A bike route that shows different Netherlands landscapes and villages. Probably the most beautiful part is riding along the seashore north/south (depending on which direction you make the tour) with the wind blowing on your face. You'll go over the beauty of Broek in Waterland, Zuiderwoude, Uitdam, Ransdrop and Durgerdam. The people here usually don't speak English but the old men I met were really funny!
I got lost twice and ended up asking to old men who asked were I was from. When I said 'Spain' answered with a big smile and pointed the right direction.
You can get a detailed map of the trip in Mac Bikes renting shop (Centraal Station right side, or behind the chess players near Leidseplein square) for 1 € (yes, you are right, in Netherlands you have to pay for everything even for pissing on). Be careful when following the signs on the route map: sometimes it is not very accurate and it's better to follow your orientation (if it's better than mine). You have to cross a narrow river and pay a few cents for it.
See more pictures in travelogue.
Four authentic "banning poles" or "boundary stakes" (banpaal in Dutch) can be found around Amsterdam. In 1544 emperor Charles V granted Amsterdam the right to ban criminals, vagabonds and other undesirable individuals to one German mile (7.4 km) outside the city gates. Six boundary stakes along the main approaches to the city indicated the borders of this banishment area. Exiles were forbidden to enter the area within the limits of the stakes until their banishment had ended. By entering the area they risked capital punishment.
Banning was a popular punishment for thieves and beggars, but also for cursing, gambling or prostitution. Nobody has been exiled since 1800.
On the banning poles is written "Terminus Proscriptions" and "Uiterste Palen Der Ballingen" which is respectively Latin and Dutch for "limit post of the banished".
Interestingly, in 1650 the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt made an etching showing one of these banning poles. This "Rembrandt pole" dates from 1624 and has been relocated several times. The lower part unfortunately has been destroyed, but the remaining part can now be found in the Geuzenbos at the Spaarnwouderdijk, close to its original position where it was painted by Rembrandt. The exact location is behind the water-pumping station near the Wethouder van Essenweg. You'll have to climb over a small wooden fence to reach it, this is completely legal to do, the fence is just there to keep the sheep inside (coordinates N52 23.521 E4 46.153).
The other 3 remaining banning poles can be found here:
- Sloterweg in Sloten, hidden in an alley between house numbers 1204 and 1208. The original boundary stake from 1624 along the Sloterweg in Sloten marked the southwestern extent of the banishment area and was replaced in 1794, since it was falling into ruin (coordinates N52 20.501 E4 47.927).
- Amsterdamseweg 210 in Amstelveen dating from 1625 . The banning pool on the Amsterdamseweg in Amstelveen is close to the parks De Braak, Thijssepark and Broersepark in Amstelveen and a visit to the banning pole could be combined with a visit to these parks (coordinates N52 18.810 E4 50.826).
- Along the river Amstel, Amsteldijk Noord, close to house number 65. This banning pole from 1625 is included in a marked 10 km walk through the Middelpolder (coordinates N52 18.624 E4 54.278).
This might not sound exciting but it really is something worth seeing, whether your a Flower lover or not. Tours do go here, or you can get there on your own steam like I did. I caught Bus 172 from outside Central Station. It took about an hour to get there, and stops right at the Complex. This is the WORLD'S LARGEST FLOWER AUCTION, so as you can imagine, its extremely busy. You walk on a high boardwalk overlooking all the Flowers and action. You can peer through the window at the Auction room and see the buyers in Action, how fast each lot is sold, its amazing! I saw Flowers that I hadn't seen before. There is a souvenir shop and a Cafe for that morning cuppa & cake(quite expensive) Take your time and enjoy.
Open on WEEKDAYS ONLY from 7.30am - 11am.
Admission 5 euro (2009)
The Dutch used to flood their land against enemy attacks.
The fortresses that came with this technique are called the Dutch Waterline, you can read all about it in English here: http://www.hollandsewaterlinie.nl/ and here http://www.noord-holland.com/ (things to do).
Walking routes around Amsterdam that visit the fortresses can be found under "wandelroutes" at http://www.noord-holland.com/stellingvanamsterdam/.
See my Netherlands page for some English/Dutch keywords to understand these search engines for walks in the Netherlands.
A similar defense line with fortresses was build around Amsterdam, see my Amsterdam Things to Do tip about the Stelling van Amsterdam (Defense Line of Amsterdam).
If you want to see traditional Dutch windmills there is a small group of them just north of Amsterdam and these are a better choice to make over the windmills at Kinderdijk if you only have time to visit one windmill heritage site.
These windmills were built from 1633 onwards and until 1929 when electric pumps came in to operation these had drained the Schermerpolder to keep it free from flooding as the land is below sealevel.
There is a small visitor centre and it is possible to see inside a restored windmill which does work and is furnshed as a family dwelling would have been over 100 years ago.
The entrance fee is €4 and this represents good value as you are free to climb right to the top of the windmill and see it working (this cannot be done at Kinderdijk).
Train to Alkmaar from Amsterdam CS and then bus 127 to the windmills. By car off the N243.
For GPS / Sat Nav the postcode is 1636 VL.
Just a few miles to the east of Amsterdam, you’ll find a beautiful countryside stuffed with small fortified towns, castles and fortifications of all sorts and ages. A perfect destination for a relaxed day sightseeing, and finding out a thing or two about Dutch history.
Starting point for example at the train station in Weesp, just 15 minutes from Amsterdam Central, 4 trains per hour.
The ideal way to move around on these country roads is by bicycle. This is Holland, so of course, plenty of bicycle paths around here. Bikes can be rented at the station in Weesp.
The small town of Weesp has a fortified centre. Narrow streets, a Gothic church with 13th century tower, a City Hall dating from 1776 and a couple of windmills. There’s a weekly market on Tuesday morning in the centre.
2 miles north of Weesp : fortified Muiden with it’s impressive castle Muiderslot (www.muiderslot.nl) . From Easter till October a falconer with various birds of prey. Around the medieval castle fortifications from later periods, and historic herbal and vegetable gardens (in the past the castle had to be self supporting).
Naarden (5 miles east of Weesp) is one of the best preserved fortified towns in Europe. One of the forts now houses the Fortress Museum (www.vestingmuseum.nl). You can walk through a network of underground tunnels and bastions.
The countryside between these towns is classical Dutch, with rivers, canals and lakes, cows and windmills. As the region was the key to Amsterdam, you’ll see forts and bunkers all around when you cycle along these green meadow-lands.
On the site www.guideholland.com you can find tips, routes and a lot of practical information on this beautiful region just outside Amsterdam.
There is also a Google-map with images of this region. Look on Google-maps for "Places of interest, just east of Amsterdam" in "user-created content".
The Diemerbos (Forest of Diemen) is located in the (south)east of Amsterdam, where the highways A1 and A9 meet, close to the suburb Diemen. Sinds 1993, when fast-growing trees were planted, this has been a literary growing recreational area.
You can do a nice 9 km, 2 h long, marked walk through this unique piece of nature, that is surrounded by highways. Especially after wet periods it can be a very muddy walk since parts of the route are unpaved, so take good walking shoes!
The hike starts at the end of the Muiderstraatweg in Diemen, close to the junction of the Muiderstraatweg with the Weteringweg. There is a big parking here. The closest public transport is the last stop of tram 9 in Diemen. See www.gvb.nl for details.
From this point you enter the forest and follow the hexagonal signs "Diemerbosroute" of the Dutch Touring Association (ANWB). Also a shorter, 3 km, 50 min long, marked walk from Staatsbosbeheer starts here, with red marking, see the pictures.
The Diemerbosroute also takes you along the Amsterdam-Rijn Kanaal (Amsterdam-Rhine Canal), that connects Amsterdam with the important shipping artery the river Rhine.
You can print the map that is among the pictures and take it with you for the unlikely case that you get lost in this small forest.
Follow the link below for my Netherlands page if you are interested in more hiking information.
Amstelveen is one of the suburbs of Amsterdam. In contrast to Amsterdam, Amstelveen is one of the "greenest" cities of Holland.
There are quite some activities for children, and possibilities for recreation.
Ladies, the shopping center is the biggest in the region!!! (Sorry guys...)
Amstelveen can easily be reached by tram 5 or metro 51 from Amsterdam.
On the picture, Amstelveen is the rectangular shape in the middle, surrounded by green, with Amsterdam in the north. The Amsterdamse Bos (forest) is located to the west of Amstelveen.
Please check out my Amstelveen pages for tips about Amstelveen!
Outside Amsterdam there is plenty opportunity for walks in nature or in a less populated environment.
See e.g. my Amsterdam tips about the Amsterdamse Bos (forest of Amsterdam) or the beautiful small parks in my Amstelveen tips.
Additionally, you will find a lot more information about hiking and walking around Amsterdam and in Holland in general on my page about the Netherlands.
The Defense Line of Amsterdam is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. See for more info about the Fortresses of the Defense Line:
This 8-10 km marked hike takes you along two fortresses of the Defense Line of Amsterdam:
Fortress along the river Drecht (http://www.fortaandedrecht.nl/)
Fort De Kwakel (http://www.stelling-amsterdam.nl/forten/kwakel/)
The walk starts and finishes in the village De Kwakel, at the bus stop (bus 147) at the crossing Drechtdijk-Kerklaan. The route is marked with red/yellow stickers on signposts. Some parts are unpaved, so wear good shoes and avoid this walk after a very rainy period.
See http://www.9292ov.nl/ for public transport information. It e.g. takes 60-90 minutes by bus to get to De Kwakel from Amsterdam Central Station.
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