Amsterdam Journals

Walking in Amsterdam

A December 2004 trip to Amsterdam by wanderer 2005

NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands More Photos
Quote: Amsterdam is a city that takes pride in it's rich history. Dozens of museums, restored buildings from the 17th century and at one time, one of the most prosperous ports in Europe, You can't go wrong here!

Walking in Amsterdam

Overview

Amsterdam Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Ninety percent of the Dutch speak English, and they’re very helpful when asked for directions. Wear comfortable shoes! I see all these European women walking around in heals, but I couldn't walk those cobblestone streets in heels...I would break my ankle. I also recommend packing an umbrella...just in case. The Red Light District is pretty safe, just keep your eyes open. I wouldn't walk around down there at night, by myself, but groups of 2 or more people is the best way to go. Don't try to take pictures of the 'ladies of the night' because her pimp will be close by, to smash your camera. Bathrooms are fare and few between, I suggest finding a hotel and walk in like you know where you're goin...Read More

NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky

Hotel | "nH Grand Krasnapolsky"

NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
This hotel is right in the heart of Dam Square, right across from the Royal Palace. There are 468 hotel rooms and 36 fully furnished apartments. They offer a business center and a lounge with great comfy couches and chairs. There are 3 restaurants, 1 Japanese, 'Edo/Kyo', 1 fine dining 'Restaurant Reflet' and the famous Winter Garden where a sumptuous breakfast buffet is served every day. My room faced a busy alley, with shops, coffeehouses and fast food outlets. I was on the 3rd floor, but I could still hear everyone on the street below. It finally quieted down about 3am. My room was very nice and spacious, with hard wood floors. I had a desk with Internet and a closet safe. The ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 29, 2004

NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky
Dam Square
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
31.20.5549111

Sofitel Amsterdam

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Hotel

Sofitel Amsterdam Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
The Amsterdam Sofitel is in a great location, right behind the Damrak and all the noise that accompanies it, and it’s just a short walk from Centraal Station, but that's about it. I was charged the rate of 179€ ($220!) for 1 night, including breakfast. Because I’m familiar with Sofitel, I assumed I was staying at a four-star property, but I got not at all what I expected. My room was very small and badly needed a makeover. But then again, you don’t go to Amsterdam to stay in your room. I’ve read in other reviews that it’s a little noisy due to the traffic on that street, but our room faced a courtyard, so it was VERY quiet, except for the maids slamming all the doors on my floor. The thi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 3, 2005

Sofitel Amsterdam
NIEUWE ZIJDS VOORBURGWAL 67
Amsterdam, Netherlands
31-31-6275900

Restaurant Café in de Waag

Restaurant | "De Waag"

Restaurant Café in de Waag Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:

WONDERFUL place! Right on the canal at Nieuwmarkt. Typical Dutch cuisine and atmosphere. The place is lined with candles and high candelabras, which makes for an awesome sight to see at night. The menu has some excellent choices--from venison to sea bass, duck, and chicken. The crudités plate as an appetizer was great! It came with three dipping sauces that were so wonderful, yet so different.
They have a website, In De Waag .

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 29, 2004

Restaurant Café in de Waag
Nieuwmarkt 4
Amsterdam, Netherlands
(020) 422-7772

Febo

Restaurant

Febo Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
For about 1 euro, you can have a fresh, hot burger or chicken sandwich, fries or kroket, at any one of the numerous Febos around the city. The food is made hot, and you just look into the window, put in your euro, open the door, and you have a fresh, hot snack anytime of the day--not too bad for assembly line food. Don't miss the fries with mayo and raw onions--my FAVORITE! You can get these anywhere on the street as well.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 10, 2005

Febo
Damrak 6
Amsterdam, Netherlands
(020) 638-5138

Bella Napoli

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Restaurant

Bella Napoli Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
After eating typical Dutch food for a couple days, we craved for something from home. We saw a pizza place right next door to our hotel, The Sofitel Amsterdam. We decided to give it a try. To our awe, this place was REALLY good! This was a small Italian restaurant that had a pretty big menu. Pasta dishes, pizza, salads, sandwiches, beef and chicken dishes, and appetizers: it was all here. We played it safe and ordered a pepperoni pizza, but to start off, we had shrimp scampi, which was surprisingly great, with big, fat prawns in a rich, garlicky butter sauce, served with hot garlic bread. Now, the bread is what really stood out. It was a loaf of crusty Italian bread, sliced and served with ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 21, 2005

Bella Napoli
Neiuwe Zijds Voorburgwal 65
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam Canal Cruises

Attraction | "Canal Tours"

Amsterdam Canal Cruises Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
To learn about the history of the city, the canals, and the architecture, take a canal cruise. There are several different docks to choose from in different parts of the city. We used the one right on Damrak for about 8€ per person. The trip lasts just over an hour and is a nice way to see the city and get some great pictures. The boats can seat quite a few people, and the announcements were in both French and English. I'm sure they have recordings in other languages as well. The windows slide open for picture-taking, and the roof is also glass. The boats do have a SMALL bathroom at the rear of the boat, just in case you need it. No food is allowed, but you can bring water bottles. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 29, 2004

Amsterdam Canal Cruises

Amsterdam

The Anne Frank House and Museum

Attraction | "Anne Frank House"

The Anne Frank House and Museum Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
In a city as beautiful as Amsterdam, it's almost impossible for me to imagine German tanks rolling through the streets, looking for Jews. The Anne Frank house gives you a look into what life was like over 60 years ago. Looking into the Franks' living situation is a very sad experience. Eight people sharing a few small rooms with almost no privacy for 2 years is amazing. Imagine having to keep absolutely silent during the day and cooking meals only in the evening, after the warehouse workers below leave to go to their homes at the end of a workday. Because the waste pipes for the toilet run right through the warehouse, the toilet is flushed as little as possible. Imagine never being...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 10, 2005

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

Bloemenmarkt/Amsterdam Flower Market

Attraction | "Bloemenmarkt"

Bloemenmarkt/Amsterdam Flower Market Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Between 2 canals,Koningsplein and Muntplein, is a floating flower market. Bloemenmarkt is a great place to spend part of an afternoon just browsing through the many different types of flowers, plants, planters, christmas trees and anything else that has to do with horticulture. Shops line the canal and gift shops and restaurants line the other side of the street, so you're never too far from a snack. If exporting bulbs out of the Netherlands, you need to look for a certain stamp that comes from the Dept. of Agriculture. ASK before you buy, because different countries have different agricultural standards and stamps. Don't get stuck at the airport with bulbs without the correct stamp... customs age...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 23, 2005

Bloemenmarkt/Amsterdam Flower Market
Singel Between Muntplein and Koningsplein
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1017 AZ

Heineken Brewery

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Attraction | "Heineken Experience"

Heineken Brewery Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
If you like good beer, the Heineken Experience is for you! This was a working brewery until 1988, but now it's a museum and beer hall. Learn a little a history about Amsterdam and the brewery's namesake. See inside actual mash coppers and an explanation of the brewing process. The best part is getting to sample the fresh beer at two bars on the tour. The tour is self-guided, so you take as much time as you want. You learn about how, at 22 years old, Gerard Adriaan Heineken borrowed money from his mother to build a new brewery on Stadhouderskade, and how Heineken became one of the most popular beers and one of the most respected names in the world. There's a virtual ride that takes you down th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 31, 2005

Heineken Brewery
Stadhouderskade 78
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1075 AE
+31 (0)20 523 92 22

Centraal Station

Story/Tip

Trains Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
If you arrive in Amsterdam by train, you pull into Centraal Station. A mini-Grand Central Station, all signs and schedules are in both Dutch and English. There is an information desk just inside the front entrance and a few fast-food places to get a bite to eat or drink. There are a few souvenir shops in the terminal as well. The tracks or "spoors" are numbered and easy to spot. Steps take you up to your track...only a couple tracks have an escalator. Double-decker trains take you to local cities beyond Amsterdam. Centraal Station is very easy to get around in, and most of the residents speak English. Outside the station, you can grab a tram to take into the city. Centraa...Read More

Huge Chess game

Story/Tip

Chess anyone? Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
In the courtyard across from the Hard Rock Cafe, there's a chess game that lasts all day with life-size pieces. I watched for about half an hour, but it seemed like some of these players stay all day.

Coffeehouses

Story/Tip

Quote:
What you've heard about the coffee shops is absolutely true. Cannabis is not LEGAL in Holland, but it is TOLERATED. Depending on the coffee shop itself, they may serve only coffee, or they may serve alcohol and/or food. Free Adam is a Rastafarian place that's very small, and the music is, of course, reggae. They did serve sodas, beer, and other usuals. It was very mellow given the nature of the place, and it was crowded on a Monday night.

I recommend that everyone visit at least ONE coffeehouse. I personally do not smoke, but it was interesting to be in a place like that.

Homomonument

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Story/Tip

Homomonument Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Just down the street from The Anne Frank Huis is a public memorial for the lesbians and gay men who were harassed, imprisoned, or executed during the Nazis' occupation during WWII. In 1970, gay activists were arrested for attempting to place a lavender wreath on Dam Square during the annual national memorial service. The wreath, which was intended to draw public attention to the homosexual atrocities, was removed by police and denounced as a disgrace. This wreath-laying continued throughout the '70s with some moderate success. In the early 1980s, Dutch gay and lesbian organizations finally secured government approval for the memorial and began the huge task of raising the money necessary to complet...Read More

Trams/public transportation

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Story/Tip

public transportation  Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Trams are a great way to get around the city or to locations too far to walk to, like the flower market, the Heineken Experience, or some of the museums. You can get a tram almost anywhere in the city, and like subways or metros, they're numbered and go to different destinations. The tram costs almost 2€, and you can either pay the driver or get a Strippenkart at either the Centraal Station or at any tobacco shop on the street. A Strippenkart is a card with 2 to 45 strips on it for rides that are stamped each time you board a tram. It’s up to you whether you want to use one. Some people find them convenient, as they don’t have to dig for change every time they board. The city is divided into ...Read More

Leaning Buildings

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Story/Tip

leaning Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
While you’re wandering around Amsterdam and admiring the architecture and the age of the houses, notice how all the facades lean forward a bit. There are a couple reasons for this. The first reason is that they were built at that angle to keep the rain off. The top floors protruded more than the bottom ones so that the rain ran off the facade without soaking it. The second reason is due to the hoisting beam you’ll see at the top. Back when the houses were built, you were taxed on the width of your house. In order to keep the taxes down, people built long, skinny houses, resulting in skinny staircases, making it impossible to move furniture in and out. The hoisting beams were added to lift furni...Read More