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Insiders Guide to Amsterdam

Tulips Amsterdam 2
Tulips Amsterdam
Stroopwafel Amsterdam
Amsterdam Canals
Vondelpark Amsterdam
Museum Square Amsterdam
Electric Ladyland Amsterdam
Amsterdam Nightlife

Insiders Guide to Amsterdam

story by: Tom Ricketts

1. Stop and smell the tulips
The Dutch love their tulips, and they’re farmed en masse around the countryside which makes for some stunningly beautiful views. If you can’t get out of the city though, just head for the Singel Canal where floating barges are covered in tulips of all colours.
HOT Tip: Ever heard of ‘Tulip Mania’? Head to the Amsterdam Tulip Museum in Jordaan to learn the fascinating story of why people traded their houses, land, and eye wateringly huge amounts of money, for a single tulip bulb!


2. Forget the diet, you have to try stroopwafel
We have pavlova, and the Netherlands has stroopwafel. It’s a simple dish, just two waffles glued together with a caramel filling, and it is awesome!
HOT Tip: The worst kept secret in Amsterdam is that the best stroopwafel comes from a certain vendor set up in the Albert Cuypmarkt. He’s down by the Bazar Restaurant, just look for the big red and white ‘Stroopwafel’ sign.


3. Anne Frank’s House
You’ve no doubt heard Anne Frank’s story, if not read her dairy for yourself. The museum is of course, located in the actual house where Anne and seven others hid from persecution by the Nazi’s for nearly two years. The Secret Annex can be visited and the original diary is housed here, as well as many other exhibits.
HOT Tip: Tickets sell out months in advance, so have your House of Travel agent organise them in advance. Nevertheless, you will still be forced to queue as it’s only a small house, and one of the most visited places in the country.


4. Take to the canals
Walking is great for short distances, and biking the narrow streets is much better left to the locals. So we reckon the best way to get around Amsterdam is on one of the city’s many many canal boats. It’s easy, scenic, and you get a running commentary on the sights as you go.
HOT Tip: Ask your House of Travel consultant about the one and two day hop on/hop off tickets.


5. Relax with the locals
If it’s a bright sunny day in Amsterdam, the locals flock to Vondelpark, a large park right near the city centre. In summer there’s live music, markets, sports events and plenty of space for a picnic.
HOT Tip: Search out Blauwe Theehuis, a cute wee café nestled away in the park, and learn about the mysterious robbery that occurred here and remains unsolved to this day.


6. Discover Museumplein
Museumplein translates to Museum Square and is also known as the Museum Quarter. Here you’ll find the Rijksmuseum (the Netherlands’ national museum), the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk (art museum) and the Concertgebouw (concert hall).
HOT Tip: Somewhat frustratingly, Van Gogh’s masterpieces are spread across the three museums so it pays to work out where your favourites are ahead of time. Sunflowers is at the Van Gogh Museum.


7. and some of Amsterdam’s ‘alternative’ Museums…
Amsterdam has a whole range of museums, many of which would come under the label of ‘alternative’. The Spectacles Museum may not impress many, but how about Cat Cabinet, a museum dedicated to all things cats; Electric Ladyland which has a retina bashing collection of fluorescent art; the Vrolik Museum with its collection of body parts, skeletons and human defects; and finally, the Venustempel Sex Museum that features exhibits best not described here…
HOT Tip: Consider getting a Amsterdam Holland Pass or Museumkaart which includes entry to many different museums throughout the country.


8. Pack your dancing clogs
One of biggest attractions in Amsterdam is its nightlife. The famous Red Light District is so highly frequented by tourists, you don’t have to feel too seedy about going there. But if it’s not for you, Leidseplein or Rembrantplein are your more mainstream options.
HOT Tip: One of Amsterdam’s favourite watering holes is Brouwerij't IJ, also known as the ‘windmill brewery’. It’s the only windmill in downtown Amsterdam and makes its own beer (and at a decent price!).

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