Back in 2016 I was lucky enough to spend ‘A weekend in the Dam!’ Amsterdam is a beautiful, enlightening and controversial European city set in the heart of the Netherlands (Holland). I visited Amsterdam as part of a mini European tour of Holland and Germany (Berlin post coming soon). There is an ever growing array of ‘tourist’ things to do whilst in Amsterdam and I hope to cover MOST of them within my post. We visited Amsterdam in March, hence the warm clothing, scarves, hats and gloves. We were very lucky with the weather as we actually didn’t experience any rain whilst in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is popular for it’s canals and narrow houses.
Places to see
Anne Frank Museum
The Anne Frank Museum is a must for anybody visiting Amsterdam, it’s a very enlightening museum being able to experience. The Anne Frank House is a museum all about the story of where the family lived and the conditions they experienced during. Annelies Marie Frank was a German-born diarist. One of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust, she gained fame posthumously with the publication of ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’, in which she documents her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944, during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. The Anne Frank Museum is an emotional exhibition portraying where Anne and her family went into hiding, the rooms are small and cramped, sadly the rooms are exactly how they were at the time, for obvious reasons. But it’s amazing to see where Anne wrote her book during the holocaust. I definitely do not know how anybody could of lived in such a small space… But I suppose they had no choice!
The IAMSTERDAM Signs
As you may be aware Amsterdam is famous for its ‘IAMSTERDAM’ signs which are dotted around the city, be sure not to miss them! Actually, I am pretty sure you will spot them, along with the swarms of tourists posing on/beside and underneath the letters 🙂 It’s a good laugh and a lovely way to show you’ve been to Amsterdam. Of course it’ll make a great snap for Instagram. A weekend in the Dam wouldn’t be complete without the ‘Iamsterdam’ sign. I love being a tourist wherever I go so I couldn’t miss out on a picture at the sign (which was in fact less than a minute walk from our hotel).
Amsterdam Ice Bar – Xtra Cold
We booked the Ice Bar from a local visitor centre which organised excursions, it worked out to be less than €20 each! You’ll receive three free tokens at Amsterdam Icebar. Two silver and one golden token. You can exchange these tokens at our two bars. The first bar you’ll enter is our ‘heated’ front bar. Here you can exchange your golden token and order a large Heineken beer, glass of wine, cocktail or non-alcoholic beverage. After you’ve visited the ice bar Amsterdam’s front bar, you will enter the actual ice bar in the back where you can exchange your two silver tokens for beer, strong alcohol shots or orange juice. We will be given, gloves and a LOVELY blue cape [which was way to big for me!]. The drinks come in ice cube, so be careful they slide around.
Myself and my friend Molly aren’t massive beer drinkers, but everyone talked about how the ‘Heineken Experience’ was a must when in Amsterdam. So we decided to check it out! And we weren’t disappointed. The Heineken Tour costs €18 which includes;
1.5 hour experience tour
When booked online – a time slot to suit you
2 chilled beers from the best ‘Dam bar
A free city map of the best hidden gems of Amsterdam
The whole experience was interesting and engaging, don’t forget to try a few halfs of heineken whilst you are there and you can even purchase your own personalised pint glass from the shop on the way out.
Canal Boat Cruise
We purchased a ‘IAMSTERDAM City Card‘ before we travelled and just picked it up from the airport on our arrival. The card allowed us 48 hours access [you can choose 24/48/72 hour cards] to GVB public transport – the trams were interesting to navigate! Just remember to scan your card or you could face a penalty charge. The card allows you a free Canal Cruise, the stop off points are all indicated in the map within the card information. It was so easy to get around amsterdam via bus or tram and the Canal Cruise was a great way to explore the hidden depths of Dam life. I’d definitely recommend purchasing the Iamsterdam Card, it also gives you free access to certain museums and discounts galore.
Amsterdam offers so much to see and do but that is all we had time for whilst in the city! Actually I lie, we did take a visit to the Red Light District which was a eye opener to anyone visiting the city. It does have to been seen though as Amsterdam is famour for their red light district. One tip… try and avoid the dead end alleys which lead to a brothel… That wasn’t quite where we wanted to end up! It was a good laugh never the less.
A weekend in the Dam should be on everyone’s bucket list, the canals are beautiful the people so friendly and helpful and the food was incredible! I’d love to return one day.. But if Amsterdam doesn’t take your fancy why not visit the lovely Budapest?