Quick Trip to Amsterdam

We spent less than 36 hours in Amsterdam and that was all it took for me to fall in love. Such an underrated city!! We didn’t visit the Red Light District nor did we smoke any weed, so let’s just get that out of the way. But while we’re on the topic, why do we only talk about Amsterdam’s Red Light District? That’s like ignoring the Rocky Mountains and judging the merits of Colorado solely on it’s marijuana laws. Crazy.

There is so much more to Amsterdam! I left feeling like I had found my peeps and that I would love to live there. Maybe my subconscious was picking up faint similarities between locals in Amsterdam and the Dutch back home in West Michigan. Entirely possible. I have no idea. Everyone was very friendly, English was widely spoken (without an ounce of resentment), and we never really found ourselves in a crowd of tourists. It felt very residential and neighborhoody, very relaxed. There is a casual atmosphere, but you also pick up on an entrepreneurial vibe. Streets are full of quirky independent shops, and the owners/makers staffing the store are the farthest thing from haughty. The women were stylish yet undoubtedly comfortable, and I envied them as I silently cursed my skinny jeans. Another bonus: with so many canals and houseboats, it seems like the majority of residents have waterfront property.

Connor and I spent a great afternoon wandering the old Jordaan neighborhood, popping in and out of little shops, visiting the cheese museum, and eating far too many delicious samples (truffle cheese omg). We sat outside on a canal patio at ‘t Smalle Café and later visited Café Gollum, two small places that we loved and wholeheartedly recommend. These “bruin cafés” or “brown cafés” are old, traditional, Dutch pubs named for the cozy wooden interiors. They’re the best places to go if you’re looking for a local crowd rather than other tourists. We walked by the beautiful Rijksmuseum, saw the IAmsterdam letters, and ordered a delicious takeout pizza before calling it a night.

Exploring Amsterdam
t'Smalle Bruin Bar
‘t Smalle Café
I Amsterdam letters
E for Erin

The next day Connor had to work so I spent the morning visiting Rembrandt’s former home and studio, now the Rembrandthuis Museum. Seriously cool. Rembrandt lived and worked in this building from 1639-1656 and you can tour all the rooms, including his multiple studios. I knew very little about the famous painter, and had no idea he was known during his lifetime for his etchings rather than his paintings. Today it’s the opposite, and this museum has the largest collection of his etchings in the world. I watched a few demonstrations and learned about etching, which was used as a kind of print making process in the 17th century. They also had a really cool demonstration on pigments and the process of making oil paint during Rembrandt’s time. The museum has a sizable room devoted to Rembrandt’s collection: skulls, Greek and Roman busts, turtle shells, seashells, bones, feathers, coins, pottery, giant books, statues, weapons. Super cool. However, if you want to see more of his paintings you’re better off visiting the Rijksmuseum.

Rembrandt's Collection
Part of Rembrandt’s collection
Shelves in Rembrandt's House
Shelves in Rembrandthuis
Rembrandt's Large Studio
Rembrandt’s painting studio

That afternoon I wandered around the city checking out more shops and enjoying the canals before heading to the airport around dinner time.

Amsterdam iPhone
Beautiful buildings
Sitting on the canal watching the boats go by
Amsterdam iPhone
Super cute shops

Not too shabby for only a day and a half! Things we pointedly skipped that we didn’t regret: big museums, canal cruise (since we did that in Bruges), walking tour (we didn’t want to go to the Red Light District), Dutch food (not that different from Belgium). If we had more time we would have rented bikes and seen more of the neighborhoods outside the central canal ring. Go to Amsterdam! Great place to spend a weekend!




Quick Trip to Amsterdam

4 thoughts on “Quick Trip to Amsterdam

  1. Susan Haight says:

    You didn’t mention it, but I sure hope you made it to Anne Frank’s house while there also. Amsterdam is still one of my favorite cities that I was fortunate enough to perform in and I hope to get back there one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had less than 30 hours so I could only do one museum!! I’m a big art junkie so that’s always top of my list 🙂 glad you enjoyed your time in Amsterdam as well.


  2. Everyone in England seems obsessed with going to Amsterdam and I’m the lame one that just has no interest. All I think when they say let’s go to Amsterdam is drugs and prostitution.

    It looks like an okay place but there just doesn’t seem to be much to see there when Europe is filled with magical cities and villages steeped with history and exciting things to see. I just can’t seem to get excited about Amsterdam. Would you go again?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely would go again and hope I have the chance! And that is the point I was trying to make- I had such low expectations because of all the attention given to the trashy stuff, and I ended up loving the city. No offense to our lovely British neighbors, but I’m starting to learn they have quite the party reputation abroad. Over 95% of the customers in the drug/prostitution/red light district stuff are tourists and the Dutch aren’t really into it. If you avoid that one neighborhood you’d never know it existed. So many museums, really diverse food options, fabulous local beers, super friendly locals… I loved it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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