Unique Places in Amsterdam

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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Amsterdam

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    Oude Kerk misericords

    by leics Updated Nov 27, 2012

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    You will almost certainly visit (or perhaps just pass by) the Oude Kerk, set in the middle of the Red Light district.

    But you may not take the opportunity to look carefully at the Medieval (late 1400s) misericords inside (especially if you have only visited to see the tomb of Rembrandt's first wife).

    Misericords are little shelves on the choir-seats, placed there for weary monks to rest themselves during long or night-time services.

    In many Medieval churches they have fascinating carvings underneath and Ooude Kerk is no expception, although its misericords are more rustic simplicity than master-carvings. Luckily, they were not damaged during the 1566 iconoclasm in the church.

    Many of the misericords in Oude Kerk represent homely sayings: don't pull too hard on a weak rope, money doesn't fall out of my arse, banging your head against a brick wall.....more photos in my travelogue.

    I am dubious about one or two of them: the clothes are simply not right for the 1480s, and I suspect they were replaced in the early/mid 20th century.

    Well worth seeking out.

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    Blue Note - Gone too!

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Oct 27, 2011

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    This page became the saddest one in my record shop tour. Not only did Boudisque go out of busniess; Blue Note, Brutus and Virgin records are all gone now.

    Find your way through the ever busy NIEUWENDIJK, but don't follow this street up towards the DAM Square; take a right into the GRAVENSTRAAT. There BLUE NOTE, a Jazz-CD's-only shop was located.

    I you are only interested in CD's you could go back to the NIEUWENDIJK and criss the DAM square to visit FAME.

    A new trance shop, Rush Hour Records is located at Spuistraat 98. Only modern Hip Hop, Trance & Dance, but for some of you it might be interesting.

    I'll continue with the record shop trail.

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    Daytrip to Zutphen

    by Pijlmans Updated Jun 29, 2011

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    Zutphen is a picturesque city along the river IJssel in the province Gelderland, in the mid-east of the Netherlands.

    It is about 90 minutes from Amsterdam by train.

    Zutphen used to be a fortified city, and the remains of the city wall, gates and defense towers remind you of this.

    There are also several churches, among which the St Walburgis Church with the famous 16th century Librije library. In this old library, the books are locked with chains in order to prevent theft. It's one of the three libraries like that in the world!

    See the link below for more information.

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    The Begijnhof solitude

    by tvor Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    I say "solitude" but it probably isn't all that quiet and peaceful. There are still walking tour groups in and out of this secluded courtyard but it still has a feeling of peace and quiet here.

    In the 12th century, this began as a religious retreat for women. It wasn't quite as strict as a convent, the women were not nuns though did have to vow chastity and obedience to the parish priest. They could leave at any time to get married and did not have to take a vow of poverty. They did good works, teach, tend the sick. They were referred to, some time later as Beguines. This "settlement" was originally surrounded by canals and marshland but over the years it was filled in. There is a church and a small chapel. The women would be buried in the church but when the official church in the Netherlands converted to Protestant, one woman refused to be buried in the "new" church. Though she was initially buried in the church, she was moved to a grave at the edge of the church grounds and you can still see her grave commemorated in the square. The last Beguine that lived here died in 1971 and since then, the houses have been given over to senior citizens.

    So what is there to see here? Not a whole lot but it's very pretty, quiet, and one of the two oldest houses made of wood in Amsterdam still stands here. The church is pretty and you can also visit the chapel. The houses are the tall thin canal type houses with gabled roofs and pretty windows and decoration.

    It's not all that easy to find. Take the tram to the Spui stop and go into the square. At one end, there is a sign to the Begijnof but keep to the left as there's a street veering off to the right at the same corner of the square. There's a little alleyway into the courtyard with information on the wall as you pass in.

    See the website below for a lot of interesting information and history. There is a little shop outside the courtyard on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal near the tram stop. They sell religious books and cards and postcards.

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    Het West-Indisch-Huis (West Indies house)

    by Airpunk Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The old seat of the Dutch West Indies Company (W.I.C) was built in 1623. It was already given up by the company in 1648 and has been used for many purposes since then. Today, it houses a restaurant (Piet Heyn Kelder) and rooms for parties and meetings. The courtyard in the middle of the building is worth a short visit - and its free. There you can also see the statue of Peter Stuyvesant, the last mayor of New Amsterdam before the city was captured by the English and named New York. Address: Herenmarkt 93 - 99, near to the Anner Frank huis.

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    NIEUWENDIJK A'DAM

    by RoyJava Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    It would take too much to put this "tip" under "Local Customs" because of its coffeeshops and the cannabis you can get there, familiar with all locals. The Nieuwendijk is one of the oldest shoppings street in Amsterdam with some good shops today. Included C&A, H&M, We, shops for shoes, knick-knack, some good fast-food restaurants, and Tip De Bruin, a tiptop design boutique. When reaching the Nieuwendijk for a walk to Singel (canal street) you'll pass the notorious area where the shops look like colorful, exotic places, with a touch out of the 60's. They include the tainted tea- & coffeeshops, so famous for its liberty today ...

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    Felix Meritis

    by Jarin Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    In 1787 opened this neo-classical building its doors (by Jacob Otten Husly designed), which was especially built for the Felix Meritis Society. It was a society of the citizens of Amsterdam for the advancement of arts and sciences and was founded in 1777.
    In the past Mozart, Edvard Grieg and J. Brahms gave here concerts.
    After abt. two decades to have housed here Dutch Communist Party (since 1946) it got back its cultural function and today houses here A European Centre for Arts and Sciences.

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    Living Tomorrow

    by Jarin Updated Apr 4, 2011

    It shows us in a realistic way how we will live and work in the future. You will be guided through various rooms in your future house (kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, etc). The high tech, which we know only from some science fiction films, you can see here with your own eyes.

    Tickets must be reserved first, groups Monday through Friday and individual visitors (like family) only in weekends. Please ask for details in your hotel.

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    Dinner and a Movie

    by ingridf_nl Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    There is a great little theatre/restaurant along Haarlemmerdijk. The movie theatre is called "The Movies" and the restaurant "Wild Kitchen". Both have a fantastic atmosphere.

    You can have your cake and eat it too by reserving ... Dinner first, they call you when your movie is about to be shown.

    The food is fantastic and both the restaurant and the movie theatre have a great atmosphere. It is worth reserving for either/both to make sure that you can get in.

    The bar at the restaurant is also great...

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    In de Wildeman: a wonderful small bar

    by ingridf_nl Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This is one of the oldest bars in Amsterdam.

    Totally unique in Amsterdam, is that it has a non-smoking room. In de Wildeman serves over 200 different beers. It is tiny and busy, it may take a while to get served, but overall the atmosphere is very nice. If your feet are aching, and you want to have a very good glass of beer... stop here.

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    Cannabis Cup

    by malianrob Updated Dec 27, 2010

    It has been something that my husband has wanted to do for along time. Finally in 2010 we got to go to the Cannabis Cup. We actually had tickets two years ago but we left early and really didnt get to see too much of it. It is an experience but I dont think its worth it to go again. Once is enough.
    First of all the tickets go up as high as 250Euro to attend the Cannabis Cup. We didnt pay that much butI would have been pretty bothered if I did. I dont think it was worth it. Two years ago the music lineup was better and probably more worth it. This year it was kind of weak and in my opinion not worth the money. Also the earlierthat you buy the tickets for the Cup the cheaper it is but you dont know who is going to perform until a month or less before it opens. By then the tickets are pricey. I also didnt like that after you puchase the tickets and you get you confirmation email thats all the communication you get from Hightimes. They dont send you follow up emails with information asto whats going on. Its pretty much up to you to search on different linksto see the music lineup and other things. We got alot of info from people we met on the street wearing their judges badges. Had we not talked to people we met we would have never known that there was a free shuttle that runs through out the day and night from near the Centraal Station to the Powerzone daily. The first time we went to the Powerzone we paid about 20 euro. I told my husband that we need to figure out the metro/bus schedule because I refuse to pay that again for one way! We were also a little disappointed when we went to the Powerzone. For some reason we thought the function would be much bigger. When we finally were able to get in after over an hour waiting to get into the Powerzone the staff was very friendly and helpful butthings were not very organized. We recieved quite a fewfree things like a t shirt, a hemp bag, map of about thirty three different coffee shops that are in the Cannabis Cup competition, a grinder, and a fewother things. With your judges pass that you wear around your neck you will be identified as a judge. Some coffee shops will give you some free samples or other goodies. Barneys on Haarlemmerstraat 102 gave away the most goodies. Not surprisingly they also were big winners. They gave away tshirts, boardshorts, free cannabis samples, stickers, etc... Other shops gave discounts on cannabis to the judges and some coffee shops did nothing but let their product speak for itself. Robs opinion was that the cannabis at Barneys wasnt the best at all. Maybe people just liked all the free stuff. Definitely a great marketing technique.
    So you get a booklet that tells you where all the coffee shops in the competition are at. As a judge you have to try to go to as many of these shops as possible and sample theproduct that they have entered in the competition. On the last day of the Cannabis Cup you go back to the Powerzone and submit your vote.
    In the evenings the music venue isnt at the Powerzone but at the Melkweg. This was cool because it was very close to where we were staying. This is also where the winners of the Cannabis Cup are anounced on the last day of the Cup.
    You can also buy a day pass to the Cannabis Cup if you find yourself in Amsterdam during the Cup days.
    Well we have done it and now I am over it. It was an experience but once is more than enough.

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    CONCERTO Utrechtsestraat

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Dec 5, 2010

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    Go back North via the AMSTELVELD (for the men there is a public toilet, the so-called KRUL). Go left into the UTRECHTSE STRAAT, where you'll find CONCERTO at nrs. 52 to 60. It's one of the oldest and most reliable record stores in town. They still have records (also buying them), but for hard to find CD's this is the place.

    Opposite at nr. 105 you find GET RECORDS.

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    Amsterdam Roots Festival in Oosterpark

    by Birsen Updated Jul 13, 2010

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    We were on Sunday afternoon in Oosterpark open air Roots Festival (it was free to the public). This year was on 17th-20th June. The park had 5 different concert stages -one very big one. Through the walking pathways there were more than 200 food and art craft stands from all over world. First we visited these exhibits later on had some dutch beer and got high a bit. The ambiance was wonderful, a lot of young people dancing enjoying smiling... The food was very good, we tried local fish snacks and later got some fries and some indonesian food. If you plan your trip on summer try to coincide with this festival, you won't regret it:)) It's an absolute fun!

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    Huis Bartolotti

    by leics Written Feb 28, 2010

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    A magnificent brick confection at Herengracht 170-172, its facade covered with cherubs and urns, swags and swirls.

    The architect was one Hendrick de Keyser, and the house was for one Willem van den Heuvel (important in the West India Company). Van den Heuvel inherited a load of money from his Italian uncle, so adopted his name......which is why the house is called 'Bartolotti'.

    The house dates from the early 17th century and, sadly, there is no public access to its interior.

    But it does have its own page on the Dutch Wiki. :-)

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    Within the 'Stopera' 2

    by leics Written Feb 28, 2010

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    The other thing I found inside this massive complex was a rather excellent display showing just how Amsterdam developed, how it is kept alive and (a bit scarily) what the sea levels are.

    To find it, walk right through the Musiktheater foyer and ticket office area (from the side nearest the River Amstel) into a long corridor, then turn right.

    All along the wall is an installation showing buildings and strata, and there are also displays explaining the archaeology and history of settlement within the area.

    And there are two huge glass tubes set into the floor. One shows the sea level in two dutch towns (Vlissingen and Ijmuiden)....well below my knees (and I am small). the oter shows the height of the great flood of 1953, far above my head.

    Rather chilling for me. The 1953 flood (a storm surge) caused great loss of life in the UK as well as the Netherlands. I wonder if better precautions have been taken in the Netherlands than in the UK to prevent it occurring again?

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Amsterdam Off The Beaten Path

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If you want to discover the Amsterdam hidden gems, best visit one of the local tourist offices first. They have great walking- and cycling routes booklets that will lead you to the most surprising...
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