This week’s travel journey takes us to Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Amsterdam is the Netherlands’capital, known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses with gabled facades. Canals lined by tilting gabled buildings are the backdrop for Amsterdam’s treasure-packed museums, vintage-filled shops and hyper-creative drinking, dining and design scenes. Visit the world-famous 17th century capital of Holland. Enjoy the historic buildings, beautiful museums and pleasant ambience. Go for a boat tour on the canals, stroll through Vondelpark, and go shopping in the inner city. Amsterdam is a unique city!
The best times of the year to visit Amsterdam are between April and early June, or mid-September to mid-October with an average daily high temperature above 19°C. At this time the weather is likely to be pleasant and museums and attractions will be less crowded than in the peak summer travel season. Visit Amsterdam in mid-April for your best chance to see the tulip fields in bloom.
The top 3 activities to do/see in Amsterdam:
Visit The Rijksmuseum and The Van Gogh Museum
The unique position Rijksmuseum Amsterdam gained in the world throughout the centuries, comes not only from the possession of many masterpiece paintings of Dutch and world art. Alongside the masterworks like Rembrandt’s “Night watch”, several paintings by Vermeer, van Dyck and Jan Steen, the museum has a truly exceptional collection of the antique objects of Dutch culture, vast collection of prints, drawings and classic photography. The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is one of the most popular museums in the world, attracting visitors from every corner of the globe. Naturally, this is in large part due to it housing the largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh – more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 700 of his letters. The best way to explore the museums is with ‘The I Amsterdam City Card’ that offers you a unique way to explore Amsterdam. You get access to all major highlights and more than 70 museums, city-wide public transport, a canal cruise and bicycle rent.
Cycle Around the Ambience of Amsterdam
Even if you only pedal around for a few hours, riding a bike is an essential Amsterdam experience. Renting a bike or taking a guided cycle tour is a great way to discover the city and can be quite an adventure. Exploring the city on a bike lets you see more in a day, while blending in with the locals at the same time
If you fancy exploring the city by boat then floating down Amsterdam’s canals is one of the most memorable ways to discover the city’s sights and attractions whether you’re a first-time or frequent visitor, everything in Amsterdam seems a bit more magical when viewed from a boat.
Most canal cruises take around an hour, in which you’ll explore Amsterdam’s UNESCO protected canal ring and discover plenty of interesting facts about the city along the way. As well as the excellent one-hour options, other types of canal cruises available include practical hop-on-hop-off services, romantic candle-lit tours, child-friendly adventures and intimate guided boat tours for smaller groups.
Visit Anne Frank’s House
Anne Frank is one of Amsterdam’s most well known former residents. The Anne Frank House at Prinsengracht 263 is where she lived in hiding with her family for more than two years during World War II. Now converted into a museum it contains a sobering exhibition about the persecution of the Jews during the war, as well as discrimination in general. The rooms at the Anne Frank House still portray the atmosphere of the period spent in hiding. Historical documents, photographs, film images and original objects that belonged to those in hiding and those who assisted them help illustrate the events that took place. Anne’s original diary and other notebooks are also on display in the museum.
Looking at the Netherlands cuisine as a whole, we might say that savory snacks are a favourite for the Dutch as well as a sweet treat. Some include:
Bitterballen, the quintessential bar snack in the Netherlands, are served in hundreds of pubs around Amsterdam. Each individual bitterbal is stuffed with a meaty (or vegetarian) ragout that is very similar to the molten filling found inside a kroket. Similar to other Dutch bar snacks, these deep-fried meatballs are quite tasty after a couple of pints and were seemingly designed to stave off beer munchies.
Order patatje oorlog for a carb-heavy treat
This classic Dutch fast-food dish combines several ingredients that aren’t usually considered complementary, creating a bizarrely satisfying, highly-calorific hodgepodge. To prepare the dish, cooks arrange a bed of crispy, Dutch-style french fries, then top this carb-heavy base with mayonnaise, raw onions, and spicy peanut satay sauce. Though this might sound rather strange to foreigners, it is surprisingly balanced and its ingredients work surprisingly well together, creating a dish that is simultaneously spicy, salty and incredibly filling. It is also usually served in a cone by fast-food vendors, which makes it perfect for anyone looking for a quick, hearty snack to fuel day long excursions around Amsterdam.
Stop by a market and buy some freshly-baked stroopwafel
Although these circular, syrup-filled waffles are available at basically every supermarket in Amsterdam, nothing beats freshly-baked stroopwafels. Thankfully there’s several old-school stroopwafel stands at markets around Amsterdam, including spots at Albert Cuypmarkt and Dappermarkt. Combine with a coffee from Back to Black Coffee house. It’s important to note that a coffee house is very different from a coffee shop in Amsterdam. If you are after your daily dose of caffeine then it’s a coffee house you want.
Look out for another exciting adventure next week!
Researcher and Writer