After leaving Zaanse Schans we drove back to Heiloo and caught the train into Amsterdam. The sky had clouded over so the day became a bit gloomy. I thought China was the place for bikes, very surprised to see so many ‘Bike Parks’ in Amsterdam, had no idea how popular bicycle travel is in the Netherlands. No bicycle rides for me today though,thankyou.
Amsterdam Canal Cruise
First we took an Amsterdam Canal Cruise, this is pleasant way to travel around the city. The view from the canals give a different perspective on the architecture and landmarks throughout the city; a view of the Port, and life of people living on boats along the canals. Spotted an ocean liner in the Port as well as the smaller type of cruise ship which are very popular in the region.
Science Center – Nemo
It was hard not to notice the Science Center NEMO, an interesting green building designed in the form of a huge ship, it overhangs the water by 30 metres (bit like the ocean liner). It houses an educational centre for science and technology and is pretty awesome. To the right of the Science Center Nemo you see a bridge, this bridge allows a nice easy walk to and from Centraal Station. Follow the signs for “Route Oosterdok”.
Nemo standard admission charges: 4 years and above €15,00
100 Kilometers of Canals
Colourful boats line the sides of the canals, some marked with their owners individuality. Would you believe Amsterdam has over one hundred kilometres of canals, about 90 islands, and 1,500 bridges.
Had a great view of the ‘Montelbaanstore’, an ancient stone structure with a wooden tower on the bank of Oudeschans canal in Amsterdam. The ‘Montelbaanstore’ is part of Amsterdam’s medieval wall dating from about c1512.
Cruising through the canals – canal boats
You will understand why canal boats are low and sleek when you see many low bridges built over the canals for the canal boats to pass under. The canal boats can only be a certain length too as they need to maneuver around corners in the canals. We went on a ‘Lovers” canal cruise, plenty of fresh air, clear views, very clean and comfortable. The cruises are for an hour, the Captain giving a running commentary on the sights as you glide through the many canals. The three main canals in Amsterdam are – Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht. These three canals have been in place since the 17th century, completed during the Dutch Golden Age. The canals form concentric belts around the city known as the Grachtengordel. The canals are the main form of transport around the city.
Standard day cruise: Adults € 16,00; Children 4-13 € 10,00
Candlelight Night Cruise: Adults € 39.00 (2 hour canal cruise includes Cheese platter, nuts, wine etc.)
Children 4-13 years: € 25.00
Once off the canals and back on foot we headed to nearby Dam Square in central Amsterdam, walked through the streets getting the feel of the place and taking in the atmosphere. We had a time for a bit of sightseeing and lunch before visiting the Ann Frank Museum, our tickets already booked online.
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace lies in Dam Square and is a huge regal building in neo-classical design of the time. It is still used today by the Dutch Royal family for state visits and official receptions. When it is not in use by the royal family, it is open to the public to view the magnificent interior. At the front of the palace are two very friendly and jolly men with horse and carriage just waiting to take tourists on a guided tour of the city.
The National Monument on Dam Square is in memory of those who suffered and died in World War II. Walking around the central area there is so much to see. The Diamond Factory has free guided tours on cutting and polishing diamonds and opportunity to see the worlds largest unpolished gem, the Lucullan).
In the vicinity – Madame Tussaud’s amazing wax figure museum, the Van Gogh Museum which has the largest collection of Van Gogh’s work in the world, the Rijksmuseum with the famous works of Rembrandt and Vermeer, and so much about Dutch history and culture.
The Amsterdam Holland Pass, Museum Card, and Amsterdam City Card, all offer considerable discounts for visitors at Museums, Art galleries, transport etc. and are worth looking into and booking online.
For us this will have to be another day. Feeling quite hungry by now, time for a typical Dutch luncheon upstairs at nearby “De Drie Graefjes” restaurant, then a tour of the Ann Frank House.
Ann Frank House tour
It’s a good idea to book your tickets on-line through the Ann Frank Museum site, as there is always a queue a mile long (as it was this day). We were very appreciative of being able to jump the queue and head in first. If you have read the book and seen the film you will want to visit the Ann Frank House.
Entrance fees: Adults € 9 : Ages 10-17 years € 4.50: Under 10 years Free.
Next… on to the City of Delft and then The Hague……a busy day…
- Drosselgasse in Rudesheim – German Castles on the Rhine
- Bad Noord the beach at egmond Holland
- Heiloo Tulip Fields Holland Netherlands
- Keukenhof Flower Garden Lisse Holland
- Zaanse Schans – Color Windmill|Clog Factory Holland