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What makes Amsterdam special is its ability to behave like a modern city without losing its 17th century charm and ambiance. A progressive city jammed with elite artists, designers, and modern culture, it is also home to dozens of historical museums. Amsterdam boasts trendy shops, exciting nightlife, luxury hotels and fashionable restaurants all within the backdrop of old world architecture and 17th century canals that twist and turn their way through the city. These juxtapositions make Amsterdam fascinating, so it’s not surprising the city breeds so much creativity. Part of the modern infrastructure is the Schiphol Airport where 25 flights arrive daily from North America. The rest of the continent is easily accessible, making Amsterdam the gateway to Europe and an exciting destination on its own.
Tel. +31 (0) 20.662.1440
The Rijdsmuseum, with it's famous Rembrandt collection, has always been one of the worlds best museums. Now, recently opened, after a 10 year 275 million euro renovation it is absolutely not to be missed. The lighting that was engineered by Phillips brings the famous art work to life in a way never viewed before. Brillian! Fantastic! These are words you understand in every language. Get there early as there's a long line by 10AM.
Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
Paulus Potterstraat 7
Tel. +31 (0) 20.570.5252
The museum contains the largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings in the world. It houses some 200 paintings and 550 sketches showing Van Gogh in each of his prominent periods. These, combined with hundreds of letters by Van Gogh, and selected works by his friends and contemporaries, form the core of the museum's collection. The displays provide the opportunity to keep track of the artist's developments, or compare his paintings to works by other artists from the 19th century. Rent a pair of headphones, which offer a self-guided tour through the works.
Tel. +31 (0) 530.7488
You don't have to travel to St. Petersburg to view the wealth of the Russian artistic heritage. Here the three century connection between the two cities can be seen in the 42 million euros that was spent to develop this unique museum.
The Netherlands Maritime Museum
Tel. +31 (0) 20.523.2222
This museum will send you back to the times of trading voyages, Amsterdam in the Golden Age, the Dutch East India Company (VOC), distant countries, the mercantile spirit and the oversea colonies. The museum holds the largest collection of boats in the world. Full-scale displays of boats, models and maps give a chronological view of Dutch naval history.
Anne Frank’s House
Tel. +31 (0) 20.556.7105
The small, narrow canal house where the legendary little girl wrote about her experiences features documentary film clips on World War II and gives a true sense of just how crowded the family was. Expect a long line to get in during summer, but very well worth the wait.
Amsterdam Historisch Museum
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 357
Tel. +31 (0) 20.523.1822
Once housing the city’s sole orphanage, visit this converted museum to learn about the city’s metamorphosis from a sleepy medieval village into the most important city for world trade in the 17th century and in modern times, into a city of tolerance and multi-cultural vibrancy.
Urban Home Garden Tours
Tel. +31 (0) 20.688.1243
Learn about the French etiquette of the noveau rich who lived in the 17th and 18th century canal houses. Explore first hand the Amsterdam School style of architecture of the 20th century. Founded in 2000, these well-planned walking tours leave a vivid and colorful impression of Amsterdam life along the canals.
Tel. +31 (0) 20.523.1822
This 17th century mansion houses a remarkable collection of fine and applied art, including furniture, silverware and paintings. Some of the rooms remain unchanged, while others, such as the kitchen and the Garden room, have been restored in the style of the 18th century.
Erotic Museum OZ
Tel. +31 (0) 20.624.7303
If you don’t want to experience it for yourself, the Erotic museum will show you just what the Red Light District is all about. Five floors feature a collection of erotic art from all over the world from decades back in history to today. There’s a floor with unique erotic postcards, photos and more than 500 erotic books. A special fairytale corner with erotic videos shows the silly side of erotica.
Restaurant Le Garage
Tel. +31 (0) 20.679.7176
This appropriately named restaurant was once a garage, but is now a wonderfully fun, elegant restaurant with a brasserie feeling. The TV personality chef, Joop Braakhekke has created a “see and be seen" eatery, while at the same time ensuring the food is exceptional and the attitude not the least bit stuffy. Reservations at this trendy Amsterdam restaurant are a must.
Aan de Amstel
Tel. +31 (0) 20.608.0077
This Mediterranean inspired restaurant serves dishes revolving around local and mostly organic food. Much of the produce comes from a garden nearby. The Amsterdam hot spot is very well regarded among locals and seats only 36 so a reservation is mandatory.
Tel. +31 (0) 20.623.7344
Make sure to stop by this Italian restaurant and bar in a former cinema. The fashionable spot offers the usual anti-pastas, pastas and pizzas priced from $12.00 to $24.00 each.
Tel. +31 (0) 20.625.6718
Remember, because Holland colonized Indonesia, there is no shortage of authentic Indonesian eateries in Amsterdam. This one serves the spiciest Beef Rendang in Europe and with excellent service.
Tel. +31 (0) 20.625.0807
This quiet redefined eatery offers French cuisine with African influences. The location on a canal is as special as the extremely accommodating staff. There is also an extensive wine list.
One of Amsterdam's shopping districts, KNSM Island is an artificial peninsula. Formerly a busy harbor, the area has become an increasingly popular residential zone. Here you’ll find shops specializing in home furniture, so look around for things to add to your own décor.
Pieter Cornelis Hoofstraat
This three-block, mini-district of shopping pleasure is located next to the Rijksmuseum and is Amsterdam’s premiere luxury shopping district.
Nine Little Streets
Between the Singel & Prinsengracht and the Raadhuisstraat & Leidsesstraat is an area known as Nine Little Streets. It is classic, canal-filled Amsterdam kitsch with some funky, wonderful shopping. Make sure to get directions from your concierge before you go as the streets can get tricky.
Hester Van Eeghen
Tel. +31 (0) 20.626.9212
At this handbag paradise, you can buy the finished products of the world famous bag designer who has a museum dedicated to her work.
Tel. +31 (0) 20.620.1216
Fuzzy winter coats and leopard skin chic perk up any gray Amsterdam mornings you might happen upon.
Tel. +31 (0) 20.638.7095
You will wish their eclectic inventory could be found in your own trunk. An immaculate shop, specializing in vintage goods, mirrored picture frames, faux coral, tablecloths and bracelets.
Tel. +31 (0) 20.523.5059
Meaning, “dry” in Dutch, Droog is a brand and a mentality. Projects and product designs from around the world are nurtured by Droog Designs. The staff visit local studios and exhibitions, monitor graduation projects and read magazines to keep on the cutting edge of all kinds of modern home products from bathroom sinks to desk lamps.
Laura Dols Wolvenstraat 6 & 7
Tel. +31 (0) 20.624.9066
Thrift store like no other, this is the place to barter with shop attendants for those vintage items you just can’t live without. Believe us—you’ll find some.
De Looier Antiques Market
Tel. +31 (0) 20.624.9038
The largest antique market in the Netherlands is the ideal place to peruse for a few hours. Ceramics, gold and silverware, jewelry, mirrors, toys and antique furniture are just a few of the possible finds at the market. There’s no telling what treasures one might discover here and the people watching is just as priceless.
Tel. +31 (0) 20.509.5050
Rent a boat on "Queens Day" or any other for that matter, since it is one of the best ways to get around Amsterdam. Boats usually take up to 10 passengers and cost around $585.00 for four hours--skipper included.
This company organizes a variety half-day bike tours into the countryside (a great way to experience tulip time) and also mystery city walks in old Amsterdam.
This speakeasy type bar is the gourmet cocktail lovers dream. The private club ambinace is also a great place for those that want an exclusive settting. Take note though, reservations are essential.
Oostelijke Handelskade 4
Tel. +31 (0) 20.311.8689
Located in an old warehouse in what has been called the “Manhattan of Amsterdam,” Club Panama is essentially a bar, club, and restaurant all in one. The club is sectioned off into its own space, so diners are isolated from dancers and everyone is happy. Panama is a modern, yet elegant venue with excellent food and a variety of events each night.
Jimmy Woo Night Club
Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 18
Tel. +31 (0) 20.626.3150
A new late night destination for party people, Jimmy Woo is a modern take on old Hong Kong style. Black-lacquered tables, over-stuffed black leather sofas and a signature black opium table adorn the sleek rooms. Angelina and Brad have already been, so your dancing shoes might have to spend a bit of time in line before you get to groove with the stars, but it will be well worth it when you do.
Tel. +31 (0) 20.531.8181
A long-standing venue in the heart of Amsterdam, the Melkweg brings up and coming bands and acts to its legendary stage. On any given night, one can catch a rock show, house band, DJ or hip-hop outfit here while grabbing a drink or two. It’s a great place to start an inevitably late night in Amsterdam and its central location makes it easy to keep the party going long after the band is done.
The Lounge at the Dylan Hotel
Tel. +31 (0) 20.530.2010
Amsterdam’s premier boutique hotel, the Dylan, is of the Hey-is-that-who-I-think-it-is? sort, now that the hotel’s bar and lounges have become center stage for the Amsterdam social scene. Newly open to the public, the multilevel spaces are replete with attention-grabbing details, among them gold-leaf walls, vermilion leather wing chairs, and a mammoth wood-and–cattle horn bar. All of these extravagant elements somehow fit in perfectly—not unlike the clientele, a ceaseless parade of Margiela- and van Noten–clad giants and giantesses with hearty laughs and killer bone structure.