So called purely because it is on the 11th floor of the old Post Office building - this is now a new and trendy bar/restaurant/nightlife spot right near Centraal Station. It was recommended to me by my VT friend Pieter Jan V, and together with Swanet we took the lift to the 11th floor to see the fabulous views over Amsterdam (and have a drink in the meantime :))
This club is only here temporarily while the building is being renovated, so make sure you fit in a visit if you are in the city!
This is one of a number of places that has hand-made chocolates and REAL dark chocolate bars, together with mouth-watering cakes and good coffee in the adjoining tea house. Indulge yourself!
See also Puccini Bomboni Staalstraat 17, Tuesday - Saturday 10 till 6.00 where the counter is piled with pyramids of assorted chocolates made to old-fashioned recipes.
On one of our late afternoon strolls we discovered by chance the Post-Horn Church (Posthoornkerk) as it was beautifully bathed in the evening sun.
The twin-towered church is one of 6 churches in Amsterdam which was built after designs of the dutch architect P.J.H. Cuypers.
Construction on the neo-Gothic church started in 1860. As the church is completely surrounded by high houses, it was built much taller than normal.
The Post-Horn Church is located in Amsterdam's busy city centre. It can be found near the western end of the street Haarlemmerstraat only a few minutes west of the Central Railway Station.
Address: Post-Horn Church, Haarlemmerstraat 124, 1013 EH Amsterdam
Amsterdam became protestant in 1578. From then on, Catholics were forbidden to practice their religion openly. Small chapels in private houses came into existence, one of them in the 1660s on the site of the modern catholic church Peter & Paul. The house had the picture of a parrot on its gable. Hence when Peter & Paul was built and inaugurated in 1848 on the same site, the new church was again called "De Papegaai."
Although it is hardly ever mentioned in guidebooks, the building is truly worth a visit. Already the contrast between the bustle of Kalverstraat, which is the big shopping street, and the quiet interior is fascinating. Do not fail to notice beautiful mosaics in the entrance
If you are looking for a great way of spending a day out then visit Leiden. The National Museum of Natural History is located there. When we visited there was a special exhibit of Tin Tin so don't expect to only see flora and fauna. The museum is a few minutes walk from the Train Station.
Another must see is the Valk Municipal Windmill. This is one of the few mills open to the general public and it contains a full explanation of how mills developed over time.
Finally, just walk aboutt and visit the churches, citadel, and the shopping. Make sure you stop by a local cheese shop and baker for a reasonable meal!
Delft is lovely, historic, and easy to reach from Amsterdam for a day trip. The Train station is not particularly attractive but do not let that discourage you.
The city played an important role during the 16th century Dutch revolt against Philip II and their spanish overlords. Philip encouraged the assasination of William the Silent (it occured in Delft) This act would lead to the execution of Mary Queen of Scots and was a precursor to the Spanish Armada. You can still visit the Prince's house (appropriately called the Prinsenhoff) and view the exact spot of the assasination and the scars caused by the bullets on the wall.
Delft has had a close association with the House of Orange since the death of William. The Royal mausoleums (including that of William the Silent) may be found in the New Church. The tower may also be climbed, this presents a very attractive view of the city.
There is also a cultural museum, technical museum, and of course the Delft pottery factories. (2 of them are still in the city.
Don't miss it.
Castle de Haar is close to Utrecht.
It is the largest castle of the Netherlands.
There is a park around the castle with nice gardens.
The castle is currently renovated, and probably completely finished at the end of 2010. However, it is still open to the public. Note that guided tours in the castle probably only will be in Dutch, and that you cannot visit without a guide.
Entrance to the castle+park is 8 euros for adults, entrance to just the park is 3 euros. See the website for more information (Openingstijden en Tarieven means opening times and entrance fees)
Best reached by car (parking 3 euros), bus 127 from Utrecht Central Station or by taxi from train station Vleuten.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site "Defense Line of Amsterdam" (Stelling van Amsterdam) is a 135 km long ring of fortifications around Amsterdam, consisting of 42 fortresses situated 10-15 km from the center of Amsterdam. In combination with lowlands that could easily be flooded with water, these fortresses were build to protect Amsterdam in times of war.
The Stelling van Amsterdam was constructed between 1880 and 1920, and has never been used in combat.
Most fortresses are not open to the public during the whole year, so make sure you check well before you go there. In September, a lot of them are opened every weekend. The fortress Pampus (http://www.pampus.nl/) on an island in the IJsselmeer is the most famous fortress of the defense line.
Several hiking and cycling routes along the forts are available as well.
A selection of fortresses:
- Fort bij Edam http://www.fortbijedam.nl/, can be combined with a visit to Edam and Volendam!
- Fort aan den Ham http://www.fortaandenham.nl/
- Fort-island IJmuiden http://www.fortijmuiden.nl/ or http://www.forteiland.nl/
- Forten Spaarndam http://www.stichting-krayenhoff.nl/
- Fort bij Penningsveer http://www.fort-penningsveer.nl/
- Fort bij Vijfhuizen http://www.kunstfort.nl/
- Fort bij Aalsmeer http://www.fortwachtertje.nl/
- Fort aan de Drecht http://www.fortaandedrecht.nl/
- Fort bij Uithoorn http://www.fort-akademie.nl/
Maranon Hangmatten is the name of this unusual shop. If you have ever considered getting a hammock, then this is the place to go. Hundreds to choose between, all different sizes, fabrics, styles and colours. It's a truly amazing place and even if you don't buy one it's well worth a visit - you may get 'hooked' and come out with more than you went in for!
It can be found on Vondelstraat with an inconspicious gate or to the left exit of the film museum from Vondelpark. The royal riding school better known as "Hollandsche manege" opened in 1882. Feel free to walk in & experienece the granduer & elegance.
This is the only school where ladies still practice their joint riding exercises with sidesaddles. There is an option for an hour lesson for children with refreshments included. The phamplets were only in dutch but it appears you can even get married here in this fabulous surrounding.
If you like the horsey smell you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee for Eur2, as well as cake and sandwiches.
Amsterdam has naturally a large port. From the 17th century, the progressive works on the canals and of the natural bay coomplicated the navigation. Therefore a direct chanel between the center of the port and the North Sea was enginereed. Work on the North Sea channel started in 1872, 18 meters long, it was completed four years later. At the time it was one of the greatest water works ever constructed. Amsterdam was then once again ready to compete with Rotterdam and reopened its quays to commercial traffic.
The port of Amsterdam and its seaward channel are two huge basins protected against the tides. The whole harbour area has been reclaimed from the sea and its quays for a total lenght of 40 kilometers are built on artificial islands.
The city Alkmaar is about 40 minutes by train from Amsterdam.
It is famous for its weekly cheese market, held on Fridays from April to September.
Alkmaar has a rich history, many old houses, churches, museums, canals and even a windmill.
It is also the second city in the Netherlands for shopping.
Follow the link to my Alkmaar page for more information...
Not far from Amsterdam you will find the charming village Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. The village is divided in two parts by the river Amstel.
Ouderkerk aan the Amstel is a small village, about 200 years older than Amsterdam. It has many excellent restaurants, and some of them have their terraces at the waterside.
It is a good idea to escape Amsterdam for a moment and have lunch or dinner in this beautiful quiet village.
This one of the two wooden houses left in Amsterdam. It is 't Aepgen (±1550)
Originally Amsterdam had only wooden houses, but now there only two left. They are 'recent' wooden houses with brick sidewalls. This facade is an example of the houses built in Amsterdam inthe 16th and 17th century.
In ±1800 the facade is renewed with new wood. But the window at the second floor is original.
The oldest records of 't Aepgen (the ape) dates back to 1543. It was a shop and house for a long time and since 1986 it is a bar-restaurant, with hotelrooms at the top floors.
We have just returned from a winter trip to the Netherlands and would strongly recommend that family travellers take a day trip to the Efteling amusement park.
This park combines some great family rides with animatronic retellings of some of the more beloved fairy tales of our youth. Your admission covers all rides.
This was certainly a highlight for our children (including the teens) and we both enjoyed it as well.
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