John & Kari's Amsterdam


Visit to Amsterdam!

Our ideas for you to have a great visit to Amsterdam! But, it is your vacation…so it's whatever you want to do…

Upon Arrival


Places to Eat & Drink

Fun Things to Do

Upon Arrival

Arrive @ Schiphol Airport. Take a taxi from the line in front of the airport to the city "Centrum". It should cost you about 35€. Or, if you feel like "going native and being Dutch", take a train from underneath the airport to Amsterdam Centraal for about 6€. Then it's up to you to either walk or catch a tram to wherever you are headed (for another 1.70€). Relax, unpack, shower, then head out into the city.


Many people visit Amsterdam because of the museums. The most popular museums (i.e., Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum) are located on the Museumplein.

o Rijksmuseum
Rembrandt, Vermeer, Steen…all the Dutch masters. Open 10am-5pm, Stadhouderskade 42, Museumplein

The Rijksmuseum is a beautiful old building that has thousands of works from the "Dutch Masters". Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" is famous mostly because it's huge and has good shadowing. But our favorite stuff includes the works by Jan Steen. He was the first of the Dutch Masters to paint people enjoying life. Currently, the Rijksmuseum is under renovation, but you still see the most important pieces concentrated in a part of the museum that is still open. Since you can spend much of the day if you want to see everything, we recommend you try and split your time between the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum.

o Van Gogh Museum
A great collection, plus his sketches and ideas 10am-6pm, Paulus Potterstraat 7, Museumplein

The Van Gogh Museum is a brand new building that was constructed while the featured works traveled the world a few years back. It's an impressive collection of works and the top floors showcase his sketches and ideas for the paintings. If it's not crowded, it's pretty easy to get through the place in a few hours.

o Anne Frank Museum
OK if you want to see where she lived and how, but not much info at the museum Prinsengracht 398, (at the end of our street)

If you ever read "The Diary of Anne Frank" as a child, you must see the Anne Frank Museum which is located on the Prisengracht. The museum shows how she and her family lived whilst hiding from the Nazis in WWII.

o Amsterdam Historical Museum
A museum detailing the history of Amsterdam and it's culture. 11am-5pm, Nieuwzijds Voorburgwal 359.

Another good museum (and one of John's favorites). This museum takes you from the earliest origins of the city to modern day Amsterdam with each room focusing on a different period in the city's development. Leave plenty of time if you want to go through every room, as it will take you most of a day to see it all. For those that only want a taste, it is possible to get through in only a couple of hours.

o Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance Museum) Amsterdam
An excellent museum that tries to demonstrate how a nation could become either "Cooperators" or "Collaborators" during WWII. Open 10am-5pm, Plantage Kerklaan 61.

Lastly, we would go to the Eastern part of the city and visit the Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam (Dutch Resistance Museum). It's Kari favorite museum in Amsterdam and it gets very little attention in the tourist books. We don't know why, this museum is a better bet than the Anne Frank Huis if you want to understand what was really like in Holland during WWII.

Places to Eat & Drink

Amsterdam has many places to eat and drink, but to understand the dining situation here in the Netherlands, please follow this link to FEBO. It is a restaurant in which the Dutch actually pull their dinners out of a wall vending machine. Umm...Lekker! (which means tasty!) The local favorite is the kalfvleeskroket which is essentially deep-fried gravy in the shape of an egg roll. Truly, how you can deep-fry something like gravy is beyond me. Anyway, the point being...If you choose to eat something other than that which comes out of the wall, reservations are usually required.

Before you begin to think all food is bad here, we have been able to find to a few notable exceptions. Here are some recommendations:

o Restaurant Bordewijk
An excellent restaurant serving French and Dutch cuisine. Our favorite for special occasions. A three course meal will set you back about 30-35€. An extensive wine list, and save some room for the Cheese cart. Kitchen open from 6:30pm-10:30pm, closed Mondays, reservations as must, Noordermarkt 7.

o The Pancake Bakery
A favorite of our friend Tom (a pilot for Northwest who occasionally flys through Amsterdam). Don't think breakfast, as this place doesn't open until after 12:00. It serve a delicious Indonesian pancake, as one of a wide range of sweet and savory dutch style pancakes ("pannenkoeken" in Dutch). Pancakes are generally 8-12€. Located at Prinsengracht 191.

o Hostaria
This place was close for remodeling for about two years, but it's open again!! A great Italian kitchen run by a Dutch couple. Flavors are simple, but delicious. A three course meal is between 30-35€. This place is tiny, so reservations well in advance are a must. Kitchen open from 7:00pm-10:00pm, and closed on Mondays. Located at 2e Egelantiersdwarsstraat 9.

o Cafe Tabac
We been going to this place for years. It's a hip, Dutch eetcafe located in the Jordaan. Food and atmosphere are good, although the service is a little slow which is fine when you're sipping your beer and enjoying the company of friends. Main courses are about 15€. Kitchen open 16:00-22:00. Located at Brouwersgracht 101.

o To Dine Restaurant at Hotel Arena
For a more eclectic place, try this restaurant. Great food amid a very hip vibe. Serving International and Dutch cuisine, main courses range from 20-25€. Located across town at 's Gravesandestraat 51.

Fun Things to Do

o Aalsmeer Flower Auction

This place holds a flower auction Monday thru Friday from 7:30 am to 9:30 am. It's the largest of it's kind and held in a building that is as big as 125 football fields!!! Take Bus lijn 172 from Amsterdam Centraal Station.

o Rent a Bike

Renting a bike in Amsterdam is easy and it's a great way to see the city. Besides, biking in Amsterdam is the quintessentially Dutch experience! Don't be surprised if the bike you rent looks like a prop from The Wizard of Oz.

o Boom Chicago

Boom Chicago is Improvisational comedy at it best. A mostly British and American cast making fun of the oddities of the Dutch and other European as seen through the eyes of a tourist. Many Dutch also enjoy the show as it pokes fun at American and British tourists as they experience Holland.

o Canal Cruise

There is no better way to see the city from a different perspective than to take a canal cruise. If you visit Amsterdam, don't miss this experience. Most cruises operate day and evening, and they have multi-language guided tours.

o Red Light District

The Red Light District in Amsterdam is legendary. In country where prostitution is legal, much of it is concentrated in this one area of the city. It is generally safe, with undercover police patrolling the streets. Avoid shady looking characters that try and sell you drugs.

o Keukenhof Gardens

If you visit Amsterdam in the Spring time, this is the place to be. The world's largest flower garden covering 32 hectares with over 800,000 visitors every year.