If you are visiting Amsterdam on a weekend break, you will be hard pressed to see everything in just two days. Amsterdam has so much to offer besides its famous coffee shops, that it will seem difficult to be able to squeeze everything in. You need to narrow down the list of places you plan to visit, to a few locations, so you can manage and enjoy your schedule, in the little time you have.
Amsterdam is famed for its reputable collection of museums and there are so many that there is perhaps not time to realistic see them all. The answer is to pick just a handful and we strongly recommend the Rijksmuseum which hosts the largest collection of Dutch art in the world. This museum holds almost 10,000 pieces of art and historical artefacts, including some masterworks by Rembrandt. Other museums worth prioritising are the Van Gogh museum and Rijksmuseum, two more world class museums in the heart of the city.
If you also enjoy the outdoors and open spaces, Vondelpark is a gorgeous, 100 plus acre area which is a wonderful location in which to enjoy a stroll in the summer months. Located just south of the Leidseplein, you can normally also find an outdoor theatre set up during the summer months and which offer free live music. Vondelpark is also the venue for the annual Film Museum.
This zoo holds over 800 different species of animals and 200 different species of trees, as well as a stunning gardens with various flowers and butterflies. Around the grounds you will find zebras, springbok, oryx and wildebeest walking around with giraffes. There is also an area to view what happens under the water of the canal that winds through the city. As well as an authentic canal mock up, the aquarium also contains huge aquatic tanks, tropical coral reef and an Amazonian rainforest. The butterfly pavilion covers over thousand square metres, making it the largest of its type in the country. There are a wide range of species that can be seen in the pavilion including Swallowtail Butterflies and Blue Morpho. There is also an Insectarium which houses a massive range of insect species for people to see too.
The Second World War was one of the biggest conflicts ever to take place and it influenced people from all over the world, causing massive devastation to lives, property, land and the economy. There are many famous stories which arose from the war, either at the time or it and in the following period, which demonstrate the hardships and struggles that people at the time had to endure. One of the most famous of these stories is that of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who hid in a secret cove in her home together with her family in an attempt to avoid capture by the German soldiers who were rounding up Jews for the purpose of ethnic cleansing.
After surviving undiscovered for a long period of time, Ann Frank was finally caught after a neighbour provided information of her family’s whereabouts to German soldiers. Anne’s diary was subsequently found which documented the day-to-day experiences of family in hiding until the time of capture. The diary was turned into a book and caught the imagination of people around the world who were unable to comprehend that such a young girl should have to take such drastic measures to survive.
In the centre of Amsterdam there is a museum which pays tribute to the Frank family’s experience. It is the opportunity for people to visit the place where Anne hid whilst viewing photos, videos and artefacts from the house. This museum is an absolute must for people visiting Amsterdam as it is both educational and inspirational. The Anne Frank Museum is open year round and prices and opening times can be found on the official Anne Frank attraction website. It is a fascinating attraction and one certainly to consider.
If you have any interest in football, one attraction I highly recommend to you is the stadium tour of Amsterdam Arena. The guided tours take place every hour or so and include a chance to see the press and tv area, the commentators box and a chance to have a photograph taken on the side of the pitch. If you find yourself in the city on a weekend, getting tickets for an Ajax game can be a great way to really experience the culture, in the way the locals would.
There are plenty of excellent places to stay including most central parts of the city including by Centraal Station. Make sure also to read our article on buying a holiday home in Holland.