraat to the Cafe Luxembourg at the Spui for a late afternoon lunch. If it's a weekday tip a glass of beer or a jenever in the Hoppe at 6pm and chat with the locals. The Begijnhof is a stones throw away so you might walk through that first. Then walk up the Kalverstraat and through the Dam and on up the Damrak back to the station.

Beware of pickpockets at all times in Amsterdam. There are luggage lockers in Schiphol Airport (lowest level) where you can stash your carry-on bag while you're touring the city.

Most people on this forum think a canal boat ride is wonderful. I think that riding a canal boat in Amsterdam is one of the worst wastes of time in Europe.

hopscotch is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 07:44 PM
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the rijksmuseum was open in July of this year.
cmeyer54 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2004, 11:26 AM
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I think a small part of the museum is open, but there's definitely some sort of major renovation going on there (I was in the area last week). Best to check before making plans!

We're in our late 20s and usually don't like blatantly "touristy" things, but we loved our canal ride in Amsterdam. We went at night and sat outside, in the back of the boat, and really enjoyed peeking in the lighted windows of the beautiful canal houses and houseboats. A great experience for us!
strass is offline  
Sep 17th, 2004, 12:24 PM
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Go to the Anne Frank House (something no one should miss) and just walk around the city. It's a beautiful city...sit in a park and watch the roller bladers. Have a pancake or 2, and maybe stop in a cafe! Have fun, 10 hours isn't a lot, but it's enough to leave you wanting more. My only advice is watch where you step...sidewalks are disguised, I swear!
lwinokur is offline  
Sep 18th, 2004, 12:25 AM
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The Rijksmuseum is being renovated, not all of it is open. They have a 'greatest hits' exhibitions, where the major paintings can still be seen.
Tulips is offline  
Sep 18th, 2004, 03:56 PM
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I love the canal boat rides, however, Boom Chicago has a less commerical ride where they take about 6 or 7 people per boat (small boat)..And you bring your own booze and smoke and cruise around the canals..I thought it was awesome..The ordinary canal boats are fun too, but the usual touristy thing..My husband hates them!!
TracyB is offline  
Sep 18th, 2004, 04:12 PM
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I agree with Tripman that taking the tram would save time since you're so limited. I loved Amsterdam, and have been there twice this year. You can purchase a discount booklet which includes the tram, museums and some extras, on the top floor of Central Station. I believe they have one day passes. No matter what, the tram stops are just out the door. They are very helpful in letting you know which you need, if you tell them your destination. I'd start with the Ann Frank house, and from there, take a tram back to Leidesplein, which is then an easy walk to the Rijkmuseum, which would be my choice. Despite the fact that much of the museum is closed for renovations, there are still some wonderful exhibits, and considering your time constraints, will suffice. It gives a good feel for Dutch history in a condensed version. I also agree that a canal boat ride would be an excellent way to see the city, and in a relaxed way, with a narrative of what you're seeing. Enjoy!
LoisL is offline  
Sep 21st, 2004, 05:30 AM
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WOW, great responses. I appreciate your time very much.

FBDII is offline  
Sep 21st, 2004, 05:42 AM
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I was in A'dam 2 weeks ago and I thought about your question. If the weather is OK, (and if you are phisically able), I would rent a bike (yellowbike) and drive around alongside the canals. You can rent them at the Nieuwezijdsekolk, which is 10 minutes fron Centraal Station. You'll see a lot more than just walking, you'll feel like real dutch, and it is a good exercice.
Start by biking on Singel / Herengracht / Keizersgracht / Prinsengracht area and you'll feel you have seen Amsterdam as no one else.
baldrick is offline  
Sep 21st, 2004, 08:13 AM
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We took a Yellowbike six-hour tour into the countryside--really terrific experience.

HOWEVER, in terms of biking in the city, I would definitely caution first-time visitors (heck, even repeat visitors!). The bike traffic around Amsterdam can be pretty confusing/stressful and even dangerous for a novice... it takes awhile to get used to the flow. Pedestrians, bikes, cars, and trams make for an interesting mix, and sometimes it's difficult to tell the lanes apart. I wouldn't advise a first-time visitor to A'dam with only 10 hours in the city to try using a bike. Just my opinion!
strass is offline  
Sep 21st, 2004, 08:32 AM
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I'm afraid that I would disagree with many of the posters above about Ann Frank House, but only because of the time it may take to queue up and go round it given the short amount of time you have there. It IS worth it if you're there during the week etc but may be best to avoid at the weekend.

Amsterdam is very small though and you can cover most of it during the day. Personally I'd go to see all the things that you can't see elsewhere - like the Sex Museum etc - but that's perhaps because I have yet to grow up!
Tallulah is offline  
Sep 21st, 2004, 12:59 PM
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I second that!!!

Don't rent a bike... it is a high art form in Amsterdam (unless you can smoke a cigarette, talk on your cell phone, and hold an umbrella all while riding you bike in high heel shoes - I wouldn't advise this as a 1st timers activity).

And the sex museum IS a hoot, actually I think there're two of them nearby (Erotic Museum and Sex Museum?).
suze is offline  

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