What To Do In Amsterdam
- Bike Tour of the City
- The Anne Frank House
- Museum Amstelkring
- Van Gogh Museum
- Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Before you start the day’s activities, go to DeBakkerswinkel (www.debakkerswinkel.nl) for breakfast (or for lunch). There are many locations throughout Amsterdam (go to the website for a complete list of locations) with one in central Amsterdam at Zeedijk 37, a few minutes from the central train station. DeBakkerswinkel offers a variety of pastries, eggs, croissants, fruit juices and shakes, soups and sandwiches. Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 – 4:00, Mondays from 10:00 – 5:30, and Tuesdays – Fridays from 8:00 – 5:30. The phone number of the central location is 020 489 8000. This was our favorite place for breakfast.
Each tour group has 1 tour guide and up to 12 riders so the group cycling on bright yellow bikes looks like 12 baby chicks following the leader. The Dutch are very patient as our group had various skill levels of cycling experience and tended to be a bit over eager with the bike bell that warned anyone within a few feet to watch out.
The Anne Frank House is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Amsterdam and is advertised as a museum with a story. The buildings are where the Frank family and others hid from Nazi occupied Holland during World War II. The rooms have been restored to what they looked like during the war with the movable bookcase that gave access to the Secret Annex leading to the series of small rooms and hallways that concealed the families.
There are always lines of people down the street and around the block waiting to buy tickets.Go on-line to the museum website and buy tickets for a specific visit day and time to bypass the lines and gain immediate access.
Open every day from 9:00 – 9:00 during the summer (March 15 – September 14) and from 9:00 – 7:00 during the winter months (September 15 – March 14). Closed on January 1 and Yom Kippur (usually in early October).
Amstelkring is an old Dutch house with a Catholic church built in and concealed within the house. This site is also referred to as the “attic church” or “Our Lord in the Attic.” The original house was built approximately 400 years ago. The story of the church began about 50 years later around 1660, when a Dutch family built the church within their home because Catholicism was outlawed by the Protestants at the time. Given that Amsterdam is probably one of the most hedonistic and tolerant cities in the world, the irony in a group of repressed people having to build a hidden church within their house is not lost on visitors.
The museum is open Monday – Saturday from 10:00 – 5:00 and Sundays and Holidays from 1:00 – 5:00. Closed January 1 and April 30.
Located on a square called Museumplein, the Van Gogh Museum is one of four museums (Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum and the Diamond Museum) on an open large parcel of land that is often used for festivals, celebrations, and picnics.
The museum is open daily from 10:00 – 6:00 but on Fridays the museum stays open until 10:00 pm because there is always something special going on that night. Closed on January 1. The museum has a cafe and shop.
The museum has been undergoing a major renovation since 2003 which will be completed by 2013. However, most of the major works are still being displayed. Open everyday (except Jan 1) from 9:00 – 6:00, the museum also has three shops but no cafe or restaurant. The lines are long so buy tickets on line at the museum website and print them out to obtain immediate access to the museum.
If there is time to spare, explore one of Amsterdam’s markets. There are numerous markets every day of the week which sell flowers (tulips!), fruits, vegetables, cheese, meats, fish, and more. Go to www.amsterdam.info for a complete list of Amsterdam’s markets.
A great place to end your day and talk about the sites, is Restaurant Christophe – a cozy little restaurant in central Amsterdam (within walking distance from the Anne Frank House) that has been around for about 20 years – if there is 2-3 in your party, ask for a window alcove table so you can see what is happening on the streets . The menu choices are good and the cheese selection platter served with homemade breads for dessert is excellent.