Amsterdam

Amsterdam in Two Days

Visit Amsterdam’s top attractions in this two days itinerary. See all major monuments, museums and vivid squares. Stroll through the narrow streets and take a peaceful canal cruise to view Amsterdam from a different angle. The Rijksmuseum, Van Goghs Museum, Anne Frank’s House and all other sights were never that easy to visit in a well planned two days Amsterdam itinerary.

Huis Marseille

Huis Marseille is the first museum in Amsterdam to be dedicated completely to photography. It opened in 1999 making it a rather new museum, but it is already home to some 5,000 photographs. While the primary focus is the history of photography, contemporary photographs are also part of the collection. The collection is broken into 6 main exhibits with a natural flow mainly thanks to the design of the house used to host the museum. While it still maintains a home like feel, the residence now uses the six largest rooms to display art in welcoming and warm surroundings. The collection can be viewed on the museum’s website so that you can get a glimpse of what you will see while you are there and it is updated regularly to keep up with the changing displays. Children can view the collection for free. Adults will pay a small 5 euro fee. Students, seniors (65 and over), and groups consisting of 8 or more persons all receive a discount to 3 euros. The museum is closed on Mondays but is open froCarm 11:00am to 6:00pm every other day of the week including Sundays. Sign up for the newsletter if you want to be the first to hear about special exhibitions or events.

Address: Keizersgracht 401, 1016 EK Amsterdam
Phone Number: 020 531-8989
Admission: 8€ for adults, 4€ students, free for children 17 and under
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 11:00am-6:00pm. Closed Jan 1, Apr 30, and Dec 25
Transportation: Tram – 1, 2, or 5 to Keizersgracht

Leidse Plein    

Leidseplein, which translates to Leiden Square in English, is a square in southern Amsterdam. It is now the city’s transport hub and serves several tram lines and gives people access to the city’s shopping and nightlife.

Known as an entertainment square, visitors will often find street performers located in east Leidseplein. These performers often dance in the street in order to entertain visitors. During the summer it is not uncommon for the bars in Leidseplein to be packed with people. During the winter the square’s outdoor terrace is covered and an ice skating rink can then be found in the square. There are also many food stalls serving up hot food during the winter months in Leidseplein. Leidseplein Square is where visitors will find the flagship stores for both Apple and BMW. They are in the Hirschgebouw building that used to serve as the home of a large department store. The interiors of both the Apple and BMW stores are unique and often attract visitors.

The main streets of Leidseplein Square are home to a variety of Argentian, Chinese and Italian restaurants. There are also many high-end restaurants located throughout the square, such as Café America, which can be found in the Eden Amsterdam American Hotel. Many people enjoy Café America’s Sunday afternoon Jazz Brunch. Visitors looking for more information about the area’s nightlife can go to Kleine Gartmanplantsoen 21. This is an office that helps guide visitors to the nightlife destinations throughout the eastern end of Leiden Square.

Rijksmuseum (National Museum)

The Dutch National Museum, or Rijksmuesem, is a grand four floor museum which leads visitors on an exciting chronological journey through the art and history of the Netherlands. The story of the country is told from an interesting international perspective so patrons get unique experience as they walk through history.

The museum’s main building was recently closed for a period of ten years, but the reopening was a magnificent event and the facility is now better equipped to serve the many tourists who make the trip to learn about Dutch history. The museum’s collection has over one million objects, about 8000 of which are on display there at any given time. Included in this collection are works by famous people such as Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt. There are many beautiful exhibits, but it is important to remember that only photography that does not use a flash is permitted.

This museum is very family friendly, and interesting for visitors of any age. There are even specific tours available that are geared towards families with younger children, to make it exciting for the kids. The guided tour does have a small extra fee, but it includes interactive experiments, stories, and props that everyone is sure to love. And, for those who are looking for a more in depth or educational experience, there are other specific guided tours available as well. Some of the tours focus on specific centuries of history, and some take guests through the highlights of the exhibits. One tour is even focused on the outdoor portion of the museum which has its own unique perspective on the Dutch history and art. There is always more to learn and discover.

Tickets can be purchased online, so to save a little bit of time waiting in line, visit their website and buy them in advance. This will probably save twenty to thirty minutes so there is more time to enjoy the exhibits. And, since tickets can be used for any day up to one year after the date of purchase, they can be bought and then worked in to the trip schedule easily.

Address: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam
Phone Number: 020 674-7000
Admission: 13€ for adults, free for children 18 and under
Opening Hours: Daily 9:00am-6:00pm. Closed Jan 1
Transportation: Tram – 2 or 5 to Hobbemastraat

Van Goghmuseum    

The largest collection of artwork by Vincent Van Gogh in the world is housed at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.  It is conveniently located in Museum Square, and is one of the most popular art museums to visit in the world. This is a must for any Amsterdam tourist.

The museum is divided in to two buildings.  And, in spite of the high volume of visitors every day, the experience is quite pleasant because of the ideal layout of the building and exhibits. It was truly designed with the guests in mind, and is accessible to large crowds trying to enjoy individual pieces of art.  The main building holds the permanent collection as well as some temporary or rotating exhibits.  It consists of four floors. One floor has the gift shop and café. The next is a chronological look at Van Gogh’s works. Then there is a floor dedicated to the restoration of paintings as well as some minor temporary exhibitions.  And finally there is a floor for works of Van Gogh’s contemporaries, which focuses on his influence on their art and how they related to him.  The other building holds temporary exhibits, and is accessed through an underground tunnel from the main building.

There is a library associated with the museum, and is in a separate location.  However, there are study areas available on every floor of the museum itself where visitors can go more in depth in their study of the art and history of the artist.
Believing in encouraging the next generation of artists, the museum offers extensive programs for children.  These include drawing competitions for children from age four to twelve, treasure hunts, diorama making, and guided workshops. Kids can even have a birthday party with activities guided by museum staff.

Since this is one of the most popular museums, with over a million and a half visitors per year, the lines can be long. Be sure to purchase a museum card if you are planning to visit other museums as well, or at least purchase tickets in advance so that your vacation time is not wasted waiting behind the crowds.  This will save time and frustration.

Address: Paulus Potterstraat 7, 1071 CX Amsterdam
Phone Number: 020 570-5200
Admission: 13€ for adults, 2.50€ children 13-17, free for children 12 and under
Opening Hours: Sat-Thur 10:00am-6:00pm; Fri 10:00am-10:00pm. Closed Jan 1
Transportation: Tram – 2, 3, 5, or 12 to Van Baerlestraat

Vondelpark  

Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s biggest city park and the Netherlands most famous park. Approximately 10 million people visit Vondelpark on a yearly basis, some come simply to rest while others come the park to enjoy one of its many free concerts. The park has an open-air theatre where performances take place every summer and while admission to the park is free, you may want to make reservations for certain performances.

There are several attractions in Vondelpark including a cast iron music dome, the children’s playground known as Groot Melkhuis and a statue of Vondel, the famous Dutch poet. Vondelpark also has a pavilion that includes a restaurant called Vertigo. Designed in 1878, the pavilion has been standing here ever since and since 1975, it is also the home of The Film Museum.

Nature lovers will enjoy visiting Vondelpark for its various types of flora, such as horse chestnut, Dutch red chestnut and many varieties of birch trees and various types of herbs that grows throughout the park. Notice the many birds such as blue herons and wild ducks while you a walk in this lovely park.

Children will enjoy Vondelpark as it has many play areas and a very large playground. Every year on Queensday, Vonderpark runs a Kinder Market where children are allowed to participate.

Vondelstraat is the street that runs through Vondelpark where you can see many old and beautiful Dutch houses.
Address: Vondelpark, Amsterdam
Phone Number: (31) 20 428 3360
Admission: Church: Free admission. Tower: 6€
Opening Hours: The park is always open
Transportation: tram 1-2-5-6-7-10, stop Leidseplein. Tram 3-12, stop 1e Constantijn Huygensstraat

Dam Square

The Dam square, Amsterdam’s biggest square, has been around since the 13th century after the Amstel River saw the addition of a dam. The dam was constructed to make it impossible for the Zuiderzee Sea to come swarming into the city.

At Dam Square visitors will find various food stands, shops and trendy restaurants. The bars and cafes at Dam Square are almost always packed with people, resulting in a long line to the get into the establishments. During the spring months it is not uncommon for carnivals to take place in Dam Square. Throughout the summer, street performers can often be found there as well.

Located in the heart of Dam Square is the Royal Palace, former home of the Dutch Royal family. Receptions are still held at the Royal Palace often. Located directly outside the Royal Palace is the hotel Krasnapolsky. To the south of Dam Square visitors will find the National Memorial Statue. This statue was erected to serve as a reminder of resistance members and Dutch soldiers that were killed in World War II. The National Memorial Statue was first unveiled during 1956 and Dutch East Indie soils were stored there.

Visitors to Dam Square can also visit Madame Tussauds, a famous wax museum and the Beurs van Berlage, which is a building that used to hold the Stock Exchange and is the site of an exhibition space and concert hall.

Anne Frank House    

The Anne Frank House is where Anne Frank was hiding along with 7 other people from 3 different families for 2 years during World War II. The hiding place that Otto Frank was able to find for his family, the van Pels family, and Fritz Pfeffer, is where they were hiding until the Nazis revealed their location. Tragically, this happened very close to the end of the war and the entire family was deported to concentration camps from which all other than Otto, her father, did not survive.

It was only after the war that Anne’s father came back to find her diary which she wrote during their stay. The daily, later to become a best seller novel tells the story of the little girl as she grows up during the war. Many of the writings are personal, some relates to the war and some discusses her feelings and the relationships that took place in the small room. A visit to this house in which she was hiding is truly a remarkable experience.

The museum holds some personal items that belonged to Anne Frank and her family as well as her original bedroom with items such as the personal pictures that Anne Frank had, still hanging on the walls above her bed. Note that the museum does have a few rules you should know about such as no large bags, no strollers and cell phones must be turned off.

Address: Prinsengracht, 1016 GV Amsterdam
Phone Number: 020 556-7105
Admission: 8.5€ for adults, 4€ for children 10 to 17, free for children 9 and under
Opening Hours: Mid-Mar to June and 1st 2 weeks Sep Mon-Fri 9:00am-9:00pm, Sat 9:00am-10:00pm; Jul-Aug daily 9:00am-10:00pm; mid-Sep to mid-Mar daily 9:00am-7:00pm (Jan 1 noon-7:00pm; Dec 25 noon-5:00pm, Dec 31 9:00am-5:00pm). Closed Yom Kippur
Transportation: Tram 13, 14, or 17 to Westermarkt

Amsterdam Red Light District

Amsterdam’s Red Light District (aka De Wallen) has been a familiar haunt for pleasure seekers since the 14th century. Though certainly not an area for everyone, the Red Light District has more to offer than just sex and liquor. For underneath its promiscuous façade, the area contains some of Amsterdam’s prettiest canals, excellent bars and restaurants, and shops of all kinds. It also consists of windows with sexy girls, dressed in eye-popping underwear.

The best places for window-watching are along Oudezijds Achterburgwal and in the alleys around the Oude Kerk (Old Church), particularly to the south. The atmosphere throughout is much more laid-back than in other red-light districts. Families, lawyers, young couples, senior citizens – all types of locals live and socialize here, in stride with the surrounding commerce. You’ll probably find yourself on Warmoesstraat and Zeedijk at some point, both commercial thoroughfares chock-a-block with shops and restaurants. While you’re wandering around, look up at the gorgeous gables and you’ll realize this district is also stunningly attractive. Its lovely architecture simply gets lost in the shuffle.

The Red Light District is located just south of Centraal Station, around Oudezijds Achterburgwal and Oudezijds Voorburgwal – also known as De Wallen (the Walls) or De Walletjes (the Little Walls). To get there, take the tram to the Dam, then pass behind the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky.

Keep in mind to exercise caution when visiting the area. Stick to the busy streets and beware of pickpockets at all times. Also, do not take photographs of the women in the windows, for there are large, observant men on the lookout, who won’t hesitate to take your camera and throw it in the canal.

Oude Kerk

An active church in the middle of the red light district in Amsterdam and the oldest building in the city, built in the 1200s. The building was originally a Roman Catholic Church which was dedicated to St. Patrick in which a miracle has occurred. Many Catholics visit this church every year, despite of the fact that it is now a Calvinist church.

In addition to being the site of a rather unique miracle, it is home to over 10,000 graves, including some famous people such as Rembrandt’s wife, ambassadors, and military officers. This is a very popular place for people interested in seeing old grave yards. The Old Church is also home to four antique pipe organs, which are impressive to see. The architecture itself is also a sight to behold, from the roof to the floors, every part of this old cathedral is impressive. To learn even more about the history of the structure and interesting stories, tour guides are available to explain everything.

In spite of the age of the church it is still actively used not just for religious services, but concerts, wedding receptions, dinner parties, historical exhibits, and awards ceremonies. So when you plan your visit, be sure to check the event schedule on their website, which is available in English, so you can see the parts you will want to see. If you were looking for a legitimate excuse to walk through the red light district, this is a really great one.

Address: Oudekerksplein 23, 1012 GX Amsterdam
Phone Number: 020 625-8284 church, 020 689-2565 tower
Admission: Church: 7.50€ for adults; 5.50€ for seniors, students, and children 5-13; free for children 4 and under. Tower: 6€; minimum age 12
Opening Hours: Church: Mon-Sat 11:00am-5:00pm; Sun 1-5:30pm. Tower: Sat-Sun 1-5:00pm; tours every 30 min
Transportation: Metro: Nieuwmarkt

Rembrandt House Museum

The Museum Het Rembrandthuis is located in Jodenbreestraat, Amsterdam and is where the famous Rembrandt resided while he painted many of his famous paintings. Rembrandt van Rijn, one of the world most famous painters was a Dutch painter who lived in the 1600’s and is considered to be one of the well-known painters of the European Art. Some of his most known paintings include The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and The Stoning of Saint Stephen, along with an extensive amount of etchings.

Several years back, several historians and designers reconstructed the entire house on the inside so that it would be displayed exactly how the area would have appeared during the days when Rembrandt had lived there. The most exciting thing about visiting the Museum Het Rembrandthui is that his house is directly connected to the building where much of his work is currently on display. The known history behind the house is scarce, but we do know that he originally bought his home in 1639 and resided there before he eventually went bankrupt in 1656, and all of his possessions were auctioned off.

The Rembrandt Museum and his home are unique because they provide a setting that isn’t able to be experienced for many other famous painters. While all of his belongings were auctioned off, the list of his belongings were saved and used to reconstruct his entire home and his specific work area.
Rembrandt financed the home with a mortgage for 13,000 guilders, which would eventually be the cause of his bankruptcy and financial issues. It is interesting to think about how he lost all of his possessions, because he was had rather large revenue for the extensive work that he completed during his lifetime. The best explanation for everything that happened to him was that he loved to spend money and most likely made several poor investments that led him to lose much of his income to owed debts.

While you visit the Museum House of Rembrandt, try to imagine his close Jewish neighbors modeling inside for many of his famous Old Testament scenes that he painted while he lived there. Along with a long list of Rembrandt’s etchings of landscapes and portraits, make sure to also take a close examination of his portrait of Eleazar Swalmius. Swalmius was a Calvanist minister in Amsterdam that Rembrandt painted in 1637 and is on loan from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts for a limited time.

Address: Jodenbreestraat 4, 1011 NK Amsterdam
Phone Number: 020 520-0400
Admission: 12.5€ for adults, 10€ for students, 4€ for children 6-17. Free for children 6 and under, Museumcard and I Amsterdam City Card holders. Prices include the museum’s audio guide
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00am-6:00pm. Closed on Dec 25th.
Transportation: Metro: Waterlooplein. Tram: 9 or 14 to Waterlooplein

Amsterdam Canal Ring

The first image one conjures up when thinking of Amsterdam is its tranquil canals. Three rings of canals, lined by elaborately decorated merchants’ residences and warehouses built in the 17th century, the Dutch “Golden Age”, give the city its iconic and easygoing image. In fact, 90 islands were created when the canals were built, and they’re all connected by hundreds of charming bridges.

The best-known canals form the central Grachtengordel (Canal Belt). To the wandering visitor, they’re like lifelines because the subtle turns in the center can throw your inner compass out of whack. The semicircular canals form a huge ring, cut by canals radiating from the middle like spokes on a wheel. Starting from the core, the major semicircular canals are the Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht. From east to west, the major radial canals are Brouwersgracht, Leidsegracht, and Reguliersgracht.

Barges, powerboats, Frisian skûtsjes, and rowboats glide through the canals throughout the day. The glass-topped canal boats, with their view of Amsterdam from the finest vantage point of all, is the best ride – you just sit back and let the city flow around you.
Practical Info

Go for a stroll next to the waterways and check out some of Amsterdam’s 3,300 houseboats. The Prinsengracht is lined with a particularly great mix. Or just linger over a late-afternoon beer in a canal-side café and watch the boats pass by.

Near Amsterdam

Zaanse Schans    

Located in the Netherlands, Zaanse Schans is an attraction that serves as both a museum and an outdoors conservative area. The windmills in the town of the same name have been there since the 1700s and 1800s.

On display at the Zaanse Schans is traditional Dutch rural architecture. The windmills on the grounds of Zaanse Schans, as well as the craftsmans workshops are open to visitors and provides quite an interesting experience. While visiting the attraction itself is free, there is a charge to visit some of the windmills. The types of mills at the Zaanse Schans include saw, paint and oil. At the oil mill, visitors are able to see how peanuts are being grind.

There are workshops and demonstrations held at the Zaanse Schans on a regular basis and if you are travelling with kids this could be a real joy. One of those workshops includes a collection of both older and newer versions of clog shoes and you can see how the shoes are being made. The clog workshop sells pairs of clogs to visitors while a small cheese workshop sell cheese. One of the houses in this lovely village is an old grocery store that shows how these small businesses were typically set up in the 1900s.

The Zaanse Schans Museum also boasts a cafe where you can enjoy a cup coffee or tea and a lovely view of the windmills that line the Zaan River.If you have time,  take a boat tour along the Zaan River to fully enjoy the experience.
Address: Schansend 1, Zaandam, Netherlands
Phone Number: (31) 75 681 0000
Admission: Church: Free admission, payemnt for parking as follows – 1st half hour 1€, day rate cars 7.5€
Opening Hours: most attractions are opened daily 9:30am-4.30pm. Some may have different opening hours, check website for more details.

Keukenhof Gardens

Covering some 79 acres (32 hectares), the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens is the world’s largest flower garden. Come springtime, the meandering, wooded gardens are visited by some 800,000 flower-lovers, who come to soak up the blaze of color that envelops the park, its greenhouses, brooks and shady ponds and winding paths. It’s truly a memorable sight.

At Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, nature’s talents are combined with artificial precision to create a wonder of landscaping, where millions of tulips, along with narcissi and daffodils, hyacinths, bluebells, and many others blossom perfectly in place and exactly on time. And if the temperatures have been wilting, don’t worry: fresh blooms are planted by helping hands for the duration of the season. Special exhibits are held in the pavilions around the site, and there are cafes and refreshment stands throughout.
Practical Info
Before you go, be sure to check out the opening dates, as they vary from year to year. Usually, the park is open from late March to late May. To get here, take the special train/bus connections via Haarlem and nearby Leiden. You can easily spend half a day here filling your camera’s digital memory.

Web: www.zaanseschans.nl

Getting Around Amsterdam

In Amsterdam transport is convenient and plentiful; you’ll have no problem getting around on one of several forms of transport in Amsterdam.

Public Transport

Trains are better used for traveling longer distances in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area and tickets can be purchased online, at ticket machines in stations or at station ticket offices. Trams and buses are useful for short journeys and only the one-hour tickets can be bought on board from the conductor. The Central Station is the heart of the Amsterdam metro system which has 5 lines.

Tickets: The OV-chipkaart smart card has replaced paper tickets and can be used on trams, buses and the metro (as well as trains if you have specifically activated the card for train use and added credits). The OV-chipkaart comes in one-hour cards (€2.7), multi-day cards and refillable “anonymous” cards and provides transport on GVB transport system. Of these cards only the one-hour card can be purchased on board buses and trams, all card types can be purchased from GVB ticket vending machines or GVB ticket and info offices. Refillable cards can also be bought at some newsstands and supermarkets. It is very important to hold your card up to the card reader located on the trams, buses and in metro stations, when commencing and finishing your journey.

For tourists the GVB Day Card (1 day – €7.5; 2 days – €12; 3 days – €16; 4 days – €21; 5 days – €26; 6 days – €29.5 and 7 days – €32) is the best option.  Your 24 hours begins when you activate the card for the first time and you need to hold your card to the card reader as with other OV-chipkaarts. 24 and 48 hour tickets can be bought on trams and only 24 hours tickets can be bought on buses. All tickets can be purchased from the vending machines in metro stations, VVV offices, GWK offices, the airport and at some hotels.

If you are traveling in Amsterdam and the surrounding region then there is the Amsterdam and Region Day Card (€13.5) which is also valid for the train system, GVB, Connexxion and EBS in and around Amsterdam. This ticket is available at GVB ticket and info offices and VVV offices. Note that kids under 4 years old travel free. The Amsterdam Tourist Ticket provides unlimited transport on Connexxion buses in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (1 day – €10 and 3 days – €20).

I Amsterdam City Card

This card gets you free entry into the top Amsterdam attractions and unlimited use of GVB public transport (24 hours – €49; 48 hours – €59 and 72 hours – €69). The card can be purchased online or in Amsterdam (At several locations including the central train station) and is activated on first use.

Ferries

Ferries leave from behind the Central Station and cross the IJ River to Amsterdam Noord taking passengers free of charge. Two other ferry lines run east and west but require a fee.

Canal Bus

The canal bus has 3 lines and 19 stops and with a 24/48 hour ticket (1 day – €18/€9[4-12 year olds]; 24 hours – €19.8/€9 [4-12 year olds] and 48 hours – €29.7/€14.85[4-12 year olds])you can hop-on-hop-off any of the boats. There is an audio guide on board and tickets can be purchased online, on board or at canal boat stops. Weteringschans 26, Southern Canal Belt.

Water Taxis

These bright yellow water taxis hold up to 8 passengers and can be booked by phone (+31(0)20-535-63-63), online or hailed from the water’s edge. The price is per boat so it is a good choice for families or groups and the boats carry refreshments on board. Rates are €1.75 per minute per boat within central Amsterdam and €2.25 if disembarking outside of central Amsterdam.

Taxi

There are many taxis in Amsterdam and they work according to strict regulations. As taxis are not allowed to stop wherever they want you should either order a taxi by phone or go to the nearest taxi rank. Prices start at €2.83 + €2.08 per km + €0.34 per minute.  There are taxi buses which can take 5-8 people and charge a starting price of €5.75 + €2.62 per km + €0.39 per minute. Within the city you’ll find unusual taxi services like Amsterdam Bike Taxi, Solar Rickshaw, Sunny Pedicab Service, Tuk-Tuks and Disco Taxi!

Bicycle

Bicycle-friendly Amsterdam has bike paths and lanes along most of the roads, there are bike rentals, bike rakes for parking your bike and you’ll be joining over a million other bikers on the city roads. The rental outlets below also rent out electric bikes