Amsterdam Journals

I Lost My Sense of Self in Amsterdam

A March 2003 trip to Amsterdam by ext212

The Netherlands: Amsterdam Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands More Photos
Quote: We spent a week in Holland just in time for Van Gogh's 150th birthday, the tulips blooming, and 60-degree weather. Dining, wining, and smoking were easy tasks to accomplish, especially because we stayed in our friends' three-story house along Prins Hendrikkade.

I Lost My Sense of Self in Amsterdam

Overview

The Netherlands: Amsterdam Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
We weren't just tourists in Holland because we were able to stay with friends who have just purchased a 3-story house by the canal. We woke up to the European life in the morning with civilized breakfast out on their patio, and we lived the European life at night by hanging out in our friends' regular spots. But as tourists, we walked around Amsterdam using our guide book, hitting the spots we wanted to see for ourselves. We left Amsterdam for Rotterdam and Lisse for day trips and it gave us a different view of Dutch life. I always tell people that I lost my sense of self in Amsterdam when they ask me about this trip but you won't need drugs for that to happen. I didn't think I can relax in Am...Read More

Van Gogh Museum

Attraction

Van Gogh Museum Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
You can't miss the Van Gogh Museum when you're in Amsterdam because Vincent Van Gogh is probably one of the most popular modern artists of all time. The building's design is from the De Stijl movement, clean lines and full of natural light.

The exhibited paintings are divided into the painter's earlier works from his more famous pieces. Interestingly enough, you can see how much of his artwork changed from when he was young -- dark and moody pieces growing up in cloudy Holland -- to when he was older -- bright colors and lively landscapes painted as an artist living in gay Paris.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 29, 2004

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

Rembrandthuis

Attraction

Rembrandthuis Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
The story goes that Rembrandt bought this house at the height of his popularity and lived here lavishly for more than twenty years which apparently contributed to his bankruptcy. It only holds a lot of his etchings because his own art collection was confiscated when he filed for Chapter 11.

I liked it better from the outside than inside. Ironically, I saw the entire collection of his etchings again in, of all places, Burlington, Vermont a year later.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 29, 2004

Rembrandthuis
Jodenbreestraat 4
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1011 NK
+31 20 520 04 00

Nieuwmarkt

Attraction | "Nieumarkt Square: De Waag"

Nieuwmarkt Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Nieumarkt was a bustling town square before World War II but now it's rather run-down and boring. The most exciting time to go is during the weekends when small markets set up to sell organic foods and antiques. The most famous attraction there now is De Waag, a weighing house once part of Amsterdam's fortifications. It's now a bar-restaurant and a major tourist trap.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 29, 2004

Nieuwmarkt
Nieuwmarkt
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 CR

Dam Square

Attraction | "Dam Square: Koninklijk Paleis"

Dam Square Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
The plaza is called Dam Square because it's where the River Amstel was dammed way before the city of Amsterdam was created. The biggest draw here is the Koninklijk Paleis or the Royal Palace that also houses the Civic Hall, the Law Hall and the Mayor's Chambers. Queen Beatrix pays her rent at the Royal Palace but actually lives in The Hague so no famous sightings here.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 29, 2004

Dam Square
Dam
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 JS

Red Light District

Attraction | "Red-light District"

Red Light District Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
What do you need to know about the Red-light District?

Prostitutes begin their day as early as 9am and end their "shift" whenever the foot traffic on the street dies down. A drawn curtain on their phone booth-sized rented "office" spaces means they're busy with a customer.

I thought it would be more seedy but it's actually "okay" to walk around and look and maybe, even wave to a cute chick who's dressed to impress a customer. It gets interesting when one brave soul finally goes in one of the doors while everybody is watching and waiting for him to come out.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 29, 2004

Red Light District
Oz Vootburgwal and Oz Achterburgwal
Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Anne Frank House and Museum

Attraction | "Anne Frankhuis"

The Anne Frank House and Museum Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
You have to re-read The Diary of Anne Frank before you fly to Amsterdam. I read it in high school and I re-read it before I left New York City just to be reminded of her story. Being inside the same attic where the Frank family hid from the Nazis is a more chilling experience if you've read Anne Frank's diary. Our visit was solemn and very educational.

I was very surprised at how well-taken care of this place was. I think its popularity helps with the huge donations the museum collects each year because the house is well-equipped with the latest technology.

The gift shop is well stocked and you can find all available translations for sale.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 29, 2004

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

Amsterdam's Canals

Attraction

Amsterdam's Canals Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
When walking around Amsterdam, it's nice to look at the canals as a major sight instead of just a body of water that surrounds the city. The city is divided into five main sections: The Old Centre, The Old Jewish Quarter, The Jordaan, The Grachtengordel and The Museum Quarter -- canals were built throughout the city's history to connect each section for trade and transport.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 29, 2004

Amsterdam's Canals

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Keukenhof Gardens

Attraction | "Outside Amsterdam: The Keukenhof Gardens"

Keukenhof Gardens Photo, Lisse, Netherlands
Quote:
A short train ride from Amsterdam to Lisse took us to one of the most famous tulip gardens in Holland and one of the largest flower gardens in the world, the Keukenhof. The name literally translates to "Kitchen Garden" because its site is the former estate of a 15th-century countess who grew herbs and vegetables for her dining table.

There are not enough adjectives to describe how it felt seeing the beautiful tulips that came in all colors -- you just have to see it to believe it.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 29, 2004

Keukenhof Gardens
Stationsweg 166-A
Lisse, Netherlands
31 (0) 252 465 555

Rotterdam Tours

Attraction | "Outside Amsterdam: Rotterdam"

Rotterdam Tours Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
We left Amsterdam one sunny day and took the train to the next city over, Rotterdam. The city of Rotterdam was bombed so much during the war it had to rebuild and is now more modern-looking than Amsterdam. We walked around all day, checking out the sights. We passed by the very cool-looking bridge, Erasmusbrug, located near the ship port of Veerhaven. We stopped by the Museumpark for some art at the Kunsthal. We observed the unique architecture the city had to offer like the Bibliotheek, with its yellow ducts built outside the building and the disorienting Kijkkubus, a bunch of Cubist houses that look like, well, cubes. We also visited the Grotemarkt and bought ourselves some herring and ate t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 29, 2004

Rotterdam Tours
Rotterdam, Holland
Amsterdam, Netherlands