Amsterdam Things to Do Tips by yooperprof
Amsterdam Things to Do: 3,380 reviews and 5,299 photos
Interesting for local history! I'm a history buff (and a historian) so of course it was natural for me to pay a visit to this excellent regional museum. Amsterdam is a city with a great and important past, and the local museum portrays its diverse and rich past in an interactive and convincing manner. I especially liked the profusion of maps and dioramas that portrayed the relationship of the city to its environment, both physical and human, over the centuries. It really becomes clear how "clever" the Dutch have been (and Amsterdammers in particular) at making the best of their situation!
Coming the museum here also helped me to understand the peculiar relationship of Amsterdam to the rest of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is the largest and most important city, but it's not the government center - and it's also far from being a Royal city in the manner of a London or a Copenhagen. Amsterdammers have always been proud and bourgeous - rich through trade and commerce - and always have something of a difficult relationship with the rest of the country. And something of a difficult relationship with the Dutch monarchy, too!
One of my favorite exhibits though focused upon the development of the monarchy in the 19th and 20th centuries. The monarchy probably would not have survived had it not been for the resourcefulness and ingenuity of its long period of Queens: Wilhelmina, Juliana and now Beatrix. So interesting to see how Queens Day is celebrated here - even (or especially) in the gay clubs of the Rokin!
Address: Kalverstraat 92
This was the smallest of the museums I visited in Amsterdam - and the weakest, I think. It's nice that they have plenty of old flower pots, but there aren't many other old artifacts or objects in their collection.
On the other hand, the Amsterdam Tulip Museum was founded only in 2004, so it is likely to improve over the years as its collection grows. If you don't know anything about tulips, and you wish to learn something about a very famous flower, this might be a good place to spend half an hour as you are walking through the neighborhood.
Address: 112 Prinsengracht
watch your head (especially if you are Dutch!)
Not just a museum about Amsterdam's houseboats - a museum ON an Amsterdam houseboat. Which is its main charm.
I also liked the short video of houseboat life in the big city. There's something romantic about a houseboat - uncomfortable, too, no doubt! But I'm only 5'6", so its not that uncomfortable for me. There's something odd about see really tall Dutch people straining to remember to duck on these boats!
By the way, the name in Dutch is "Woonbootmuseum".
Address: Prinsengracht, near 296
Directions: not far from the Anne Frank House
Pretty as a picture?
New photography museum with both a European and an International focus. Located in a renovated canal house. Interesting permanent collection with many "masters" - and exhibit space for temporary/travelling shows. When I was here I saw an excellent show about the "noir" era photographer Wegee!
Address: Keizersgracht 609
step right up!
18th century house museum located on one of the grandest canals in the Golden belt. Several grand state rooms, and bedrooms that reflect the prosperity of the upper bourgeoisie. Lots of gilt!
Interesting to see how nice the back of the house is - in many ways, more grand than the front. Spectacular garden - that was my favorite feature. I love a good parterre!
Address: Keisersgracht 672
four stories tall, five windows wide
Interesting canal-side house museum that allows visitors to see the lifestyle enjoyed by the high bourgeoisie of Amsterdam from the 17th to the 19th centuries.
The house was constructed between 1685 and 1690; it is the only canal house museum in Amsterdam that dates from that era. (The last private owners of the house, the Willet-Holthuysen family, donated the property to the Amsterdam Historical Society in the late 19th century.)
Plenty of objet's arts: silver, china, paintings: a haven for those interested in historic interior design. Not palatial but certainly well beyond comfortable!
We really liked the clothing exhibit on the top floor of the house. They had a few original pieces, and quite a few large panels that were "blown up" from early 19th century fashion books.
Address: Herengracht 605
Directions: close to the Amstel River, half a block from Utrechtestraat
Phone: (020) 523-1822
entrance to the house of faith
A sign of Amsterdam's unusual and early spirit of tolerance in its Golden Age, the Portuguese Synagogue survived the Nazi occupation and remains today a link to a vital period of Jewish and Dutch history.
When this temple was opened in 1675, it was said to be the largest synagogue in western Europe. Both inside and out, classical, refined architectural details suggest a melding of faith and reason: this building is a product both of the continuity of Judaism and the flourishing of a rational spirit in the 17th century. Definitely a must-see for all those interested in Judaica and/or architectural history.
(Note that this is a still a functioning religious center, so it is closed on Saturdays and holy days.)
Address: Mr Visserplein 3
The Jewish Historical Museum, located in the old Jewish quarter, incorporates several older buildings - and the interior of an old synagogue. It offers an interesting perspective upon eight centuries of Jewish life in Amsterdam, from times of persecution and refuge in the medieval era, to times of persecution and refuge in the modern era. There are both permanent exhibits and space for temporary or travelling shows, so the displays here are constantly being revised and updated. Very interesting to see the challenges and triumphs and tragedies of the Jewish community here - it should be seen by everyone who visits the Anne Frank house!
Address: Jonas Daniel Meijerplein 2-4
house of the master
It's nice to be able to see where the Great Master lived when things were going well for him! But there's a story behind the bourgeois facade of prosperity.
Interesting that Rembrandt did well in the great Dutch city of Amsterdam - and for a while he was "painter of the day" - in demand for big civic commissions (i.e. working on the new Town Hall) and society portraits of the rich and famous. But Rembrandt never forgot that he was Rembrandt, and by many accounts he was somewhat difficult to get along with. He also spent money freely on his house and his furniture and his servants, and eventually his finances got out of control. The big commissions began to dry up, some of his wealthy patrons began to turn against, and in general, Amsterdammers began to turn their attention (and their pocketbooks) to the new and younger generation of painters. Fashions turn.
Eventually Rembrandt and family faced the public humiliation of bankruptcy. The tut-tutting must have been impossible to avoid. This large and confortable house had to be given up. And Rembrandt's furniture and possessions were sold at public auction. As is well known, Rembrandt died impoverished, and was buried at public expense in an unmarked grave. C'est la vie.
It's good preparation for a trip to Amsterdam to read a good biography of Rembrandt - and his times. I can recommend the work of Simon Schama, particularly "Rembrandt's Eyes." (There's also some interesting bits about Rembrandt in Zadie Smith's recent novel "On Beauty" - but that's more of a London novel than an Amsterdam novel!)
Address: Jodenbreestraat 4
palace of art
One of the great museums of the world.
When I visited Amsterdam in March 2008, much of the Rijksmuseum was closed for renovation. (My bad luck in the timing: the nearby Stedelijk Museum was also being restored at the same time, its permanent collection in storage.) At the Rijksmuseum, the highlights of the collection were being shown in a few large galleries. "The Masterpieces" - meaning that nearly every single object on display was worthy of intense concentration and study. Ah yes, the "masterpieces of the Rijksmuseum" are worthy indeed!
This is a Dutch museum, of course, but I think there's something for everyone here. While I was obsessing over the Vermeers and the Rembrandts, my friend Nikke was drooling over the large dollhouses and the collection of gold and silver plate. I can't wait to return for my second go-through - and perhaps at that time the whole museum will be open!
N.B., the building which houses the Rijksmuseum is in the Dutch neo-gothic style and designed by the same architect, P.J. Cuypers (1827-1921).
Address: Stadhouderskade 42
More Reviews (66)
- See All Public Art - "Lovely Boy" in the Spui
- See All Cheerful Cozy Pancake place near...
- See All Chet Baker Memorial
- See All Classic jenever house - from 1650!
- See All Pastries and Cakes - oh my!
yooperprof's Related Pages
Amsterdam Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "MY BIRTHPLACE"
- "Amsterdam - I love it!"
- "God made the Dutch, but the Dutch made Holland"
- "Amsterdam, is it real?"
- "Amsterdam, where the Dutch money is spend"
- "Amsterdam! The most liberal city in the World"
- "dila's new Amsterdam Page"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Amsterdam
- Hotels in Amsterdam
- Transportation in Amsterdam
- Nightlife in Amsterdam
- Restaurants in Amsterdam
- Shopping in Amsterdam
- Warnings and Dangers in Amsterdam
- See All...
Explore the World
- Marina di Pisa
- Ottawa Hills Hotels
- Kostromskaya Oblast'
- Birkhadem Hotels
- Glengarnock Hotels
- Killadangan Hotels
Badges & Stats in Amsterdam
- 82 Reviews
- 229 Photos
- 8 Forum posts
- 6 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (57)
Have you been to Amsterdam?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Amsterdam
- Posted in Travel Chicago Forum "Re: Anybody Coming to Chicago?"
- Wrote a Review Public Art - "Lovely Boy" in the Spui about Statues and Sculptures in Amsterdam Favorites
- Uploaded a Photo to "Public Art - "Lovely Boy" in the Spui"
- updated a Amsterdam Travelogue "Window Shopping in Amsterdam!"
- Commented on one of Igraine's Amsterdam travel pages
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Chicago Intro, 200 reviews, 374 photos, 5 travelogues
- Amsterdam Intro, 82 reviews, 229 photos, 3 travelogues
- Vienna Intro, 126 reviews, 161 photos, 5 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Oslo Intro, 112 reviews, 173 photos, 5 travelogues
- London Intro, 86 reviews, 176 photos, 3 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Milwaukee Intro, 101 reviews, 159 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination Marquette Intro, 80 reviews, 151 photos, 5 travelogues
- Ottawa Intro, 67 reviews, 144 photos, 1 travelogue
- Montreal Intro, 70 reviews, 137 photos
- Kansas City Intro, 72 reviews, 128 photos, 2 travelogues
FriendsSee All Friends (37)
Latest Amsterdam hotel reviews
- DownTown Hotel
- 61 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 15, 2013
- Hotel Agora
- 95 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 11, 2013
- BackStage Hotel Amsterdam
- 82 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 12, 2013
- Hotel V Frederiksplein
- 307 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 18, 2013
- City Hotel Amsterdam
- 88 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 4, 2013
- Hotel De Lantaerne
- 107 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 7, 2013
- Petit Prince
- 20 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 13, 2013
- Hotel Seven One Seven Amsterdam
- 155 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 7, 2013
- Ambassade Hotel
- 342 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 20, 2013
- Artemis Hotel Amsterdam
- 270 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 18, 2013
- Brian Hotel
- 85 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 15, 2013
- Hotel La Boheme Amsterdam
- 334 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 19, 2013
- Thorbecke Hotel
- 82 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 11, 2013
- B&B Boat Friesland
- 35 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 19, 2013
- Red Light District - De Wallen- 127 Reviews, 151 Photos
- Anne Frank House- 230 Reviews, 238 Photos
- Rijksmuseum- 208 Reviews, 340 Photos
- Canal Boat Tours- 176 Reviews, 283 Photos
- Sex Museum- 45 Reviews, 58 Photos
- Heineken Brewery- 98 Reviews, 139 Photos
- Dam Square- 88 Reviews, 157 Photos
- Coffee Shops- 123 Reviews, 132 Photos
- Flower Market - Bloemenmarkt- 65 Reviews, 101 Photos
- Van Gogh Museum- 158 Reviews, 170 Photos
See All Amsterdam Things to Do