AMSTERDAM: THREE WAYS
Whether you’re a first-time visitor to the Dutch capital and looking to focus on the famous sights, or you’ve traveled here once or many times before, Amsterdam never disappoints. This guide o ers something for everyone, including a canalside neighborhood
Anne Frank Huis
The house that concealed Anne Frank and her family for two years draws more than a million visitors annually. With Frank’s melancholy bedroom, and her actual diary in a glass case, it’s a powerful experience. Choose a time slot and prepurchase tickets online to minimize
» wait time. annefrank
.org; Prinsengracht 263–267
Dèsa Indonesian $$
Amsterdam is one of the best places outside Indonesia to have a
r sttafel (multidish banquet). Dèsa’s version is wildly popular, while à la carte options include
ayam besengek (chicken cooked in saron and coconut milk).
Spread across five 17th-century canal houses, the “Five Flies” is a jewel. Dining rooms have Del¡ Blue tiles and original Rembrandt works.
Exquisite dishes range from goose with apple, sauerkraut and smoked butter to candied haddock with licorice sauce.
The R¤ksmuseum is among the world’s finest art museums, with works by local heroes Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh. To avoid the biggest crowds, come before 10 a.m. or a¡er 3 p.m., and prebook tickets online for fast-track entry. Start on the second floor, with the astounding Golden Age works. Intimate paintings by Vermeer and de Hooch allow insight into 17th-century life, while Rembrandt’s The
Night Watch (1642) takes pride of place. Other must-sees here are the Del¡ware (blue-andwhite pottery), intricate dollhouses and the Asian
» Pavilion. r ksmuseum.nl;
Dating back to 1786 as a jenever (Dutch gin) distillery, locals’ favorite ’t Smalle is one of the city’s most charming bruin cafés (pubs). It was restored in the 1970s with antique porcelain beer pumps and lead-framed
» windows. t-smalle.nl; Egelantiersgracht 12
Van Gogh Museum
It’s a moving experience to visit this museum, which traces Van Gogh’s life via the world’s largest collection of his work, from tentative beginnings to giddily bright sunflowers, and on to a frenzy of creative brilliance. Lines can be long; prebooked e-tickets and a Museumkaart help speed up the process.
Frying up frites (fries) since 1887, this takeaway is Amsterdam’s best friterie. The standard order of crispy, fluy frites is smothered in mayo, though the 28 available sauces also include apple, green pepper, peanut ketchup, sambal and mustard. Lines are usually a block long but move fast.
vleminckxdesausmeester .nl; Voetboogstraat 33
FOR REPEAT VISITORS
Ajax rents bargain-priced city bikes, children’s bikes, tandems and cargo bikes. It also oers three-hour tours taking in the De P¤p neighborhood, the city and countryside.
ajaxbike.nl; Gerard Doustraat 153
An enchantingly pretty place, this casual neighborhood spot feels like it’s straight out of an Edith Piaf song. Come to sip cappuccino under the trees, or in the candlelit evenings for delicious creations, such as poussin with fries, aïoli and apple-apricot
» compote. cafe-toussaint
.nl; Bosboom Toussaintstraat 26
Greetje Dutch $$$
Amsterdam’s most creative Dutch restaurant uses the best seasonal produce to re-create traditional Dutch recipes, like pickled beef, braised veal with apricots and leek stamppot
(mashed potatoes and vegetables). A typical dessert might be lemon buttermilk pie with crushed candy-cookie crust.
Learn about the remarkable feat of engineering behind the Canal Ring through this museum’s holograms, cartoons, scale model of Amsterdam and other innovative exhibits. Visits are by small groups; online tickets are cheaper.
Moeders Dutch $$
Mum’s the word at “Mothers.” When this welcoming place opened in 1990, customers were asked to bring their own plates and photos of their moms as donations; the decor remains a delightful hodgepodge. So does the food, from traditional pumpkin stamppot to stews, fish dishes and calf’s liver with bacon and onion. Book ahead.
Museum het Rembrandthuis
Rembrandt’s old home is where the master painter spent his most successful years, painting big commissions such as The
Night Watch. You can visit his studio, which looks as if he’s just stepped out, and take part in etching
workshops. Lines here are not as long as at some other attractions, but you can book ahead online.
’t Blauwe Theehuis $
No, it’s not a blue-andwhite UFO cake stand landed in the park. This is the Vondelpark’s most fabulous and laid-back café. In summer the terrace is packed with seemingly everyone in town enjoying coee and cake or cocktails and
» dinner. blauwetheehuis
.nl; Vondelpark 5
Vondelpark occupies a special place in Amsterdam’s heart. It’s a magical escape, but also supplies a busy social scene, encompassing cycleways, pristine lawns, quaint cafés and ponds with swans. On sunny days, a party atmosphere ensues when tourists, lovers, cyclists, in-line skaters, stroller-pushing parents, cartwheeling children, soccer-ballkicking teenagers, joint-sharing friends and champagne-swilling picnickers all come out to play. It’s rarely tranquil, but always a lot of fun.
FOR OLD HANDS
Braai BBQ Bar
Once a haringhuis
(herring stand), this tiny place is now a street-foodstyle barbecue bar, with a great canalside setting. Braai’s specialty is marinated, barbecued ribs (half or full rack) and roasted sausages, but there are veggie options
» too. braaiamsterdam.nl;
It’s well worth making the eort to visit this out-of-the-way canalside museum. The building makes a light-flooded setting for work from the post-WWII CoBrA movement. Its members produced semi-abstract works known for their primitive, childlike qualities, and the museum is full of boldly colored, avant-garde paintings, ceramics and
» statues. cobra-museum
Out in Amsterdamse Bos, this remarkable organic working goat farm lets (human) kids feed milk to (goat) kids in season; there are cheese-making workshops, and you can even do goat yoga.
Nieuwe Meerlaan 4
From the outside it looks like a grand canal house, but this is the city’s most important photography gallery. Its simple, spacious galleries, some with skylights or large windows for natural light, host four big annual
» exhibitions. foam.org;
This glorious international food hall in soaring former trolley sheds has food stands surrounding an open eating area. Look out for Viet View Vietnamese street food and Jabugo Iberico Bar ham, and the Beer Bar, serving drinks from local heroes 2 Chefs and
» Oedipus. foodhallen.nl;
De Hallen, Hannie Dankbaar Passage 3
Across the in Amsterdam Noord, enchanting chocolate-box prettiness characterizes this long, narrow street of wooden Dutch houses, now prime real estate, with hollyhocks nodding beside every porch.
Many houses here date from the 1500s, and numbers 202 to 204 were where the shipbuilding family De Vries-Lentsh lived. Numbers 301 to 309 were once captains’ houses.
Typical Dutch houses and houseboats along the Singel canal