Results 1-7of 7 Reviews
CA1 1LA, England, United Kingdom
January 11, 2011
From journal Amsterdam
January 18, 2007
From journal Amsterdam, Netherlands
January 9, 2005
At the other end of the square is the Amsterdam’s war memorial. This prominent monolith is bleak in the extreme, and countless pigeons sit alongside the carvings of tortured souls. It is not a particularly beautiful sight, but it will always be a reminder of the futility of war. That, after all, is part of its intention! But now its secondary purpose seems to be the alfresco diner, as weary tourists sit at its base to eat their fast-food take-away meals.
Overshadowing the memorial is the huge De Bijenkork, Amsterdam’s most upmarket department store. It is interesting to note that when the Germans first occupied Amsterdam, this store proved to be a bit of an embarrassment—it was popular, but because it was a Jewish store and many of the employees were Jews, the Nazis would have preferred to ban the troops from entering the shop. Instead, there was an unusual compromise: "Don’t shop on the ground floor."
There are two things to note about the square. Firstly, it was literally rammed full of cycles, parked randomly on the cobbled square with a total disregard for other users. Many were not even locked, but you just had the sense that there is honour amongst cyclists!
Secondly, the square was full of street entertainers. No special reason—I guess it always is! They really are high-quality buskers, and I presume they are issued with rights to be there. There was a small troop of musicians and an abundance of "human statues" (including Zeus, a roman warrior, and a futuristic spaceman) demonstrating their prowess at remaining still for long enough to capture the admiration and applause of passing tourists. Strutting at their feet are masses of pigeons, and marauding around the square’s centre are tour guides with their umbrellas thrust proudly to the sky. A cacophony of voices assaults your eardrums, but the square is full of character and atmosphere.
In the square, you’ll find Madame Tussaud’s (so popular, the queue seemed to stretch forever) and numerous small, attractive, quality shops in the alleyways near the Nieuwe Kerk. This area is also littered with restaurants, although many seemed highly priced. I’d suggest you eat elsewhere!
From journal A great short week in Amsterdam
September 26, 2004
Frequently in the square is a magnificent organ on wheels, which plays music while animated figures dance and twirl. Next to Koninklijk Paleis is Nieuwe Kerk, "New Church", dating from the late 14th century. Sovereigns are crowned here. Seen between the Paleis and Nieuwe Kerk is the pretty Magna Plaza Shopping Centre. All Amsterdam life seems to branch out from this square.
From journal Amazing Amsterdam and its Surroundings
New York, New York
January 29, 2004
From journal I Lost My Sense of Self in Amsterdam
Clifton, New Jersey
September 22, 2003
Whenever you come to Amsterdam, there will be something happening on the square. In spring, you can find a carnival with rides and a Ferris wheel. In summer and fall, living statues perform and the locals take to the benches for an afternoon break. In winter even, you will find people feeding the pigeons. It is not uncommon for political rallies to be held in the square at various times. These very rarely are anything to worry about. When we were last there, the Socialists were holding an anti-war protest.
From journal A Party Girl's Guide to Amsterdam
May 29, 2002
The star attraction here is the Royal Palace, covered in a separate journal entry, but even if that isn't open, and it usually isn't, there is still plenty to do here. The square is surrounded by overpriced street cafe-bars, and tacky souvenir shops, buskers and hawkers vie for the tourist dollars and old fashioned horse-drawn carts take the tourists for a ride.
There is a branch of the famous wax-works museum Madam Tussards on the southern side of the square. The late Gothic Nieuwe Kirk next to the palace is where the Dutch monarchs are officially inaugurated and regularly houses temporary exhibitions in its cavernous interior, while the attached cafe churns out coffee & cake and light meals at tourist prices.
Also on the south side of the square is the Amsterdam Diamond Center where the city's 400 years as the world's diamond capital is celebrated with polishers, cutters and goldsmiths on hand to advice you on your purchase, be it a raw diamond or a piece of designer jewelry. For those on a tighter budget, the spectacular Magna Plaza Shopping C enter round the back of the palace houses shops offering all kinds of luxury goods at reasonable prices.
By far the best thing to do though is to sit in the shade of the decidedly phallic National Memorial to the dead of the Second World War and soak up the electric atmosphere of this square that buzzes at any time of day or night.
From journal Going Dutch