Sculpture reading "Iamsterdam" (photo: Helen Bunting)
As capital cities go,
Below, a few must-see stops to help you plan your trip:
The Rijksmuseum occupies the top spot on
The Red Light District is perhaps the most famous thing about
The Van Gogh Museum contains “the largest collection of Van Gogh’s work anywhere in the world,” according to its website (www.vangoghmuseum.nl). But there is more to the collection than paintings. Interspersed among the art are letters that Van Gogh wrote to other artist friends, many of them about his work. Also on display are works by Van Gogh’s contemporaries from which he might have drawn inspiration, or which might have been inspired by him. The result is a more genuine understanding of Van Gogh himself and of artistic movements during his time.
The Anne Frank House attracts massive numbers of tourists—and with good reason. Lines can be long, especially during the summer months, but the exhibit is definitely worth the wait. Anne Frank and her family hid in the house for two years during the Nazi occupation, and were eventually betrayed (no one has ever been able to find out by whom). Out of everyone hiding in the house, only Otto Frank, Anne’s father, survived the war. The small upstairs rooms are almost exactly as they were when he and his family lived there. If you only visit one cultural landmark in
De 9 Straatjes is an area in central
Forget tulips and windmills. When it comes to cultural icons, the Dutch beer Heineken is far more ubiquitous. Beer devotees can take a trip to the Heineken Experience, a shrine to the brand housed on the site of the old brewery. Be warned: the tour is far too long and the product-pushing incessant. But there is plenty of free beer at the end.
Be sure to try genever (a traditional Dutch spirit), pommes frites, and the plentiful Asian food. For those who’d like to visit a “coffee shop,” any guidebook will give you a list of places.
- http://www.pancakesamsterdam.nl (in Dutch—click on the “Route” button for a small map and “Contact” for the street address, telephone number and email).