Latest posts by Heidi Greenstein (see all)
- The Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) Art Gallery – Cape Town - February 28, 2018
- Baking – Rhubarb Custard Creams Recipe - October 6, 2017
- 10 Recommended Things To Tick Off Whilst In Amsterdam - August 4, 2017
Amsterdam was my latest city break and I would like to share some of the things I was able to tick off my Amsterdam bucket list! Here are my top 10 things to do and see in Amsterdam. Enjoy?
A canal cruise
Often called the ‘Venice of the North’, Amsterdam has over one hundred kilometres of canals and over 1,500 bridges. There are numerous cruise options but I would recommend a smaller boat depending on the weather as these boats are open topped. He smaller hoppers usually have an experienced helmsman with a good knowledge of the area. These smaller boats can navigate the small canals compared to the large boats which stick to the 3 main large canals. The larger boats have options to have a closed roof and give an invaluable audio guide in a variety of languages.
Van Gogh museum
The audio guide is effective and most informative with a choice of a shorter summary tour or the more detailed one of the gallery. A guided tour is also an option but needs to be booked prior to arrival. I would recommend that the audio tour does the job and leaves a lasting impression. It is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South.
A beautiful architectural delight. The Rijks belongs to the most breathtaking museums in the world. The audio tour is perfect to get you around the museum with focus on the The Night Watch which is a delight to see.
Nine streets or Nege Straatjies
A grid of streets filled with trendy stores , cafes and coffee shops. The most trendy shopping area of Amsterdam is located within nine little streets of the Old Town, called The Nine Small Streets or The Nine Little Streets. The 9 Small Streets are actually three streets crossing two canals: Herengracht and Keizersgracht, which makes up for nine small streets.
The flower market or Bloemenmarkt
The flower market of Amsterdam is a particularly colourful place in the city. You will find there all sorts of tulips, narcissus, geraniums and many other types of flowers. At the Amsterdam Flower Market you can either buy bouquets, single flowers or bulbs. The bulbs are ready for export, so you can enjoy them at home too. The Amsterdam Flower Market is located on the Singel canal between the Koningsplein and the Muntplein.
The Dam is the very centre and heart of the city, and is the centre of Amsterdam attractions. Although there are arguably prettier sights in Amsterdam. As an historical site however, it is fascinating and worth taking the time to appreciate. The Dam has seen many historical dramas unfold over the years, and was for example, the reception area for Napoleon and his troops during the 1808 take-over of the city. The Royal Palace dominates the square.It was originally used as the town hall and its classical facade and fine sculptures were intended to glorify the city and its government.
Amsterdam’s Jewish Quarter
The neighbourhood just east of the centre, near Waterlooplein is called Plantage or the Amsterdam Jewish Quarter. A starting point could be the Portuguese synagogue —The Amsterdam Portuguese Synagogue was built in 1675. The Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam was the biggest Synagogue in the world at the time. There is no electricity and no heating in the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam. A thousand candles light up the synagogue. The floors are covered with fine sand to keep moisture from penetrating and destroying the wooden floorboards.
The Jewish Historical Museum which is across the road from the Portuguese synagogue is a beautiful, high-profile museum that occupies four monumental synagogue buildings in the middle of the Jewish Cultural Quarter. It provides a unique picture of past and present Dutch Jewish life in all its facets. Then onto The Hollandsche Schouwburg, and the National Holocaust Museum. You can learn all you want to know about Dutch Jewish culture, history, and traditions. And all with just one ticket.
Amsterdam’s red light district
It is very likely that you have heard about this neighbourhood and to be frank, everything you have heard is probably true. From brothels to sex shops to museums, the Amsterdam Red Light District leaves nothing to the imagination. But to really put rumours to rest, you have to check it out for yourself. It is safe and worth the visit to satisfy the understanding of this neighbourhood.
Eating and drinking at a cafe on a canal
There are so many to chose from but this is just so part of visiting Amsterdam that any cafe alongside any canal is probably worthwhile. Be it in the Jordaan district (a trendy area near Nord Markt) or in the city centre , I would recommend you soak up the atmosphere.
Fresh herring from a street food vendor is a little bit of heaven on a plate. There is a van located in Nieuw Markt which was the one I chose but herring can be found on canals around Amsterdam. Another noteworthy herring shop is in De Pijp district in the Albert Cuyp market.