Netherlands (Part 1) – Amsterdam: A Photo Diary

There is nothing about Europe, that I don’t like. I’m crazy about Europe and I always feel I don’t get enough. This year when we decided to spend 4 days in Netherlands, I was ecstatic. I did have some reservations about Amsterdam considering its reputations on sex and drugs (since we were traveling with kids).., but I put my apprehensions aside and delved right into it.

I have nothing to complain about and in fact, I’m planning to do Amsterdam once again – soon.  Loved the vibe of that city – young and bohemian and trust me, you can smell the amazing coffee in the air.

I could not get over the architecture!

Amsterdam: A Photo Diary

77 (2)For many, Amsterdam, means marijuana joints and red-lit windows or a city filled with cycles and canals. What I saw was, a city filled with cozy cafés, great art, street-corner jazz, a place packed with museums and buzzing with a bohemian spirit.

I felt at home.

And everything about Amsterdam is so cozy and so comforting and so very gezellig . You have to be there to experience it…, Like the rest of Europe, there is a sense of time stopping…, all you want to do is just leave everything behind and soak in the present.

Our hotel was right next to Vondel Park and within walking distance to Museumplein. So, day one was spent exploring the nearby areas walking around, eating ice cream and enjoying the street-side performers.

I saved my energy for the Van Gogh Museum for the next day as it was the top thing to do on my list.

The Museum Quarter/ Museumplein

6 (2)The pond in front of the Rijksmuseum. Took the above picture at 3 am in the morning. I had to wake up early and walk there to get a few shots before it gets crowded by tourists. 30That’s the Rijksmuseum, famous for Rembrandt’s piece, “The Nightwatch”. If you are time constrained, just see “The Nightwatch” and it will be worth your money. No Kidding.

 

71Again, this shot was taken at very early in the morning. You see a few teenagers there? They were nice and we chatted up with them and took a few pictures of them as well. They were from SFO. 🙂

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I spent almost 4 hours at the Van Gogh’s and particularly liked two of his paintings. The one above here is the – The Yellow House. And there was one more called – The Blue Dress. I’m sure Van Gogh was obsessed with yellow and blue like me. 🙂

After, I explored the Van Gogh.., I strolled right into the House Of Bols. It has to be my third favorite museum in Amsterdam. The best part is, right after the tour.., you can sample some awesome cocktails at their bar. Founded by Lucas Bols, the museum is a winner of the Dutch Design Award for the Best Exhibit & Experience. If you love your cocktails, this place is definitely a must-visit.

There are four halls challenging you on your knowledge of taste and aroma.

HALL OF TASTE, DISTILLERY ROOM, GENEVER ROOM and then finally my favorite SHAKE YOUR OWN COCKTAIL

 

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Amsterdam and the Canals – Venice of the North

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, has more than one hundred kilometers of canals, about 90 islands, and 1,500 bridges. The canals were dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age.

These are a few pictures that I took while walking the length and breadth of Amsterdam. A few were also taken from the boat while I was on my canal cruise.

108You see a plethora of bikes everywhere. It’s a very unique Dutch thing. And, Amsterdam is probably the most bicycle-friendly city in the world.

 

 

Amsterdam+canalThe West Church –  Westerkerk is the most famous church of Amsterdam built in the 16th century. Rembrandt was buried outside the church (he was later reinterred inside the church).

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Amsterdam+canal1Rows and rows of historic canal house alongside the canal.

80Our boat. We were served wine when we got on board and cruise lasted 2 hours. It was beautiful.

The Royal Palace – orKoninklijk Paleis dates back to 1648 and was home to Louis Napoleon — brother of French Emperor Napoleon. There are about 2,000 pieces of well-preserved Empire-style furniture – wooden and upholstered, bronze chandeliers and original wall hangings left behind by Louis Napoleon.

Today, the Royal Palace is used for state visits, the Dutch Royal House’s New Year receptions, and other official functions.100

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All around Amsterdam….,

 

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The coffee and desserts! Anyone?? There is an abundance of patisseries and café’s, restaurants alongside the canal. For me, there is nothing better than to sit and enjoy delicious pastries, drink coffee and people watch. Oh, You must try the pancakes and waffles and the almond cookies. Another thing I particularly loved was the cafe and dessert places dotted all over the city.

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The Bloemenmarkt is the world’s only floating flower market. Founded in 1862.., It includes 15 florists and garden shops as well as a range of souvenir gifts.

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101.jpgIf you are an Amsterdam virgin like I was, who doesn’t know what to expect from the city considering its reputations on drugs and sex.., just delve right into it. There is so much to see and do in Amsterdam that I would recommend planning your time well, so as to make the most of every moment.

Lastly, If you are visiting Amsterdam for the first time.., here are the must-do’s

  1. Van Gogh Museum
  2. Rijksmuseum
  3. House of Bols (right in front of Van Gogh and visit this place, if you are into cocktails)
  4. Canal Cruise
  5. Heineken Experience (You will love this place as well as the few glasses of beer in the end)

If you are time constrained, you can skip

  1. Anne Frank Museum (Honestly, I found it a little over rated. The book was a great read but not the museum)
  2. Vondelpark  (we lived right next to it, so we had to explore the park. But if you are not travelling with kids, you can skip the park as well)
  3. I also didn’t do any adult stuff like sex museums etc since we were with our kids.

 

Netherlands (part 1) - Amsterdam

Coming up next – Netherlands (Part-2)

 

 

 
 

63 Comments

  1. Awesome! I can not remember if you have been to Germany or Austria but you would find more of the same.

     
  2. Lovely photos! I need to make a pit stop there next time I’m in Europe. Looks like a really eccentric city.

     
  3. Oh, I’m so jealous! I want to go there some day with my family. Everything looks so vibrant and I love the flowers and architecture there!

     
  4. Amsterdam is just beautiful. I was there for there for 4 years. it was so much fun. I have been all over the world but haven’t seen a place like this.

     
  5. Amsterdam looks amazing! I love that you had the courage to see it for yourself in spite of the bad reputation. The pictures are stunning!

     
  6. I would love to travel in Europe sometime in the future with my family. The Netherlands looks like an amazing place, especially those desserts!

     
  7. Your photos are amazing and do the wonderful Amsterdam much justice!! I have visited twice and I can’t wait to get the chance to visit again!

     
  8. I have always thought Amsterdam would be a lovely place to visit! Your pictures are so lovely, it really makes me want to visit even more now.

     
  9. Your photos are fabulous! I was in Amsterdam years ago but would love to go back. I did do the Anne Frank house and it was cramped, but I love history so I was glad I did it. I think if I went today I’d probably cry all over the place and keep hugging my kids and reminding them how good they have it. It would freak them out.

     
  10. The photos are beautiful and I bet the culture there and sights are amazing. I would love to travel to a few places in Europe and this makes me want to go there.

     
  11. Thank-you for showing me a different side of Amsterdam! I always imagined it to be a seedy place filled with working girls and rolled joints. I didn’t realise there were so many other beautiful places to see!

     
  12. Sounds amazing, I’ve never been to Amsterdam, but it’s on my list of places I want to visit..I loved your photo diary..:)

     
  13. Great images, looks like a fun trip. I went to Amsterdam earlier this year and you put me to shame getting up for 3am to go out for pictures, I thought 730am was early enough x

     
  14. I love this! My fiance is Dutch and I will be moving to Amsterdam end of the year! I can not wait to go back there. Isn’t the architecture just absolutely stunning …and isn’t it crazy how laid back the Dutch are? You just have to get used to the fact that they tell it as it is, straight to your face. There are no “polite lies”. HAHAHA =D It’s so lovely there.

     
  15. My nephew is in Amsterdam at the moment, probably enjoying him self to the maximum. There are many places to visit, it is a beautiful place.

     
  16. Looks like a great place to visit! I have never been to Amsterdam, but after seeing your photos, I may have to put it on my travel bucket list.

     
  17. I still have not found my way to holland yet. Hope to change this soon though! Actually we frequently get close to the dutch border in Germany and Belgium. I think it’s time to change that and to get to the land of flowers and windmills. 🙂 Love your pictures, so inspiring!

     
  18. your photo journal is wodnerful !! It makes me want to go back to Amsterdam agin !! Luckily I am heading back there in October for my Birthday 🙂

     
  19. I think for my daughter and I, we would have the most fun at the Van Gogh exhibit. We love that art and she would love seeing it all.

     
  20. This is definitely on my travel bucket list. It looks so amazing and beautiful.

     
  21. I have always wanted to visit Amsterdam. It looks amazing in your pictures! It looks like you had a lovely time. It’s good to see that it’s a good city for kids too, despite the reputation

     
  22. I am mesmerized by the colors and the architecture! I can’t wait to see the additional parts to your trip!

     
  23. I can’t believe I still have not been to Amsterdam, it looks such an amazing, vibrant city with so much to see.

     
  24. Your photos are so inviting! Amderstam is definitely on list of places to visit in my lifetime, you catered it beautifully.

     
  25. we just got back from Paris and London and said Amsterdam would be our next trip. this post and photos might have just sealed the deal. 🙂

     
  26. It sounds like you had an amazing time in Amsterdam. I have never been there but would love to visit some day. There is so much history there and it has so many beautiful things to see. Thanks for sharing your amazing experiences and the list of must dos there.

     
  27. These are fantastic photos. I would love to be able to go to Netherlands someday soon. It looks so beautiful there.

     
  28. Great pictures! Amsterdam seems to me to be quite the city! Full of paradoxes and quite the experience. What really caught my imagination was the art + cocktail bar combo! What a delight that must have been.

     
  29. Looks like an amazing place to travel. I LOVE the pictures of the buildings reflecting in the water. So amazing.

     
  30. Oh my God all the photos you took are so amazing and beautiful! quality is really high. I really want to visit there someday especially on my bucket list .

     
  31. I know that for my daughter and I we would love the Van Gogh museum. But after seeing all the beautiful flowers in pictures I can see why they would inspire Van Gogh so much. Looks like an amazing time.

     
  32. I am glad to hear that Amsterdam is good for those who are travelling with families as well. I like the look of the architecture and the royal palace is absolutely stunning. You must have had a blast x

     
  33. It just looks so stunning to me. I’d love to go visit. I know my grown kids would like to go as well.

     
  34. Wow these pictures are everything. Amsterdam looks like one place I would really love to visit. Definitely Adding it to my bucket list.

     

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