A November 2006 trip
to Amsterdam by Vicho
Quote: Amsterdam’s colors are unforgettable: from buildings reflecting in the canals to the most famous paintings hidden in the world best museums.
Amsterdam has a lot to offer at any time of the year, any time of the day or night. All sorts of museums (from art through dungeon to condoms) and endless walks around romantic canals, that’s Amsterdam.The traditional food is very fried and oily so be careful! People are very friendly and open and most of them speak brilliant English.
To the museums, it is good to buy tickets in advance as there are two different queues-very long one - for those purchasing tickets on a day and none - for those with ticket purchased in advance.
No good free map available from the Info Center, map purchased in the info boxes were not good either and cost €1.50
From now onward, the walk continues around romantic canals, reflecting tall colorful buildings at any time of the day. All buildings are tall because taxes used to be based on the width of the building. Why they are so colorful I don’t know, but it looks really good. Stop at the Velvet rampart, this is the oldest canal in the city dug between 1342 and 1380. Just rich families originally lived here, dressing always in velvet, hence the name. At the corner of the Oudezijds Voorburgwal, the Archterburgwal and Grimburgwal is a proud of 17th century renaissance: The house on the three corners with three beautiful step gables.
Continue through Oudemanshuisprt (tiny street between the houses) till the next channel (Oudezijds) and turn right-south to follow it till Staal Street. This area was well known for cloth industry. For many years Rembrandt’s last great group portrait "The wardens of the Amsterdam drapers" hung in one of the houses in this street. This area is supposed to be the prettiest part of Amsterdam. Its blue bridge and skinny bridge keeps inspiring generations of artist for centuries. Return to Oudezijds and follow it to the north. The NH Doelen hotel used to be a tavern where militiamen would eat and drink. To make the place more cozy, Rembrandt’s 1642 painting the "The Night watch" hung here. On your right you can see the tower of South Church-first protestant church built after reformation.Keep going north along the canal. After few minutes walk you will be standing in the New Market square. The building in front of you some 500 years ago used to be one of three main city gates and it also served as the defense tower. In 1617, the old weight house became too small and so this place started to be used. The first floor had another function; the guilds sit here.
The walk can be cut short by heading north via Zeedijk and crossing the canal to visit one of the oldest museums in Amsterdam; the Museum Our Lord in The Attic. This museum lets you wonder some 350 years back in the history, from daily life to the surprising church in the attic. Private churches become very popular after the prohibition of catholic religion. Thanks to Calvinism (that people refused to accept) we can admire this private church preserved from the 17th century. From here you can wonder around the heart of old Amsterdam back to the Dam square. There is much more to see but we should preserve something for night walk as Amsterdam changes its face radically between day and night.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 27, 2007
Attraction | "Rijksmuseum Museum "
The 17th century represents Dutch Golden Age, the collection you can admire here is very impressive and so is the way it has been gathered. From the late 16th century, the Netherlands was a republic and therefore there was no royal house that amassed an international collection, such as in Spain (Philips II) or Russia (Catharine the Great) The Rijksmuseum collection is based on private collections of Art buyers; citizens who made purchases mostly in their home country, and not so much abroad.
Museum is kids friendly. Children can take part in museum searches and there is also a Sesame Street audio tour for pre-school children.
At the moment there is no place for refreshments but you can walk to a Café Cobra where you will receive a 15% discount on any item on the menu by showing your Rijksmuseum ticket.
If you are less then 18 years old, you can get in for free, otherwise you will pay €10. Some discounts are applicable and all tickets can be purchased in advance on the Internet.
The Rijksmuseum is open every day from 9am to 6pm, on Fridays also from 6pm to 10pm. Closed 1 January. The museum ticket counter closes 30 minutes before the closing time.
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1071 ZD
+31 20 674 70 00
Attraction | "Van Gogh Muzeum"
Stranger with just a few days in a city as Amsterdam you will for sure try to do as much as possible in as little time possible. Visit to The Van Gogh Museum is nearly obligatory as this famous painter is truly a legend of Dutch nation. So why don’t plan your visit here on Friday, when museum's restaurant serves nice dinners. Even if there are other than Van Gogh's paintings the museum dedicated to one author only can be quite tiring. Little dinner break can be rather nice and prices here are not bad (the weekly special plus a beverage for €13.50).
The museum opens daily from 10am to 6pm and Friday from 10am to 22.00. (Restaurant: daily 10.00 to 17.30, Friday to 21.30, kitchen to 21.15).
So what actually can you see here? Van Gogh made over 800 paintings and over 200 can be found here. On the ground floor you may want to pick up a leaflet that will guide you through all Van Goghs life stages. Each time he moved, from time to time, Van Goghs painting stayle changed so today we can easily distigush different epochas of his life. We know a lot about Van Goghs life and he wrote many letters to his brother Theo and he kept them. To Theo we owe the thanks for conserving such a large collection of Van Goghs paintings as it was him who belived in Van Gogh's talent and was supporting him throuout an entire lifetime.
The information is also on the walls where the painting from that era are exhibited. If you read them all carefully you will learn how was it with that famous cut off ear. You may want to follow the audio guide, which is available in 9 language for € 4. Entrance tickets cost €10 (for 13-17 years only €2.50 and free if you are 12 under). The museum has several floors but there is a lift you can use to move between them. On the ground floor you can find also a museum shop with beautiful, high quality reproductions, stationery and other souvenirs.
Van Gogh Museum
Paulus Potterstraat 7
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1071 CX
+31 (20) 570 52 00
The name Amsterdam was derived from the dam in the Amstel river, built in 1170. The square formed around the dam became the heart of the historical town. Lets start our tour right here at the Dam square (main square, no one can ever miss it). The impressive building from 1653 in front of you is called Royal Palace which hosted the city government. Next to it, is a well-worth-visiting New Church built in the late 14th century when Old Church became too small. A big change of the interior design happened after the 1578 prohibition of Catholicism when a new pulpit had to be placed in the church. A new protestant pulpit was done by sculptor A.J. Vinckenbrick and it took him 16 years.
Follow south Kalver Straat to poetic stop at Beguinage courtyard where the English Church takes you back to 1150 when the first unmarried woman settled here to help the sick. Later on, they started to be called Beguines. Most of medieval houses were replaced but the one at number 34 has a preserve wooden façade from the 15th century. The gravestone of the Beguine Cornelia Arents is right on the pavement you walk upon as she refused to be buried in the no-longer-Catholic Church. Apparently, her grave is still decorated with flowers every second May since she was reburied here in 1655, any other day you have to be really patient and observant to spot her gravestone. If you come here, you will also learn about the miracle of Amsterdam that supposedly took place here.
Stop for a cup of coffee to relax a bit and refresh your senses as the tour will continue through the prettiest parts of Amsterdam in the Day-Time Walk (Part 2).
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 1, 2007
Leicester, United Kingdom