Amazing Amsterdam and its Surroundings

Amazing Amsterdam boasts all kinds of attractions, from the grace and elegance of 17th-century canal houses to the rich cultural heritage of its wondrous museums and to the seedy side of the Red Light District. Truly something for everyone!

De Drie Graefjes

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by akakd on September 26, 2004

De Drie Graefjes is directly behind Nieuwe Kerk off Dam Square. Though we ate outside, I was drawn to this place because of the beautiful tile mural that is visable from outside. Credit cards not accepted.
De Drie Graefjes
Eggertstraat 1
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Maneer Pannekoek Café

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by akakd on September 27, 2004

We enjoyed the Meneer Pannekoek Café so much that we returned for our last night in Amsterdam. Both times, our waitress was Angelique. She had this wonderfully husky voice and a great sense of humor. She not only remembered us the second time, but remembered what we had ordered, which made it easy, since we had the same things both times. My husband had the Hutspot or Stoojpot, which is a hearty beef stew. I had the Pannenkoeken en Pofferthjes or Pnalurel, which is a delicious Dutch pancake equivalent to a French crepe, served with sorghum. Yum! I also had hot chocolate with whipped cream. Definitely a delight and a perfect way to end the day, followed by a stroll on the Singel.

Maneer Pannekoek is behind Magna Plaza, two blocks down, on the right, coming from Dam Square or Koninklijk Paleis. It's right on the Singel Canal and offers both indoor and outdoor dining.

Maneer Pannekoek Café
Raadhuisstraat 6 on Hoek Singel (Singel Canal)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
020-6 27 85 00


Member Rating 5 out of 5 by akakd on September 26, 2004

The Rijksmuseum houses an unrivaled collection of Dutch art. When we were there, much of the museum was under re-construction; however, The Dutch Masterpieces were on display. These masterpieces offer a unique view of the wealthy and powerful of the 17th century.

Of course, the most famous painting of the Rijksmuseum is The Nightwatch. This showpiece of Dutch art is a vast canvas by Rembrandt, commissioned as a group portrait of a militia company. During WWII, the large painting was hidden in caves. Its current name owes to the darkened varnish, but the painting actually depicts the group in broad daylight.

If you go, here are some paintings to look for, in addition to The Nightwatch. Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring. There is a book by the same name, by Tracy Chevalier, that is very much worth reading. Also, by Vermeer, The Kitchen Maid. To me, it's an in-the-moment scene. It is also mentioned in the book "Girl with a Pearl Earring." Look, also, for a painting called The Threatened Swan, which my husband nicknamed, AFLAC! Then there's the Piss Watcher by Jan Steen of a physician who "reads" urine to see if a woman is pregnant. Who said a museum can't be fun?!

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

Van Gogh Museum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by akakd on September 26, 2004

The Van Gogh Museum houses the world's largest collection of works by Vincent Van Gogh with more than 200 paintings, including many of his most famous masterpieces.

Get there early. We visited the Rijksmuseum first, and, by the time we arrived to the nearby Van Gogh Museum, it was already very crowded. It was difficult to get even a few seconds of an unobstructed view of the paintings. Photos and videotaping are not allowed.

For more information, visit

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

Golden Bend

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by akakd on September 26, 2004

The Golden Bend is a section of the Herengracht Canal between Leidestraat and Vijzelstraat where impressive canal-side architecture can be seen. This stretch of canal is known as the Golden Bend because of the great wealth of shipbuilders, merchants, and politicians who began building houses here in the 1660s.

That's news to the locals, however! When we asked directions to the Golden Bend, no one had ever heard of it! Regardless, number 412 dates from 1664, and number 475 was built in 1730. The latter has two sculpted female figures over the front door and is an example of the Louis XIV style, popular in the 18th century.

Golden Bend
Herengracht Canal
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Museum het Rembrandthuis

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by akakd on September 26, 2004

The Rembrandt House is truly a step back in time to the period around 1639, when Rembrandt bought the house. Rembrandt worked and taught in the house from 1639 to 1660. His wife, Saskia, died here in 1642, leaving the artist with a baby son, Titus.

In addition to his paintings, of interest are the box bed in the drawing room and his first-floor studio.

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

The Holland Experience

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by akakd on September 26, 2004

This unique 3D theater is billed as the ultimate 3D show. While interesting, I wouldn't say it was something I'd do again. Some of it got to be a bit repetitive for adults.

Each person is given 3D glasses to view the 3D show. Theater seats are on a platform in the middle of a circular room. The entire platform turns. While the action-packed scenes are never scary, the room is dark, and one little girl got scared, having to leave before the show even began.

Grand Holland Tour
Damrak, Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Museum Amstelkring

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by akakd on September 26, 2004

Museum Amstelkring, "Our Lord in the Attic," houses the secret attic church. Climb back in time about 350 years, through corridors, rooms, kitchens, and narrow staircases to see the incredible secret church hidden away in the attic.

With space for 150 parishioners, this church was built at a time when the Catholic religion was officially banned. From the outside, it was impossible to see that this remarkable house contained a secret church.

Definitely worth the walk through the Red Light District to see.

Museum Amstelkring
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 40
Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1012
+31 20 624 6604

Dam Square

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by akakd on September 26, 2004

At one end of Dam Square is the Monument to WWII Veterans. Along the other end is the 17th-century Koninklijk Paleis. Work began on this palace in 1648, after the end of the 80 Years' War with Spain. It is still used today by the Dutch royal family for official functions.

Frequently in the square is a magnificent organ on wheels, which plays music while animated figures dance and twirl. Next to Koninklijk Paleis is Nieuwe Kerk, "New Church", dating from the late 14th century. Sovereigns are crowned here. Seen between the Paleis and Nieuwe Kerk is the pretty Magna Plaza Shopping Centre. All Amsterdam life seems to branch out from this square.

Dam Square
Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1012 JS

Anne Frank House

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by akakd on September 27, 2004

This Museum with a Story is where Anne Frank and seven others lived in hiding during the time of the persecution of Jews during WWII. Anne Frank kept her famous diary during this hiding period. Her original diary is on display here.

I was surprised to see how large the hiding place actually was, covering two floors plus an attic. Four people helped to hide and provide for the eight people during the two years before they were betrayed.

Once betrayed, all eight were sent to concentration camps. Only Anne's father, Otto Frank, survived.

Anne's famous diary has been published into more than 60 languages.

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

Zaanse Schans

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by akakd on September 27, 2004

If you're interested in seeing old-world Netherlands, visit Zaanse Schans. Take the train from Amsterdam Central Station to Koog/Zaandijk, a 20-minute train ride. Then walk about 10 minutes, cross the river, following the signs to Zaanse Schans. Zaanse Schans is a typical residential area along the river Zaan with green wooden houses and windmills dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. What makes Zaanse Schans so unique is that it is a living/working area, but also a sort of living history and cultural museum. Some of our favorite activities were seeing how clogs are made, climbing inside a windmill, and eating Dutch pancakes.
Zaanse Schans Historic Windmills
Schansend 1
Zaandam, Netherlands, 1509
+31 (0)75 681 00 00

Kroller-Muller Museum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by akakd on September 27, 2004

Wanting to see some specific Van Gogh paintings, as well as the Sculpture Garden, we made the trek to Otterlo. We took a train from Amsterdam Central to Amersfoort, changed trains in Amersfoort to Apeldoorn, where we caught bus #110 to Otterlo; a 2-hour journey in each direction. On the bus, you'll need to buy a ticket for the privilege of walking through the park to the museum. It's a five-minute walk, past the giant blue trowel; the museum is on the left. The Kroller-Muller is located in the National Park De Hoge Veluwe. Over 1700 white bicycles in the park can be ridden for free anywhere in the park. The museum itself was not crowded at all, which afforded long, unobstructed views of the paintings.
Kroller Muller Museum
Houtkampweg 6
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Madurodam (Holland in Miniature)

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by akakd on September 27, 2004

Madurodam is the smallest city in Holland. Actually, it's a collection of miniature cities.

Objects are made right in Madurodam to a 1:25 scale. We took the train from Amsterdam Central to Den Haag (The Hague) Central, then the no. 22 bus (the no. 9 tram goes there, too) to Madurodam. It was only about a half-hour train ride to Den Haag, then 15 minutes by bus to Madurodam.

This miniature city opened in 1952.

High-school students from the region serve as the mayor and inaugurate new scale models.

George Maduroplein 1
The Hague, Netherlands
31 (0)70 416 24 00

© LP 2000-2009