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3 days in Amsterdam...

Hey guys, hoping for some input on my 3 day layover in Amsterdam. I'm not sure whether i'm fitting too little or too much in my 3 day stay in November.

So far, my schedule for the trip is:
Day 1:
1) Rijks musueum
2) Albert cuyp (seen many people recommend doing a 'mobile lunch' there)
3) Walking tour
4) Rembrandthuis
5) Ajax-Barcelona game

Day 2:
1) Zaanse Schaans (is it recommended to bike there from Amsterdam using the ferry as a crossing?)
2) Canal cruise (in Amsterdam)
3) Hermitage

Day 3:
1) Anne frank house (already booked ticket)
2) Haarlem (not sure whether i should fit this into my plans??)
3) Dutch Resistance Museum
4) Van Gogh (open late on Fridays so i left it last)

As I said, i'd like to bike to Zaanse schaans if it's worth it and the weather isn't too bad (for reference, i'm from canada!). I don't know if that will end up being a 'day trip' or if i'll get back to Amsterdam by 3-4pm? I'm not sure whether i should just cut out Haarlem given the limited time and the fact that most museums close at 5pm. I'm leaving "Day 3" to be able to do anything that i couldn't accomplish on my second day. Perhaps i should just fit in a cheese tasting and another activity instead of haarlem?

I'm also open to any suggestions! :)

(Some background, i'm a master's student studying politics in Europe and Russia so i have great interest in art, history, culture etc. and less so in indulging in nightlife. In fact, i have no plans on it)

Posted by
60 posts

Your itinerary looks good. A couple of things:
The canal tour is interesting, but consider the weather. The one we did was in a covered boat, but streaming rain might make a difference in what you see. If it's nice the first day and weather looks iffy the next two, do the canal right away. The one we did was 90 minutes.

The Hermitage didn't have much beyond the exhibit I saw, "Dining with the Tsars". The very old kitchen was interesting, but there wasn't much in the way of artwork. I loved the exhibit as I love china and silver, and the history, but my husband stayed away and went elsewhere.

If you have the museumkaart, pay attention to the lines at the Van Gogh museum - it might look like there is one long line, but it is really 3, with one for museumkaart holders. (It went much faster than the non-pass line.)

We ended up at the Amsterdam City Museum by happenstance, but found it to be really interesting.

Posted by
14792 posts

I believe the Hermitage only has temporary exhibitions. It looks like the one that's on now is the one that will be there through November - "Dining with the Tzars." If porcelain and silverware interest you . . . I recommend the Maritime Museum for a history buff. I went to the Rembrandthuis many years ago, I vaguely remember lots of his sketches on the walls.

Posted by
1645 posts

To me it looks good too. Maybe you can swap activities to arrange it more effectivily, like Haarlem on day two to combine it with De Zaanse Schans (walking from the railway station Koog-Zaandijk, from there train to Haarlem is some 30min.).

Amsterdam is fairly compact, so you can see most by walking and if the walking tour is not guided but on your own you can spread/combine it over the three days for instance.

Maybe do the Resistance Museum on day two to make the last day not too emotional and change it with the Heritage.

Keep the possibility in the planning to make adjustments on the spot and think now what to drop if necessary, so set priorities before.

The only challenge for you I guess will be a possible strong headwind when biking if you still want to do that.

Posted by
9568 posts

I agree with Wil's suggestion to do the Dutch Resistance Museum on another day from the Anne Frank House. I found both fairly intense. Because of the way my days worked out I did the Resistance Museum the day before the Anne Frank Huis and felt that worked really well. The Resistance Museum is not crowded and you have time to look at and absorb the information. Anne Frank Huis is crowded and you are often shoulder to shoulder with the line of people going thru there so not much time to reflect.

Posted by
1947 posts

One of the highlights of our visit to Amsterdam was a half day trip to Haarlem to see the Ten Boom museum which we enjoyed more than Anne Frank House. Haarlem is only about fifteen minutes by train from Amsterdam. The Ten Boom museum is dedicated to family that hid Jews during WWII and we found it a wonderful tour. If you decide to go there be sure to read info on the museum as it only has limited tour hours.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks for all the advice. Based on what was said so far, i've decided to remove the hermitage since it doesn't seem like it's worth the visit and to visit the resistance museum before i see the anne frank house.

Day 2:
1) Dutch Resistance Museum
2) Zaanse schaans
3) canal cruise (weather dependent)

Day 3:
1) Anne frank
2) Haarlem (Ten boom and possibly teylers)
3) Van gogh

I did do some research on visiting Ten Boom and it seems like the tour hours aren't available online as the website said it's based on whatever is written on the sign outside but i don't mind waiting. I'd rather split up Zaanse schaans and Haarlem because i want to try biking to one place if weather permits whereas i'll just stick with the train for haarlem. Given the places i'm visiting, i think i'll get the holland pass over the museumkaart especially since i already booked the anne frank huis ticket online.

Posted by
1645 posts

Nakuu – I appreciate you considered our advice and maybe with a bit of “luck” you have to deal with some headwind :) during biking, joking ofcourse, but anyway enjoy your trip.

Posted by
3665 posts

It will be a challenge to buy tickets for Ajax, especially when Barcelona, one of the world's greatest squads, is playing. If you are a serious fan, I recommend the book Ajax: The Dutch, the War. It uses soccer to examine the position of Jews during WWII, particularly through the perspective of Ajax, which rather curiously became known as the "Jewish" team after the occupation. The author is Simon Kuper.

Posted by
18 posts

I appreciate the tips but I already have a ticket to Ajax-Barca. Just not sure how early to show up to the stadium for pre-match atmosphere....should i be seated 30 mins before kickoff? I assume the ultras will be out in full force?