The buildings look like cake frosting, the people are way cool and yet everything feels inviting and warm.
What a unique blend of culture, history, Dutch ingenuity and whimsy. It’s a city that doesn’t take itself too seriously and feels immediately familiar and lovely. The meandering canals mimic the laid-back vibe of the area and everything feels effortlessly chic. Amsterdam – it is what it is and you’re welcome to enjoy it.
-Explore as far as your little feet can take you. Spot a side street hidden between two topsy-turvy buildings? Check it out. Happen upon a tiny market selling only art books and antique maps? Buyyyy some. Spy a bench in an open square? Take a load off and enjoy the bustle around you. This city is happening.
-Eat. Dutch.Pancakes. Nuff said.
-Stop and smell the roses. Well…tulips. There is a gorgeous abundance of flower markets peddling, of course, tulips but also tons of other floral varieties and it’s so colorful and bright, you won’t be able to keep a smile off your face. Unless you’re allergic…then maybe bring tissues.
-Respect the bike. And bike lane. As evidenced by the photos, bikes are abundant across The Netherlands and the people take their bikes seriously. The city is incredibly bike friendly and as visitors, it’s our responsibility to be aware of this (especially if you’re from cities where bike lane sharing is nonexistent). The Dutch are very friendly but they will not hesitate to tell you if you’re in the way. Don’t be that tourist. Pay attention.
-Visit the Anne Frank House. Is it sad? Yes. Is it moving? Duh. Is it worth it? 100x yes. Visually impressive and historically well-preserved, it is beautifully done. Showcasing the home where the young author of the famous diary hid with her family and fellow Jews during WWII, the Anne Frank Museum is mesmerizing. It both serves as a haunting reminder of a dreadful moment in our history and a burning beacon of perseverance and courage that will stay with you long after you leave.
-Bridges. This might be an odd “favorite” but the canals snaking through the city oft result in beautiful bridges to aid in pedestrian crossing. This wide variety of bridges, large and small, intricate and utilitarian, make for a lovely stroll around town.
-Fries with saté sauce. Indonesia was colonized as part of the Dutch East Indies way back when so there are plenty of amazing Indonesian restaurants dotting the town. In addition to these restaurants, the tiny counter chip shops sell late night snack food (read: post ahem… revelry dining options) including french fries topped with a tangy, sweet, hot peanut sauce. It’s also common to see people eating french fries with mayo instead of ketchup. With amazing flavors like curry and garlic mayo, why not, right? Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.
–Cuypers Library or the Rijksmuseum Research Library is heaven. If you salivated during the scene in Beauty and the Beast when Belle is presented with the floor to ceiling library with windows up to there (!!!), then you must go. Think spiral staircases, wrought iron railings, floor to ceiling books, upon books, upon books. Located inside the Rijksmuseum, it is the largest public art library in The Netherlands and it is shiny and beautiful and perfect.