Poppy’s Travel Diary – Netherlands
Location - Amsterdam
Known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system, and narrow houses, Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ capital. The last time I visited this area must have been about 30 years ago in my youth, a trip I believe is on every teenager's checklist! So I was keen to see my take on the area all these years later.
To simplify my sightseeing experience, saving both time and money I opted for The Amsterdam Pass, which is an all-in-one ticket to over 30 top Amsterdam attractions. It certainly was beneficial for me, and I managed to see and do more than I had bargained for.
Where to stay
Ammonite Hotel Amsterdam - A modern hotel in a building designed by the famous architect Roberto Meyer. Here you can experience the chic and luxury of Ammonite, the world's first hotel full of gems, minerals, and authentic fossils.
They had the usual amenities you would hope for in a modern hotel, in addition, I loved the bicycle rental facility and we had a fully equipped kitchen in our room. Once I had discovered the local supermarkets this became an invaluable and useful addition.
Where to eat –You really can't beat a good piece of fish, particularly when cooked well. The Seafood Bar is a modern restaurant offering a wide range and great selection of the freshest seafood and definitely worth a visit.
Fons de Visscher was a respected fishmonger for 27 years in Helmond; a small city in the Netherlands, when he decided to start a new adventure. Driven by his passion for fish and great wines Fons created The Seafood Bar, which opened its doors in 2012.
Where to visit
Museumplein - Home to the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art.
Rijksmuseum -The Rijksmuseum is among the world's finest art museums, packing works by local heroes Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh as well as 7500 other masterpieces over 1.5km of galleries. After a €375 million refurbishment, this magnificent Gothic and Renaissance has to be on your list of things to do whilst in Amsterdam.
Moco Museum – this a unique museum with a wide range of modern, inspiring, and contemporary art situated in Villa Alsberg, a townhouse overlooking Museumplein in the heart of Amsterdam. Moco focuses on the established pioneers and protagonists of various art movements. Think Banksy, Warhol, Dali, Haring, Hirst, Kusama and Arsham.
Heineken Experience - Come and learn about Heineken's heritage, brewing process, innovations, and sponsorships, as Amsterdam is Heinekens place of birth its no surprise that it is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, with over 500,000 visitors annually. The brand now serves over 25 million Heineken cans and bottles worldwide every day. The experience is interactive, fun, informative, entertaining and the end result is of course sampling. Cheers! Or as they say in Amsterdam Proost!
The Diamond Museum –Established in 2007 by Mr. Ben Meier in an effort to educate the world about the fascinating and mystical world of diamonds. A well-known diamond polisher himself Mr. Meier polished many priceless diamonds including the diamonds for the watch of Her Majesty the Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.
He firmly believed in maintaining the quality of the diamond craft and he was convinced that the best way to keep this craft alive was to educate people about the wonderful world of diamonds.
Canal Tour - One of Amsterdams must-do activities, which although many may think of like a cliché, is still the best way to explore the city. Not only was it a calming experience, slowing the pace of life right down, but there was also lots of interesting things to see and it was my mode of travel to and from different points of the city as I had a ‘hop on, hop off’ option on my Amsterdam Pass.
Created in the 17th century to keep the sea at bay, the canal belt is an unbelievably pretty sight by both day and night - when the bridges are lit up by fairy lights and the whole area takes on a magical feel.
Museum of Prostitution - The red light district or ‘De Wallen’ as the area known to the locals is the oldest district of Amsterdam. Ever since it was built around 1385, it has been both famous and notorious for the women inhabiting its streets.
A visit to the museum will allow you to discover all the red light secrets, which I found fascinating. The audio guide available shares with you some extremely honest and perhaps shocking stories from the Red Light Districts most famous prostitute Inga.
All in all a great trip.