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An extra day in Amsterdam

James McGrath 2 January 2013
An extra day in Amsterdam

Just imagine waking up in one of the many hotels in the beautiful city centre of Amsterdam, maybe even with a view over the 400-year old canals. Go decide to go for a stroll through the old town, stopping for a coffee at a small corner café. Then you visit the new Stedelijk Museum, followed by lunch at the restaurant overlooking the famous Museumplein. You just cross the street in order to attend an afternoon concert in the impressive Concertgebouw. Then you could go for drinks at the College Hotel Bar (just 300 yards down the road), followed by cosy dinner in one of the many restaurants in the popular Pijp neighborhood, where you, due to the lively atmosphere, just happen to stay quite a few hours more than planned.

Just imagine waking up in one of the many hotels in the beautiful city centre, maybe even with a view over the 400-year old canals. Blue sky and a bit frosty – a great day for a bike ride. With your rented bike, not forgetting the latest cycle tour and your gloves, you cycle to the back entrance of the Central Station where you take the free ferry to Amsterdam North. But not before you check the Last Minute Ticket Shop at the Tourist Office to get tickets for a performance for tonight. After a short bike ride through the NDSM area in north of Amsterdam you stop for lunch at the beautiful EYE Film Institute where you enjoy the view over the River IJ. You might want to see an exposition or catch a movie while you are there. In the late afternoon you catch the ferry back and visit some local bars at Prinseneiland and the Jordaan where you enjoy a few special local beers. After e real Dutch dinner at restaurant Moeders you are off to Toomler Café for an English standup comedy show.

Just imagine waking up in one of the many hotels in the beautiful city centre, maybe even with a view over the 400-year old canals. The day starts with an early visit (skipping the queues) to the famous Anne Frank House. Then you walk through the beautiful Jordaan neighborhood to the Noordermarkt where you first enjoy coffee and warm apple pie with the locals before you have a look at the wide variety of products on sale here. Afterwards you might decide to do some more shopping in the small special shops at the  Nine Streets after a lovely quiet lunch there, followed by the Bijenkorf department store at the Dam Square. While you are there you could decide to pay the impressive Royal Palace a visit too. Enough walking – now you would like to sit down with a drink – why not book a dinner canal cruise just around the corner to finish a lovely day? And if you are not tired yet, you might decide to go the late show of Boom Chicago.

Museums in canal houses
1. Het Grachtenhuis (Museum of the Canals)
A great place to start exploring Amsterdam’s hidden museums is Het Grachtenhuis (Museum of the Canals). This recent addition is a tribute to the Canal District, with multimedia exhibitions showing how the now grand district is really an engineering marvel built on swamp land. From here, visitors can easily explore other museums housed in canal mansions and the museum is even equipped to help them plan their itineraries.

2. Museum Van Loon
Visit Museum Van Loon and step back through time into Amsterdam’s sumptuous Golden Age. Among the most powerful 17th century families, the Van Loons belonged to the city’s governing families and were among the founders of the mighty VOC – the Dutch East India Company back in 1602. With much of its original interior intact , the museum collection comprises paintings, antique furnishings and objects. Get ready to ooh and ahh!

3. Museum of Bags and Purses
The Museum of Bags and Purses (Tassenmuseum Hendrikje) takes visitors on a tour of the development of bags and purses from the sixteenth century to the present. The collection provides a fascinating survey of function, design, fabric and decoration in purse fashion through the ages. Built in 1664, the historic museum building boasts an impressive antique interior.

4). Willet-Holthuysen Museum
Soak up the authentic 19th century atmosphere at the Willet-Holthuysen Museum and find out what life was like in Amsterdam for both wealthy and ordinary members of society. Built in 1687, the house and its fine collection of art and furnishings were bequeathed to the city of Amsterdam by its last resident, Louisa Willet-Holthuysen. The mansion is beautifully preserved and highlights include the magnificent Blue Room, ornamental gardens and servants’ quarters.

5). Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic)
On the Oudezijds Voorburgwal you’ll find one of Amsterdam’s most unexpected museums. At first glance, Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic) looks like a typical 17th-century canal house, but there’s a historical church hidden behind the classical facade. This clandestine church in the attic dates back to the time when Catholics were not permitted to openly practice their faith. The building is now a museum where you can admire grand chambers and remarkable exhibitions in addition to the hidden church.

Dutch food restaurants
1) Moeders (Mothers) is packed with kitsch in the best possible way. The walls of restaurant are plastered with photos of mothers, and the menu features all the Dutch classics. You can even order a dinner sampler with a variety of typical dishes on one plate.
2) Take your favourite carnivore to Loetje (website in Dutch, 3 restaurants in town) for what is often claimed to be Amsterdam’s best traditional ‘biefstuk met friet’ (steak and chips). The menu also has a few fish items, but this is no place for vegetarians!
3) Named after the owner’s mother, some say that Greetje is the closest you can get to a home-cooked Dutch meal in a restaurant. They often get high marks for their welcoming atmosphere and friendly service.
4) A bit outside the city centre on the Javaplein, Wilde Zwijnen is a relative newcomer on the Amsterdam restaurant scene. They focus on presenting authentic Dutch dishes with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal, high-quality ingredients.
5) D’Vijff Vlieghen is a well-known location for a very elegant Dutch meal. The dining area is spread across a variety of rooms, including one with original etchings by Rembrandt. The menu features modern and creative interpretations using typical Dutch ingredients.

Special hotels in Amsterdam

1) Conservatorium Hotel
Conservatorium Hotel Amsterdam is conveniently located close to the famous Museumplein. This brand new five-star hotel has a total of 129 rooms and suites spread across 8 floors. To highlight the building’s lofty ceilings, many of the rooms feature a stunning duplex layout with oversized windows and exposed structural beams. The rooms range in size from 30 m2 to a spacious 170 m2.

2) Lloyd Hotel
Every room at the Lloyd Hotel is different, and that makes a stay here extra special. A number of different interior designers let their imaginations run wild in the rooms. The rooms range from 1 to 5 stars, so there’s something for every budget. The building also has an intriguing past. It was first an ‘immigrant’s hotel’ for travellers waiting for ships to their future homes, then a prison and later a juvenile detention centre. Besides offering comfortable accommodation, it’s a great place for art lovers.

3) The Exchange
Fashion lovers will feel right at home at The Exchange hotel on the Damrak. Founders and designers Otto Nan and Suzanne Oxenaar collaborated with graduates and alumni from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute on the hotel. That’s why each of the 61 rooms, ranging from 1 to 5 stars, looks completely different. There are even rooms inspired by former French queen Marie Antoinette and Grimm’s fairy tales. In case you get the urge to create, you can take advantage of the sewing machine that’s included in every room. On the ground floor you’ll find design shop Options! and restaurant Stock.

4) The Albus
The Albus is a unique 4-star design hotel in the centre of Amsterdam close to the Munttoren and the Rembrandtplein. All 74 deluxe rooms are decorated in a comfortable modern style and have a private bathroom. If you want to spoil yourself even more, you can book one of the deluxe junior suites. Each room is equipped with a Nespresso Machine, bottled mineral water, a large desk, 32-inch flat screen TV and laptop safe.

5) Ramada Apollo
The 4-star Ramada Apollo Amsterdam Centre is situated in the heart of the Rembrandtpark; an oasis of peace and quiet. The spectacular skybar Floor17 is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day. It is impossible not to be impressed by the staggering views. Here you can enjoy great food and drinks, while mesmerized by the views of the bustling centre, Schiphol International Airport and surroundings.

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