Amsterdam is a place of art, history, canals, windmills and bicycling. With all that too see, and with it being one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, the best way to experience the Dutch culture is to grab your cycle and ride around the city (totaling 250 miles of bike paths)! Here are five places that will really expose you to the rich culture of the Netherlands.
1. Anne Frank House
You might have heard of the most famous diary in the world which was written by a Jewish girl who hid from Nazi’s during World War II. Now it’s time to experience the story on a new level. Opened in 1960, the museum is the third most visited museum in the Netherlands pulling in 1.2 million visitors in 2013 and 2014. During the tour, you can see where Anne Frank hid with her family during the war. The museum also holds an Academy Award won by Shelley Winters for her performance in The Diary of Anne Frank. This museum not only honors Anne, but also all who have been victimized by prejudice and discrimination.
Photo courtesy | Guilhem Vellut
2. The Museum of the Netherlands (Rijksmuseum)
After spending time looking at the beautiful river we are going to head to a much larger museum. The Museum of the Netherlands, or Rijksmuseum in Dutch, is about an eight-minute bike ride from the Anne Frank Museum. This national museum has 8,000 objects of art and history on display. The architecture is impressive, molding both old fashion styles with the new. Spend extra time looking at pieces by some of the Netherlands’ most famous artists Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer. If you want to truly bask in the rich culture of the Dutch, this is the place to do it.
Photo courtesy | Ed Webster
3. Van Gogh Museum
Right down the road is the Van Gough Museum. The architecture of this museum is much more modern than the Rijksmuseum, yet still quite impressive. If you don’t know much about Van Gogh, he was a post-Impressionist painter who work influenced the modern movement which peaked during the early 20th century. You’ve most likely seen Starry Night or Café Terrace at Night. The museum also displays work by his contemporaries. It is the 2nd most visited museum in the Netherlands, unsurprisingly, since they display the work of one of the most famous artists in history.
Photo courtesy | EVE
A five-minute bike ride and a few turns away, you’ll find Vondelpark. By this time you may be tired from all the educational and artistically meaningful museums, so take a break and enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery of the Netherlands. Vondelpark is about 120 acres of open grass, bike paths, and several bars and restaurants. Make sure you grab some food, or feel free to bring your own and picnic. Check out some of the statues in the park, take your kids to the playgrounds, or take a look at their open-air theater. It’s an interesting building which hosts musical and dance performances.
Photo courtesy | Barbara Walsh
5. De Jordaan
Ride along the nearest canal and soon you will find Jordaan — the perfect neighborhood to end your night. You will also be near the area where you started. It’s one of the city’s most polished and famous areas. Check out some of their art galleries and studios, boutiques, shops, markets and old fashioned stone houses. At night, the neighborhood is lit up like a picture, when their clubs and bars come to life — most have live music of all kinds: jazz, blues, rock and dance. Whether you are looking for a good place to shop, to eat or to party, Jordaan has everything you are looking for.
Photo courtesy | David van der Mark