Amsterdam Journals

Amsterdam - Kick Off Your Shoes and Kick Up Your H

A July 2006 trip to Amsterdam by mightywease

Houseboats on the canal Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands More Photos
Quote: History, Culture, Style, Gastronomy and Shopping - plus canals. What more could a traveller need!

Amsterdam - Kick Off Your Shoes and Kick Up Your H

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Houseboats on the canal Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Amsterdam is one of those places where, within a short time, you can feel really at home. By that I mean a kick-off-your-shoes, don't care if your hair is a mess, no work till Monday morning kind of easiness. A relaxed, friendly atmosphere contained in city full of beautiful buildings, great museums and a rich history. And some fantastic bars, cafes and restaurants too.In winter, when we generally visit, Amsterdam can be bitterly cold especially when the wind whips along the canal sides, pinching your cheeks and stealing your breath. However, it can also be extremely beautiful as the canals freeze and snow changes the landscape, muffling the streets and buildings in a mantle of white.O...Read More

Hotel Piet Hein

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Hotel Piet Hein Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
First impressions were of a stylish reception/lounge/bar area. Wooden floors, subtle decor in cream, white, and a sort of grey/khaki colour. Leather sofas, a raised bar (open until 1am, a blissful discovery for two thirsty travellers who arrived at midnight) area and extra decoration provided by the displays of white tulips dotted around the place. Sublime.The room itself was small but, like the rest of the hotel, simply and stylishly decorated. The bed was incredibly comfortable with just the sort of softness you wanted to ease weary feet and legs after strolling round the city. Breakfast is continental – breads, cheeses, meat, eggs, cereals – but very tasty and served in an attractiv...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 28, 2006

Hotel Piet Hein
Vossiusstraat 52-53
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1071
+31 (20) 662-7205

De Boelhead

Restaurant

Quote:
This restaurant has a very special place in our hearts because it is where we got engaged! It is also a wonderful, friendly restaurant that serves fantastic vegetarian/vegan food.Located on the very pretty canal of Prinsengracht, this is a great place to chill out on the terrace in Summer or warm up in the eclectic interior (wooden tables, ethnic style soft-furnishings, plants, and low hanging lamps) in Winter. The menu includes Mexican, Middle Eastern, Italian, and other European dishes. Starters include humous and pitta bread, vegetarian pate, guacamole and tortilla chips. Main courses include Burritos, pasta and – my favourite – the Vegan Platter. This gives you tasters of four or f...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 28, 2006

De Boelhead
60 Prisengracht
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Café Duende

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Duende"

Quote:
There were moments when I thought we were fated not to eat at Duende! A heavy snowfall in England meant that our anticipated afternoon arrival in Amsterdam was put back to midnight and, the following evening, a huge thunderstorm as we were walking to the restaurant forced us to take refuge in another bar before we were even half way there! However, on our third night we made it and I was extremely glad we did. This lovely local tapas bar is warm and inviting, tables are close together or shared which creates an atmosphere of chattiness and ebullience. So if you are looking for a more sedate or intimate environment this may not be the place for you! On a Sunday night the place was busy, mainly ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 28, 2006

Café Duende
Lindengracht 62
Amsterdam
+31 020-4206692

Zomers Restaurant

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Zomers"

Zomers Restaurant Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
We had intended to go to a different restaurant on the night we visited Zomers but it was closed for renovation. Walking back along Prinsengracht we happened to glance inside, which seemed inviting, took a look at the menu, which seems inviting and made a reservation. Our un-indented visit turned out to be a very delightful surprise as Zomers proved to be a fantastic little find!The feel of the restaurant, and the flavour of the food, is bistro-style dining. The décor is plain but nice, white walls, silver topped tables and groovy lights (kind of metal and Perspex cylinders with coloured glass underneath). The menu reflects Italian and French influences however alongside ingredients su...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 28, 2006

Zomers Restaurant
Prinsengracht 411
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1016HM
+31 (20) 638 33 98

Rijksmuseum

Attraction

Quote:
With major renovation taking place at the moment (July 2006) and continuing until 2008 the main museum building is closed, however, a special exhibition entitled Masterpieces is on display in the Philips Wing.This exhibition (containing over 400 exhibits, a fair amount for a lot of museums but hardly a scratch on the surface for the hundreds of thousands the Rijksmuseum contains) concentrates on the Golden Age of Dutch art -the 17th Century.Exhibits include the amazingly detailed Dolls House, owned and commissioned by Petronella Oortman, which as well as representing a wonderful feat of artistry it is also a great historical record of life in a Dutch canal side house. There are...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 27, 2006

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

Van Gogh Museum

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Quote:
The Van Gogh Museum holds the world's largest collection of his paintings, sketches, notebooks, and letters and gives a fascinating and very intimate insight into this wonderful, tortured artist.The permanent collection of paintings are arranged chronologically from his early work including the atmospheric "The Potato Eaters" through the influence of Impressionism gained during his stay in Paris to his later intensely moving pictures such as "Wheatfields under Thunderclouds", completed after he had left the asylum at St. Remy and shortly before his suicide. Included in the exhibition are descriptions of the aims and ideas Van Gogh wanted to explore in his art, many being direct quotes taken fr...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 27, 2006

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

Dutch Resistance Museum

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum)"

Quote:
This interesting and thought provoking museum chronicles how the occupation of the Netherlands affected the populace and the different ways the population resisted this occupation.Many of the exhibits take the form of personal testimony, written and verbal. There is a fascinating display of the ingenuity of people who hid radio transmitters in matchboxes or Vim containers and microfilm in a shaving razor.The museum does not shy away from the difficult choices people had to, and did, make. Some chose to be actively involved, others helped when asked but didn’t volunteer their services, others refused. The museum makes no judgement on these decisions, rather it puts you in the position o...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 27, 2006

Dutch Resistance Museum
Plantage Kerklaan 61
Amsterdam, Netherlands
(0) 20 620 2535

Amsterdam Museum

Attraction | "Het Amsterdams Historisch Museum"

Amsterdam Museum Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
The Amsterdam Historisch Museum traces the history of the city through archaeological finds, paintings, artefacts, and personal testimony.It is fascinating how the city developed from small settlements on raised pieces of land by the side of the Amstel river through the reclamation of land, building of canals, conflicts with Spain, France and England, the growth and importance of trade, migration from both Holland and beyond to the multi-cultural city of today. Phew! There is a lot to take in but the exhibits are clearly labelled in both Dutch and English and some are interactive, although we did find the layout of the galleries a little confusing at times.We particularly enjoy...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 27, 2006

Amsterdam Museum
Kalverstraat 92 and Sint Luciënsteeg 27
Amsterdam, Netherlands
020 5231822

Cobra Museum for Modern Art

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "CoBrA Art Museum"

Cobra Museum for Modern Art Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
The CoBrA Art Movement was founded after World War II by artists from Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands in order to develop and encourage avant-garde and modern art. The name CoBrA is derived from the capital cities of the countries from which the artists came – Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. The museum contains some permanent exhibits from its collection – including works by Karel Appel whose fountain sculpture stands outside the entrance - and also organises exhibitions by other artists in keeping with the avant-garde ethos of CoBrA. When we visited there was a very striking exhibition examining how African Folk Art has influenced Primitivism in Western art. Bein...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 27, 2006

Cobra Museum for Modern Art
Sandbergplein 1-3
Amstelveen, Netherlands 1181 ZX
+31 (20) 5475050

Oude Kerk

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Oude Kerk Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
The Oude Kerk (Old Church) stands rather incongruously in the Red Light district of Amsterdam. Built in the 14th century as a replacement for an earlier wooden structure and dedicated to Saint Nicholas. Given Amsterdam’s standing as a port and a centre of commerce perhaps it is no surprise that the church was dedicated to the patron Saint of, amongst other things, pawnbrokers, merchants, water, and sailors. The church escaped the fire of 1452, which destroyed much of the city and in 1565 the church's tower was built.The interior of the church is large and quite spartan with its stone floor and plain walls, which I imagine provide a good backdrop to the exhibitions the church sometimes ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 27, 2006

Oude Kerk
Oude Kerkplein 23
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 GX
+31 20 624 91 83

House Signs

Attraction

House Sign Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Early streets in Amsterdam did not have names and the houses were not numbered, instead decorative plaques were placed on the houses to identify them and the house would be known by the description of what was on the plaque. I would imagine that the house this plaque was on was known as “The House of the Sun” or even “The House of the Rising Sun”!The plaques are all over Amsterdam, we saw quite a few in the Warmoesstraat and Zeedjik area, not surprising really as these are two of the oldest streets in the city. Keep an eye out for them and there is also a display outside the Amsterdam Historical Museum. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to say “I live at the House of the Leopard” rather...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 27, 2006

Koninklijk Paleis

Attraction

Koninklijk Paleis Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
The Koninklijk Paleis was built in the mid-17th Century when Amsterdam and the Netherlands were at the height of the countries trading power. It was not built to be a Royal Palace but was commissioned to be the grandest Stadhuis (Town Hall) in Europe. The intention being that it should be a representation of the power and influence enjoyed by the city at that time. It is certainly an impression building, in sheer bulk as much as anything else. Detail on its exterior includes statutes representing peace, war, prudence and justice and, at the rear Atlas holding up the world. Also at the rear is a wonderful triangular carved relief which shows Amsterdam, represented as a woman, surrounded by the ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 27, 2006

Koninklijk Paleis
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 147
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 RJ
+31 (20) 620 40 60

Vondelpark

Attraction

Vondelpark Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Looking at a map of Amsterdam, Vondelpark is spread out like a green picnic blanket over the south west of the city. Opened to the public in 1865 the park is named after Joost van den Vondel, one of Netherlands foremost poet and playwrights. It covers approximately 110 acres and includes pathways, ornamental ponds, a rose garden, and, of course, plenty of grassy space to spread out your own picnic blanket and join the community of cyclists, joggers, sun-bathers, dog-walkers, and roller bladders who use the park. In summer an open-air theatre stages free concert and theatre performances and the Nederlands filmmuseum is also located in the park. The filmmuseum screens a large number of c...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 27, 2006

Vondelpark
City Center
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1054 ET

In de Wildeman

Attraction

Quote:
In de Wildeman certainly justifies its label as a bierproeflokal (beer tasting house) with its choice of 200 bottled beers and another 18 or so on tap. The staff are very knowledgeable, so if you are not sure which of the 200 plus varieties to try, they can offer help. It’s a popular place – not only because of the beer but the atmosphere, which is relaxed and amiable as any good pub/bar should be! – so getting a seat may be tricky but if you enjoy a good glass of beer in a convivial atmosphere I would certainly recommend visiting.There is also a non-smoking room in the back.It is worth visiting their informative website (www.indewildeman.nl) to find out about special e...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 28, 2006

In de Wildeman
Kolksteeg 3
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1012 PT
+31 20 638 23 48

Cafe Papeneiland

Attraction | "Het Papeneiland "

Quote:
Het Papeneiland is a wonderful brown café in a great location overlooking Prinsengracht. The name – Pope’s Island – reflects the time when a tunnel ran between the café and a secret Catholic Church across the canal.

The eclectic decoration includes blue Delft tiles, a mixture of wooden furniture, ceramic beer barrels, and a stuffed bird!

Take a seat near the bar downstairs – if there’s room – or venture upstairs and sit, as we did, in the window overlooking the canal and passing cyclists. Give yourself over to the atmosphere and let the beers flow!

Open: Mon-Thur 10am-1am
Fri-Sat 10am-2am
Sun 12pm-1am

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 28, 2006

Cafe Papeneiland
Prinsengracht 2
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1015 DV
+31 (20) 624 1989

Cafe Belgique

Attraction

Cafe Belgique Photo, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Quote:
Okay, I know, we are in Holland and drinking Belgian beer. Don’t worry, we also drank our fair share of Amstel and others but we did also enjoy visiting this tiny, fantastic bar for a few Trappist – and more – ales!The bar is tiny and with wooden tables, stone floor and tan walls covered in old-fashioned advertisements for many of the beers they sell. It specialises in Belgian Beer, having 8 on tap and 30 in bottles. The beer menu is very well written, informative but also very amusing, giving you background to where the beer was brewed and also the percentage alcohol content (the 11% Kasteel Bruin was like dark, sweetish and treacly, reminding me of autumn evenings) very important if you inte...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 28, 2006

Cafe Belgique
Gravenstraat 2
Amsterdam, Netherlands