My dear Lola,
Holland or The Netherlands, are considered one of the old continent 15 smaller countries, although no less populated. Nowadays, more than 17 million people of different nationalities and religions live in just about 42km2, which makes it one of the most cosmopolitan states. Amsterdam, its capital, could not be left behind.
The city has world pioneered liberal reforms such as same-sex marriage and euthanasia’s legalization, and remains, despite recent legislative changes to limit the so-called “drug tourism”, one of the few world countries where marihuana and hashish are allowed in the peculiar and famed Coffee Shops.
But leaving this type of tourism aside, as happened with the musicians artists in Austria; Holland has established itself as the great Baroque painters cradle like Rembrandt, artists from the ‘Dutch Golden Age’ as Johannes Vermeer and Bosch, or Vincent Van Gogh and Mondrian during the last century. They all have their representation in museums such as Rijksmuseum, the Hermitage or the Van Gogh Museum, designed only to the artist died in France.
All these mandatory visits can be reached with the I Amsterdam City Card, which allows to organize the stay at the city regarding every tourist interests. Over 40 free museums, discounts in more than 20 restaurants, cafes or clubs and unlimited public transport use in a city that can be toured on foot, by bike (the main means of transportation) or by boat around more than 160 channels organized in a perfectly symmetrical shape.
When deciding to spend a getaway weekend at the Venice of the North, as Amsterdam is sometimes called, in 48h and with the I Amsterdam City Card help, it will be easy to discover its best-kept secrets and enjoy the most traditional food. To make the best of it, this is a suggested itinerary through the city:
Coming from Schiphol Airport, or from any other Dutch city, you will get into one of the oldest city buildings, dating from 1889, which centralizes all the connections to each of the country towns; the Central Station. Renaissance style, the building is worth a visit before heading out to discover the capital.
Following Damrak street, which ends at the Dam square, as its name indicates, we can start making use of the I Amsterdam City Card.
The main square gathers such emblematic and significant buildings as the neoclassical style Royal Palace (Koninklijk plaeis), the Nieuwe Kerk Gothic church, the white stone obelisk that serves as a National Monument, and the international Madame Tussaud Wax Museum, which can be accessed for free with the I Amsterdam City Card.
Later on, after crossing perpendicularly all channels by following Raadhuisstraat and Western Market streets between Grachtergondel and Jordaan districts border, the home of one of the most famous Dutch Jewish history literary characters, to call in some way, can be found; The Annelies Marie Frank Hollander’s House, better known as Anna Frank, where she hid until 1944 with her family before being sent to Auschwitz concentration camp, it remains almost intact and it turned into a museum.
Without doubt, the best way to discover the Dutch capital is wandering through its streets. And finding yourself in Jordaan, the city’s most bohemian neighbourhood, it is the perfect excuse to take a break and get some energy enjoying Amsterdam typical Pancakes, together with a fresh Heineken, the Dutch beer.
From the afternoon to sunset, when the Red Light District lights begin to illuminate the city narrow streets until late at night, you can enjoy a ride around its channels by any of the options provided by the I Amsterdam City Card; the Hop On Hop Off Museum Line or either the touristic Canal bus or the Canal Bike, which you allows you to ride it on the water at your own speed. All of them with a 25% discount after showing the card.
Having to choose from more than 70 museums can be impossible, but if 4 of the most important and varied ones are located at the same square; the Museumplein, makes things easier.
Starting the day with a dose of luxury at the Amsterdam Diamant Museum, followed by a visit to the legendary Van Gogh Museum with priority entrance (and both free with the I Amsterdam City Card), and a labyrinthine walk among Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Rubens, Francisco de Goya, Van Gogh, Mondrian, etc… work at the Rijksmuseum, will make you feel more inspired than ever to enjoy a good Heineken at the Heineken expericence. Ok, that was just an excuse … but what it is certain is that the entry is also included in the City Card, much better now?
In the afternoon, what a better plan than to continue discovering the city? Although this time, on land and taking advantage of the 25% discount on MacBike bicycles to tour around Vondelpark or the Amstel river banks while cycling back to the Central Station with a few stops at both the Hermitage Museum and the Museum Het Rembrandthuis, a XVII century house-museum where Rembrandt lived and created his best works.
Before leaving the city, check the Dutch National Opera schedule and attend some of its ballets or operas. Also with discount available.
Are you coming to spend a weekend in the Dutch capital?