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Discussion in 'Personal' started by Flowersinspring, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. Flowersinspring

    Flowersinspring Lead commenter

    What are your thoughts? Going with a 10 and 13 yr old in October. Which are the nicest areas to stay in? Is it ok for veggies? Apart from the Anne Frank museum are there any recommendations or things to avoid?
  2. primarycat

    primarycat Star commenter

    Rijksmuseum but it's huge so hone in on the bits you really want to see. The Van Gogh museum is good too - small but I liked it. I also liked taking a canal boat tour as you see the city from a different perspective.

    I like the Prinsengracht/ Jordaan area but really anywhere reasonably central should be ok - it can get a bit rough around Centraal station and locate the red light district as not terribly child friendly!

    If you can find a veggie friendly place the Indonesian food tends to be good. And chips with lots of sauces and toppings to choose from.

    Be prepared to use public transport or walk miles- it seems little and compact but is bigger than you realise once you start criss-crossing the city from place to place.

    Have fun!
    Flowersinspring likes this.
  3. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    We go frequently and usually stay in the museum quarter.

    It most certainly is.

    It is usually best to make an advance booking for the Anne Frank, as it can get very busy. The surrounding area (known as the Jordaan neighbourhood) is great for wandering around and discovering cheese shops, cafés, markets and so on.

    The Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum are musts (the latter can easily take an entire day), as is Rembrandt's House - but there are dozens of other museums and galleries, including the Stedelijk Museum (city museum). The Heineken Experience is fun if you've never done a brewery tour (otherwise, it is similar to most such tours). A canal cruise is certainly worthwhile (and the canals are a lot cleaner now than they used to be 40 years ago).

    The Vondelpark (near the museums) is lovely when the weather is fine. The Royal Palace is impressive (lots more famous paintings inside) and the nearby Oude Kerk (old church) is worth a visit (if the renovations are now finished - it was closed for a long time). Also close by is the The New Church (Nieuwe Kerk), the Dutch equivalent of Westminster Abbey where royal weddings and coronations take place.

    A guided tour of one of the many diamond factories is also worthwhile: I think Costers is the most famous, but there are a great many.

    Amsterdam is one of the few cities with a "city card" (called "I Amsterdam") that is really good value, offering free entry, free travel, many discounts etc.

    The only tourist trap which I've ever felt is a waste of time in the city is the House of Bols "gin experience" - but if you ever find the Windmill Museum, let me know (we wasted an entire day looking for it in 2017).
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
    Flowersinspring likes this.
  4. Flowersinspring

    Flowersinspring Lead commenter

    Thank you so much for the advice- I'm excited!
  5. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Just be careful crossing the roads. The cars won't hit you but the bloody crazy cyclists will wipe you out as will the motorbikers who use the cycle lanes.
  6. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I forgot to say that you can order the "I Amsterdam" card in advance and have it sent to your UK address (along with a free map and short guide). It is available for anything from 1 to 5 days, but you would probably need to use it for at least 3 museums/attractions a day to make it worthwhile. It includes free tram travel, which is by far and away the best way to get around the city.
  7. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I second blazer's comments about cyclists - stepping into a cycle lane is inviting serious injury. Cycling in the ruddy things is traumatic enough.

    If flea markets are your thing there's a few here. Last time we were there wasn't exactly typical as it was Koningsdag (King's Day), so everyone was dressed in orange and partying all day and night. Interesting place on any day of the week though.
    lindenlea likes this.
  8. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    We got the Amsterdam cards and they are expensive but really made our trip. There are loads of small museums that you can pop into with kids, just to stay in for a quick look around, and if you've already got your card, you're not constantly adding up what you've spent. We liked the tulip museum for a quick visit and also the canal boat trip. it's an expensive city - aren't they all! I second what others have said about speeding cyclists but it is a lovely place to walk around if you keep looking over your shoulder.
    agathamorse likes this.
  9. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    I agree with all of the above.... Rembrantsplein is a lively square with usually a crop of street performers.Can recommend the brasserie at the Schiller hotel for a Dutch food experience. Not too far a stroll away is the flower market with a great selection of bulbs and flowers- by there too is a lovely Christmas decoration shop with is filled to the rafters with items. If you like ribs and that style for then try Der Klos - to the rear of the flower market and off the main shopping street.

    Along from Centraal Station on Damrak is Lindberghs, a coach company.
    They run tours to the nearby villages of Volendam and Marken, both interesting and worth a visit, even better if the tour combines a trip to the windmill village der Schans (sp?) with its cheese making and clog making displays.


    Magna Plaza just behind the palace is a nice building and shopping centre.... not far from the large dept store on Damrak De Bijenkorf.

    Hotels can be a bit hit and miss.... do your research and read the reviews.... very difficult to find cheap places to stay. Have had some not great rooms....ie no window.... and stairs in the buildings can be steep. Found the Eden near Waterlooplein to be reasonable and hotel pretty ok plus der Single not far from Centraal Station to be nice too...we had a dab triple room with large windows opening onto the Single canal.

    Enjoy a lovely trip :)
  10. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I love Amsterdam.
    Hire bikes to get around, and take off out of the city on them when you feel flustered.
    Amsterdam also has superb outdoor swimming, even in October.
    I've been to Amsterdam a lot, having lived quite close, and it is very easy to fritter money on food treats and whatever flavour frippery you like, however you can equally get active and sporty. It's a marvel of urban planning how the two are so integrated.
    Eat Indonesian street food. Because you can and because it's great, really popular and prolific in Amsterdam,and will not break the bank.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  11. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Oude Kerk and Nieuwe Kerk are in Delft.

    I know Amsterdam very well and also recommend an online booking for the Anne Frank Huis.

    The new metro lines are now completed and getting round the city is much easier now.

    I recommend a visit to the Joods Historisch Museum in conjunction with Anne Frank. It is I think open on Monday - many museums are closed on that day.
  12. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Got back from a week there last Thursday - had a wonderful time.

    In addition to the things mentioned, you MUST go to 'This is Holland' - a free ferry crossing from Central Station. The experience culminates in a Virtual Reality 'tour' of the whole of the Netherlands - thrilling & beautiful at the same time. Your children will love it, and so will you.

    A really unusual place to visit is 'Our Lord in the Attic' - a hidden RC church, above a house restored to the 17th century. It was fascinating.

    I also really enjoyed The Museum of the Canals. http://www.hetgrachtenhuis.nl/en/
    Its title is misleading: it tells you the story of how Amsterdam developed into a rich, influential city, using the house and its previous inhabitants as a focus.

    In both of these (and many others), the audio guides are included in the entry price, and work by you clicking on links as you move around the museum to find out more about that room / artefact. In some museums, they have children's versions.

    You MUST book in advance for Anne Frank, although they do release 20% of each day's allocation first thing in the morning. But it's easier to book.

    There are also lots of guided walks available. I went on a WW2 and Jewish Quarter tour, which was SO informative and interesting, but there are loads out there. Some are free, but you tip the guide at the end. Others you pay for upfront.

    I also went to Zaanse Schans, which is where the Dutch industrial revolution began. It's now a much more picturesque version of the Black Country Museum, with working windmills and other workshops. I was there on the windiest day ever, and the power generated by the sails on the windmills was terrifying. It's just a 15 minute train ride away, or you can book on a coach trip.

    Travel around the city by tram & bus is easy - buy a card to cover your visit if you intend to do a lot of criss-crossing.

    And make sure you have a really good map of the city, especially the canal part. It all looks the same - treelined streets bordering the canals, with tall, narrow houses!! Impossible to know where you are without a map.

    And everyone was SO friendly and welcoming (and spoke perfect English).
    Enjoy it.
    Flowersinspring likes this.
  13. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    And in Amsterdam. They are, in fact, the two main churches in Amsterdam.
  14. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Scheltema, the five-storey book store on Koningsplein, is where I would be heading if I were in Amsterdam. Foodwise, from my previous visits, I only recall what I had for breakfast in Amsterdam, namely the staple bread rolls, cheese and boiled ham.
  15. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    They also have that nasty habit of buttering slices of brioche and covering them with hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles).


  16. Burndenpark

    Burndenpark Star commenter

    And Chelsea2's post

    Yep- citycard is expensive, but can be a bargain if you don't spend all day in your hotel. It also includes a boat canal tour (or big discount off one? not sure now).
    We didn't do Ann Frank or the diamond museum, but filled 3 days with no effort at all- and we'd done Zaanse Schans before getting to Amsterdam so that was another day- I'm not sure if we'd have got discount there or not?
  17. Burndenpark

    Burndenpark Star commenter

    It's only a variant on nutella butties- not that bad really.
    nomad likes this.
  18. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Apologies. I did have it in my mind that there is a load of royal family history in the Niewue Kerk in Delft and their Oude Kerk was closed for years for renovation.
  19. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    My father is Dutch and we always went to Holland when I was growing up. My enduring memory is eating hageslag on bread - wonderful! ( Hageslag is Dutch for hailstones, bizarrely.) When Mum and Dad got married in 1944 they lived in Amsterdam (in the Niewmarkt, red light district) for about a year. Mum loved it but Dad wanted to settle in England, as Holland was still suffering the ravages of WW2. My Dutch family is based in Middelburg but I have a cousin in Amsterdam. I first went there in 1976, aged 17, and had my eyes opened by the, shall we say, liberal lifestyle! I can't add any other recommendations but it's a great city and I'm due a re-visit.
    nomad likes this.
  20. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    If it were a choice between hagelslag and Zeer Oude Genever for breakfast, I'd know what I prefer.

    Assuming I was on holiday, that is.

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