Day-trip to Amsterdam City (Netherlands)

Amsterdam is iconic for a few things, as stereotypical it may sound - Canals, Tulips, Cycles, Beer, Legalized S*x, Anne Frank, Shoes, Cheese, and Windmills! My try was to cover whatever possible within a day. 

Reaching Amsterdam, the first thing to have a look at was definitely the Centraal Station itself! From there I originally intended to start with the cruise in the canals which has UNESCO status! However a museum has its opening hours only till noon, so I began the trip with that. It was the Erotic Museum in De Wallen. Its a 5 floored museum with art & installations all about s*x from around the world. Infact there was also a wooden sculpture similar to the panels of Nellayappar Temple!!! 
On the way to reach is the Old Church (Oude Kirk) into which I did not have time to explore. From there my next stop was Heineken Experience about which I'm gonna do another post. From there off the Canal ride. A canal ride is a part of the IAmsterdam card. After researching a bit, I narrowed down to 2 services - Lovers or Blue Boat. 

The advantage of Lovers was live commentary and beginning point at Centraal, the advantage of Blue Boat was 15 mins extra and slightly longer route. I opted for Blue Boat which began near Heineken. The service began on time, no matter it was filled or not, and a audio guide gave details which after a while got a bit boring. I opened the Google Maps and with the help of GPS, I could figure out what are the places of interest I was crossing through.
The Canal ring area built in the 16-17th C CE and is more than 100km, has more than 90 islands and has more than 1500 bridges. The main 4 canals form concentric arches connected to the main IJ River. The first few places that I came across were Hard Rock Cafe, Holland Casino, (and Saravana Bhavan towards the end!) etc. 

Then some important & historical places of interest came on its bank including West Church (Westerkirk), and AnneFrank House. From there it goes out into the IJ River from where the travelling IAmsterdam letter was visible as well as the huuuuge painted 'Amsterdam' atop Centraal. Then on it passed through NEMO Science Centre, Het Scheepvaatmusuem (Ship Museum & Maritime Museum) with an actual vintage ship docked beside, Jewish Synagogue, Hermitage Centre etc. 
While most of the bridges were tall enough, 2 bridges had mechanism to open & close called Walter Suskinbrug and Magere Brug. Here's a tip, unless its a live commentary, the audio guide doesn't really make sense. The best way is to go about using GMaps to figure out what are you spotting. 
After the cruise, my next stop was to the Rijks Museum. On a day trip trying to cover Rijks Museums just doesn't make sense. I'd need atleast 2 days to see that Museum! However just in front of it was the IAmsterdam letters. As expected it was way to crowded in the middle of the day. But then, as a blessing in disguise, it just started pouring out making everyone run for shelter, well.... except me and I got my (almost) solo shot with the IAmsterdam letters!
From there my next point was Anne Frank's House. This is where Anne Frank was hiding during World War II. For the few who don't know who she is - she was little German 13yr old girl when Hilter started to massacre Jews. So her family escaped to Holland, but that came under Hitler. So to escape, the family & friends of 8 ppl hide in this house. The 13yr old gal begins to write a journal of her everyday experience in the hideout. 
The painful series of writings include how precious ration was, how they could't flush toilets when its silent to prevent any sound escaping the house, how she stuck photos and magazine cut outs on the wall, how dark curtains could never be opened up etc. The stairs that lead to this section of the house was concealed behind book shelf in the ground floor. Everything incl those dark curtains, height markings on the wall, the photos she stuck on the wall etc have been maintained as they were! Sadly in 1944, they were captured and in 1945 she died in a concentration camp. This house became a museum in 1960. Unfortunately photography wasn't allowed there. 

It was almost 6pm by then and a walk through the streets across Jordaan, Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace) and Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) lead to the infamous De Wallen area! I managed to find a map of this area online which is necessary if you're in an idea to roam about here! It was 7pm by then and may be coz its summer, still not all windows opened up! If you're someone who might get a cultural shock, just skip this place!!!
Here's are a couple of tips: 1. The IAmsterdam Card makes a lot of sense esp if the trip is for 2 days or more! It covers not only entrance to Museums & travel but also that canal cruise which is the essence of Amsterdam! 2. The Anne Frank House is the longest queue I saw in the whole of Amsterdam, however this can be skipped if the ticket is bought online for a time slot (09:00-15:30). This is not covered under IAmsterdam card. Tickets open 2 months in advance and get sold out very quickly! 3. Find a few Euro coins. All public toilets are charged and coin dispensing machines are very rare! 4. The whole city is filled with cyclists and they have right to way, so its easy to get hit by them! 

5. The Tulips are in bloom only from March to May. 6. The traveling IAmsterdam are lesser crowded than RijksMuseum one. Find its present location here. 7. Always swipe in & swipe out in public transport to prevent the card from getting blocked. Also, train services and metro services are 2 different entities. Tickets of 1 do not work on the other though the stations operated between might be the same! 8. Be utterly careful in De Wallen area incl caring of your purses and do not accept even a cigar from strangers! Some drugs have the ability to knock off for 24 hrs! 

P.S: Check out here to know what I wore in Amsterdam

To Get There:
Erotic Museum entry ticket is €7 and can be bought at the gate. 
IAmsterdam Card can be bought online for 24-96 hrs in their website (€55-€85)
Anne Frank House ticket is €9 & can be bought online in their website

P.S: I was invited by Amsterdam Marketing (IAmsterdam) to experience the city for review purposehowever the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Dedicated to Venkat

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

17 comments:

  1. Super post. Enjoyed reading through your experience in Amsterdam. Looking forward to your Heineken experience.

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  2. sounds like a really interesting trip

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  3. That is so cool to see Anne Frank's home! Her novel is a classic! I also like the idea of using the GPS to figure out the stuff around you if you can't understand or hear the tour guide. Thank you for all the precautions you mentioned in your blog. I guess in reality we should be careful in any new destination.

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  4. I can imagine this city to be so beautiful. So far the furthest I had been in Amsterdam was its airport, en route to Barcelona once, and Paris another. Never had the chance to go out and explore. Next time I hope.

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  5. oh tulips! i love them, they're so pretty. so it's only between march and may for me if i ever plan to visit, i guess?

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  6. Wow. Amsterdam looks so beautiful especially that picture of the Central Station. It must be bustling with several tourists daily.

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  7. I've always wanted to visit Amsterdam, I've heard many things about the place. The church above is stunning and it would be nice to see it in person. I think it's great that they have a very organized transport system, makes getting around easier for tourists!

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  8. Wow, Amsterdam has beautiful buildings. The Central Station and the old church looks so beautiful. Thay are a famous tourist spot for a reason!

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  9. I did the canal cruise too! Relaxing pace and there are many things to spot. Lovely tip to use Google map to figure out the landmarks.

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  10. That's super cool.Amsterdam is indeed a great place to visit. You're real lucky to visit it.

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  11. I was able to do a short 2 hour tour in Amsterdam before in between flights. I really saw the beauty of the place and the peculiarities including their red light district.

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  12. Whoah, I didn't know that accepting something from a stranger can be a total danger! But nonetheless, prevention is better than cure. Anyway, I find it awesome how booking ahead of time can save one's time. In our country, anytime you can always visit any of the structures here without booking anything. Well, maybe Amsterdam has so many places to see and it is very much in demand to many.

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  13. London is such a strategic place for travel lovers. So many beautiful countries nearby to visit.

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  14. Aw, you makes me so wanna go amsterdam now... Oh my! So beautiful!

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  15. Amsterdam is so beautiful! I really want to go there because of your photos :D

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  16. This is cool Bhushavali! I also recently a day in Amsterdam and loved it :)

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  17. I have read that other tourists were not able to visit the Anne Frank House. They probably did not buy tickets two months in advance. You were lucky that you knew about this. The Anne Frank House is an excellent place to visit. I would love to go to Amsterdam someday.

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