Amsterdam

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Top activities

  1. Rent a bike & explore: Rent a bicycle and discover Amsterdam and it surroundings on bike → See below
  2. Anne Frank House: Visit the Anne Frank House → See below
  3. Waterlooplein Flea Market: Visit the Waterlooplein flea market - Always nice, and handy if you want to buy a bit more original souvenirs
  4. Read Light District: Visit the Red Light District - Not a personal favourite of mine, but most of my guest do visit this area. At the very least, it will impress you and will make you think.

Rent a bicycle

Why?

  • Fun: Amsterdam and its surroundings is so much more fun on bicycle than by public transport
  • Fast & easy: Get everywhere really fast, without having to figure out public transport
  • Be part of the city: The whole city comes alive when you're on a bike.

How?

  • Prices seem pretty much te be the same everywhere: Around € 13,-- for the first day, and around only € 5,-- per day when you rent more than 5 days
  • A deposit is required. Usually, a credit card will do, or alternatively, your driving license or passport.

Where?

  • There are lots of bike rental places all around town
  • There is a rental place around the corner from where I live: No. 1 Rental - Most of my guests rent their bikes here, and they're happy with it. They're open every day at the same hours, so it's easy to rent a bike for e.g., 24 hours or multiple days
  • There is a Mac Bike at Central Station, if that's more convenient

Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House (Anne Frankhuis in Dutch) is probably the most famous and impressive thing to see in Amsterdam. I also think it's the best museum in Amsterdam, if you could actually call it a museum.

In the past, you could just go to the Anne Frank House and buy a ticket. The only problem: The queue sometimes was more than 1km long - Thank God they changed this. Nowadays, tickets can only be bought online. I think their new policy is really good. From their website:


80% of tickets are released exactly two months in advance 
at noon, 20% on the day itself. 

Every day at 9:00 am, the tickets for the day are made 
available on this site.

I assume that 'noon' and '9:00 am' here, refer to the CET time zone.

Discover Amsterdam

Various

  • ADM
  • Buurtboerderij: Former farm within the Westerpark. Now a pub & restaurant, run by volunteers
  • End of the World: Restaurant on a ship, run by volunteers. Dinner is available on Wednesday and Friday only
  • Ferry to Amsterdam North - Free for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Food halls: Former tram depot (tram garage?), turned into a mall with lots of food stuff and cinemas. Maybe nice for rainy days for non-museum-lovers
  • Nemo roof terrace
  • NDSM wharf - Take the ferry from behind Central Station to this former wharf-turned-into-hippy village - Lots to see
  • Red Light District
  • REM-eiland: Former sea platform, in the western port-area. Nowadays a restaurant. Worthwhile to just cycle to it, without even visiting the restaurant
  • Stonehead (Stenen Hoofd) - Nice for swimming in the open water
  • Prinseneiland, Realeneiland & Bickerseiland: Close to where I live, there are these three islands, like hidden gems. I especially like the small park at the north-west-corner of the Realeneiland (Vierwindenstraat)
  • Waterlooplein-market

Museums

You probably know these already:

  • Anne Frank House
  • Nemo: Technology museum. Mostly for kids, but they have a great roof terrace with free entrance and a great view
  • Rijksmuseum
  • Van Gogh Museum - You need to reserve in advance (online).

Places to meditate

  • Various parks at Prinseneiland, Realeneiland & Bickerseiland. I especially like the small park at the north-west-corner of the Realeneiland (Vierwindenstraat)
  • Buurtboerderij - garden
  • Westerpark - Japanese garden

Yards

Amsterdam has a bunch of inner yards within old building complexes. E.g.:

Windmills

There's a bunch of windmills close by - No need to go all the way to Zaansche Schans, if you ask me:

  • De Otter: Just 500 meters off where I live, at the Gilles van Ledenborchstraat
  • Haarlemmerweg: There are two windmills on this road to Haarlem. Easy on bike, too far by foot
  • Brouwerij het IJ: Impressive mill in Amsterdam-East, part of the beer brewery Het IJ

Surroundings of Amsterdam

  • Marken: Former island
  • Ruigoord: A 'hippy village' at about 15km West of Amsterdam. About 45 minutes on bike, or by bus
  • Rural Amsterdam North: Durgerdam, Holysloot, Ransdorp, Broek in Waterland, etc.
  • Stelling van Amsterdam: Ring of fortresses around Amsterdam, build from the end of the 19th century, until about 1939.

Bike tours outside Amsterdam

Some of my favourite day trips by bike:

  • Rural Amsterdam North: Oranjesluizen (water locks) » Durgerdam » Ransdorp » Holysloot » Ferry to the other side of the Holysloter Die » Back to Amsterdam » Ferry behind Central Station
  • Marken: Ferry behind Central Station » Nieuwendammerdijk » Durgerdam » Uitdam » Marken » Back to Amsterdam
  • Ruigoord: Westerpark » Park Spaarnwoude » Ruigoord
  • Muiden: Flevopark » Camping Zeeburg » Diemerpark » Diemer Vijfhoek » Muiden

Sources