A weekend below sea level.
Take a seat: Nieuwmarkt Square
This 14th Century castle-like structure is one of the oldest remaining buildings in Amsterdam. A former city gate, cargo weigh house and tax office it now houses a restaurant. But sitting outside is not limited to its roadside terrace. On a summer afternoon any open space in Amsterdam is good for locals and tourists alike to sit down and enjoy the rays.
An Acquired Taste: Maatjesharing
Don’t be freaked out by the fact that it is raw. When in Amsterdam, be an Amsterdammer and at least try one of these freshly cleaned raw herrings with onions from a street stall, preferably on the Albert Cuyp market, the largest daily open air market in Europe.
Shopping between the canals: The Nine Streets
Wherever you go, shopping streets will offer the same global brands. Boring. In Amsterdam head for ‘The Nine Streets’ between the main canals, near Dam square for vintage and designer clothes, local and international delicacies, art galleries and a range of lovely cafes and restaurants.
Relax: Cafe ‘t Aepjen
Have a drink where sailors met as early as 1540. The Cafe ‘t Aepjen (‘the Monkey’) has been a bar and inn constantly ever since. Housed in one of three remaining original wooden houses in Amsterdam, this bar even enriched the regional patois with an expression: “To be lodged at the Monkey” means you are in deep trouble. Cheers.
“Amsterdam boasts a number of world class sites, like the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House. Buying tickets on the spot means getting in line, often literally for hours. Do yourself a favor and plan ahead. Buy your tickets online for a fixed time slot and walk right in.”
– Paul Robert, Editor in chief, Reader’s Digest Netherlands