Best Things to See and Do in Amsterdam
The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to the Anne Frank House.
When I crave Dutch cuisine, I turn to “Patat met majonaise” (French Fries with mayo) , “broodje kroket” with mustard (meat-croquette); or Indonesian Rijsttafel! The staple Dutch meal is meat, potato and vegetable, in winter combined to a “stamppot,” mixture of mashed potatoes, vegetable with meats on the side.
To escape work I go to Vondelpark in summer; or the coast for a walk in the dunes.
For complete quiet, I can hide away at the Begijnhof.
If you come to Amsterdam, get your picture taken on a Skinny Bridge with canal houses in the background.
If you have to order one thing off the menu at Restaurant Tempo Doeloe, get the rijsttafel.
Amsterdam is my one stop shop for a good dose of culture!
When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to a FEBO or a brown café. They may not the best, but for sure are inexpensive!
At FEBO snack bars, after inserting some change, you can get your treat right out of the wall. Brown cafés and pubs normally serve up great sampling plates with bitterballen (mini meat-croquettes), or cubed Dutch cheese and liverwurst served with a strong mustard. All are best complimented with a pint of Dutch beer.
For a huge splurge, I go to La Rive at the Amstel Hotel for classic French or Restaurant Vinkeles at the Dylan Hotel.
Photo ops in Amsterdam include; Skinny Bridge, Westerkerk (Westerchurch)
– Homo Monument
– Anne Frank Statue
– Floating Flower Market
– Museum Square with Rijksmuseum in the background
– Near or in a boat or canal bike on a gracht (canal)
– On any bridge over a canal
– Dam Square
The best vantage points are taken by climbing the Westerchurch tower or visit the Okura Hotel’s Ciel Bleu, their Michelin star French restaurant on the top floor.
The most random thing in Amsterdam is the Grachten Festival. The Grachtenfestival (Canal Festival) is an annual music festival based on classical music performances. Each performance is set amongst venues characterised by extraordinary or monumental architecture boasting culturally historical value. Inspired by the annual theme, renowned soloists and ensembles quite often compose concert programs especially for the festival. However, the festival also features advance performances and foretastes of programs that will be performed at venues elsewhere in the Netherlands later in the season.
In Amsterdam, an active day outdoors involves walking and cycling.
My favorite walking route is strolling through the Jordaan district.
Some of Amsterdam’ s best museums are the Rijksmuseum, van Gogh museum, Amsterdam Historical Museum, Jewish Historical Museum and Hermitage.
There are so many entertainment options for a night of dancing in Amsterdam. Depending on your age group try:
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 18
1017 RC Amsterdam
Jimmy Woo is a hot club where ancient Hong-Kong mixes with modern design. Black is the dominant color here, with a large lounge area with black leather sofa’s and a black bar, and of course the opium table isn’t missing. The dance floor is downstairs, with impressive 12,000 light bulbs ceiling. Famous for its selective door policy; either you’re on the guest list, or you join the endless queue.
1016 LV A Rozengracht 133
One of the most trendy hot spots in Amsterdam is Club Roses. An award winning interior totally in style with today’s developments in architecture completes the success of the club. Roses is the place to be with a large variety of music styles on the different days of the week. The biggest names in the DJ world have worked the decks at Roses and many more will follow.
Most restaurants close their kitchen at 11p. There are some late night restaurants which serve dinner until 12:30a. Selection:
1017 EN Amsterda
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 203
1017 RB Amsterdam
Hard Rock Café Amsterdam
Max Euweplein 57-61
1017 MA AMSTERDAM
Opened on Friday and Saturday untill 00.30h for dinner. Rest of the week until 23.30h.
To find out what’s going on a night or on weekends use the on-line what’s on wizard and/or Time Out Amsterdam.
In the spring you should attend Queens Day (nationwide): one big party in Amsterdam as well on April 30 and the April Flower Parade.
In the summer you should attend Canal Parade – Gay Pride, August 7, 2010
Highlight of Amsterdam Gay Pride (1/8 – 8/8) is the Canal Parade with hundred thousands of participants and visitors. The boat parade starts at 2 PM at the end of the Prinsengracht, turns left onto the Amstel and continues towards Oosterdok, passing City Hall and the Music theatre (Stopera).
The Canal Festival also puts an emphasis on giving young musicians an ideal opportunity to showcase their talents, with performances in lively busy public locations.
The event also includes a Children’s Canal Festival, featuring productions specially intended for children of all ages, from babies and infants up to teenagers.
Many of the concerts are accessible free of charge or at a low entrance fee.
In the fall you should visit: Museumnacht, the First Saturday in November.
One night a year 42 museums in Amsterdam open their doors from 7 pm to 2 am and organize special events: workshops, concerts, special tours, performances, with tasty food & drinks. This is your chance to see Amsterdam’s museums in a completely new light – after dark!
In the winter you should go to the ice skating rinks in the city.
Dutch holiday traditions and events from late November into early January (e.g. special exhibits and museums; arrival of Sinterklaas – St. Nicolas)
A hidden gem in Amsterdam is The Museum of Bags and Purses (Tassenmuseum Hendrikje)
Museum Our Lord in the Attic
For a great breakfast treat or espresso, go to Le Pain Quotidien, Cornelis Troostplein 4,1072 JK Amsterdam
Cafe Americain (brunch)Leidsekade 97, Amsterdam
Wintertuin (bfast, brunch)
Dam 9, Amsterdam
Just outside of Amsterdam you can visit the Open Air museum The Zaansche Schans, have lunch at the pancake restaurant.
Also visit the Zuiderzee museum in Enkhuizen, a wonderful Open Air museum in a traditional fishing village on the Ijsselmeer. One hour by train from Amsterdam.
The best way to see Amsterdam is to walk and take a canal boat tour, especially by night.
If you have kids, you won’t want to miss:
Jewish Historical Museum – The Children’s Museum has matzo that raps and the brick wall that talks!
What are your favorite things to do in Amsterdam, Netherlands?
Thanks to Brigitta Kroon-Fiorita and Visit Holland for assistance with this post. I was a guest of the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions.
Photos and YouTube video by Nancy D. Brown