Unique Places in Amsterdam

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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Amsterdam

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    Toll House

    by HORSCHECK Written Dec 2, 2012

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    The history of Amsterdam's Toll House (Tolhuis) dates back to approximately 1660. With the opening of the Great North Holland Canal (Groot Noordhollandsch Kanaal) in the early 19th century, the Toll House was redundant with limited prospects for future use.

    In 1859 the current building was completed as a local restaurant and tavern. When we came across the Toll House in October 2012, the last oweners had just sold the place a month ago, so that it looked quite empty.

    In the Toll House garden several statues of playing children can be found.

    Directions:
    The Toll House is located at the street Buiksloterweg 7 on the northern bank of the lake IJ. It can be reached by free ferry with the destination "Buiksloterweg", which leaves directly behind the Central Railway Station.

    Toll House (Tolhuis) Toll House: Playing children statues Toll House: Playing children statues
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    Overhoeks Tower and EYE Film Institute

    by HORSCHECK Written Dec 2, 2012

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    The so called Overhoeks Tower and the modern EYE Film Institute seem to form an architectural ensemble on the northern bank of the lake IJ, even though they were built at different times in different architectural styles and for different purposes.

    The 80 m tall Overhoeks Tower was completed in 1971 after designs of the architect Arthur Stahl. At that time it was Amsterdam's highest skyscraper and used as office space for the Royal Dutch Shell company.

    Nowadys the Overhoeks Tower belongs to the municipality of Amsterdam, which is currently looking for a new purpose of the building.

    Just next to the Overhoeks Tower stands the ultramodern EYE Film Institute. The building was designed by the Austrian Delugan Meissl Associated Architects. It was finished in 2012, which is also when the EYE Film Institute moved in. The outdoor terrace of the building offers panoramic views of the southern bank of the lake.

    Directions:
    The Overhoeks Tower and EYE Film Institute are situated on the northern bank of the lake IJ, just opposite of the Central Railway Station. The easiest way to get there, is to catch the free ferry from the Central Railway Station to the the Buiksloterweg.

    EYE Film Institute: http://www.eyefilm.nl/

    Overhoeks Tower and EYE Film Institute Overhoeks Tower from the lake IJ Overhoeks Tower EYE Film Institute from the lake IJ EYE Film Institute
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    NDSM Shipyard

    by HORSCHECK Written Dec 2, 2012

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    Amsterdam's biggest shipyard NDSM (Nederlandse Dok en Scheepsbouw Mattschappij) closed down in 1979 when the shipbuilding business wasn't profitable anymore.

    Since the late 1990's the wide NDSM area has been transfomed into an alternative district, which is a good contrast to the narrow streets of the historical city centre.

    The area is dominated by the long NDSM warehouse building. It is nowadays used for exhibitions and artist offices. A rusty crane and some old colourful trams can be found here as well.

    Further to the east stands the Cafe Norderlicht which invites for a rest in an old greenhouse. Just in front of the cafe the geWoonboot, an environmentally friendly houseboat, can be seen and on certain days also visited.

    To the west from the ferry terminal colourful container dwellings are used as student accommodation. Not far from here the Amstel Botel is moored at the NDSM Pier3. It is a luxurious floating hotel on a ship with more than 150 rooms.

    Directions:
    The former NDSM wharf is located on the northern bank of the lake IJ. The free ferry service from Amsterdam's Central Railway Station runs about twice per hour and needs about 15 minutes to get to NDSM.

    Website: http://www.ndsm.nl/

    NDSM Shipyard NDSM: Cafe Norderlicht NDSM: Rusty old tram NDSM: Rusty wharf crane NDSM: Student accommodation in container dwellings
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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.

    Money doesn't fall out of my arse..... Goodness knows what this represents! Sail when the wind allows.
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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.

    Ex Blue Note Ex Blue Note
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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.

    City wall and St Walburgis Church Zutphen Zutphen Zutphen by whisperboat Zutphen Watertower
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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.

    Statue in the courtyard of Begijnof Oldest wooden house in Amsterdam (left)
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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.

    Courtyard of the West Indisch 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 ...

    nieuwendijk-street-amsterdam
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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.

    Felix Meritis
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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.

    Living Tomorrow
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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.

    Concerto
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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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