The Netherlands/Holland

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city of Tesla cabs and commuters cycling to work. It is a very economical city, using the Euro. From this city, you can pretty much go anywhere in Europe. It is also an inexpensive flight from Chicago nonstop. (US$550 round trip through United OH YEAH!)

Dikker & Thijs Fenice Hotel is a lovely boutique hotel right on Prinsengracht and is the perfect walking distance to everything. Like Copenhagen, Amsterdam is also a city that commutes on bicycles. If the weather is satisfactory though, you can easily spend the day walking around all the neighborhoods without hopping on a bike or taking a cab. This hotel is close to everything including museums, the Heineken brewery, the Anne Frank House, and LOTS of shops!

There is SO MUCH to do in this city! Because it is so accessible, I know I will be coming back again. There is no way you can see everything in a short 2-3 day trip. Here are some of my recommendations:

The Fault in our Stars bench is located on the corner of Leidsegracht and Herengracht canals. You may accidentally walk by without realizing it. The area is full of cafe’s and shops and can be found by walking along the canals or using google map. Also, its FREE!

Heineken Brewery was an unexpected, fun, and buzz filled afternoon adventure. They don’t call it the “Heineken Experience” for nothing! Inside you can explore the beautiful old brewery which has been turned into a museum and very hip bar. It is the perfect “pregame” before a night out. Many locals and tourists come here to hang out and drink a fresh, crisp, beer at the “Best Dam Bar” around. I found myself quite entertained with all of the activities inside. If my post Heineken memory remembers correctly, tickets were only €16.

The Rijksmuseum is HUGE and STUNNING! Including many pieces of artwork from 17th Century Dutch artists, such as Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer. The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai is also located here. Tickets are €17. The Girl with a Pearl Earring is located in The Hague about an hour south of Amsterdam. The Van Gough Museum is its own museum nearby.

The Anne Frank House is an incredibly sad part of history but also an important one. Tickets need to be booked in advance as they do small group tours every hour during the day, but they fill up fast! I reserved tickets a month or two prior. Tickets are €9.

If you have some extra time, there is SO MUCH outside of Amsterdam that is an important part of the culture of The Netherlands.

  • Alkmaar – about thirty minutes to an hour northwest of Amsterdam and is “the city of cheese”; Alkmaar Cheese Market, The Beatles Museum, and The Beer Museum to start!
  • Delft – an hour south of Amsterdam near The Hague; where Delftware (drool) is manufactured, and is the burial site of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.
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