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2 1/2 days in Amsterdam, Questions and Suggestions?


We have an afternoon and two full days in Amsterdam. I'm trying to figure out how to divide our time. I have a few questions:

  1. We got the only tixs we could for the Anne Frank House: 20:15. Is this a real time? 8:15pm? I didn't think museums stayed open that late. We weren't even able to get tix to the intro program.

  2. I would like to see some of the countryside, windmills, etc. Has anyone taken the "side car motorcycle tour?" It seems quite expensive, but a nice way for two of us to see the countryside. I'd love to take a tour which gets us out of the City - any suggestions?

  3. Any suggestions of canal tours? My daughter wants to do this and I'm happy to oblige IF it's a worthwhile type of tour and we can find a good one. We'll be tired the first day we arrive (from the US), and a canal tour (vs walking) might be perfect.

  4. I'm considering the Van Gogh, Rijks, and the Resistance Museum. We're not museum folk (I used to be a museum curator, but have burned out!) but I can't imagine going to Amsterdam without seeing the greats! Worthwhile?

  5. Any other favorite stops/sights? We tend to like the somewhat unusual/quirky.

  6. How is the Naomi Koopleman Jewish tour?

  7. Finally, any recommendations for gluten-free Amsterdam? I'm feasting on bread, but sadly, my daughter is limited.

Thank you all so much in advance!


Posted by
2487 posts

To some of your points:
1. In season the Anne Frank Museum is open until 22.00.
2. An easy and cheap way to see some windmills is to visit the Zaanse Schans: a 20-min train ride from Amsterdam Centraal to Zaandijk Zaanse Schans, from which station it is a short stroll over the bridge. Walk north from the Zaanse Schans along the river and after some 10, 15 mins you're in the countryside.
4. For the Van Gogh Museum you need to buy your tickets in advance for their timed entry.

2. Another nice outing to the countryside is to take the train to Abcoude, 20 mins away, south of Amsterdam, and have a walk along the small river Gein. Some 2 km out you'll find a pedestrian bridge, to return on the other side of the river. A very Dutch landscape, and along the way you'll even pass a windmill of some Mondriaan fame. Trains from Amsterdam Centraal go every 15 mins.

Posted by
1217 posts

Amsterdam is very much a food city and we’ve seen a lot of GF menu items noted here

Posted by
321 posts


If you want to go to the museums, you’ll also need to book in advance. In mid-March, We were able to go to the Moco Museum which was fantastic, but only because tickets were sold old for the Van Gogh Museum.
We have taken the canal boat ride when we first arrived to Amsterdam. It was about an hour long and it showed several sites that we walked back too.

Next time we go we are hoping to rent a canal pedal boat. You’re daughter may like that. Two other things we are also going to do at the next visit are: 1) the free walking tour that starts in the Dam Square and 2) a bike tour of Amsterdam.


Posted by
784 posts

Just got back from there. Our second time in the Rijksmuseum with a guide as part of a river cruise. Not sure how good a museum if you didn't have a guide or audio guide. We also booked out own tickets for the Van Gogh. Signage is better here with good explanations of what you're seeing - not just the title, date, etc.

We went out to Zaanse Schans taking the 391 bus from Central Station. We bought our tickets at the station from a customer service office - 23 euros for 2 adults - but could have done so from the bus driver. The sign in the office said platform E but it actually left from L. Check the info boards. Takes about 40 minutes and drops you right in front of the visitor center/museum. You can walk about the place seeing the outsides of windmills, etc for free but to tour the museum and inside the windmills and a couple of other buildings costs. There's several nice gift shops and a couple of restaurants. We opted for free and had lunch there as well at an outdoor table service restaurant.

Our last day we visited the Maritime Museum. It was 33 euros for 2 adults and included audio guides. A very well done museum with several high tech features - not the least of which were the lockers downstairs for backpacks, coats, etc. It also has one of the best museum lunch rooms I've ever been in. Sit down service (excellent) and really good food. Not overly crowded for a Saturday.

Posted by
26 posts

Hi everyone:

Wow, thank you!!

Ton: Thank you! This is perfect. I love the idea of these walks. Just great! WE may try the second one you mention. Sounds very peaceful.

Camp: Yes, thank you!! Just wondering if anyone had any suggestions.

Selkie: Good to know! This dietary stuff can be tricky.

Northwest: Great tips! Do you happen to remember which canal tour you took? Would you recommend it? I also love the idea of a pedal boat. Yes, I think we would both like it – though coordination is not our strength. The Moco Museum looks really good.

cj-traveler: Thank you for the heads up about the Rijksmnuseum. I never would have thought about that. Sounds like it’s possible and satisfying to visit Zaanse Schans for free. That sounds nice. Thank you for the tip re: the platform, as well. Nice tip re: the Maritime Museum.

Posted by
958 posts

"Any other favorite stops/sights? We tend to like the somewhat unusual/quirky. "

A few of our favorites:
1) Just down the street from Anne Frank Huis is Winkel's 43. Go for the apple pie with homemade whipped cream. You might visit there before AFH and have some snacks and split a piece of pie? We've never had anything like it anywhere else. You won't be disappointed, even if you hate apple pie. Get the hot chocolate to go with it. Winkel's is a must to us. We couldn't go to Amsterdam and not have at least ONE piece of pie with their homemade whipped cream. If you eat it you'll never look at apple pie the same.
2) Museum of Bags and Purses - an excellent, excellent museum which also has a nice tea room.
2) Kattenkabinet - for the cat lover.
3) Museum Van Loon or Museum Willet Holthuysen - beautiful old canal houses from days long ago.
4) If there on a Saturday we always went first thing in the morning to the Noordermarkt and then next door to Winkel's 43 for the pie. If you are there on a week day you might want to visit the Albert Cuyp market. Get a stroopwaffel!! And don't tell TonfromLeiden I said to get the chocolate one. We love the markets!
5) We did our second canal tour with ThoseDamBoatGuys for the Christmas light show at night but they do daytime tours too. Fun. You can take a bottle of wine, snacks, etc, to enjoy during the tour. Otherwise you can catch a regular boat tour from just in front of the train station.

We took a Jewish history walk with Mr Schaapman from It was excellent and we were both surprised at how many things we had walked right by without noticing on our daily trips around Amsterdam.

Enjoy your two days!

Posted by
2487 posts

We may try the second one you mention. Sounds very peaceful.
It is, but it was also military landscape, part of the so-called Defence Line of Amsterdam. The country lane to the east, near the pedestrian bridge, leads after 15 mins to a late 19th-century fortress, and the whole terrain could be inundated to make it impassable.

Posted by
14885 posts

Be sure to visit the Portuguese Synagogue - take into account that it's closed on Saturday and probably only open Friday in the a.m. Unless you are big Van Gogh fans, you could skip that one. I visited when it was newly opened and there were far fewer tourists. Seeing the long lines, my impression is that the rooms would be very crowded and the visit wouldn't be very enjoyable.