I A Msterdam

Eeke Barber

Van Gogh Museum

Give the morning a cultural kick-start by visiting the museum of one of the Netherland's most renown, one-eared, tortured souls. The museum walks you through the different phases of van Gogh's career and is interesting even for those who are less museum inclined

Het rijksmuseum

From the Van Gogh Museum take a short stroll across Museum Plein (Museum Square) to Het Rijksmuseum. The museum houses some of the Netherland's most prized art treasures and an exhibit on the Dutch "Golden Age" (17th century) when the Netherlands thrived in sea trade, science, and art. It's been under renovation forever and has its official opening in April 2013 - though you can visit a part of the collection already.

Ice skating on museum plein

You'll want some fresh air after all those museums. Rent some ice skates on the Museum Plein and enjoy some people watching while you are at it. The seasonal winter terrace next to the ring is an excellent place to try "poffertjes" (dutch mini pancakes)

Anne Frank House

If your English teacher didn't make you read Anne Frank in middle school, pick it from the library (or download it on your kindle / ipad / other electronic device) before you check out the House. It will make this place come to life in a whole different way. Regardless, the museum offers a unique experience as you walk through the secret annex where Anne and her family hid from Nazi persecution for over two years during World War II.

De Dam

You'll want to pass by De Dam on your way to your next destination. Amsterdam's most famous square is adorned by cute cafe's (albeit somewhat overpriced) and the historical museum of Amsterdam - worth a visit if you have a spare hour.


Probably one of the most tourist-filled and lively squares in Amsterdam, Leidseplein is great for people watching, grabbing a local beer, and trying out two dutch specialties: "oliebollen" and "friet met mayonaise". Oliebollen (I won't give you the literal translation) are balls of fried dough with powdered sugar - better than any funnel cake you will ever have. Friet met mayonaise (french fries with mayonnaise) are a must-have before you leave. You can't say you don't like it until you try it, and once you do, you'll love it!

Canals and the Red Light District

You cannot visit Amsterdam without walking (or better yet, biking) past the many canals that run through the city and, eventually, making your way over to the Red Light District. Early evening is generally best if you're curious to see what all the fuss is about without seeming like you're actually a potential customer!

Café 't Smalle

If you're looking for an authentic, old, dutch pub Cafe 't Smalle is the place to be. Try "jenever", a dutch type of gin and look like a real local

vesper bar

Amsterdam is more about the cozy ("gezellig") bars and pubs than the ritsy lounges, but Vesper Bar does an excellent job of straddling both. A great place to either end your long day or begin a long night.