Amsterdam Journals

Ringing in the New Year, Dutch-Style

A December 1999 trip to Amsterdam by barjay

Quote: Like many of our fellow New Yorkers, two friends and I chose to flee the Times Square madness and opt for a different New Year’s celebration- Amsterdam offered us both an easy Old-World escape and a laid-back town that’s always letting down its hair.

Hotel Pulitzer, a Luxury Collection Hotel

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Hotel | "Hotel Pulitzer, Hotel Pulitzer"

Quote:
Stuck for New Year’s accommodations, with every hostel and hotel booked solid for the millennium festivities, we opted for this luxury spot, part of the Starwood chain, and as I understand one of the best in the city. The room was incredibly clean, the building was very cool (twenty or so interconnected, remodeled canal houses, some with views of the canals), and it was somewhat pricey, though maybe not by American luxury standards. Don’t expect anything incredibly spacious, but for $250/night, we had a lovely room on the courtyard, with modern accoutrements, cable TV, and nice linens. Aside from the uniqueness of the structure itself, with its renovated interiors and native canal-house architectu...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Hotel Pulitzer, a Luxury Collection Hotel
PRINSENGRACHT 315 331
Amsterdam, Netherlands
31-20-5235235

Getto, Getto

Restaurant

Quote:
This was marketed as a gay restaurant with gourmet food; the crowd was gay, and the food, while nothing extraordinary, was probably the best we had in Amsterdam. I had an excellent piece of swordfish. Still, the service basically sucked, and after waiting ages to receive our entrees, meanwhile watching our waiter chat incessantly with a table of Dutch people, he was loath to bring us anything but our dishes. Upon being asked for an extra side of sauce, he said, “Why don’t you try eating it as-is. Extra sauce might make it just… too much.”

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Getto, Getto

Amsterdam, Netherlands
31 20 421 5151

Vlaamse Friteshuis

Restaurant

Quote:
Though technically more of a Belgian, not Dutch, delicacy, frites are well worth having in Amsterdam. Smothered in frite sauce, a concoction of mayonnaise, mustard and who knows what else, and arriving on the palette with just the right amount of crunch and gooey softness, these are invariably superior to the American french fry. We had our share, both as munchies and as meals

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Vlaamse Friteshuis
Throughout Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Waterloopleinmarkt

Attraction | "The Waterlooplein"

Quote:
Basically, this was a large street fair, which, if you live in New York like I do, is nothing to write home about. A guide book we had talked this place up like some fabulous democratic space filled with diverse and wonderful goods, but it looked to me like a flea market with nothing to offer that I hadn’t seen in the U.S.. Definitely the place to go for mass-made cheap jewelry or used clothes. I wasn’t in the market for any blankets, but they seemed to have a lot of woven stuff, as well. The stalls were all pretty depressing, if you ask me, but maybe the gloomy weather and the time of day (we got there near closing time) contributed to my perceptions of it.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Waterloopleinmarkt
Waterlooplein
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1011NV-1011PG

The Anne Frank House and Museum

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Attraction | "Anne Frankhuis"

Quote:
Anne Frank House, which was right down the canal from our hotel, initially struck me, being the jaded American tourist that I am, as a somewhat perfunctory destination, but perhaps that was only because it had been too long since I had read this extraordinary young woman’s story. True, this is the most visited spot in the city, but do not underestimate the power of wandering through rooms that served as the setting for one of the most compelling and microcosmic tragic stories of our century. Climbing the narrow stairs that lead past the famous bookcase, looking out the small window on the bell tower that chimed every hour of the Franks’ two-year exile, and seeing the actual space where Anne slept, ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

The Anne Frank House and Museum
Prinsengracht 267
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1016 GV
+31 20 556 71 00

Vroom & Dreesmann

Attraction | "Vroom & Dreesmann"

Quote:
I went into this place, a big Dutch department chain store, to buy long underwear, as I did not come too prepared for the cold. The prices were comparable to New York, but this was one place where not knowing Dutch left me at a disadvantage. Cashiers always know how to translate numbers, but it was not as simple a task to get me to the men’s underwear section. Nonetheless, I eventually found what I needed and it was reasonably priced and of good quality.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Vroom & Dreesmann
Kalverstraat 201-203
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Quote:
This was maybe the best place I never shopped in Amsterdam. We walked in here looking for champagne on New Year’s, only to discover that it was exclusively a beer shop, with a larger selection of beer, in all manner of sizes, shapes, and prices, than I have ever seen. Definitely not the kind of stuff you find easily in the States, if ever, and I will definitely make sure to try a few brews from this bevy the next time I visit the city.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

De Bierkoning (The Beer King)
Paleisstraat 125
Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Greenhouse Effect

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Attraction

Quote:
This is a cozy, smaller coffee shop on the Warmoestraat which is very conveniently located to Centraal Station and the Old Side, one of several with “greenhouse” in its name, so don’t be confused. You walk into a long, narrow room with an arched ceiling that feels a bit like the interior of a Boeing 757, filled with disaffected British youth and a stable of locals. If you’re looking for a tasty space shake, a mixture of yogurt, honey, powdered hashish and fruit, I would recommend trying them here. Much can be said for the spectrum of sensations that follow consuming your daily dose of vitamins this way. Also, this is a nice, if smoky and not-so-well-ventilated, place to have coffee. No beer here. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

The Greenhouse Effect
Warmoestraat 53
Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Greenhouse

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Attraction

Quote:
On the High Times list of places you can’t miss in Amsterdam must be this cozy little stoners’ sanctuary whose crop of bud has won the Cannabis Cup many years running. With names like 'Great White Shark,' 'Super Silver Haze,' and 'El Nino,' their product is maybe the most reliable, if not the absolute best, in the city. It’s also a cool place to sit in the afternoon and have a Heineken. We had a good time here each of the four or five times we stopped in over the course of three days.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

The Greenhouse
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 191
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rookie’s

Attraction

Quote:
A lively, come-as-you-are kind of locals joint, right near the Leidseplein, where the crowd felt pretty young and the music tended to be more hip-hop, rap, and funk-oriented. The beer was pretty cheap, but only Heineken on draft (which was a pretty common thing in many places). Though we did not try their product, Rookie’s is also a coffee shop with their own selection of weed and hash. Don’t expect to hear too much English being spoken here, though.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Rookie’s
Korte Leidsedwarstraat 145
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Van Gogh Museum

Attraction

Quote:
The Van Gogh Museum is within throwing distance of the Rijksmuseum, and though it did not have as impressive a collection of this great artist’s work as one might expect in a museum that bears his name, it is well worth a look, if only for a decent retrospective of this very tormented artist. (I may just be jaded having seen a lot of Van Gogh’s most recognizable works in New York.) Again, I recommend the audio tour, which is self-guided and concise, to gain more insight.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Van Gogh Museum
Paulus Potterstraat 7
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1071 CX
+31 (20) 570 52 00

New Year's Eve

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Attraction

Quote:
I don’t know whether the Dutch celebrate like this all the time, but New Year’s in Amsterdam is definitely something to see, and I imagine is pretty unique as New Year’s festivities go around the world. In keeping with their other liberal laws, fireworks are totally legal and are set off city-wide, by every bar, coffeshop, house party, and passerby you come across. We decided to avoid Dam Square, Amsterdam’s albeit smaller Times Square equivalent, and go to a smaller venue to ring in the New Year. We went to Rookie’s bar/coffee shop near the Leidseplein and lost ourselves in the reverie for a few hours. The music was great, a lot of American hip-hop and funk, and we danced with a mostly local crowd ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

New Year's Eve
Streets of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rijksmuseum

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Attraction

Quote:
The Rijksmuseum, which has a collection of art rivaling that of most national museums, can give one, among other things, an incredible overview of Dutch painting. With a strong collection of Rembrandts, Vermeers, and a few Van Goghs, along with works by many lesser known but nonetheless masterful talents, I was very glad that during our short stay in the city my friends and I did not arbitrarily knock this museum off our lists. If you don’t want to give up an entire day, try using the museum map to just focus on the Rembrandt galleries, the rooms off of these where the Vermeers are hung, and the nineteenth century painting galleries at the rear of the museum. I highly recommend the audio tour, as w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2000

Rijksmuseum
Stadhouderskade 42
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1071 ZD
+31 20 674 70 00

Quote:
Given its status as a prime destination for disaffected European youth and partymongers alike, Amsterdam is rife with hostels, many of which have in-house pubs. My friends stayed in one several years ago, and had a great time. I have some other friends, however, who stayed in one and had all of their bags stolen while they were out one day. For this trip, if only because we had no choice, we ended up in a five star hotel, and though we stashed a third person in there illegally, we had no regrets or problems, and it wasn't as expensive as something comparable would have been in New York. (I must mention the had a great time, on the cheap, staying at the Flying Pig Hostel. We stopped in there one nigh...Read More

About the Writer

barjay

barjay
New York, New York