Fun things to do in Amsterdam

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Amsterdam

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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.

    Wertheim Park Entrance Auschwitz Memorial

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    Pompadour - house of chocolate!

    by ChrsStrl Updated Jul 11, 2004

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    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.


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    Papegaai (Parrot) Church

    by jo104 Written Sep 12, 2005

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    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

    unusual in this busy street
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Backpacking

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  • Lovely Leiden

    by fellman01 Written Apr 13, 2004

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    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!

    Leiden Cathedral
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

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  • Pijlmans's Profile Photo

    Castle De Haar

    by Pijlmans Updated Mar 22, 2009

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    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.

    Kasteel de Haar Kasteel de Haar Kasteel de Haar Kasteel de Haar Kasteel de Haar
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Castles and Palaces

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    Defense Line, UNESCO World Heritage Site

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 2, 2007

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    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 ( 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, can be combined with a visit to Edam and Volendam!
    - Fort aan den Ham
    - Fort-island IJmuiden or
    - Forten Spaarndam
    - Fort bij Penningsveer
    - Fort bij Vijfhuizen
    - Fort bij Aalsmeer
    - Fort aan de Drecht
    - Fort bij Uithoorn

    More info

    Fort aan de Drecht Stelling van Amsterdam, black circles are forts Fort bij Uithoorn Fort aan de Drecht Fort bij Aalsmeer
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Rest Your Weary Feet!

    by mazzap Updated Feb 9, 2006

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    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!

    A Hammock shop

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    Spanish Riding School

    by jo104 Updated Aug 12, 2009

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    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.

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    The port

    by codrutz Updated Aug 15, 2004

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    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.

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    Visit Alkmaar

    by Pijlmans Updated May 23, 2009

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    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...

    Canal in Alkmaar

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    Ouderkerk aan de Amstel

    by Pijlmans Written Dec 11, 2007

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    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.

    Ouderkerk aan de Amstel

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    one of the two

    by tompt Written Mar 17, 2004

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    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.

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  • Family Day Trip to Efteling Amusement Park

    by fellman01 Written Feb 15, 2004

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    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.

    Related to:
    • Theme Park Trips
    • Family Travel

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    by jo104 Updated Apr 27, 2007

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    Are you looking for an English style park in Amsterdam?? well look no further just south of Albert Cuypstraat is the delightful Saraphatipark. It has a nice central fountain and lawns for picnicing. A nice alternative to Vondelpark & a good deal smaller.

    My friend Han has his apartment overlooking this park

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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...

Map of Amsterdam