My husband and I will be in the Netherlands for two weeks, April 28-May 12. I would love to buy the Museumkart as we would enjoy using it in cities other than Amsterdam in addition to Amsterdam. However, we were going directly from the Amsterdam airport to Haarlem, saving Amsterdam for the last three days. Do I understand that it is only sold in Amsterdam and can only be ordered online and sent to a Dutch address?! I'm not sure my information is correct. Help anyone?? Is it a hassle to get? Is the savings worth changing our plans and beginning in Amsterdam?
I haven't had a Museumkaart for a few years and things change so my advice is worth what you paid for it.
I'v never had difficulty getting and using a Museumkaart. Once I got it at the train counter in Haarlem, once at a museum front desk - but I can't remember which museum, likely a small one. I've done it through the post once, having it delivered to my host's address in Haarlem.
It shouldn't be difficult. I would have thought that some VVVs (tourist information) would have it. I think there is a VVV at Schiphol.
The best thing is you get into so many tiny and fun museums. I remember really enjoying a Stove museum north of Amsterdam, and then there is the floating cellar in Edam.
I hope you have a really good time....
Don't worry: I've checked and there are at least three museums in Haarlem where you can buy the Museumkaart over the counter: Teylers, de Hallen and the Frans Hals. It's totally hassle-free. No ID needed. No waiting time. Just buy and use. (I bought it last Sunday at a medium-sized museum in Gouda and it was done in 5 minutes.)
Nowadays it's some EUR 59,90, but well worth its money, if only because it invites you to visit smaller museums.
Enjoy your stay! Haarlem is a nice city. No need to move to Amsterdam. At least four trains per hour, taking less than 20 minutes, and running until well after midnight (if you would be in need).
Yes, buy it in Haarlem at any of the museums that the previous poster listed. I'm not sure, but I think you can only buy it at museums and attractions that are covered by the card--not at tourist offices. It's a great deal provided you are going to be visiting five or six museums/attractions while you are in the Netherlands.
This www.museumkaart.nl/museumkaartgeldig.aspx lists for every province the museums where the Museumkaart is valid (with sometimes a small surcharge for a special exhibition).
Thank you so much. This is so helpful. We will buy our museum pass in Haarlem as that is the most convenient.
We love good museums and I think the card will be great -particularly on rainy days :)- as we will be in the Netherlands for two weeks. We can alter the itinerary and are open to any suggestions: Haarlem (April 28&29); Delft (April 30&May 1); The Hague (May 2,3,4,&5); Utrecht (May 6,7, 8); Amsterdam (May 9,10,&11). We are thinking the anonymous OV card should work on almost all public transportation - trams, busses, and trains. Is there a discount for using this card as opposed to buying daily tickets? We are well into being senior citizens and note that the personal OV card has a discount for seniors. I think this might require a Dutch address so probably doesn't work. So appreciate your responses! We are looking forward with great pleasure to our time in the Netherlands! Elle
I see you are from Leiden. That is where we thought we would go instead of Delft as we both love university towns. Having worked at a university for so many years, we love to see the cultural similarities and differences among young people! But, it seemed that Delft had more lodging possibilities, etc. Do you have any recommendations for a simple, clean place to stay that is in an attractive area of town? Thanks again. Also, thanks for sending the list of museums in each city that can be used with the museum pass. It's in Dutch but I bet I can figure it out!! Elle
Are you sure you want to change hotels? The distances are so short! From Haarlem to Leiden is 20 minutes by train (actually 19 or 22, depending on the type: intercity or all-station), The Hague another 15 minutes and Delft a further 10. But if you want, I'd guess the Doelen would be the best choice for its perfect location on the most beautiful canal of the city, the Rapenburg. Another one might be Nieuw Minerva, of long standing. But mind: I have no experience with them. Close to the station you've got the new Ibis (actually in a former faculty building where I've been studying) and the New Hampshire. But the area is not very inspiring.
For things to do in Leiden, there is this nice introduction to the city: www.visitleiden.nl/en/discover-leiden Don't forget the tourist office for the leaflet they apparently have on the alsmhouses. You'll love them! (They recently moved to a different address on the Stationsweg. Google Maps shows it as »VVV Leiden«).
I'm afraid the Dutch Railways are not very friendly for pensionados. You can have a forty percent discount, but only if you've paid out some EUR 100 for a card which entitles to these niceties. For those of advanced age, some free travelling days have to be bought extra. And, as you said, it's not something you can get at the ticket window. The OV Chipkaart costs EUR 7,50 and needs a EUR 20 deposit. I have no idea how you can get reimbursed after your travelling. (There is an initiative to make it less unattractive for foreign visitors, but I've seen no details.)
I would advise you to pay a visit to Dordrecht. Very undeservedly undervisited. Pleasant municipal museum, impressive church, a few grand houses open for visit, and still a lively place on a crossroads of waterways. Do it when the weather is fine and treat yourself with a visit to Kinderdijk. It's the cliché par excellence, but I still find it an impressive sight. It can be pleasantly reached by commuter ferry from Dordrecht. For travelling details use the reliable public transport planner www.http://9292.nl/en#
For most tourists visiting the Netherlands for a brief time, the OV chipkaart doesn't make sense. Since you are going to be there for two weeks, it will probably work for you. A few things to remember--you'll pay 7.50 euros to buy the card and that is non-refundable. While the Dutch can top up the card in grocery stores with their bank cards, you will only be able to top up the card at train and public transit stations. It's best to have a true chip-and-PIN credit card so that you can easily use the machines to top up. If you want to top up with cash, the machines only take coins. If you want to top up at the ticket window, the Dutch rail system only takes chip-and-PIN credit cards or cash. So topping up is going to be a struggle. Lastly, you need to have 20 euros PLUS the price of your ticket on your OV chipkaart when you use it on the train system. So the smart thing to do is to put a lot of money on your card as soon as you get it, so you won't be having to top it up all the time. Yes, it's confusing, but it works really well once you get the hang of it.
Thanks much for the hotel and OV card information! We were able to get in the Hotel de Doelen in Leiden, which I think will have the spirit we are looking for. Regarding the Dordrecht recommendation, I will give that thought. I considered it earlier but thought the transportation might not be as easy. Any suggestion for simple, clean hotel in beautiful location in Dordrecht and Urecht? Again, appreciate the responses! Elle
You're right: Dordrecht is quite a distance. At Dutch standards. A mere 50 minutes from Leiden and some half an hour from Delft, if you're going to stay there.
I can't advise on hotels in Utrecht and Dordrecht. I only can tell what looks to be a nice location and what not.
In Utrecht I've seen a NH hotel which doesn't look anonymous and is in a nice location, the Sint Janskerkhof. More upmarket is the Hotel Dom (I vaguely remember some function I had there some decades ago). The Eye Hotel is also where you want to find yourself.
For Dordrecht I've found the following nicely situated hotels, again without any guarantee about what they offer inside: Hotel Dordrecht (on the water), Bellevue Groothoofd (possibly the best location, but I've some doubts about the atmosphere) and the small-scale Aan de Haven (also on the water).
In Utrecht, I had a very nice stay at the Mary K Hotel: http://www.marykhotel.com/. I highly recommend it, as long as you can handle stairs (the usual steep Netherlands variety, that are more like ladders than stairs).
Did they have Mary Kay cosmetics for sale, Harold?