Amsterdam has hundreds of `hofjes’, courtyards hidden away between and behind many Amsterdam houses.
The Begijnhof Located at the at the Spui is one of the largest, and well known, but also one of the more striking. It is remarkable that such an oasis of peace can be so close to the bustling heart of the city.
There is a doorway in the row of houses to the north on the Spui that leads you there, with its lovely English chappel with pulpit panels designed by the artist Mondriaan, and the oldest house in the city (1475), one of Amsterdam’s few surviving wooden houses.
Free entry as of now (January 2002) but this may change to reduce tourist numbers.
If you turn left out of the other entrance, you will go in the direction of the Amsterdam Historical Museum, and its free gallery of old paintings.
Plantage Middelan. Open 09:00/17:00 the cost is about €11. It has a good aquarium and also a planetarium.
Hortus Horticultural Gardens
Garden is just a short walk to the East from Waterlooplein opens 9:00/ on weekends at 11:00 till 17:00/5:00 PM. A Small but beautiful garden.
For a small city, Amsterdam is home to many world-class museums. The three major museums, the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk (modern art) and the van Gogh. All three are situated around the Museumplein.
The Rijksmuseum 10:00-17:00. Large museum containing paintings by some of the Netherlands’ great 17th century painters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and van Hals. The Nightwatch by Rembrandt is their prize piece. Contains many artifacts as well as paintings.
The Stedelijk Museum11:00-18:00. A major collection of modern art. Touring collections are featured regularly.
The renowned actor /artist, Dennis Hopper (his free poster to print out) and his fantastic personal works were here early this spring 2001. (Try to see his exhibition in another city if you can)
The NEW van Gogh Museum 10:00-17:00. Recently renovated and expanded, dedicated to Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries.
Rembrandt’s House Jodenbreestraat 4-6. Easy to find, located just around the corner from the Waterlooplein. Rembrandts house
Amsterdam’s best museums
An online list of all museums in Amsterdam is available from Amsterdam Museums
An online list of all museums in The Netherlands is available from Holland Museums
For a special and personal canal boat tour
It’s worthwhile taking a canal boat tour to see beautiful Amsterdam from the water. They last about 90 minutes and take you around the city and through the harbor. You can buy your tickets and go aboard on Damrak by Central Station, and Rokin by the Spui.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can hire a Canal Bike from one of the several points through the city at Westerkerk, Leidseplein, Leidsestraat, Rijksmuseum, and take your own route. But so you don’t get lost, bring your map.
For a special experience take a private boat tour with us.
There are also electric boats to hire at the Nieuwmarkt on the Kloveniersburgwal, at the corner of Leidsestraat and Prinsengracht, and at the other end of the Kloveniersburgwal near the Munt tower.
If your kids are 16 they can drink beer LEGALLY in public cafe’s and restaurants in the Netherlands. No fear of the police arresting you! Freedom what a concept…
Heineken brings you a new experience with their NEW redesigned brewery museum and technical tour. A favorite place for young and old but you must be 18 to drink beer here or you’ll have to bring your dad!
Stadhooouderskade 78 1072 AE Amsterdam NL + 31 (0)20 523 9666
Open Tuesday through Sunday 10:00 – 18:00 hrs ( 6:00) last ticket sales at 17:00hrs (5:00) closed monday
Climbing walls in Amsterdam
Beginner or advanced climbing enthusiasts will find this venue offers a good variety of challenges and a full line of professional services
Naritaweg 48 Amsterdam +31(0)20 681 0121 firstname.lastname@example.org
Things to do for Free, or almost free in Amsterdam…
Take the free commuter ferry behind central station to the other side of the IJ river and go for a walk along the North Holland Canal.
Walk up the roof stairs of the New Metropolis located near Amsterdam C S (central station) and admire the view of the city. Walk east from CS, and cross the footbridge to the big green building that looks like a big copper ship, coming out of the sea…bow first.
Go to the Begijnhof the entrance is from the Spui.
Visit the Historical Ship Museum gallery.
Take the other exit from the Begijnhof and turn left.
Wander along the Flower Market on the Singel.
Browse the Waterlooplein market at the Waterlooplein. Lots of used stuff, but there is always the possibility of a treasure to be found amongst all the junk.
Visit the Albert Cuyp market take tram to the east 10 to Frederiksplein, or 4, 16, 24, 25 to Albert Cuyp straat.
Go to a free lunch concert in the Concertgebouw at the opposite end of the Museumplein from the Rikesmuseum.
Browse the Internet in medieval surroundings at the Waag in the Old Centre at Nieuwmarkt in the RedLIGHT District Warning: adults only
Go up the tower to the cafe in the Kalvertoren shopping mall, and admire the view. It’s at Kalverstraat near the Munt.
Go to the cafe in the Metz and admire the view on the corner of Leidsestraat and Keizersgracht.
The “Vondelpark” is the largest and one of the most popular Parks in Amsterdam. Imagine a Euro version of Venice Beach without the beach. Turned into a hippie commune in the late sixties and seventies, it still retains some of that feel with an assortment of street performers and sports and activities of every imaginable sort entertaining the crowds. Especially popular on long summer days.
Wander around…rent some in-line skates at the far end of the park and enjoy the best people watching anywhere.
Outdoor concerts are held in the summer at the Vondelpark Open Air Theater (Openluchttheater)- June through August www.openluchttheater.nl
For Excursions nearby Amsterdam…you don’t need a car in Holland
- During spring and tulip season flower lovers can take a coach trip to Keukenhof, huge gardens exclusively dedicated to tulips. Trips can be booked from companies on the Damrak for about €16. There is a day-trip by train from Central Station about €15.
- Not far from Amsterdam, in the former Zuiderzee (now the IJsselmeer) is Marken. An island now joined to the mainland by a land bridge. It still has many wooden houses, and you can still see people wearing local costume, not just for tourists. You should at least visit the harbor. There are organized coach tours for under €45. But for much less money, six strips of a strippenkart, you can take bus #111 from Central Station.You can get the times from the public transport telephoneinformation line 0900-9292 for 40 cents per minute.
- A great experience is an adventure to Castricum. It takes about 30 minutes to get there by trane.At Castricum station you can rent a bike (phone 0251-654035 to reserve one). In the station restaurant you can buy a map and buy a €2.50 entrance card to the miles of bike paths through beautiful woodlands, meadows, and dunes, with access down to the beach.
This is also the water treatment filter for Amsterdam’s drinking water, You can see huge carp swimming about in the crystal-clear pools. but “No Fishing” allowed.
The National Park Hoge Veluwe
Beautiful surroundings, and free bikes at the gates to cycle through the grounds. In the middle is the modern art museum Kröller-Müller with a major collection of works by Van Gogh, Seurat, Redon, Braque, Picasso, Juan Gris, Mondriaan and others.
There is an excellent statue garden too. The NS Railways have a day trip that takes you nearby by train takes about an hour from Amsterdam, and then by bus to the gates of the park.
Windmills in Amsterdam
There is a community of working windmills along the river at the Zaanse Schans, as well as museums and a cheese factory you can visit.
Take the train to Koog-Zaandijk (about 15 minutes), turn left at the bottom of the steps from the platform, and walk straight on right to the end of the street (about 5 minutes).
Turn left, and ahead of you is a windmill at the end of a bridge. As you cross the bridge, you can see the working mills on the left. There is a gate at the end of the bridge, on the left.
What’s going on in town right NOW?
Not surprisingly, there is an immense choice of activities in the city. You can find a list of what’s on this week hanging in most cafés, and in newspapers published Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
There are a central entertainment information and ticket reservation service called AUB the acronym for “Amsterdam Uit (Out) Bureau” on the “Leidseplein” across the street from the American Hotel.
They have a Web Site at http://www.aub.nl There is also an English Language guide to the week’s events called What’s On. It is published by the VVV and is available at their office’s and in most hotels.