There is a land known all around for being a capital in entertainment. There, you will never be hungry or bored. This place is the Dutch capital: Amsterdam.
I often refer to Amsterdam as an adult playground because, whether or not you smoke marijuana, Amsterdam will always be one of those cities that you can run around all day and never run out of exciting things to do.
Whatever tickles your fancy is easily accessible in Amsterdam. Strange museums, world famous galleries, open markets, thrift stores, good food, and endless other forms of entertainment.
I’ve been to Amsterdam three times now and easily manage to do something new every time. The Van Gogh and Rijksmusum are two of my absolute favorites. You could spend endless hours in either of them. The gift shops alone are a treasure. There is also the NEMO Science Center, Madame Tussaud’s, Micropia (a Museum about insects and bugs,) the Museum of Prostitution, and more than 70 others.
All of these are properly weird and unusual. For all the book nerds, the city’s library will be like heaven. It’s large and modern, with a huge variety of books from all subjects. One time, I was killing time before meeting up with my friend. I wandered around the Amsterdam Public Library (aka Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam – OBA) in Oosterdokseiland and was surprised at how entertaining that place actually was. I read all kinds of books in those two hours that I spent there, but the most fascinating was a book on the history of witches that I found wedged in a corner of an unrelated genre section. It kept me occupied for a long time and I eventually ordered the book for my own personal library.
Although regular people like little old me can only observe and visit the Rijksmuseum Research Library, it’s truly a stunning sight to behold. If I could have my own dream library, it would look like this one.
The History of Amsterdam
Historically, Amsterdam has seen a lot. It was founded at the beginning of the 13th century as a mere fishing village. Amsterdam soon received recognition during The Golden Age and was later, unfortunately, invaded by German in World War II. Nearly eighty years after the war, the city is dotted with historical sites and museums in commemoration.
Last January, I spent a whole day exploring the Jewish Quarter, the Joods Historisch Museum, the Holocaust Memorial and Museum, and the Anne Frank House. Naturally, it can be very depressing, but it’s important to see this side of history up close. If you had to pick just one of those sights to visit, I absolutely recommend the Anne Frank House. It’s a long wait in line, but if you go towards the end of the day, you’ll be able to get through faster.
One weekend every month, Amsterdam Noord hosts the IJ-Hallen flea market. It’s the biggest flea market in Europe. You can find a bizarre assortment of items and food there. There are endless collections of rugs, furniture, books, clothes, art, and snacks.
The Noordermarkt in Jordaan is also pretty awesome. There’s a farmer’s market there, hosted on Saturdays, and a flea market on Monday’s. I had the most delicious mini pancakes EVER. They were shaped like balls, covered in butter and dusted with powdered sugar. I had to go back for seconds, to the dismay of my big belly. By the time we left, my wallet was considerably smaller, and my backpack much heavier, weighed down by unnecessary antiques, collectibles, and a knock-off Gucci tracksuit.
Amsterdam Street Food
Amsterdam is also home to croquettes. Deep friend balls filled with potato and cheese, eaten between bread with mustard, these croquettes will have you addicted. Be sure to also try fries with mustard! There’s even a freakin’ croquette food dispensers spread out around the city!!
You can also go into a bakery and find the cake or pastry of your dreams. I’ve seen rainbow, Oreo and fudge cakes, as well as waffles dipped in strawberry chocolate with all sorts of sweet toppings. This is definitely a good place to come if you have a sweet tooth. Stroopwaffles and bitterballen should also be on your Dutch street food bucket list!
The Red Light districts hosts much more than what is notorious for. I’ve spent hours in late night arcades, playing air hockey, jenga, motorcycle games sand basketball. It’s a great (PG-rated) way to spend time with your friends and feel like you’re an extra in Stranger Things.
Whether you’ree in the city for a weekend or even studying abroad, you will never have to worry about what you’ll do any given day. Amsterdam is a place for everyone, even children. Holland is not a particularly large country, so you could even pop out to the countryside and see tulip fields or The Hague. One thing’s for sure, once you’re there, once you visit Amsterdam, you’ll never want to leave.