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View Full Version : Good things to see and do in Holland?



Ron Williamson
08-08-2013, 06:03 AM
Along with my mom,sister and son,I will be flying into Amsterdam in a couple of weeks.
We plan on touring around quite a bit, but I prefer to avoid tourist crap.
Breweries, distilleries,little museums,pubs,boatshops,bookshops,boaty bookshops.....
Any suggestions?
Thanks
R

Flying Orca
08-08-2013, 06:47 AM
I'd get over to Belgium and see Bruges, because it features heavily in some of my favourite novels. Also, beer.

Paul Pless
08-08-2013, 06:58 AM
Its touristy, but the Rijksmuseum, should be on your list. The Van Gogh Museum as well.

I like to visit a 'coffee shop' then tour the museum of torture and the museum of sex as well.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-08-2013, 07:16 AM
In Amsterdam one turisty thing to do (but nice) is to take a glass topped boat through the canals.

Must do the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh (pronounced "Van Hoff!") Museum.

I remember a small shop selling Oude Jenever which was rather fun, and a shop selling antique Dutch tiles.

Buy some cheese...

Let me think further..

Oh if you have time take a boat trip on the Ijsselmeer to Hoorn or somewhere like that.

George Jung
08-08-2013, 07:21 AM
ACB - are you saying 'Van Gogh' isn't pronounced van Gogh /væn ˈgoʊ, ˈgɔx; Dutch vɑn ˈxɔx/ Show Spelled [van goh, gawkh; Dutch vahn khawkh] ? I even had my computer 'speak it' to me.

Captain Intrepid
08-08-2013, 07:28 AM
ACB - are you saying 'Van Gogh' isn't pronounced van Gogh

/væn ˈgoʊ, ˈgɔx; Dutch vɑn ˈxɔx/ Show Spelled [van goh, gawkh; Dutch vahn khawkh] ? I even had my computer 'speak it' to me.

It's complicated.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/magazinemonitor/2010/01/how_to_say_van_gogh.shtml

Also

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLTQv8RH1TE

Paul Pless
08-08-2013, 07:30 AM
A 'stroll' through the red light district for sure, just to see. . . (probably best not done with your mom, or your wife)

Amsterdam has some of the most varied and best 'street food' of any city I've toured in Europe.

The Heineken brewery tour is a bust. It took me several trips to Amsterdam to actually make it to the tour, because they only offered it in the morning, then its just a big automated brewery and at the end they give you about 4 ounces of beer in a small glass to taste, then escort you to the official bar gift shop.

George Jung
08-08-2013, 07:33 AM
I tink Paul should be our tour guide.... wonder if Wooden Boat is ready to expand into 'educational tours'?

Shang
08-08-2013, 07:48 AM
I'd get over to Belgium and see Bruges, because it features heavily in some of my favourite novels. Also, beer.

Yes.

Paul Pless
08-08-2013, 07:48 AM
Look for Leica or Zeiss binocular and scope sales? Vermeer? Go cycling?

The best deals I've found on glass were in East Europe (Czech and Poland) and also in Hungary. In Czech and Poland everything was the real deal and you could find good deals, but in Hungary prices were very low, but about half of the stuff was fake or was unregisterable in some way, had to be very careful there.

beernd
08-08-2013, 08:08 AM
ACB - are you saying 'Van Gogh' isn't pronounced van Gogh

/væn ˈgoʊ, ˈgɔx; Dutch vɑn ˈxɔx/ Show Spelled [van goh, gawkh; Dutch vahn khawkh] ? I even had my computer 'speak it' to me.

That's it you only pronounced it correctly if your throat hurts reel bad :cool:

beernd
08-08-2013, 08:15 AM
It has been a long time ago when I visited Amsterdam for the last time, but try the "Scheepvaart museum", the Ships museum.
Both the building and the collection are pretty cool.
There is also the "Hortus Botanicus" if you like plants.

I second the glass top canalboat ride, it is the thing ALL tourists will do but it is very nice to take a look at the city from that perspective.
I hope you will have some nice wheather, because that is Holland's biggest bummer, inpredictable wheather.
Have a nice trip Y>

Syed
08-08-2013, 10:04 AM
http://www.holland.com/upload_mm/c/f/8/20535_fullimage_collectie_blauw_267x164.jpg
Delft Blue

Delft Blue is the world-famous earthenware that has been produced in the city of Delft since the 17th century. Between 1600 and 1800, this earthenware was popular among rich families who would show off their Delft Blue collections to one another. Although the Delftware potters preferred to call their earthenware “porcelain”, it was only a cheaper version of the real Chinese porcelain. Delft Blue was not made from the typical porcelain clay, but from clay that was coated with a tin glaze after it was fired. In spite of this, Delft Blue achieved unrivalled popularity, and at its peak, there were 33 factories in Delft. Of all of these factories, the only one remaining today is Royal Delft.

John of Phoenix
08-08-2013, 10:09 AM
Anne Frank house is a must. Read up in advance and get tickets online (saves LOTS of time) at their web site. http://www.annefrank.org/

There are endless art museums of the Dutch Masters, all very good. Here's a good start - https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/whats-on

I wanted to make a day trip to The Hague but was overruled by the shoppers. http://www.denhaag.nl/en.htm

Brugge was interesting. They have the oldest continuously operating pub in the world there. I suspect you've heard of Belgian chocolate? Oh, hell yeah!. http://bezoekers.preview.brugge.be/en

Lots of great food and drink. Endulge!

Don't be bashful about the Red Light District but it's wise to go early in the evening before it gets too drunk out.

Stay out of the bicycle lanes (adjacent to pedestrian walkways). My wife was hit twice when she strayed into the path of oncoming bikes. Very nice people, they were profusely apologetic despite it being her fault both times.

Have a wonderful time.

Gerarddm
08-08-2013, 10:10 AM
If you do not make time to see some Vermeers you are a Vandal and a Visigoth.

Cuyahoga Chuck
08-08-2013, 11:24 AM
You have to gobble raw herrings to show the locals you are not a pantywaist. The variety where you stick the entire fish in your mouth is the way to go.

Ted Hoppe
08-08-2013, 11:46 AM
Try my family brew.. a cognac that has been a tradition for nearly 400 years.

http://www.deslijterijaanhuis.nl/media/uploads/nl/producten/big/205.jpg

Hoppe Vieux is manufactured from neutral alcohol having a strength of 35%. Also contains added flavors, including caramel. Hoppe Vieux lends itself to warm and cozy moments. Superior addition into a great cup of coffee or as a beer chaser. I carry a supply on the boat for a cool day of sailing or preventing a chill.

Ron Williamson
08-08-2013, 12:16 PM
I watched my grandpa inhale a whole herring when I was a kid.
Pretty impressive,but it had been split and pickled.
The thought of visiting a coffee shop,then an interesting museum, has an appeal that I hadn't considered.

I didn't think of the Anne Frank Museum,but the one dedicated to the Resistance in definitely on the list.

Scheepfaarts in A-dam and/or Sneek are on the list.

My mom enjoyed the boat tours that she has already done and would be game for another so the canal or Isselmeer tours could be alright.

Regarding the bikes,they got into a bike/pedestrian gridlock with their car and needed the help of a pedestrian to physically lead them out.

My son will be having his eighteen birthday while we're there,so the red-light district thing could go either way.

It sounds pretty easy to fill ten days.

I know a bit about the pronunciation.My Grandpa used to read aloud from his Frisian Bible after dinner,but we didn't even realize that he wasn't reading English with a strong accent, until we were older and tried to read from the same Bible.

FYI Gouda,the cheese, is pronounced, "Howda",if you cough up a hairball when you say the "H".
R

Ted
I'll try that.

Hugh Conway
08-08-2013, 12:33 PM
The maritime museum (mentioned above) :
http://www.hetscheepvaartmuseum.nl/
for nerd beer wants: http://www.arendsnest.nl/

S.V. Airlie
08-08-2013, 12:39 PM
Look for Leica or Zeiss binocular and scope sales? Vermeer? Go cycling?I've bicycled and sailed several times through and around the Netherlands. Have or would have a tough time to narrow down specific sites. The country and the people are great! Some sites have been mentioned. If I'm correct the Dutch Resistance exhibit is worth while and Anne Frank's home.

Full Tilt
08-08-2013, 01:22 PM
FYI Gouda,the cheese, is pronounced, "Howda",if you cough up a hairball when you say the "H"

Keep an eye out for 'Beemster XO' aged Gouda. It tastes somewhere between old cheddar and parmesan reggiano. My fave!

I'd check out some cycling stuff. The Dutch are world leaders in Cargo Bikes. There'll be tons of accessories not available here.

The rest of the time I'd spend around yachts (the Dutch invented them) and drinking fresh Heineken.

MikeY>

bamamick
08-08-2013, 01:26 PM
Plan on spending about a whole day in the Scheepvart Museum. It's that big and there is that much stuff to see.

And yeah, I'd do the touristy stuff for a couple of days and then decide what you like and don't. I have been to Amsterdam three or four times and haven't seen but a fraction of it. It's a huge place with an awful lot to see. I really like it there.

Mickey Lake

John Meachen
08-08-2013, 03:18 PM
Another vote for both the Sheepvartmuseum and the Rijksmuseum.See if you can watch some of the skutsje racing;
http://www.drachtsterskutsje.nl/upload/cache/69FB5973FDEAE57F3EA3EA733015FDED.jpg
.

The rail system is efficient and not too expensive so its quite reasonable to get to other towns,I would recommend Hoorn and Enkhuizen,where there are quite extensive areas given over to boats.Give the nieuwe haring a go,its better than you might expect.If you think a car museum might occupy a bit of time then head to den Haag and tour the Louwman museum.You might like to go to Lelystad to tour the Batavia and the historic shipyard-looking a bit lifeless when I visited last week-and the East Indiaman at the Sheepsvart museum is very similar.

JBreeze
08-08-2013, 09:18 PM
I've heard/read recently that Canadians are treated better in Europe if they do something to identify themselves as not american. Not sure if a Maple Leaf lapel pin works, or a if you hum Oh Canada while in line or something, but it might be worth checking this out from fellow Canadian travelers.

Paul Pless
08-09-2013, 06:17 AM
I've heard/read recently that Canadians are treated better in Europe if they do something to identify themselves as not american. Not sure if a Maple Leaf lapel pin works, or a if you hum Oh Canada while in line or something, but it might be worth checking this out from fellow Canadian travelers.

As if a Canadian travels anywhere without a maple leaf prominently displayed on their body. . .

Paul Pless
08-09-2013, 06:19 AM
My son will be having his eighteen birthday while we're there,so the red-light district thing could go either way.your timing in planning this trip for him is extraordinary! :D

Lew Barrett
08-09-2013, 09:44 AM
It's all so very easy in Amsterdam. No problem to get around using public transport and see it all. Everyone speaks English better than you do, there is absolutely no language barrier. You barely need to worry when visiting Amsterdam as it's one of the most accessible tourist locations in the world, and a very compact city into the bargain.

Walking any canal street is an entertainment. Have you decided where you will stay? Amsterdam has some of the most charming small hotels and B&Bs in Europe. Don't settle, and make sure your place is one of them. Rent a bike and ride through the park just like the Dutch do, and of course, you will take a boat ride as has been mentioned.

I second John's recommendation of the Anne Frank house. It's truly moving and in some ways even uplifting if terribly sad, a must visit. They did a great job with the house; really reverent and you feel the thing and its weight. Go during the week and early in the morning when lines are shortest and then do the obvious and get some pancakes for breakfast just down the street. You will want to get some pancakes. Holland and Belgium both have excellent french fries (order mit; will come with good mayo for dipping, you will not miss the ketchup). Also you'll need to pick an Indonesian restaurant for dinner, get soup and sandwiches for lunch. I'm not as wild about Dutch food as some others here seem to be (I find it sturdy and comforting more than creative and delicious) but they do have a lot of specialties to explore. You really can't go wrong in Amsterdam; it's a superlatively easy travel experience that you can feel your way through without the least bit of trouble. It's one of those cities that is pleasant just to be in and take a trolley or stroll through at your leisure. Young people seem to love it too. Lots of great things to see right on the street.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
08-09-2013, 10:22 AM
The Philips museum at Eindhoven.

Bob Cleek
08-09-2013, 12:26 PM
Well, as for the usual tourist guide stuff, the previous posts have covered it all except Rembrandt's house, which I found pretty cool, especially after seeing all the Rembrandts at the Rijksmuseum. The maritime museum in the old Royal Dutch Navy Arsenal is one of the finest in the world and you certainly can spend a day there, no question about it. Not only are the indoor exhibits great, but the Dutch East Indiaman, Amsterdam is definitely worth a tour, as are the East India wharves there where they have a subsidized marina and boatyard provided for classic boat owners! (My, isn't that an interesting concept!)

Don't waste your time on the "Red Light District." Maybe it's because I grew up in San Francisco, but it's really rather tame. You'll encounter it walking around the old town at some point anyway. If you find bored fifty-something Mullucan hookers sitting in storefront windows in neglegees smoking cigarettes and watching TV a turn on... well that's on you.

Then, if you or the missus are so inclined, there is the flower mart, which can blow your mind if you are into flowers.

Also, the old churches are quite interesting. You can't miss them. They tower over everything and lend their names to neighborhoods, e.g. "The western church," "The eastern church." etc.

But, the one you guys missed is always the experienced traveler's first stop in Amsterdam:

http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/00/1b/29/ec/cerca-de-la-estacion.jpg

Highly recommended. Actually, the Bulldog has become a chain at this point. They are all over the town. Outside of a major hotel (which I wouldn't recommend staying in... the B and B's are great and a fraction of the price. Try the Westertoren if it's still open.) you'll be hard put to find an American style bar other than the Bulldog.

Tracey
08-09-2013, 04:12 PM
http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/00/1b/29/ec/cerca-de-la-estacion.jpg

Highly recommended. Actually, the Bulldog has become a chain at this point.

the Mc Donald's of Amsterdam ?!?! C'mon!

John of Phoenix
08-09-2013, 04:20 PM
I was kind of wondering about the appeal of traveling almost 4000 miles from Canada to Amsterdam to spend time in an American bar.

Tracey
08-09-2013, 04:22 PM
I remember a small shop selling Oude Jenever which was rather fun.

Do tell, regarding the gin-mill, much more interesting than Heinekin!

Breakaway
08-09-2013, 04:24 PM
the Mc Donald's of Amsterdam ?!?! C'mon!

Comes in a pale second. The actual McDonalds of Amsterdam is McDonalds.... and they are currently giving away free coke glasses.
http://www.mcdonalds.nl/sites/default/files/20130719_flashcarousel_0004_05.jpg

Lew Barrett
08-09-2013, 05:01 PM
How hard is it to find big museums and obvious locales in any city? Really!

Amsterdam's most memorable feature to me was its street scene.

I agree with Cleek about the RL district, especially now that A'dam, despite or maybe because of it's reputation as a legal city, paints a happy face on rough work. Prostitution is not the easy scene one might conclude legalization would make for. Here's a balanced article on the situation (http://www.humanityinaction.org/knowledgebase/312-the-audacity-of-tolerance-a-critical-analysis-of-legalized-prostitution-in-amsterdam-s-red-light-district) insofar as free Dutch prostitutes are concerned. However, Amsterdam is now also considered one of if not the most active transit point for prostitutes pressed into service elsewhere, that is not from Holland.

The situation is controversial and worthy of some study, and I'm not here to moralize about it (I favor legalization, all things considered) but painting a happy face on it as a tourist destination strikes me as odd. Unless you are going to sample the wares, I find it sad. And if one is going to sample the wares, I find that sad too. It's a really tough business in my mind. I suppose it's an oddity and that makes it an entertainment.

Ron Williamson
08-10-2013, 06:15 AM
It's a funny old world,ain't it?
I used to do lots of things that I wasn't supposed to, because I wasn't supposed to.
Permission takes away most of the real fun factor.
Weed is common here and easier to get than beer, some days.
Hookers in windows will be a bit of a sideshow,fun to talk about and something to see, one time.

Since SWMBO won't be with us and I'll be missing our 25th anniversary,I gotta remember to not brag about having too much fun.

Tech.museums like the aforementioned Phillips in Eindhoven (DAF has one there,too.) and historical/marine places are more appealing to me than art.
I'd prefer the inside of an old mill any day, over a painting of one.
Call me a Visigoth and a Vandal,I can take it.

R
PS,
I love this place.

Shang
08-10-2013, 07:41 AM
Have beer and a snack at one of the "brown cafes."
These are kind of like British pubs, but older and more interesting, they're called "brown" because the wood is stained dark by centuries of pipe-smoking customers. It's like stopping to have a pint in your neighbor's kitchen. These are scattered all over Amsterdam, but the most interesting are located in the Jordaan district--the Jordaan is sort of the Greenwich Village of Amsterdam.
Brown cafes usually don't accept credit cards, so carry a bit of cash.

tdem
08-10-2013, 08:14 AM
I really enjoyed visiting the batavia werf. http://www.bataviawerf.nl/startpage.html . You can get a tour of the batavia replica, which everyone will like. Also they are building the zeven provincien, an impressively big ship. Theres also another smaller build in progress, a smithy, carving etc. Its in Lelystad. Not a whole day type thing but very worthwile. Also visite a dike/dyke? Very cool to see the land lying so low.

oh, and get a tour of a working mill.

Finally, there is a cool beachcomber museum, combined with historical village on Texel.

Shang
08-10-2013, 08:23 AM
You and your son might consider an evening at the Paradiso, it's a converted 19th century church, now a youth entertainment center featuring punk, new wave, and beyond music.

Smoking of mind-tinkering substances is tolerated, if not wise, but I've heard that Amsterdam's present non-smoking laws preclude smoking anything in the concert hall, so if you intend to get schnockered you'll probably have to stoke up out on the front steps. Although the memory is a bit dim I seem to recall that you can get a pretty good contact high by just inhaling while walking through the catacombs under the church building.

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ88_H_nVlaSEcgofFeh14-C9rMAhz3d9M9zBiE-PQ9J8Amo7nQ

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradiso_%28Amsterdam%29

Paul Pless
08-10-2013, 08:28 AM
Smoking of mind-tinkering substances is tolerated, if not wise, but I've heard that Amsterdam's present non-smoking laws preclude smoking anything in the concert hall, so if you intend to get schnockered you'll probably have to stoke up out on the front steps. every coffeeshop in amsterdam sells brownies and other edibles, most of them also sell mushrooms. . .

Shang
08-10-2013, 09:37 AM
every coffeeshop in amsterdam sells brownies and other edibles, most of them also sell mushrooms. . .

...and crime, rape and pillage are rampant in the streets.

Tracey
09-07-2013, 08:14 PM
How was your trip to the land of windmills?

The Bigfella
09-07-2013, 09:15 PM
Yep... a follow up is needed.

I see that Bob mentioned the flower market.

The flower markets at Alsmeer are incredible. Largest building footprint in the world (243 acres). They do tours, but I was there for work.. just amazing. Must see

Another, non-tourist thing I saw was a traditional working dairy. In winter... and the cows were all inside. We entered the house's kitchen and were almost knocked over by the smell... the dairy cows were all in the room adjacent the kitchen. Ughh. Very few traditional dairies like this left now.

Can't remember the name of it offhand... but was taken out to the beaches down near Rotterdam. Very different.

Ron Williamson
09-09-2013, 06:00 AM
It was a great trip,but if you find the smell of cowsh*t offensive,don't go to the Netherlands.
Maybe it's the time of year.
The weather was glorious,sunny,breezy, mid 20s,but we didn't bring enough warm weather clothes,so the one cool, rainy day was welcome.

Gotta work,so I'll finish up later.
R

George Jung
09-09-2013, 07:37 AM
did you catch this?
AMSTERDAM — The Van Gogh Museum here announced today that it has identified a major new painting by Vincent Van Gogh. The work, entitled “Sunset at Montmajour,” was painted in Arles in 1888, a period that is considered to be the height of the painter’s career http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/10/arts/design/new-van-gogh-painting-discovered-in-amsterdam.html?hp&_r=0

John Meachen
09-09-2013, 04:14 PM
I may just be contrary but when I visited the Rijksmuseum in the summer I discovered the paintings of Cornelis Troost and thought them far better than any impressionism.