Trova il tuo prossimo libro preferito

Abbonati oggi e leggi gratis per 30 giorni
Fodor's Amsterdam: with the Best of the Netherlands

Fodor's Amsterdam: with the Best of the Netherlands

Leggi anteprima

Fodor's Amsterdam: with the Best of the Netherlands

Lunghezza:
645 pagine
5 ore
Pubblicato:
Dec 12, 2017
ISBN:
9780147547019
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

For a limited time, receive a free Fodor's Guide to Safe and Healthy Travel e-book with the purchase of this guidebook! Go to fodors.com for details.

Written By Locals, Fodor’s Amsterdam is the perfect guidebook for those looking for insider tips to make the most out their visit. Complete with detailed maps and concise descriptions, this Amsterdam travel guide will help you plan your trip with ease. Join Fodor’s in exploring one of the most exciting cities in Europe.

Amsterdam's greatest charm may also be its greatest enigma: how can such a gracious, historical treasure house also multitask as the most offbeat metropolis in the world? From Rembrandts to rock and roll, the city has always been a mesmerizing mix of old and new. Fodor's curated coverage includes the best of the country beyond Amsterdam, including Haarlem, the Hague, Delft, and Rotterdam.

Fodor’s Amsterdam includes:

    •DETAILED MAPS: Four nifty neighborhood walks included. Full-color and full-size street maps throughout will help you plan efficiently and get around confidently.
    •ITINERARIES AND TOP RECOMMENDATIONS: Multiple sample itineraries to help you plan each day and make the most of your time. Includes tips on where to eat, stay, and shop as well as information about nightlife, sports and the outdoors. “Fodor’s Choice” designates our best picks in every category.
    •INDISPENSABLE TRIP-PLANNING TOOLS: The "Top Attractions," "If You Like," and "With Kids" features make planning a snap. "Best Bets" for restaurants and hotels help travelers find the top options by price and experience. A new section on bicycling in Amsterdam includes tips on bike-route etiquette; listings for the best rental and tour companies; and a route map.
    •COVERS: Centrum, the Canal Ring, the Jordaan and the Leidseplein, the Museum District and the Pijp, as well as sidetrips to Broek-in-Waterland, Marken, Volendam, Kinderdijk, and much more.

ABOUT FODOR'S AUTHORS: Each Fodor's Travel Guide is researched and written by local experts. Fodor’s has been offering expert advice for all tastes and budgets for over 80 years.

Planning on visiting other destinations in Europe? Check out Fodor’s Essential Italy, Fodor’s Essential Spain, and Fodor’s Essential France.

Pubblicato:
Dec 12, 2017
ISBN:
9780147547019
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

For over 80 years, Fodor's Travel has been a trusted resource offering expert travel advice for every stage of a traveler's trip. We hire local writers who know their destinations better than anyone else, allowing us to provide the best travel recommendations for all tastes and budget in over 7,500 worldwide destinations. Our books make it possible for every trip to be a trip of a lifetime.

Correlato a Fodor's Amsterdam

Titoli di questa serie (106)
Libri correlati
Articoli correlati

Anteprima del libro

Fodor's Amsterdam - Fodor's Travel Guides

AMSTERDAM TODAY

Amsterdam is built on a latticework of concentric canals like an aquatic rainbow, and although the city may evoke many images even before you arrive—the tulips, the gabled roofs of its mansions, the Rembrandts hypnotizing viewers in the Rijksmuseum, the splendor of its 17th-century Golden Age—time does not stand still in this city. Indeed, there’s an undercurrent of significant change happening here that might not be immediately apparent. Talk to the savvy locals and you’ll hear plenty about what’s going on in Amsterdam today. These are some of the topics on their minds.

There’s less red

Starting in 2007, when Amsterdam unveiled a plan to clean up its Red Light District, surveillance cameras began rolling 24/7, whole bordellos were bought out, and nearly two hundred prostitute windows went dark. In late 2015, the city announced that, due to protests from both sex workers and local residents, it would stop closing windows, but many spaces have already been turned over to studio-seeking artists and designers. Project 1012, named for the area’s postal code, was initiated to counter rising rates of human trafficking and derivative forms of illegal ickiness. In so doing, the city’s historic center was meant to return to the people—though whether the creatives in residence fairly represent them is up for debate. Still, for inhabitants and visitors alike, the de-sleazing efforts have made room for a different set of opportunities, including shopping and wine tasting.

The food has gotten better

Up until a few years ago, besides the pretheater brasserie deal or a few Indonesian and Surinamese establishments, if you were looking for a good meal, your best bet was a traditional brown café (similar to a pub; named for the nicotine-stained walls from a time when you could still smoke everywhere). But there the meal would be formulaic: meat or fish, salad, and fries. For such a pleasure-permissive city, how could a side of mayonnaise be the only opportunity for Burgundian indulgence? Clearly, others asked this, too. Today, the quality of the food, the variety of venues, and even the historically lax customer service get an A for effort. There are dedicated burger, BBQ, and Vietnamese eateries dotting the city’s landscape, and a twice-yearly restaurant week to entice diners. National grocer Albert Heijn now has an eco-friendly AH Biologisch (organic) line, while outposts of the healthy market Marqt give the Dutch stalwart a run for its money. Not unrelatedly, gym culture is also growing here.

Property is booming

Besides the weather, Amsterdammers’ current favorite topic is real estate. And with good reason: Amsterdam housing prices rose 23% in 2016. This has caused a shortage of inventory in the city—so visitors who fall in love with that cozy canalside home may need to take a rain check.

It’s easier to get around

Completion of the metro’s long-delayed Noord-Zuidlijn (North-South) addition—which was more than €1 billion over budget—finally has been scheduled for summer 2018. When ready, you can make the 10-km (6-mile) jump between the hip borough of Noord and the Zuidas business hub in south Amsterdam—poof!—in 16 minutes. Centraal Station has also undergone a much-needed revamp, with more restaurants and shops added to the back section overlooking the IJ River. The station’s entrance will also be spruced up by 2023, with widened canals and underground parking for 17,500 bikes.

You can still smoke pot

T-shirt slogans like Good girls go to heaven, bad girls to Amsterdam are a testament to the fact that the city’s decadent reputation has been a self-perpetuated industry fueled by tourism, but in 2012 legislation was drafted to prohibit blowen (smoking pot) in coffeeshops if you’re not a native Hollander. It was then scrapped by city officials—meaning you can still light up in Amsterdam and the major towns of the Randstad, including Rotterdam, The Hague, and Haarlem. The crackdown still continues, though, with the latest a government-backed project to close coffeeshops within 250 meters (820 feet) of a school. Still, Amsterdam’s pot culture remains a huge draw, and after not being held in 2015 or 2016, the Cannabis Cup will return to the city in 2017. Note that edibles are still strictly a space cake affair here—no gummy bears or candy on offer.

WHAT’S NEW

Amsterdam is now one of Europe’s hottest hotel markets, with even more scheduled to open over the next couple years. Small, stylish boutique hotels have been popping up all over the city, many with design catalog–worthy rooms and trendy co-working spaces perfect for nomads. Unfortunately, as of this writing, average prices have gone up about 13% in two years.

Amsterdam is leading the way when it comes to the new shared economy. It was named the first European Sharing City in 2015, and the government has partnered with consultancy ShareNL to advise entrepreneurs who want to join in. Dutch-designed collaborative economy ventures do everything from help neighbors borrow items from each other (Peerby) to let people share their skills, such as foreign languages or music (Konnektid). Airbnb and Uber are also still in force (though as of December 2016, Airbnb owners can only rent properties for a maximum of 60 days a year, to no more than four people at a time).

No longer your parent’s after-work cocktail, the gin and tonic has been elevated to new heights with the advent of dedicated G&T joints and even more well-rounded bars capitalizing on the trend by offering dozens of gins and an improbable number of tonics to satisfy even the most jenever-phobic. And good news for beer-lovers: the ubiquitous Heineken has also gotten competition from a smattering of new microbreweries, with more on the horizon.

WHAT’S WHERE

Amsterdam. If only those 19th-century fishermen who decided to dam up the Amstel could see what became of their erstwhile marsh. Today it’s the capital and spiritual downtown of a nation, where Gothic monuments stand next to digital billboards and Golden Age drinking holes neighbor hip coffeeshops. World-renowned museums and concert halls dot the small city, not to mention tree-lined canals, hidden courtyards, and wood-paneled cafés—a panoply of painting-perfect images. There are ample opportunities for biking in this attractive city.

Side Trips from Amsterdam. The Netherlands is a small country with showstopping destinations just an hour or so away, depending on whether you travel by car, train, bus, or bike. You can head out to the tulip fields of the Keukenhof or past windmills and rolling countryside to fairy tale–like towns famous for their centuries-old wooden houses, fishing boats, and locals in traditional costume. Then there are the famous cities of Rotterdam, The Hague, Haarlem, and Delft, which make up just a few of the towns and cities whose borders almost overlap each other—the entire region is now called the Randstad, or Border City, as locals consider it one mammoth megalopolis. Rotterdam, bombed to the ground in World War II, has nevertheless become one of the world’s busiest industrial ports, with a phenomenal skyline and an appreciation for the latest cultural happenings. Over in The Hague, government, international courts, criminal tribunals, and foreign embassies make their homes, along with fabulous museums like the Mauritshuis, address of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. By contrast, Haarlem and Delft are charming old-world cities: Haarlem, the earliest center of Dutch art, is where you’ll find the excellent Frans Hals and Teylers museums, while Delft is a wonderland of tree-lined canals, humpbacked bridges, and step-gabled houses that, all together, preserve the atmosphere of Holland’s Golden Age better than any other city in the country.

QUINTESSENTIAL AMSTERDAM

According to 19th-century French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans, Amsterdam is a dream, an orgy of houses and water. More than 100 years later, that’s still true, although one might say the orgy has expanded.

Canals

Amsterdam’s canals are constant reminders that man—or the Dutch, anyway—can control nature and actually make a nice life off it. More than 97 km (60 miles) of canals, 400 stone bridges, and 90 islands have been created here since the 17th century. Today, the Grachtengordel, or Canal Ring, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (not to mention prime real estate). On days with even the slightest sun, cafés with canalside seating overflow with people. And when the weather is warm, the waterways truly come to life, as locals hop in their boats, often with wine and cheese. Once associated with 1970s antiestablishment types, houseboats are increasingly a more affordable option for domicile-desperate locals, as well as visitors seeking quaint lodging (who don’t mind unpredictable plumbing).

Gezelligheid

If you listen carefully to local speech and detect what sounds like a mild throat clearing, no doubt you’re hearing one of the most cherished words in Lowlands parlance—gezellig. The term is frequently translated as cozy, though anyone who has had the chance to experience Dutch gezelligheid (coziness) will confirm that cozy doesn’t quite cut it. From the word gezel meaning mate, gezelligheid refers to a general feeling of coziness and conviviality. Even if you don’t have the chance to snuggle up on an Amsterdammer’s couch, you can still witness signs of the spirit in lingering café conversations, those unsolicited cookies alongside your coffee, little lights along the canals at night, and house cats meowing out the window.

Tulips

It’s hard to overstate the cultural significance of the tulip in the Netherlands. When the stately perennial arrived on the Dutch scene from Turkey in the late 16th century, it was a bright antidote to a dreary climate and also a symbol of a new market economy. Today, these flowers are just about everywhere you look. A trip to the Flower Market, or Bloemenmarkt, will confirm the flower’s place at the top of Amsterdammers’ weekly shopping lists. The tulip’s hold on the Dutch artistic imagination is visible in the stately halls of its grand art institutions. On display in the Rijksmuseum are Jacob Marrel’s watercolors, Hans Bollongier’s paintings of potted arrangements, and the specially designed vases made to display one expensive tulip at a time, while in the Stedelijk, look out for Marcel Wanders’ funky Egg Vase.

Vices

Although their heyday has faded, cannabis and call girls in Amsterdam are still professional, relatively plentiful, and, most remarkably, permitted in Amsterdam. But even this open society has protocols. First, use with caution: don’t consume more marijuana or hash than you can handle, whether smoked or ingested in the form of pot brownies. Second, legally employed, tax-paying prostitutes are likely to insist on condom use but, if they do not, you should. Third, do not take photos; doing so while socializing with prostitutes could result in your being literally kicked to the curb, if not by your subjects then by their supervisors. Vice visitors are advised to check for the latest updates on evolving legislation, city by city.

AMSTERDAM TOP ATTRACTIONS

Amsterdam Museum

Though given relatively little marquee space, this is an excellent place in which to invest your time and attention. Amsterdam’s history is engagingly displayed all under one roof, from medieval times until the Golden Age, through the radical ’60s and up to life in the current millennium.

Anne Frankhuis

This is the home of the most widely read Dutch author, and the setting of her famous book. Some might be too haunted by the story’s tragic ending to relish a visit, but many can appreciate the foundation’s efforts to raise awareness about Europe’s anti-Semitic past and discrimination everywhere.

Begijnhof

The city’s most famous hofje (small courtyard) was established in the 14th century for religious women known as begijnen. A community of spiritually devout women still inhabit the surrounding homes today, sharing their neat little space with two churches, a famously old wooden house from the early 1500s, and tourists seeking some quiet.

Canal Cruise

No visit to Amsterdam is complete without a trip along the 97 km (60 miles) of canal that concentrically ring around Amsterdam. For a standard hour-long daytime cruise, simply walk up to any one of the various boating companies docked in the city center. Inquire further to arrange a private tour, a pedal boat, a candlelit dinner cruise, or any number of special themed sails.

Museum Het Rembrandthuis

The Golden Age master was born in Leiden, though he worked, went bankrupt, and died in Amsterdam. Restored to mirror his daily life, this museum is the house in the old Jewish Quarter where Rembrandt lived from 1639 to 1656. Temporary exhibitions are mounted alongside a rotating selection of his nearly 300 etchings.

Rijksmuseum

The state museum, as its name means, delights visitors with more than 8,000 artworks from its 900,000-piece permanent collection. The undisputed masterpiece is Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, displayed in its own dedicated Night Watch Gallery. Vermeer’s The Milkmaid is another highlight, along with other glorious paintings from the Dutch Golden Age.

Stedelijk Museum

Amsterdam’s sacred altar to modern and contemporary art hosts an exciting range of temporary shows from both Dutch and international artists in addition to its strong permanent collection. The Stedelijk features works from early modernist favorites like Mondrian, Monet, and Picasso as well as post–World War II artists including Warhol, Pollock, and Richter. Look for the bathtub-shape building on Museumplein.

Van Gogh Museum

Two hundred paintings, 500 drawings, and 750 letters by the Postimpressionist make the Van Gogh Museum an imperative stop for even those with a just minimal interest in art. Although The Starry Night lives at the MoMA in New York, stellar masterpieces abound (as do their souvenir posters and umbrellas).

Vondelpark

Lose yourself in the 120 acres of green that make up the city center’s largest park. There are playgrounds, a child’s pool, roller skating, an open-air theater, and plenty of eating and drinking options—all in the company of the neon-green parakeets that have been flying free here since the 1970s.

NETHERLANDS TOP ATTRACTIONS

Delfshaven, Rotterdam

What better way to appreciate Rotterdam’s uniquely modern silhouette than by spending time in the one district spared from World War II bombing? Delfshaven, along the River Maas, is a favorite neighborhood for easygoing, twinkle-lighted entertainment.

Delft

It doesn’t get any Dutcher than Delft. Vermeer’s picturesque hometown is famous for its signature blue-and-white pottery. The last remaining Delftware factory of the 32 once in operation, De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, still flourishes, as it has since it was established in 1653.

Escher in Het Paleis Museum, The Hague

This former palace is now a museum devoted to the Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher. Besides the collection of his paintings and prints, there is thoughtfully curated biographical material and an interactive exhibition of various optical illusions starring none other than you.

Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem

Many consider this Golden Age 17th-century artist to be the first modern painter. A fantastically adept and naturally gifted man, he could turn out a portrait in an hour, while capturing the emotions of a moment in a sort of proto-Impressionism.

Keukenhof Park, Lisse

One of the largest open-air flower exhibitions in the world, the Keukenhof Park is most famed for its 7 million tulips, which draw huge crowds when they bloom every spring.

Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

Located in the Hoge Veluwe National Park, the Kröller-Müller may have the most fantastic museum backyard on the Continent, which can be enjoyed on museum-provided bicycles. The contents of the museum are even more impressive: the world’s second-largest Van Gogh collection hangs here alongside Picassos, Gauguins, Mondrians, and Seurats.

Mauritshuis, The Hague

The Mauritshuis has an impressive collection of Dutch Golden Age masterpieces, including Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt.

Museumpark, Rotterdam

The architect Rem Koolhaas (a native Rotterdammer) was instrumental in transforming this piece of land into a swath of tree-happy green connecting the Netherlands Architecture Institute, Kunstal, the Chabot Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum—all of which you can enter at a discount with a single Museumpark ticket.

The Storybook Holland Towns

Set with cobblestone streets paved with nostalgia and punctuated with curiosity shops and postcard-pretty harbors, each of the Storybook Holland towns—Volendam, Marken, Monnickendam, or Broek in Waterland—is an open-air museum.

Waterland Neeltje Jans, Vrouwenpolder

This fascinating museum details the country’s two millennia of taming the tides and pays due respect to the daddy of all dikes: the Delta Works, which was built after the devastating North Sea flood of 1953.

AMSTERDAM ITINERARIES

Gorgeous Amsterdam, with its 165 canals flanked by gabled houses that look like something out of a storybook, is a city small enough to take in on foot in a day, but rich enough in cultural attractions to make it easy to fill several.

Amsterdam in 1 Day: Best of Amsterdam

If you have limited time in Amsterdam, it’s still easy to get a taste of Amsterdam’s quintessential highbrow and lowbrow attractions in the course of a day.

Arrive at the Anne Frank House for its 9 am opening. A tour should only take about an hour, but leave time for waiting in line (buy tickets online beforehand if you can).

Afterward, go to The Pancake Bakery for a sweet or savory version of the country’s national food. Stroll through the streets of the nearby Jordaan neighborhood, with its leafy canals and atmospheric alleys, then hop a canal cruise and get off by the Rijksmuseum, home of Rembrandt’s famous The Night Watch. Spend a few hours perusing the Dutch Masters, then get some fresh air at the Vondelpark, one of the city’s largest green spaces.

In the early evening walk to the Red Light District to see prostitutes in red-lighted windows before the nighttime hordes descend on the area. For dinner, visit one of the city’s many Indonesian restaurants for rijsttafel, or rice table.

Amsterdam in 5 Days

Five days is enough time to take in Amsterdam’s cultural highlights and appealing neighborhoods, and take a day trip by bike to the medieval town of Haarlem.

Day 1: Anne Frank House and Jordaan, with a Canal Cruise

Spend your first day around the atmospheric Jordaan neighborhood, starting early at the Anne Frank House. Stroll the quaint streets of this former working-class neighborhood, whose Nine Streets (9 Straatjes) area has lovely boutiques, art galleries, and cafés.

In the afternoon, take an hour-long canal cruise, then visit one of the city’s several Canal House museums, such as Museum Van Loon, to see how the Golden Age elite lived. You can stop in one of Amsterdam’s cannabis-selling coffeeshops, even if just to check out the mind-blowing menu.

Day 2: Museumplein, Vondelpark, and the Leidseplein

Start with a coffee in the glass-enclosed café of the Concertgebouw, home of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, then take in the green expanse of the Museumplein, or Museum Square, flanked by the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art. Pick one and spend a few hours. All have excellent cafés for lunch (particularly Rijks, at its namesake museum). Later, meander to the Vondelpark, stopping along the high-end P. C. Hooftstraat shopping corridor on the way. In the park, stop at a café for mint tea and Dutch apple pie. Exit at the park’s Leidseplein side and head to the Art Deco Hampshire Hotel—Amsterdam American, former haunt of famous Dutch writers, for a cocktail. Check out what’s playing at the revamped Stadsschouwburg theater across the street. Window-shop down Leidsestraat to the 14th-century Begijnhof, which contains the city’s oldest house within its quiet courtyard. After dinner in the area, you can hear music at Paradiso, a hotspot since 1968.

Day 3: Plantage, Jewish Cultural Quarter, and the Nieuwmarkt

Head back to the Plantage (Plantation of Trees), a green oasis anchored by 19th-century Artis Zoo and Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, one of the world’s oldest botanical gardens. Between those and Micropia, the interactive museum of microbes, there’s plenty to see.

For an old-world feel have lunch at Café-Restaurant De Plantage, whose back terrace abuts Artisplein, a lovely public square. Then explore the Jewish Cultural Quarter, starting with a stop at the Hollandsche Schouwburg, a former Jewish theater that became the last stop for the city’s Jews before they were deported to death camps. You can also visit the still-functioning Portuguese Synagogue, one of the most impressive of Europe’s old synagogues to survive World War II.

Check out the bargains at the Waterlooplein market, then make your way down Jodenbreestraat, Jewish Broad Street, past the Rembrandthuis, where the painter lived in the 17th century and which today has an unparalleled collection of his etchings. Stop in at one of the cafés on the popular high street for a predinner drink. Head to the Nieuwmarkt, a former weighing station whose square has a daily market and ample dining options, including adjacent Chinatown. Now’s the time to check out the Red Light District, preferably early in the evening before the nighttime hordes descend on the area.

Day 4: De Pijp, Heineken Experience, and Centrum

Start at the Royal Palace at Dam Square, whether you decide to view its interiors or just view it from outside. De Nieuwe Kerk, or New Church, dates to the 15th century and is both burial place for Dutch naval heroes as well as royal wedding and investiture spot. Head toward the Muntplein, a former mint, and through the Flower Market, or Bloemenmarkt, where you can stock up on Dutch tchotchkes and tulip bulbs certified for U.S. travel. Continue toward the Rembrandtplein, where bronze reproductions of the Dutch Master’s Night Watch crew overlook the square.

Have lunch at a café on Utrechtsestraat, where you’ll also find Dutch design and clothing stores. Take a left on Kerkstraat for a quick peek of the Amstel River, where you can view the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge), the Koninklijk Carré theater, and the Hermitage Amsterdam museum. Stop for biertje (beer) and bitterballen (meatballs) at a brown café, but pace yourself: the Heineken Experience is up next, for a beer tour and sampling.

Stay in De Pijp, and browse your way through the Albert Cuypmarket and the neighborhood’s lively streets. Dinner choices range from budget patat (French fries) and Surinamese roti to upscale restaurants. Check out the bar scene here after dinner.

Day 5: Cycle to Haarlem

With Amsterdam’s Haarlemmerplein as your starting point, hop on the bike path and head west. The approximately 19-km (12-mile) ride to Haarlem is one Dutch sight after another: a medieval dike, a windmill, a steam-pumping-station-turned-museum, an old sugar mill, sand dunes, and little towns in between. Haarlem is renowned for its elegant square, church organs played by Haydn and Mozart, and the nation’s oldest museum. If zadelpijn (sore butt) has set in, you and your bike can take the train back to Amsterdam.

AMSTERDAM WITH KIDS

For each racy adult attraction Amsterdam offers, there are several that deserve a PG rating (for Pure Goodness) to entice the entire family. It’s not for nothing that UNICEF identified Dutch children as the happiest in the world. Alongside exceptional infant care and happy dairy cows, the peaceful, open-minded society produces chill parents who tend to raise remarkably well-adjusted little ones. Here are tips on what to do with your own.

Kid-friendly museums

Some cultural catch-alls are exceptionally child-friendly: the Rijksmuseum offers a family activity book for kids ages 8 and up, and the Amsterdam Museum has Het Kleine Weeshuis, a wing re-creating life in a 17th-century orphanage, geared toward 4- to 12-year-olds. But if the olden days bore them, go find NEMO. The Netherlands’ biggest science center is sure to entertain (and educate) multiple generations with its five floors of clever exhibits and live demonstrations, and the pitched roof deck has a spectacular view of city and shore. If that view stirs the nascent mariner within, visit the Scheepvartmuseum, which showcases 500 years of Dutch naval history, with everything from sea-battle paintings and old-fashioned sailing compasses to a walk-in whale and a replica of the Amsterdam, an 18th-century Dutch East India Company cargo ship.

Check out the animals

Compared with other metropolitan zoos, Artis is small, but the animal-sensitive surroundings represent the sensibilities of the first country to elect an animal-rights party to Parliament. From apes to zebras, all the major species are present, plus there are regular sea lion shows, butterfly expos, and spectacular (read: slightly gruesome) feeding sessions. Your ticket also grants you entrance next door to the planetarium and the not-to-be-missed aquarium. The wonderfully interactive Micropia, billed as the world’s first microbe museum, is also part of Artis. Tickets to the museum are sold separately if you don’t feel like splashing out on zoo entrance fees.

Who doesn’t want to hold, pet, and feed rabbits, goats, and guinea pigs? Free public petting zoos, or kinderboerderij, are not uncommon in Amsterdam and the iAmsterdam website lists ones around the city. The Kinderboerderij de Pijp www.kinderboer­derijdepijp.nl), in the De Pijp neighborhood, is especially welcoming; it’s open weekdays 11–5, weekends 1–5.

Running, biking, and boating

Sometimes it’s just a good idea to get the kids out into the fresh air. First choice in Amsterdam is the Vondelpark, where there are playgrounds for the younger ones and pleasant paths for biking with older children. Most kids (and adults, too) jump at the chance for a boat ride, and Amsterdam’s canals offer plenty of opportunities.

FREE OR ALMOST FREE

In Amsterdam, staples like food, beer, and flowers are relatively inexpensive but there are lots of ways to keep trip costs down, too.

Culture

There are plenty of free artworks to gaze at, in addition to the monumental museums. For starters, head to the Amsterdam Museum where you can linger in the glassed-in corridor outside (entrance at Kalverstraat 92) and take in the 15 huge Golden Age paintings of the city’s wealthy civic guards, peers of those in Rembrandt’s The Night Watch.

Even if you’re not searching for your Dutch ancestors in its 50 km (31 miles) of records, the free Stadsarchief Amsterdam (City Archives) merits a visit for the permanent exhibition of artifacts and ephemera documenting the city. Seeing the insides of the former bank building itself is worth the tour.

A modest €3 (suggested donation) will gain you entrance to the Hollandsche Schouwburg, commemorating the 104,000 Dutch Jews who were killed in World War II. The building was a popular theater but then became a Jewish deportation center; a visit is a somber experience, but it’s an excellent way to learn about this dark chapter in Amsterdam’s history.

Music, dance, and more

Free lunchtime concerts take place around the city almost all year long (except for July and August). Classical performances are usually at 12:30 pm on Tuesday in the Dutch National Opera & Ballet, monthly on Tuesday in the Muziekgebouw, and on Wednesday in the Concertgebouw. Arrive about half an hour early to guarantee a seat. Some churches have free concerts, too: check out the Westerkerk on Friday at 1 pm April–October.

The summer festival schedule www.amsterdamroots.nl/​en), are free, too.

Public spaces

By day any of Amsterdam’s public parks is ideal for a stretch or a stroll. The centrally located Vondelpark is a favorite, though Saphartipark in De Pijp, with its lovely gardens, and Westerpark, with its repurposed gas works buildings, are also worth seeking out. The city’s public library, Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, has floors and floors of free books to browse and computers to use, as well as concerts, art projects for the little ones, and a rooftop café where the drinks aren’t free but the to-die-for view is.

Waterways

A guided canal cruise is the finest way to appreciate Amsterdam’s inner waterways, but go local and hop on one of the free ferries behind Centraal Station. Commuters shuttling between the city center and the borough of Noord rely on the three main lines, though the boats are open to anyone—pedestrian or cyclist. The NDSM-Werfveer line offers the longest ride (14 minutes) and leaves every 15 minutes on weekdays (less frequently in the evenings) and every half hour on weekends.

BICYCLING IN AMSTERDAM

Getting around on two wheels has long made sense for Amsterdammers. The city’s denizens are proud of their reputation as frugal, efficient, sporty, and eco-conscious—qualities all embodied in and on a bike. That their country is flat and the weather mostly moderate, and with petrol and parking pricey commodities, the bike has been a no-brainer for eons. But in a city with nearly as many bicycles as people (an estimated 800,000 bikes to 814,000 people), it’s wise to take a few safety precautions.

Steady Wins the Race

Getting stuck behind a swerving slowpoke can create problems: some speedy Amsterdammers lose their cool and forget the traffic rules. If you’re mounting a bike to help nurture that inner child who misses the joys of a banana seat, it might be best to work through that desire in a residential neighborhood, a park, or smaller town. But if you feel you’re enough of a biking pro and want to go native, join the rest of the cyclists who make up downtown Amsterdam’s rack pack. Slow? Fast? Actually, when it comes to city biking, steady is the way to go, so that you don’t cause any crashes.

Note that basic rental bikes have back-pedal foot brakes, not hand brakes. Shoes with no heels whatsoever (canvas sneakers and ballerina flats, for instance) make it dangerously easy for your foot to slide off the pedal and lose control of your stop reflex.

Renting Your Ride

Getting a bike in Amsterdam is easy. Tourist-friendly rental shops dot the city center. Walk in, have the shopkeeper size you up, hand over a bit of collateral (usually a credit card or your passport plus €50), and you’re ready to roll.

Although small cycle shops are popping up all over, citywide chains MacBike and Yellow Bike have dominated the market for decades. Both are good choices for guided group tours within Amsterdam or its surrounds and most have maps for specifically themed routes like Gay Amsterdam, Amsterdam in Film, and Jewish Amsterdam. Both have prominent logos and crazy bright-color frames, alerting everyone on the road you’re an out-of-towner. Prefer to go more incog? Rent from the all-around excellent chain Het Zwarte Fietsenplan. The staff are exceptionally amicable. And, should careening canalside prove so delightful that you stay a while, new and secondhand bikes are sold here, too.

CONTACTS

Het Zwarte Fietsenplan. Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 146, Centrum 020/670–8531 www.hetzwartef­ietsenplan.nl.

MacBike. De Ruijterkade 34B, Centrum 020/620–0985 for head office www.macbike.nl.

Yellow Bike. Nieuwezijds Kolk 29, Centrum 020/620–6940 www.yellowbike.nl.

Know the rules of the road before you hit the streets! Trams have the right of way, followed equally by cars and bicycles, with pedestrians in last place. Although pedestrians and cyclists seem to think they have the right of way, and do indeed have more legal protections should an accident occur, walkers must yield to anything on wheels.

Road Rules: Do

Use hand signals when turning: extend right arm before turning right; vice versa for left.

Ride in bike lanes, not in car traffic or on sidewalks.

Beware of parked cars with doors swinging open.

Use bike lights in the

Hai raggiunto la fine di questa anteprima. Registrati per continuare a leggere!
Pagina 1 di 1

Recensioni

Cosa pensano gli utenti di Fodor's Amsterdam

0
0 valutazioni / 0 Recensioni
Cosa ne pensi?
Valutazione: 0 su 5 stelle

Recensioni dei lettori