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Author Topic: Best way to enjoy Amsterdam in August?  (Read 1391 times)

Aimless

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Best way to enjoy Amsterdam in August?
« on: 15 May 2017, 00:41 »

We're thinking of staying in Amsterdam for a few days on our way back from London. I've never been there and my wife hasn't been there since she was a kid, so I was wondering if any resident Dutchies may have some advice or tips :) We like chill urban environments close to green areas and water, flavorful food and fun places to hang out. We generally dislike things that require a great deal of advance planning or queuing. Where do locals in Amsterdam like to spend a nice summer day on a weekend? What areas offer a large variety of good food and entertainment at reasonable value? Are there any good comedy clubs for non-Dutchies? What's overrated and what should be avoided outright? Any and all help v much appreciated.
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Case

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Re: Best way to enjoy Amsterdam in August?
« Reply #1 on: 15 May 2017, 02:16 »





Brought to you by your Ministry of The Bleeding Obvious ...  :-D

(Sorry for that ...)


No seriously? When I was living in Arnhem, the proximity of the Jazz Department of the Conservatory of HKA Arnhem (now absorbed into Conservatory Hilversum & Amsterdam) meant that Thursday through Saturday, you had free life-music in most bars around the old city core (because there was an abundance of Music students & teachers who'd play for beer & the lulz).

I'd highly recommend following your ears!

The Netherlands are the Jazz-capital of Europe, and Amsterdam is, well ... : https://www.conservatoriumvanamsterdam.nl/en/


« Last Edit: 23 May 2017, 06:36 by Case »
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Re: Best way to enjoy Amsterdam in August?
« Reply #2 on: 20 May 2017, 19:03 »

Amsterdam is a city that I always enjoy ending up in, but I've never actually gone out of my way to go there (I've had flights that were forced to stay overnight in Schiphol). Honestly, the longest I have been there has been a day, so if you want my €0.02:

- Renting a bike is a classic Amsterdam thing to do to get around the city. Don't. Instead buy a multi-travel ticket (a day to 7 days costs about €8 to €34 respectively). You can use it on the trams, they go all over the city. And I'm not saying this as someone who can't ride a bike.
- The Rijksmuseum is the largest collection of Dutch art in the world (van Ruysdael, Hals, Vermeer, Steen and Rembrandt). The Van Gogh museum is right next door.
- Nearby is the House of Bols, the world's oldest distilled spirit brand, having been distilling since the 16th century.
- Leidseplein, an open-air square that only a couple of minute from the museums, that has a number of cafes. Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine is quite popular, largely due to the history of the Dutch East India Company.
- The Jordaan neighbourhood is home to many 17th and 18th century buildings and a Dutch Protestant Westerkerk Church that dates back to the 17th century, and where some of the most famous Dutch artists are buried, including Rembrandt. Be warned though, the Church is only open weekdays between 10am and 3pm.
- The Anne Frank House. It is one of those places that people do need to visit if they have the chance. I was lucky enough to get there really early, but from what I have been told, during the day, there are lines around the building, so if you do decide to go, book your ticket in advance.
- Dam Square is the central square in Amsterdam, and you can tour the Royal Palace (tickets are €10 for adults and its open from 10am until 5pm)
- The Red Light District and not for the reason you might think. I'm talking about an area that has 300-year old buildings that still have that Dutch architectural style. Though at night, it apparently comes to life. I wouldn't know, I had to get back to the hotel and get ready for a flight.
- Oh, and I suppose the canal tour. There are two kinds of tours; the first is where you hop on and hop off where you like. The second is the more traditional, where they take you on a circular tour and take you back to where you started.

Hope that helps and I hope you get to see more of Amsterdam than I did.
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Re: Best way to enjoy Amsterdam in August?
« Reply #3 on: 04 Aug 2017, 14:33 »

Thanks for the tips guys :) we decided to go to Venice this year because it's always been a dream of my mum's, but hoping to visit Amsterdam next year. My dad and my sisters went there this year, as well as a couple of friends, and they had a good time. V. chill.
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Re: Best way to enjoy Amsterdam in August?
« Reply #4 on: 29 Jul 2018, 15:18 »

Ended up postponing trip until this year, but we'll be in Amsterdam for a few days this August to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Mostly sauntering around, staring at people, eating and hanging out w/ some old forumites but probably going to visit the Van Gogh museum and perhaps also the national museum. If possible, a concert.

If any of you have insider tips on underrated restaurants where one can find innovative and well-made contemporary or traditional Dutch food holla :o also if you have tips for restaurants w/ Indonesian food.
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LTK

Re: Best way to enjoy Amsterdam in August?
« Reply #5 on: 29 Jul 2018, 15:57 »

Oh, great news! The new metro line just opened so you'll probably find it easier to get around the city (including where I live)!

Quote
innovative and well-made contemporary or traditional Dutch food

I would say that you can pick two of those. If it's traditional Dutch food, it's probably not innovative, and if it's contemporary, I doubt it'll be well-made.  :laugh:

Indonesian food is definitely easier to find but they tend to be takeaway restaurants. I happen to know of a good one here but for a restaurant where you sit down and eat with plates and cutlery, I'd have to inquire further. I don't go to enough restaurants to know which are underrated but I can probably gather some recommendations here and there.
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LTK

Re: Best way to enjoy Amsterdam in August?
« Reply #6 on: 08 Aug 2018, 10:33 »

Got a few recommendations!

Hanneke's Boom, established 1662, menu changes weekly.

Spirit, a kind of self-service organic, vegetarian restaurant.
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Re: Best way to enjoy Amsterdam in August?
« Reply #7 on: 08 Aug 2018, 14:06 »

I actually quite enjoyed the Van Gogh museum. I know it's painfully obvious but it was interesting, if overly modern. There's also a Chinese restaurant on the river (this place) that I can't recommend highly enough. You'll rack up a drinks bill without looking like you wouldn't believe, but fuck the food was amazing, hot and varied, the service fast and not impolite; and the space itself is glorious. Sat on the river itself too, with a great decor, it's just a great place to be. You certainly won't be in there long.
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Re: Best way to enjoy Amsterdam in August?
« Reply #8 on: 15 Aug 2018, 04:02 »

Thank you for the tips :)

Trip-report:

Schiphol airport is not pretty but it is very convenient. People are generally friendly and helpful and it's nice to see immigrants everywhere even though there seems to be some segregation. Dutch food is interesting; there's some overlap with traditional Swedish ingredients and flavors, but completely different combinations, and none of the contrast flavors I expected (we went to a few places, among them one called Greetje). There are some architectural similarities with my favorite parts of sthlm, but the colours evoke London rather than Scandinavian capitals. The language was initially very difficult for us to parse, especially when spoken, even though we prepped by watching Dutch used car reviews on YouTube. Unexpectedly difficult tbh. Crossing the street is also surprisingly different, with traffic light timings that are different from other countries we've visited, and uncommonly audacious cyclists that refuse to stop when we feel they should.

The hotel was quite lovely. It's a massive building that used to be an orphanage. I gambled a little and we were upgraded to a very nice suite and welcomed with delicious prosecco and rose petals strewn everywhere because it was our 5 year anniversary :) we finally got to open the last wedding present, and inside we found a by now eight year old wine, two beautiful hand blown wine glasses, a card that brought tears to my eyes and a book full of messages and predictions from the wedding guests.

I surprised the ginger with a concert because she's wanted to see a symphony orchestra for a very long time and I keep getting in the way of her plans.

The weather was fickle as fuck.

We had a blast reading through the predictions and have had to add a ton of things to our to-do list. Many/most expected 2-5 kids by now, and a fully operational goat-farm, which was obviously unrealistic or beyond our control. But visiting old friends, traveling the world and sleeping beneath a starry sky are definitely things that we can accomplish. They were all right about one thing though: I'm more in love for each day that passes.

With that mushy nonsense out of the way, more impressions: Leiden was small but very pleasant. It was nice hanging out with Dutchies and getting a better idea of ordinary everyday life in the Netherlands. I was a little surprised to learn about how things like parental leave and childcare work; it really opened my eyes to how unique the Scandinavian countries are even in western Europe. It was interesting to learn more about their healthcare system as well as about the quirks of the Dutch churches :o kept seeing signs with religious messages, which was weird. I had some opportunity to discuss the Dutch part time work phenomenon.

Another interesting thing: Dutch housing policy seems to try to mix people from different economic strata, at least when it comes to rentals. I'm not sure if it's a regional thing, but I did get the impression Dutch cities are somewhat less segregated wrt housing than eg. Scandinavian cities.

Our last two days were very pleasant. The language suddenly started making sense, we reached a tentative truce with the trams, learned how to glare at cars in order to defend our right of way, and found nice places to just walk around. Finding good food was a pain in the ass at first; we were more reliant than usual on crowdsourced information–a blight on society–and they were unusually uninformative or just misleading. Saturday night was especially difficult without reservations (which we hadn't made because reviews were so useless). Nevertheless, we found a Moroccan restaurant with good starters and desserts, and a few cozy Dutch places that were decent value. Very difficult to find nonalcoholic cocktails, which was a little unexpected.

The red light district was an extraordinary letdown b/c of how busy it was. The area around it was more pleasant. Back at the hotel we snuck in to a silent disco, which was a misnomer because everyone was shouting along with the lyrics with no coordination or melody.

We slept in late on our last day, did some touristy food-hunting, checked out the van Gogh museum, enjoyed coffee and cocktails in the sun and then took an uber to the airport, which really demonstrated how convenient schiphol is compared to eg. Arlanda in sthlm: €23, less than 20 mins. However, they have the handsiest mofos in Europe working the security checkpoint, and there is a dearth of power outlets. KLM was a disappointment on the return trip.

If any of you do decide to go, you must--you simply must--visit the van Stapele koekmakerij: https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/Attraction_Review-g188590-d6439052-Reviews-Van_Stapele_Koekmakerij-Amsterdam_North_Holland_Province.html

I don't say this lightly: they are some of the tastiest cookies I've ever had. Must be eaten as fresh as possible. I wish I'd bought dozens more.

I'm relieved to be almost home, but I must say I regretted making it such a short trip. Wouldn't mind returning sometime soon, for another short trip.

PS. Ganja everywhere.
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Re: Best way to enjoy Amsterdam in August?
« Reply #9 on: 29 Aug 2018, 09:52 »

Thank you for the tips :)

Trip-report:

Schiphol airport is not pretty but it is very convenient. People are generally friendly and helpful and it's nice to see immigrants everywhere even though there seems to be some segregation. Dutch food is interesting; there's some overlap with traditional Swedish ingredients and flavors, but completely different combinations, and none of the contrast flavors I expected (we went to a few places, among them one called Greetje). There are some architectural similarities with my favorite parts of sthlm, but the colours evoke London rather than Scandinavian capitals. The language was initially very difficult for us to parse, especially when spoken, even though we prepped by watching Dutch used car reviews on YouTube. Unexpectedly difficult tbh. Crossing the street is also surprisingly different, with traffic light timings that are different from other countries we've visited, and uncommonly audacious cyclists that refuse to stop when we feel they should.

The hotel was quite lovely. It's a massive building that used to be an orphanage. I gambled a little and we were upgraded to a very nice suite and welcomed with delicious prosecco and rose petals strewn everywhere because it was our 5 year anniversary :) we finally got to open the last wedding present, and inside we found a by now eight year old wine, two beautiful hand blown wine glasses, a card that brought tears to my eyes and a book full of messages and predictions from the wedding guests.

I surprised the ginger with a concert because she's wanted to see a symphony orchestra for a very long time and I keep getting in the way of her plans.

The weather was fickle as fuck.

We had a blast reading through the predictions and have had to add a ton of things to our to-do list. Many/most expected 2-5 kids by now, and a fully operational goat-farm, which was obviously unrealistic or beyond our control. But visiting old friends, traveling the world and sleeping beneath a starry sky are definitely things that we can accomplish. They were all right about one thing though: I'm more in love for each day that passes.

With that mushy nonsense out of the way, more impressions: Leiden was small but very pleasant. It was nice hanging out with Dutchies and getting a better idea of ordinary everyday life in the Netherlands. I was a little surprised to learn about how things like parental leave and childcare work; it really opened my eyes to how unique the Scandinavian countries are even in western Europe. It was interesting to learn more about their healthcare system as well as about the quirks of the Dutch churches :o kept seeing signs with religious messages, which was weird. I had some opportunity to discuss the Dutch part time work phenomenon.

Another interesting thing: Dutch housing policy seems to try to mix people from different economic strata, at least when it comes to rentals. I'm not sure if it's a regional thing, but I did get the impression Dutch cities are somewhat less segregated wrt housing than eg. Scandinavian cities.

Our last two days were very pleasant. The language suddenly started making sense, we reached a tentative truce with the trams, learned how to glare at cars in order to defend our right of way, and found nice places to just walk around. Finding good food was a pain in the ass at first; we were more reliant than usual on crowdsourced information–a blight on society–and they were unusually uninformative or just misleading. Saturday night was especially difficult without reservations (which we hadn't made because reviews were so useless). Nevertheless, we found a Moroccan restaurant with good starters and desserts, and a few cozy Dutch places that were decent value. Very difficult to find nonalcoholic cocktails, which was a little unexpected.

The red light district was an extraordinary letdown b/c of how busy it was. The area around it was more pleasant. Back at the hotel we snuck in to a silent disco, which was a misnomer because everyone was shouting along with the lyrics with no coordination or melody.

We slept in late on our last day, did some touristy food-hunting, checked out the van Gogh museum, enjoyed coffee and cocktails in the sun and then took an uber to the airport, which really demonstrated how convenient schiphol is compared to eg. Arlanda in sthlm: €23, less than 20 mins. However, they have the handsiest mofos in Europe working the security checkpoint, and there is a dearth of power outlets. KLM was a disappointment on the return trip.

If any of you do decide to go, you must--you simply must--visit the van Stapele koekmakerij: https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/Attraction_Review-g188590-d6439052-Reviews-Van_Stapele_Koekmakerij-Amsterdam_North_Holland_Province.html

I don't say this lightly: they are some of the tastiest cookies I've ever had. Must be eaten as fresh as possible. I wish I'd bought dozens more.

I'm relieved to be almost home, but I must say I regretted making it such a short trip. Wouldn't mind returning sometime soon, for another short trip.

PS. Ganja everywhere.

Unfortunately I never saw this thread until now, but I'm glad you mostly had fun.

Some stray comments:

1) Glad you got to see Leiden for a bit. I lived there for a year and it is indeed lovely, as is nearby Delft. In fact, I tell anyone visiting the Netherlands to visit other cities/towns besides Amsterdam, as Amsterdam is really not a good representation of the rest of the country, it pretty much is its own microcosmos. Very nice, yes, but the rest of the country is somewhat different.
2) Yes, the red light district is vastly overestimated. I'd only tell people it might be worthwhile for the shock value if theyre not accustomed to it, but honestly the areas outside the red light district offer that too.
3) Glad you had some of the Dutch cookies :) We may not have any real elegant cuisine, but we do offer fantastic desserts and baked goods (including bread, of course). If you haven't had it yet, next time you should try a typical dessert called "Vla" from the supermarket. It's quintessential Dutch and you won't find it elsewhere.
4) with regards to housing policy, yes there are regulations to avoid economic segregation in rental areas.
5) KLM is overrated, for sure. It's a good airline but also old, and you can tell.
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