Three days in Amsterdam – a Dutch treat - day 1

Amsterdam is known as the city of canals, townhouses and, of course, coffee shops. Except for the last part, during our first day in Amsterdam we are about to discover some of these specialities of the Dutch capital, starting at Dam Square.

09:00 – strolling towards the Dam

Dam square by AbeeeerStart your day at the very centre of Amsterdam – Dam Square. Stroll from the central station through Damrak Street and head straight towards this historical square. The Damrak is packed with souvenir shops, where you’ll be able to pick up some typical Dutch goodies, like miniature clogs or windmills. Arriving at Dam Square, view the imposing Royal Palace and the Nieuwe Kerk, where the current Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima got married in 2002. History buffs can take a look at the war statue De Eendracht, while shopaholics can browse through the exclusive goods at the Bijenkorf, the 100-year-old high-end department store of the Netherlands.

10:30 – discover some Dutch history

In Amsterdam you can experience the famous story of Jewish girl Anne Frank, by visiting the Anne Frank Huis, also known as the Achterhuis. Discover the hidden rooms behind the bookshelf, where Anne and her family absconded from the Nazis in the 1940s, and learn more about the stories she wrote in her prodigious diary.

To get to the museum, walk from Dam Square straight through Paleisstraat and Reestraat and head along the historic canals towards Prinsengracht 263-267, where the Anne Frank Huis is located on the right-hand side of the Reestraat. The museum is open every day, with tickets costing 9€ for adults and 4.50€ for children aged 10 to 17. Kids younger than nine enter for free. Avoid the extremely long queues and purchase your tickets online at the museum’s official website.

12:30 – lunch time!

After absorbing so much historical information, you´ll probably be ravenous. Inspired by the ambiance of Nice, the lunch room Bagels and Beans offers tasty and healthy bagels, made from natural ingredients. There’s an option for everyone, even for those with a sweet tooth. You can find one of the franchise stores at Keizersgracht 504, which is one street away from the Prinsengracht.

14:00 – shop till you drop in the Jordaan district

Jordaan district by taverIf you want to discover the area where Rembrandt spent his final years, you should definitely stroll through the Jordaan, an authentic, maze-like district which lies on the edge of the Anne Frank Huis. The Jordaan oozes a distinct way of living, in which the Dutch music scene is one of the highlights (some famous Dutch folklore singers were born and raised there). Indulge in some retail therapy at the vintage stores, visit some art galleries or drink a Dutch beer at one of the terraces. Locals like to call this district ‘De 9 straatjes’, meaning ‘the nine streets’ – a reference to the amount of streets the area covers.

16:30 – cross the city by bike or boat

Bikes- redjarA bicycle is a hugely important accessory in Amsterdam. You can rent your own 2-wheeled vehicle at several places all over the city. There are plenty of makes on offer, including a bakfiets, a Dutch freight bike. Because Amsterdam is dominated by bikes rather than cars, you can cycle almost everywhere in the city, except for pedestrianised areas. Cycle for example to the Leidseplein, a popular square at the southern end of the central canal ring, park your bike on the square and watch the street artists’ exploits as they entertain the public.

If cycling’s not your thing, you might prefer a cruise on Amsterdam’s canals. Tour operators provide canal cruises or you could try the DIY option by renting a paddleboat.

19:00 – go Dutch!

After such an active afternoon it’s time to treat yourself to a meal in a typical Old Amsterdam-style restaurant. At the restaurant Greetje in the heart of Amsterdam you can enjoy Dutch dishes such as hutspot (hotchpotch), a plate of Dutch cheeses and for dessert, some Dutch liquorice-flavoured ice cream. You can find Greetje at Peperstraat 23-25, close to the Prins Hendrikkade. To get there, take tram lines 1, 2 or 5 towards Amsterdam Central Station and walk along the Prins Hendrikkade towards Peperstraat, which is just a 15-minute walk.

Carnivores should head to the restaurant Meatballs, located on Warmoesstraat 15, close to the start of Damrak Street. This eatery pays homage to this popular northern European specialty, offering a range of flavours from garlic chicken meatballs to spicy pork ones.

22:30 – laughing or dancing

Amsterdam canals in winter by natasja dbIn Amsterdam there’s plenty to do during the evening. If you don’t understand the Dutch language very well, but still want to enjoy a good laugh, you can purchase tickets for one of the Boom Chicago English language comedy shows, which take place in its theatre on the Rozengracht. When it’s time to kick your heels up, you could opt for the concert hall Paradiso or nightclub Escape, both located in the city centre.