A Weekend in Amsterdam
Last weekend, hot on the heels of my trip to Paris I decided to pop over to the Netherlands and for a weekend in Amsterdam. Amsterdam was one of the top places I wanted to see during my semester abroad. I can’t say why, really; something about the bicycle lined streets and picturesque bridged canals caught my imagination. While the weekend did not go exactly as planned, I still had a great experience in the city.
SEE & DO:
Anne Frank House: An incredibly moving experience. If you don’t manage to nab tickets online ahead of time, get your butt up early (think 7:30/8) and go to the museum to avoid a massive queue. Basically by going that early you wait the hour for the museum to open but you don’t have to wait in what can become a 4+ hour queue.
Van Gogh Museum: For art lovers (and people who appreciate a good painting) alike. You get to see some of Van Gogh’s masterpieces as well as learn about his life.
IAmsterdam Sign: Right around the corner from the Van Gogh museum. Crowded, of course, but worth going for a quick picture.
Red Light District: This is an interesting region of Amsterdam. It was strange but worth walking around in.
Tulip Gardens: If you have time, visit the tulip gardens. You can take a train or ride a bike. (The latter I truly would not recommend unless the weather is nice).
Rent Bikes: You have to. It’s intimidating–and the locals can be intense–but it’s so worth it. Bike lines go all throughout the city so as long as you keep an eye out for about other bikers and unsuspecting pedestrians (tourists), you should be good. Also consider getting insurance; ours was only 2.50 and it came in handy as my bike seat was stolen.
Amsterdam has some incredible places to shop. Yes they’ve got all your big names but I fell in love with their concept stores. The area referred to as de 9 straatjes, or the nine streets, is chock full of places to pop in. Some of my favorites include: Samsøe Samsøe, Nuvo Niche, Cos, & Mendo.
And outside of the nine streets, I also quite liked the following three stores: Spiegel (spotted on the way to the Van Gogh Museum), Hay, Anna + Nina, and Adiuvantes. The latter two are quite close together and are right outside the red light district. Adiuvantes was actually one of the first shops I went in and the shop owner was so friendly; she let me take a few photos of her shop (which you can see below) and recommended places to go in the city. Hay had some of the best stationary and homeware; I was quite tempted to buy a new notebook yet somehow resisted.
I didn’t do a lot of fine dining during my weekend in Amsterdam but there are a few things one should definitely try in the city.
- Ice cream at Bankketbakkererij van der Linde
- Dutch apple tart at Winkel
- Pancakes (Dutch pancakes are like French Crepes) really anywhere but at Pancakes Amsterdam are particularly good
- Waffles, whether plain or with ice cream or smothered in chocolate, from any little shop
Upon reflection, most of my food recommendations are for dessert (although I’m never opposed to a sweet snack).
I quite enjoyed a weekend in Amsterdam, and hopefully I make it back some day as I’m sure there was plenty more to explore that I didn’t see.