Amsterdam has been on our wish list for a long time. In the summer of 2002, it is time and we drive to this really fascinating city together with two friends. Our guesthouse is located in the Vondelstraat, which is great because from there we can reach everything on foot. On the first day, we just stroll through the streets and are overwhelmed by the great atmosphere that prevails in the city. Because we are there on the first weekend in August, the Amsterdam Gay Pride (http://pride.amsterdam/) takes place. It is a statement of the equality of the gay, lesbian and transsexual community and typical for the tolerant and liberal climate of Amsterdam.
The next day it’s all about culture. There are so many incredible museums. On our list are the Van Gogh Museum (https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl), which houses the largest collection of paintings by Van Gogh, drawings and letters, including his masterpieces "The Potatoes", the "Sunflowers", the "Almond Blossoms" and "The Sower ".
Nearby is the Rijksmuseum (https://www.rijksmuseum.nl) dedicated to the fine arts, crafts and history. It is a time journey through the Dutch (art)history from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. And we also look at the concert hall at least from the outside.
Also interesting is the torture museum (http://www.torturemuseum.nl). Until a few centuries ago, a scaffold stood in the market square in every European city. Church jurists developed special remedies against the particular crime of witchcraft and heresy. The Spanish Inquisition used an extensive arsenal of instruments to eradicate this diabolical evil. The Torture Museum shows a lively picture of this painful past.
As we like sailing, we are thrilled of the ship's museum "Het Scheepvaartmuseum" (https://www.hetscheepvaartmuseum.nl) which is housed in an old warehouse of the Royal Dutch Navy. You can explore the replica of a sailing ship from the 18th century, and view an exhibition about the golden age of sea navigation. This was the time when the art flourished and adventurous journeys were started, which began with the curiosity of the Dutch. In addition, you can see many historical atlases and maps and you can take a look at the development of the port of Amsterdam.
The wax figures of Madame Tussauds (https://www.madametussauds.com/amsterdam/nl) were only available in the well-known cabinet in London. Since some years, however, they have also been found in other cities. The first subsidiary of Madame Tussauds abroad was opened in 1971 in Amsterdam. Since that time, not only many famous figures of the city are to be seen at Dam 20, which ist not far from the railway station, but also Queen Beatrix, TV star Silvie van der Vaart or Joop van den Ende.
Our personal highlight, however, is the NEMO Science Center (https://www.nemosciencemuseum.nl).
The museum conducts many experiments in the world of physics, biology, chemistry and technology. And things, which can’t be touched, are presented by the museum staff in impressive science shows. The architecture of the NEMO Science Center is spectacular. Like a giant ship, the building is located in the port of Amsterdam. The building was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, who also built the Center Pompidou in Paris. In 1997, the science centre was built directly on the base of the Jltunnel and has since then also been the entrance to the tunnel, which means the cars pass right under the museum.
One of the most beautiful views in Amsterdam is from the sloping roof of the NEMO. From there you can see the entire city. Outside of the Dutch school holidays and some public holidays - if there are a lot of visitors in the museum - you can enter the roof terrace free of charge. The Amsterdamers are happy to organize a picnic on the roof of the NEMO. It is expressly allowed to bring something to eat on the terrace. You can also buy a snack and drinks at one of the bars on the roof.
A stroll along Amsterdam's canals is a must-do for every visitor. The canals are a symbol of the city and of great cultural and historical value. The 17th-century Amsterdam Canal Belt has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Not all canals are unique, but there are a few canals that you should not miss: The Gouden Bocht ("Golden Curve"): Along this canal, which stretches from the Leidsestraat to the Vijzelstraat, you’ll find some of the most beautiful and most magnificent canal houses in Amsterdam.
From the bridge at the corner between Reguliersgracht and Herengracht, there is a unique view of fifteen bridges. Best look you have from the street side with the odd house numbers.
There are 1,281 bridges in Amsterdam. The Magere Brug is one of the most beautiful, especially at night when it is romantically illuminated. This wooden drawbridge was once so narrow that hardly two pedestrians could pass each other on the bridge. Because of the heavy traffic on the Amstel, it was replaced in 1871 by a wider bridge.
The best way to enjoy Amsterdam canals is by water, either by pedal boat or by one of the circuits.
And then of course there is the world-famous red light district of Amsterdam. Here, however, there are not only window prostitution, sex shows and funny condom shops, but also the oldest church in Amsterdam, pubs and Chinatown. Funny are the beer bikes and the street urinals, which you find at many corners. Of course, only for men.
Hashish and soft drugs are legal in the Netherlands and are mainly consumed in the coffeeshops. Attention: The consumption and possession of hard drugs are prohibited and will be punished severely!
The last evening we spend at the Sea Palace, a floating Chinese restaurant with nice view on Nemo. http://www.seapalace.nl
Although it is quite large and certainly not an insider tip, the food is very good and the location is just fantastic.