Adventures in Amsterdam

A year of travel restrictions around the world, and the travel bug in me still longs for new adventures. We are somewhat “stuck” in New Zealand where travel is not quiet possible – yet. But that doesn’t stop me from daydreaming or remembering the amazing adventures we have had in the past. So – inspired by my previous blog post on our Memories of Paris, why not share some memories and photographs of our adventures in Amsterdam.

view of an Amsterdam canal

“Amsterdam has more than 150 canals and 1,250 bridges, but it never seems crowded, nor bent and bitter from the fleecing tourist.”

Julie Burchill

Why Amsterdam?

Even though this trip goes back two years ago, I have to say Amsterdam is one of those cities that has a little something for everyone. With its beautiful canals, historic buildings, stunning homes, more bikes than people (which I love), and not to forget a very relaxed approach to “soft drugs” you really cant say no to exploring this vibrant and adventurous city.

There are a few specific things that brought us to Amsterdam at the time. For me, visiting the Anne Frank House and the Rembrandt House was a dream. I studied Art History in University, so naturally visiting Rembrandts house was a big deal for me. But on a personal level, visiting the Anne Frank house was special too. I read her book when I was twelve years old and her diary left a big impact on me.

an evening in Amsterdam

Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House is truly, one of the most moving museums you can ever visit. The hiding place of Anne, her family and other families / individuals is where they spent more than two years hiding from the Nazis. To be able to see, up-close, what her life must have been like and walk in her footsteps is a reminder that we should never forget the struggle so many went through during one of the worst times in human history.

I particularly appreciated the fact that complete silence is encouraged while walking through their place of hiding. You can choose an audio guide (which we did) that can inform you of all of the people that occupied the space and how they would have lived. The famous book case that hid their hiding place is also there. Walking through the space is a unique experience. At the time, we brought tickets ahead of time. This is a great idea, especially for such a popular place which (under normal circumstances) has millions of visitors.

The canal area by the Anne Frank House is great for a rest stop. It was breezy and cozy when we were there. You would think there would be a depressing tone to this place, but there really isn’t. So many people gather around the canal and down the streets to meet with their friends. Many spots like this around Amsterdam seem to have a warming sense of community.

Rembrandt House

If you are an Art History lover like me, the Museum Het Rembrandhuis is an exiting place to visit. Here you will find not only the house which Rembrandt lived in, but also a large collection of his works and a glimpse into his life. Through different parts of the museum you get an interesting peek at his paintings, etchings and sketches. There are also rooms which display how this house would have looked like in those times.

 I was amazed at the size of this house, and absolutely loved the painting studios on the top level. This is where his students would have also worked. If you’re planning to visit the Rembrandt House Museum, you might want to consider purchasing skip-the-line entrance tickets online. A skip-the-line ticket to the Rembrandt House Museum saves you the hassle of waiting in long queues. Take your time touring Rembrandts House because this is the only way you can properly absorb how this great artist worked and lived.

The Rembrandt House

Amsterdam Artis Zoo

Visiting the Amsterdam Artis Zoo may not be on everyone’s list, BUT for us it was and I have to admit that it was the most memorable zoo I have ever visited. This is a big deal considering we have visited many zoos around the world. The Artis zoo is full of diverse and beautiful animals. It is the perfect place to spend some relaxing time. I feel that the layout of the zoo is made so well because there is no way you can feel overcrowded by other people. More importantly, all animals have so much space, and their environments are clean and well thought out.

If you have a family, or even if you are a couple travelling together, visiting the Artis Zoo is definitely worth it. Depending on where you are staying, walking to the zoo in itself is also a treat. Well, it was for me anyway. We walked from the place we stayed to the Artis Zoo. This was a nice way to explore the city and the different neighborhoods by foot while heading to our destination.

Artis Zoo

Shop and Marvel in Dam Square

At Dam Square, you will for sure feel the pulse of the city! It is definitely the center. There are tons of historic buildings located in and around Dam Square but also many shops. From the city’s National Monument, the incredible Oude Kerk church (the oldest building in the city), lots of shopping, and even Madame Tussauds – you’re sure to find something you enjoy. Alongside many popular retail stores, or stores unique to this place you will also enjoy the beautiful old streets and architecture. We definitely took the opportunity to explore most of the stores and even brought some unique ornaments. There are some fun bakeries around the streets too, this is where you will find a ton of people lining up to get something.

Dam Square in Amsterdam

Sunset views over the canal

Pick just about any spot around the canals in Amsterdam and simply take a moment to enjoy the beautiful sunsets. The way in which the sunset falls on the canals, in the middle of the streets, buildings and boats is just stunning! We encountered some amazing sunsets in Amsterdam and I absolutely loved the view. You wont see a sunset that sits amongst an urban area quiet like that elsewhere.

sunset over the canal

Walk & Explore

When you arrive in Amsterdam, you just cant help but explore all of the streets and their corners almost immediately. We certainly started exploring the streets of Amsterdam straight away. There are so many cute neighborhoods and streets to explore. You can learn some history, find where the major sights are and explore all those amazing canals.

For me, part of the charm of our adventures in Amsterdam is just walking around. Biking is an option too – if you are brave to navigate the streets with many other bikers. The intricate web of canals that sweep around the city are such a pleasure to stroll along and over. There are a number of bridges that arch over the waterways and link one tree lined avenue to another. You can spend hours just wandering & discovering parts of the city.

a canal in Amsterdam

Bike if you dare

Amsterdam is a city that loves bikes. I am yet to visit a place where it seems there are more bikes than people. I love that because it is unique! Since the city streets can be quite small and winding, it’s actually easier (and faster) to travel by bike than any other form of transport. It is a great way to get people moving, to reduce traffic and to add a great spark to the city, We did not get around to biking, but I really wish we did! On our next visit to Amsterdam, I would love to go on new adventures in Amsterdam by biking.

bikes in the city

Amsterdam definitely has a bit of a compact nature. This means you can get quiet a lot of the popular things done in a few days. Things are usually very close. Spend longer in the city if you can, this way you can explore everything in a relaxed way. We loved our adventures in Amsterdam and I cannot wait to visit again in the future. I am excited to get back to the adventures of travelling!

Have you visited & explored Amsterdam before?

Feel free to comment below about any of your travel adventures. It helps to keep each other uplifted and motivated to look forward to better times. You can also find me over on Instagram with any stories you want to share.

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