Fun things to do in Amsterdam

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Amsterdam

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    Cafe Kalkhoven

    by egonwegh Updated Apr 10, 2014

    A nice cool beer at Cafe Kalkhoven. "Café Kalkhoven is one of the oldest cafes in Amsterdam. The place opened in 1670. Many items in the bar are still authentic, especially the barrels behind the bar". (from their website). As you can see for yourself in the picture, they did not exagerrate when they wrote that they are located right underneath the Westertoren.

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    Amsterbanned: Cycling tour along the banning poles

    by Pijlmans Updated Apr 6, 2014

    Four authentic "banning poles" or "boundary stakes" (called "banpaal" in Dutch) can be found around Amsterdam. They are indicated with a blue dot in the map above.

    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 routes 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".

    This 48 km cycling tour passes the four remaining banning poles.

    The route is very diverse, ranging from the quiet Amsterdam Forest and polder landscapes to Amsterdam’s Dam Square, one of the busiest places of the Netherlands.

    The official start of the cycle tour is in Amstelveen, at the parking for the Amsterdam Forest at the end of the Oude Karselaan (coordinates: N52 18 41.8 E4 50 26.6). However, since this is a circular tour, you can start anywhere. The train stations Amsterdam Amstel and Amsterdam Central and Amsterdam Sloterdijk are closely along the route.

    You will find the first banning pole less than 5 minutes from the official starting point, on your right along the Amsterdamse weg close to house-number 210.

    The banning pole at the Amsterdamseweg in Amstelveen dates from 1625 . It 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).

    From here you will cycle through Amstelveen and the “Middelpolder” to the Amstel river. When you arrive at the Amstel river, the second banning pole is about 150m to the right.

    The address of the second banning pole is Amsteldijk Noord, close to house number 65. This banning pole from 1625 is also included in a marked 10 km walk through the Middelpolder (coordinates N52 18.624 E4 54.278).

    The tour continues along the river Amstel, and passes the windmill “Riekermolen”, with a statue of the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt next to it. The windmill still spins on Saturdays and Sundays between 12:00 and 17:00, May to September – when the winds are favorable, of course. Unfortunately, the windmill's interior is not available for tours. The statue of Rembrandt was placed in 1969, at this 300th dying day.

    You will continue cycling next to the Amstel river into the busy center of Amsterdam, where you pass places such as the “Magere Brug” (Skinny Bridge), Amstel Hotel, the City Hall and Opera (Stopera) and the Dam Square with the National Monument and Palace. Be aware of cars, trams, pedestrians and other cyclists!

    Via the canal “Singel” and the Haarlemmerstraat you leave the busy city center again and cycle paralell to the train tracks to the third banning pole near the recreational area Spaarnwoude.

    Interestingly, in 1650 the painter Rembrandt made an etching showing this banning pole. 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 of the third banning pole 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).

    Via the town of Halfweg you continue cycling along the Ringvaart canal to the village Sloten. Here you can pass the windmill “Molen van Sloten”, which is open to the public, as well as a Coopery museum.

    Just before you arrive at the fourth banning pole, you will pass a square with the smallest police station of the Netherlands.

    The fourth banning pole is located at the 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).

    From here you will cycle around the lake “Nieuwe Meer” and through the Amsterdam Forest back to the start.

    When you arrive at the Nieuwe Meer lake, there is the possibility for a shortcut by boat. The boat option is available every 15 min from April 15th – October 15th on Saturdays from 12.00-18.00 and Sundays and holidays from 11.00-19.00. Adults 1 euro, kids 0.50 euro, bicycles 0.50 euro; see http://www.rederij-oeverloos.nl/. Besides being a pleasant trip, this saves you about 4 km!

    Near the stop of the boat at the other side of the lake, there is the pancake house Boerderij Meerzicht.

    Along this tour there are numerous possibilities for refreshments, such as hotel/bar/restaurant Abina close to the start/finish, cafe/restaurant Klein Kalfje along the Amstel river, and cafe/restaurant De Bosbaan near the Amsterdam Forest. Along the part between Amsterdam , Halfweg and Sloten there are not a lot of options for refreshments.

    I also made a "green" version of the route that avoids the busy center of Amsterdam. You can find the green version here.

    This Amsterbanned route is available as GPS track via the website below.

    Related to:
    • Cycling
    • Historical Travel

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    Amsterbanned Green: Banning pole cycling tour

    by Pijlmans Updated Apr 6, 2014

    Four authentic "banning poles" or "boundary stakes" (called "banpaal" in Dutch) can be found around Amsterdam. They are indicated with a blue dot in the map above.

    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 routes 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".

    This 48 km cycling tour is an adaptation of my original Amsterbanned Cycling Tour. This is the "green" version that avoids the busy center of Amsterdam. I personally prefer the original version through the center of Amsterdam, because it's more diverse and Amsterdam itself is just great :-)

    The official start of the cycle tour is in Amstelveen, at the parking for the Amsterdam Forest at the end of the Oude Karselaan (coordinates: N52 18 41.8 E4 50 26.6). However, since this is a circular tour, you can start anywhere. The train station Amsterdam Sloterdijk is not far from the route.

    You will find the first banning pole less than 5 minutes from the official starting point, on your right along the Amsterdamse weg close to house-number 210.

    The banning pole at the Amsterdamseweg in Amstelveen dates from 1625 . It 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).

    From here you will cycle through Amstelveen and the “Middelpolder” to the Amstel river. When you arrive at the Amstel river, the second banning pole is about 150m to the right.

    The address of the second banning pole is Amsteldijk Noord, close to house number 65. This banning pole from 1625 is also included in a marked 10 km walk through the Middelpolder (coordinates N52 18.624 E4 54.278).

    The tour continues for a short period along the river Amstel, and then you return to the Amsterdam Forest. Via the lakes "Nieuwe Meer" and "Sloterplas" you approach the third banning pole near the recreational area Spaarnwoude.

    Interestingly, in 1650 the painter Rembrandt made an etching showing this banning pole. 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 of the third banning pole 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).

    Via the town of Halfweg you continue cycling along the Ringvaart canal to the village Sloten. Here you can pass the windmill “Molen van Sloten”, which is open to the public, as well as a Coopery museum.

    Just before you arrive at the fourth banning pole, you will pass a square with the smallest police station of the Netherlands.

    The fourth banning pole is located at the 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).

    From here you will cycle around the lake “Nieuwe Meer” and through the Amsterdam Forest back to the start. At this point there is some overlap with the first part of the route, but it's less than 3 km.

    When you arrive at the Nieuwe Meer lake, there is the possibility for a shortcut by boat. The boat option is available every 15 min from April 15th – October 15th on Saturdays from 12.00-18.00 and Sundays and holidays from 11.00-19.00. Adults 1 euro, kids 0.50 euro, bicycles 0.50 euro; see http://www.rederij-oeverloos.nl/. Besides being a pleasant trip, this saves you about 4 km!

    Near the stop of the boat at the other side of the lake, there is the pancake house Boerderij Meerzicht.

    Along this tour there are numerous possibilities for refreshments, such as hotel/bar/restaurant Abina close to the start/finish, cafe/restaurant Klein Kalfje along the Amstel river, and cafe/restaurant De Bosbaan near the Amsterdam Forest. Along the part between Amsterdam , Halfweg and Sloten there are not a lot of options for refreshments.

    This route is available as GPS track via the website below.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Cycling

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    De Chocoladefabriek (open in ????)

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Jan 4, 2014

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    De Chocoladefabriek (Chocolate factory) was re-scheduled to open in 2013.
    It looks like his museum will not open at all.

    It's inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate factory and visitors will travel the same way the cacao beans will do.

    Underneath the complex is an unused metro tunnel, that might become a part of the project.

    Related to:
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    • Food and Dining
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    Body Worlds

    by pieter_jan_v Written Jan 4, 2014

    At January 16, 2014 the permanent BODY WORLDS exposition started at Amsterdam.
    This happiness project of Gunther von Hagens has travelled the world in the years before.
    This exhibition of 200 prepared bodies presents the story of the human body in the 21st century.

    It is advertised as a scientific marvel and an artistic wonder, the body human is an epic of form and function, power and potential, vulnerability and resilience.

    Business hours:
    Mo-We: 9AM - 6PM
    Th-Sa: 9AM - 9PM
    Su: 9AM - 6PM

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture
    • Photography

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    The former Open Harbour Museum

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Dec 16, 2013

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    The Open Harbour Museum was a part of the Zeeburg quarter and centered around the former KNSM passenger terminal. In this building the museum was housed and it is also used for cultural events. Plans were to add ships at the waterfront, like a submarine, a lighthouseship, a KNSM passenger ship and a Greenpeace ship.

    Update: In 2003 The museum closed and two years later was transformed into a tourist information center called Loods 6.

    2013 Update: Most of the ships now are located at the NDSM area across 't IJ.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Sailing and Boating

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    Gemeente Amsterdam, Netherlands

    by TrendsetterME Written Jun 16, 2013

    "The Government of Amsterdam" is the government of the municipality and city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Most of the inhabitants live in the city of Amsterdam, but the municipality also covers a number of small villages, and other parts of the local government, such as the Waterschap or the bridge management, cover an even larger area.

    The administrative district borders Diemen, Weesp, Abcoude, Ouder-Amstel and Amstelveen in the south, Haarlemmermeer and Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude in the west, and Zaanstad, Oostzaan, Landsmeer and Waterland in the north.

    As all Dutch municipalities, the municipality of Amsterdam is governed by a mayor, burgemeester, his aldermen, wethouders, and the municipal council, gemeenteraad.

    Related to:
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    • Business Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    Contemporary Art: De Appel

    by pieter_jan_v Updated May 6, 2013

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    De Appel is the centre for contemporary Art.
    Normally there are discussion and video presentations on tuesday nights (see their website).
    The centre moved from the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat to the Prins Hendrikkade.

    Admission: €7.00 (adult)

    Opening Hours:
    Mo: Closed
    Tu-Sa: Noon - 8PM
    Su: Noon - 6PM

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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    Silence please ...

    by pieter_jan_v Updated May 5, 2013

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    Never before did I found a museum about funurals. Well, the Uitvaartmuseum " Tot Zover" may be the first.

    The Uitvaart Museum (Funeral Museum) opened on December 12, 2007.
    It is located at the "Nieuwe Oosterbegraafplaats", a churchyard at the East quarter of Amsterdam.
    Much of the collection is collected by Henk Kok. who has worked on opening a funeral museum since 1964.

    Entrance: € 5,50 (adults).

    Opening hours (including the Museum Café Roosenburgh) :
    Mo: Closed
    Tu-Su: 11AM - 5PM

    Related to:
    • Seniors
    • Museum Visits
    • Religious Travel

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    PC Hooftstraat - Upscale Shopping

    by nicolaitan Written Mar 17, 2013

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    The most upscale and prestigious shopping street in Amsterdam is named after Pieter C Hooft ( 1581-1647), a poet and playwright in the early Golden Age of Amsterdam. Best bet is he would be a lot more pleased than Albert Cuyp with his eponymous shopping district. Offering the smoothest pavement we saw in the whole city, the preponderance of large SUVs and luxury sedans came as no surprise. Neither did the upscale types emerging from them to visit an astonishing row of internationally renowned design stores. No duds here. All these stores are elegantly decorated and served by elegant salespeople. The offerings are standard for the names involved - exquisite, but no surprises, no bargains. The whole district is only three short blocks, easily walked, with trams at each end.

    The British women's designer Karen Millen was previously unknown to us although there are two boutiques in New York, one way downtown and the other in an office building on Broadway - came out with a nice enough conservative sweater at 130 Eu, our most expensive clothing purchase.

    Chopard, Gucci, Cartier, Jimmy Choo, Hermes, Chanel -- all the usual suspects.

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    Wertheim Park and Auschwitz Memorial

    by nicolaitan Written Mar 10, 2013

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    " The sky is wounded forever. Auschwitz was an unspeakably appalling attack on everything that humanity stands for " Jan Hendrik Wolkers.

    The small Wertheim Park is the only park in Amsterdam Central and one of the oldest parks in the city, a gift to the people of the city by Napoleon in 1812. The park is named after Abraham Wertheim, a 19th C banker and philanthropist. The park is noted for its sculptures, most notably the two marble sphinxs with lanterns at the entrance. There is little to draw one into the park, located across from the Botanic Garden, to visit the Auschwitz Memorial if one does not know it is here. We were alone in the park with a few locals walking their dogs.

    Of the approximately 107000 Jews sent to extermination camps, only 5200 returned. Some went to Sobibor but most to Auschwitz. The Dutch Auschwitz Committee commissioned Dutch author and artist Jan Hendrik Wolkers to conceptualize and create a monument. The memorial was initially place in a cemetery, possibly as early as the 1970's, and moved here in 1993. It is comprised of six broken mirrors in two rows of three with an erect glass panel stating Never Again Auschwitz. The artist has stated that cracking the mirrors was intended to punish the sky for its indifference to the atrocities being committed. The rest of the park looks like a nice venue for a short rest should time allow.

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    Kokopelli Smartshop

    by DarkFeather Updated Mar 3, 2013

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    Don't miss out on the best smartshop ever: KOKOPELLI
    It will appeal you from the street with its coloured, warm shop-window and that wooden bench outside, near the entry!
    Inside you will find a little peaceful oasi; the parquet floor gives you a sensation of warmth, lights and books make you feel calm and the nice owners bring happiness. Don't forget to look at the paintings, there's always some art exhibition going on (I remember Kamiel Proost exhibition)!
    Going ahead in the shop you will find a relax area; comfortable sofas with cushions, little coffee tables and notebooks: they're meant to be used by customers who can either leave a message or draw something with the Koko's pencils!
    Kokopelli is also a tea room and an internet café, so sit back and have a hot cup of tea while drawing, smoking and listening to the Koko's relaxing music :)
    Absolutely the best place ever if you want to spend some peaceful hours!

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    Prins Hendrikkade

    by ophiro Updated Feb 4, 2013

    Prins Hendrikkade is a street very close to the central station and also very in the end (or start , depends on your travel location) of Amsterdam's Chinatown.

    You will find here some lovely attractions like St. Nicholas church , The dutch maritime museum , Hotel Victoria , Schreierstoren and more.

    The street is named after the youngest son of King William II , Prince Henry (1820-1879).

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    Barlaeus Gymnasium

    by ophiro Written Feb 3, 2013

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    Barlaeus Gymnasium is a big building , a secondary school that was built in 1885 and is very close to Leidseplain.
    They teach here Latin and Greek.
    I loved the size of the building and the amount of bicycles in front of the building,

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    Van Eesteren Museum

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Dec 30, 2012

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    In October 2010 the Van Eesteren Museum opened in a former household and technical school. The museum idsplays the architecture of the Amsterdam New West suburb development after World War II. A fifties living room is one of the parts of the museum, but there also is a very interesting inner court.

    Guided tours (also in the suburb) are available.

    Entrance fee: € 5,00 (adult)

    Opening hours:
    Mo-Th: Closed
    Fr-Sa: 1PM - 5PM
    Su: Closed (except the first Sunday of the month)

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

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Amsterdam Things to Do

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Amsterdam feels like a small city that offers art, history, and architecture. Within its web of water-filled canals are 900 years of history, more than 50 museums, and countless streets to just...

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