Posted 15 March 2023 in Travel Wanderlust
Everything to do on your trip to Amsterdam
When one hears the word Amsterdam, colourful houses, canals, and Van Gogh’s paintings immediately come to mind. The capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a historically and culturally rich place. Almost as old as a museum itself, the city is intimate and yet so diverse. It is a blend of the modern world with its industries, modern buildings, and art with the 17th-century Golden Age of brick-lined houses, church towers, cobbled stone paths, and the canals connecting the entirety of the Old Town.
The city has various elements that any tourist can enjoy. It not only has a deep intricate past but also a flourishing present.
Here are some of the best reasons why you should visit Amsterdam
Museums and galleries
Amsterdam has several museums and art galleries that cater to different interests. The Dutch certainly are fond of their artistic expression. You can find a veritable number of classic paintings and historical pieces.
- Rijksmuseum: This museum has the largest collection of art and artefacts. Dating back to 1885, it has 80 galleries that house over 800-year-old historic pieces and Dutch Art. It also has a commendable collection of Asian art. Some of the famous works of Rembrandt’s like Kitchen Maid and Woman Reading a Letter are displayed here. You can also find a gateway to the Golden Age with relics, porcelain crockery, pottery, jewellery, costumes, and parts of furniture from those times.
- Van Gogh Museum: Among the most-visited museums in Amsterdam, it holds a permanent exhibition of Vincent Van Gogh’s mesmerising works. With 200 paintings and 500 sketches, this museum is an art lover’s dream. His post-impressionism style, with yellow and blue hues, deeply connects to one’s psyche. This museum also hosts daily lectures, screenings, and concerts.
- Jewish Historical Museum: Located in the Jewish Quarter, the museum was set up by combining four Jewish Synagogues. It pays an ode to Judaism and the Jewish-Dutch. The museum hosts a large collection of old religious paintings, Jewish scriptures, relics, and memoirs.
- Moco Museum: It is a relatively new museum situated inside a 20th-century mansion. It contains modern art and works of contemporary artists like Andy Warhol, Jeff Coons, Damien Hirst, and others. It is a private museum with a quaint atmosphere and a trendy setting. There is also an excellent collection of contemporary sculptures in the Moco Garden.
- Rembrandthuis: It is a quirky and engaging museum that is sure to be a delight to your senses. It is organised in a labyrinth style, which takes you on a trip to Amsterdam’s history. It displays certain items or paintings from each period, like 700-year-old shoes. There are also activities open to the public. The museum houses a good collection depicting the rich history of the city.
- Hermitage Museum: An extension of the St. Petersburg, this museum is unique because of its collection of Russian art and history. It is well-furnished with a concert hall, courtyard, and restaurant. It has two large exhibition spaces. The museum holds a special exhibition two times a year, borrowed from its sibling museum in Russia. A fabulous experience is guaranteed here!
- FOAM: It is the best photography gallery in the country. It holds local exhibitions from time to time. It is also known for its lectures, talks, and other events. The gallery has a permanent display of the works of the maestro August Sanders.
Other well-known museums you must visit are The Amsterdam Museum, EYE Film Institute, Anne Frank Museum, and the Cobra Museum of Modern Art.
The food and café culture
Besides the tulips, museums, and activities that the city has to offer, Dutch food is a must-try. Amsterdam has some of the most delicious variety of traditional dishes and global cuisines. When in Amsterdam, do have the following:
- Bitterballen: This snack found in every nook and cranny of Amsterdam is the Dutch version of a meatball but crispier. The dish is a favourite among locals.
- Pannekoeken: This is a traditional breakfast dish served in most cafés. These are similar to savoury pancakes that are cooked with spices. However, sweeter versions are also available.
- Broodje Haring: This is a popular street food found in almost all local shops. It is a pickled herring sandwich that can be customised according to your liking. People say this is a summer essential.
- Rijsttafel: This is an ethnic Indonesian dish whose Dutch word translates to ‘Rice Table’. It is a filling meal with meat, fish, and vegetables.
- Stroopwafels: This Dutch cookie, with two thin layers of waffle crust filled with a sugary syrup called Stroop. It makes for a delightful dessert after a filling meal.
Amsterdam has recently been recognised as a gastronomic centre, with its 12 Michelin-starred restaurants and excellent cafés. Some places to satiate your hunger and leave you craving for more are:
- BREDA: The atmosphere is light and airy, yet intimate. Their southern Dutch roots are represented in the food. The food will leave you wanting for more and service is said to be excellent.
- De Kas: This sustainable restaurant, that is housed inside a greenhouse, has made a name in the industry because they grow their food, else source it directly from farms. The dishes are mainly vegetarian but delicious and light.
- Restaurant Floreyn: It is a trendy and hip place, known for adding a breath of fresh air to the old traditional foods enjoyed by the Dutch. They reconstruct the simple delicacies to suit your palate and make them scrumptious.
- Coffee & Coconuts: Known for its ambience as it is set in a 1920’s cinema building, this charming cafe serves organic coffee and food!
Amsterdam has a plethora of activities to enjoy in the evening. Here are some interesting ways you can experience Amsterdam’s bustling nightlife :
- Watch the city lights: As the evening dawns, the city starts to light up like a Christmas tree. You can stroll on the bridges admiring the view while munching on street food. The city has lovely light installations and decorations to gaze at.
- Appreciate the music and performances: Book tickets to an opera performance at the Concertgebouw. The concert hall is famous for its acoustics and several people line up to see the acts. You can also make plans to catch some live music performances. In an old church, with high ceilings and stained glass windows, several bands can be found performing. Places like Paradiso are trendy and have a youthful atmosphere. The Melkweg, an abandoned factory turned into a local music hall, also hosts extravagant live music sessions.
- Dance to your heart’s content: Amsterdam is also famous for its EDM music and clubs. You can find known DJs blasting out their beats all night at places like Hartje and Melkweg. The places are usually safe for everyone to dance and let their hair down to some fantastic Dutch music.
Local markets and shops
Amsterdam has a wide selection of items for everyone. From paintings to souvenirs, clothes and second-hand goods, wear your most comfortable shoes, and head out. Explore the realm of shopping plazas and local markets. Some of the popular ones are:
- Magna Plaza: Located centrally, just opposite the Royal Palace, the Magna Plaza calls for a luxurious shopping experience. It has a majestic feel to it with its huge archways and intricate architecture. You can find clothes, jewellery, accessories, shoes, and home decor. You can visit the Grand Cafe Ovidius nearby, to replenish your energy.
- Water Looplein Flea Market: It is among the famous flea markets in Amsterdam. The prices are reasonable and you can often find unique pieces on sale. It is open on all days except Sunday.
- Albert Cuyp Market: This is among the largest open-air markets in Europe. Not only can you find great clothes, knick-knacks, and souvenirs but also fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, and bread. The local producers in the region offer goods like homemade Stroopwafels, dutch snacks, flowers, herbs, and spices. You can also pick up some fresh tulips on the way.
You can have a brilliant time with the numerous recreational activities that Amsterdam has to offer. Not only are they fun, but they also are culturally rich ways to experience the city.
- Canal Cruise: The canals are a prominent part of Amsterdam. But you can do more than just click pictures or stroll on the bridges. Hire a traditional canal boat to sail through the waters in an authentic way or book tickets to a luxurious cruise with dinner and lunch options.
- Take part in the festivities: The Dutch are enthusiastic about celebrating their festivals, which are magnanimous and vibrant. The streets are lit up and decorated cheerfully for occasions like King’s Day, Vondelpark Open Air Theatre Shows, or Amsterdam Pride Walks. Make sure to join the celebratory spirit with great food, dance, and songs.
- You can easily rent a cycle to explore Amsterdam.
- Do not stand in the bike lanes and always walk on the sidewalk.
- If you are not a citizen of the EU, always carry an identification card with you. You can be fined for not carrying an ID proof.
- Use the right side of the street when biking and motion with your hand if you are going to turn.
- Visit the flower fields on the outskirts of the city. They are beautiful and you can get guided tours too.
- Carry your umbrella, in case of unexpected weather.
- Book your hotel tickets in advance if you are planning to travel during peak tourist season.
How to reach?
Amsterdam is among the most accessible cities in the world.
- By air: You can book an IndiGo international flight to Amsterdam from India. Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam is only a few kilometres from the city. You can avail a taxi or bus from the airport to reach the main city.
- By rail: The Amsterdam Central Station connects to various European cities like London, Brussels, Paris, and Frankfurt. Eurostar allows you to enjoy a relaxing journey with a scenic view. You can travel to and from cities across Europe with high-speed trains.
- By road: Travelling by bus is economical, safe, and convenient. Buses connect major European cities like Brussels and Paris to Amsterdam. The roads and highways are well maintained by the state. There are several International bus routes you can access. Additionally, travelling by car or taxi is also a good option, if you prefer that.
Amsterdam has a climate similar to that of Britain because of the oceanic influence. Spring and summer from April to August are warm and pleasant. The skies are clear and days are longer. However, it can get a little humid. Autumn, from September to November is cool, with grey skies and colder winds. The winter months of December to March are cold and freezing. There are high possibilities of snow.
Best time to travel
The spring and summer months are the ideal time to travel because of the great weather. The festivals are also in full swing, along with the shops and restaurants. However, prices for accommodation and travel are high because it is peak travel season. If you want to avoid crowds and avail good deals, travel between September and November.
Who doesn’t love a city that has it all? With this guide you can enjoy a hassle-free visit to the captivating city of Amsterdam.
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