In this ramdumb blog, I talk about my solo trip to Amsterdam.
It was towards the end of 2019, when I had this sudden itch to pack my bags for a quick get away. Had been well over a year since I traveled. I started exploring my options keeping in mind my limitations,
- new country
- 4 days max (including weekends)
- 2-5 hours travel time.
- quick and easy visa process.
- Strict budget
This left me with- UK, Scotland, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Iceland.
The visa process for UK/ Scotland was longer, was slightly over my budget. I wanted to save Iceland for summer and didn’t fancy Germany, Belgium or Denmark for some random reason. This left me with Netherlands- Amsterdam.
I spent the next few days sorting out documents for visa, the process took about 3 weeks. As a part of visa process I had the flights and accommodation booked in advance. The plan was to spend 4 days and 3 nights in Amsterdam, exploring the city and tourist attractions.
Day 1 – 4.00 am, Dublin.
Taxi to airport, Ryanair to Amsterdam reached Schiphol airport. Took the train to Amsterdam central station en route had my first glimpse of Netherlands. First thing first I purchased the Iamsterdam card (will explain about this later on). Grabbed coffee and hit the streets, exploring the canals and markets.
After few hours of walking, I fed and watered myself from random street shops in and around the markets. The Iamsterdam tourist card i purchased was for a duration of 3 days, my intention was to use it from day 2 of my trip. Hence, this gave me time to cover attractions that were not included in the card first.
At this point of time, I had walked a good bit around the city with the help of google maps, I had good understanding of the locations. I then ramdumbly decided to start the trip with the infamous – Amsterdam Sex museum, it was a building with 3 floors of sex referenced collection on display.
I had my accommodation booked in a place called -Hostel Centraal, which was about 20 minutes away from the main street by foot. I decided to check in, freshen up and store away my bag.
I love this part of traveling solo, you could leisurely book the cheapest accommodation and not worry about it, I fortunately ended up booking this hostel which was well under my budget. It was a decent place to crash, had all the essentials required and was the exact same as described online.
So, I checked in and decided to rest for a while. Since I had worked out the transport system and the locations around the city, I started planning for the next day and had it all marked out on the handy map that came with the tourist card i purchased. After few hours of rest, I headed back into the city, checked out few coffee shops, shopping malls, canals, boat houses and the red light district. I also tried the most talked about cheesy fries, it was well worth the hype. Later, popped into a supermarket for few bits. Was back at the hostel, chats with fellow hostelers, most dudes were off their heads 😆
End of Day 1 – 11 pm,Amsterdam.
Day 2 – 7.00 AM, Amsterdam.
It was an early day, i made my way into the city around 8 am, I used the tram to save some time. Had planned to visit as many museums as possible, I had the map that I prepared last evening, which came in very handy.
Below is the List of all museums and attractions I managed to visit during my trip.
- Van Gogh Museum
- Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
- Diamond Museum
- Van Loon museum
- FOAM Amsterdam
- Amsterdam city archive
- Dutch costume museum
- Photography museum
- Biblical museum
- Museum of Canals
- Houseboat Museum
- Tulip museum
- Multatuli Museum
- The Museum of Bags and Purses
- The Amsterdam Museum
- The New Church
- Rembrandt House Museum
- Jewish Historical Museum
- Hermitage Amsterdam
- Canal cruise
- Dutch Resistance Museum
- The National Maritime Museum
- ARTIS Zoo and Micropia
- Anne Frank House
- NDSM Amsterdam
Following are few pictures of the museums and what I thought of them.
No. 1 – Van Gogh Museum.
An art museum dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh- this guy accidentally became a painter, he was mentally ill and shot himself. His work of art was good enough to be kept in a museum. I did like the place, it’s possibly because I was among the first few people to enter and had a chance to see the paintings in peace.
No. 2 – Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
I couldn’t pronounce the name as well. It was an extremely funky looking place, full of modern art, loads of trippy things all over.
The next museum was located few blocks away, I decided to walk as it was the same time as waiting for a bus. clicked few pictures and had a quick snack on the go.
No. 3 – Diamond Museum
Extremely flashy place, loads of info about diamonds. Expensive stuff everywhere. I made sure not to touch a thing !
No. 4 – Rijksmuseum
The biggest museum. 3 levels, huge place. Art and history museum ranging from ancient to mid modern era.
The next museum I planned to visit was a sweet 20 minute walk, on the way I saw this electric car, people drive it around like rats. Very simple design, i believe its legal to drive them on bike lanes, interesting vehicle.
No. 5 – Van Loon Museum
I got a complete tour of the house.Saw the secret doors as well. I liked the themes in each rooms.
No 6 – FOAM Amsterdam.
A small artistic museum. Exhibiting arts and pictures made from textile.
No.7 – Amsterdam City Archive
Interesting place, about Amsterdam’s underground storage, archives etc. Well worth the visit.
No 8 – Dutch Costume Museum.
A small little museum displaying the evolution of Dutch costume, the tiny staircase was beautiful.
No. 9 – Photography Museum.
Had 2 parts, one was plant photography and other was outdoor fashion photography. talks about the history and evolution of both. Not very interesting.
No. 10 – Biblical museum
Religious museum-housing the oldest bible, jewels, weapons etc.
No 11 – Museum of Canals
Very interesting place, with good Audio visual guide about the history of canals.
No.12 Houseboat Museum
I wanted to see what it looked like to live in one of these boats, it was surprising to see how compact and self sufficient these boats could be.
No. 13 Tulip Museum
I am not big into flowers, didn’t find it interesting.
No. 14 – Multatuli Museum
Its a canal house turned into museum for Eduard Douwes Dekker who wrote a book while he was serving the civil service. Quiet interesting !
It was almost half past 5 and all the places were closing down, I had covered a good few places as I planned, there were a few that I couldn’t see mostly because they were far or didn’t have easy public transport access. I then went into the Magna plaza to grab food.
Clicked these pictures on my way back to the hostel, It was a long and highly productive day, I managed to visit 14 museums on my day 1. Upon reaching the hostel, I quickly planned for the next day and dozed off.
Day 3 – 8 AM – Amsterdam
Yet another early start, quick shower, coffee and off I went, I planned the day in such a way that I visited the museum which had the longest travel duration first and work my back towards the city center. The Tram was not too crowded in the morning as well.
No 15. Museum of Bags and Purses
I found this fascinating, the museum had thousands of bags showcasing their history.
No. 16 – Amsterdam Museum
A huge museum dedicated to the history of Amsterdam. Many interesting things like- how many logs were used in the canals, the start and evolution of drugs etc.
No. 17- The New Church
I didn’t understand the whole concept of this church, it had loads of stuff here and there, I felt it was not very organised. Not worth the visit.
No. 18 – Rembrandt House Museum
This is a house and art museum of Painter Rembrandt. Fascinating to see how people lived in the 17th century.
No. 19 – Jewish Historical Museum
The only museum dedicated to the Jewish culture and religion in Netherlands. Has a wide range of things to see, yet another fascinating place to visit.
No . 20 – Hermitage Amsterdam
This place is ultra modern, has a vast collection of art, jewels, weapons, artifacts. Its part of a bigger museum in Russia.
No . 21 – Canal Cruise
I was a bit tired, I grabbed some food and hopped on the canal cruise to get some rest, It started raining as well. Couldn’t have done anything better. In the pictures below, I have marked one with the caption -Canal Jail, this is an actual jail under the bridge, where criminals get locked up, based on the tide the water level would raise and often kill them is what the Captain of the ferry explained. The cruise was a nice way to see the canals from the water for a change, yet another must do in Amsterdam.
No. 22 – Dutch Resistance Museum
A small yet powerful museum displaying the life of the dutch, during world War II.
No. 23 – The National Maritime Museum
An amazing museum, I felt like witnessing the life of sailors on board. All decks of the ship are open for viewing, I enjoyed this one!
No 24 – ARTIS Zoo and Micropia
It was almost dark by the time i reached here, managed to see few animals in the zoo. The Micropia was unreal, I felt like being in this secret lab, like they show in movies. The last picture is a scanner that displays the microbes in our body, it says I had 167 trillion on me 🙄
Later I took a train ride to what is called – ArenA Boulevard, Its a huge shopping mall kind of place away from the city. Saw this Route map which was in shape of a person’s head, looked really cool, I am not sure who that person is or why his face is being used as a route map. Also saw the Heineken building on the way back.
I was in bits by the time I reachd the hostel. Hit the bed straight away. This was the End of Day 3.
Day 4 – 8.00 AM – Amsterdam
No . 25 – Anne Frank House.
Last day in Amsterdam, checked out of the hostel and headed straight to the most awaited part of the trip- Anne Frank house, I made my bookings well over a month ago for this and was excited to see Anne’s house. I reached there at 9, my slot was at 9.15, there was a huge queue already, good thing I was a bit early ! The place was well structured. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every bit of the house tour, I probably spent over 2 hours going through each and every detail, Photography was not allowed but they were not too strict. I manage to click few pictures too.
After a great experience at the Anne Frank house, i headed straight to the Flower market, got few dutch treats and souvenirs. Also tried herring by the canal, It was totally worth the hype, the raw taste of the fish(herring) with a dash of onion was a great combo, ended up having 3 of them fishes for lunch !
Now I was all set to see the last place before heading to the airport, This spot was in North Amsterdam and I had to ride the ferry to reach there, the ferries are free of cost and operate every 15 minutes both ways.
No. 26 – NDSM Amsterdam
This place used to be a shipyard, it has been converted into a spot for huge events. The old shipyard building are still seen, a few buildings have been converted into work area for local designers and artists. The level of art and up cycled crafty nifty stuff lying around was just phenomenal, there was a small cafe/ eatery/ bar as well. This place was a total contrast to what I had seen in Amsterdam for the past three days. I loved this place, If i ever visit again, I will have to spend more time here.
It was time for me to say goodbye, took the ferry back to central station, as I had to get the train to the Airport.
A few goodbye pictures of Amsterdam, I reachd Dublin just before mid night safe and sound, bringing my 4 day trip to an end, with loads of cool memories!
To conclude: I absolutely loved Amsterdam, It ticked all my boxes, I did not face any trouble of any sort, people in Amsterdam are friendly and everyone I spoke with knew English. Good food, great public transport and affordable cost. I will certainly visit again, hopefully during summer next time !!! Hasta la vista ✌️