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Getting the most from two nights and a full day in Amsterdam

We are ending our September river cruise in Amsterdam overnighting on the river ship after an excursion through some of the country north of the city and ending in a canal cruise. I am told we will get back to ship at 6:30 and are free to come and go as we please. We will probably dock within 10 minute walk behind Central Station. It will be Friday night and our plane leaves for USA Sunday at 1:00. Trying to make the most of this brief visit I have these questions from you ever so helpful forum posters.

  1. Is the suggested 3 hour airport arrival what meets with experience to allow enough but not too much time to clear security? And is 30 minutes a reasonable amount of time for taxi to airport on a Sunday mid-morning?
  2. Has anyone gone to Van Gogh museum on Friday evening when they are open till 10 PM with music and cocktails? If so is the music loud?
  3. On Saturday we are told we can leave when we would like and are hoping to get a taxi at 8 to take us to drop our bags at our hotel (hoping they will keep them till check-in) and get the nearby tram to Rijksmuseum as close to 9 as possible with pre-purchased tickets. Hotel is on Single. We will go directly to second floor to take in the Dutch Masters first, and then what other things we would like to see. We are guessing about 3 hours will be what our stamina will take.The question is this, given we would like to have a little lunch, could be street food, what time should we book for Anne Frank House? Going directly to Anne's house from Rijks on bus takes about 15-20 minutes, probably a 30 minute walk. And is there any way we could fit in something else before the museums close around 5?
  4. What are some recommended street food and locations and/or quick lunch places on route between Rijks and Anne's house?
  5. If we can fit in one more thing what would folks recommend?
  6. After this very busy day what restaurant near our Hotel Estheria on Single would folks recommend that features good Dutch food in a relaxing atmosphere? Something within a 10 minute or so walk would be very nice.
  7. Sunday morning I plan to just wander the canals before our taxi to airport.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions with any of this.

Posted by
1044 posts

I don't have any suggestions, but am looking forward to the replies of others as we will have the same amount of time after our river cruise ends in Amsterdam May 2018.

Posted by
66 posts

I hope we both get some good suggestions. I do wish I had been able to convince my travel companions to stay at least one more day. I hope to post reviews of what I actually do when I get back in September, so you may want to be on the lookout for that.

Posted by
7496 posts

Instead of "Dutch food" which isn't great( pea soup, stews etc) try a rijsttafle, from the days when the Dutch controlled Indonesia/East Indies.

Posted by
66 posts

Thanks Suki, I had thought of that. What I remember from one I shared with friends in the Hague in the early 1970's is that the spice was so searing hot I could not enjoy it at all. Do you know of a place that will adjust the heat of the spice?

Posted by
1005 posts

If you want to see the Anne Frank House, you need to book your tickets exactly two months prior to the day of your visit--for a September visit that means in July. The website goes live in the morning Amsterdam time around 8 a.m. or so. Tickets go very fast, so you may need to stay up late in the US and order them at midnight or 1 a.m. local time. I would visit Anne Frank first and then go the the Rijksmuseum, because reserved spots are only offered in the morning to mid-afternoon.

Posted by
66 posts

Thanks T. I do know to reserve ahead, which is just a little more than a week away. That is why I am working now on maximizing the one day we have. I know that doing Anne Frank House first makes planning easier, but I do want to have the least crowds at the Rijksmuseum for the Dutch masters and that means as soon as it opens. Still weighing options.

Posted by
2297 posts

The answer to #1 is to allow the 3 hours (maybe 2 1/2 if it's early Sunday morning) as Schiphol has an extremely rigorous and thorough security process--carry-ons and purses are opened and items examined, some taken out for a second screening and it takes a lot of time. 1/2 hour for a taxi is perfect.

As for weighing your options of Anne Frank vs the Dutch Masters at the Rijks, consider that being IN Anne's house is an experience, a place where something occurred that is worth being a part of and seeing--if it truly matters to you. It was extremely important to me as her diary had a huge impact on me when I first read it at the age of 10. Don't get me wrong, I also love seeing art but it's not the same type of experience. As for ticket timing, if you leave the Rijks for lunch at 12, maybe 1:30-2:30 for Anne. It's an easy bus ride from the Museumplein.

3 hours should allow ample time to explore the Rijks, and there are a couple of restaurants nearby that I really enjoyed in April--Small Talk Café on Van Baerlestraat across from the Stedelijk (table service, full bar) and just across from the Van Gogh is Blushing, sandwiches, salads, pastries, etc.

Posted by
661 posts

In response to #2, I've been to the Van Gogh museum on a Friday evening, and I don't recall the band being too loud. The band and the cocktails are all on the first floor, away from the paintings. Once you travel upstairs, I don't remember hearing the band at all, and if you can hear it, I'm sure it will be muffled.

If you do go on Friday, be sure to get your tickets ahead of time - the lines to get in were still very long at around 7pm when we went.

Posted by
1507 posts

I also vote for rijsttafle. I did not find it all that spicy. I can't recommend a restaurant as we had it in Haarlem.

Posted by
21 posts

Thanks so much for the feedback folks. Dawn, good to know you were not disturbed by loud music Friday night at Van Gogh Museum. I have noticed that tickets are still available a day or two ahead, so we can get those while on the cruise with WiFi and phone.

Crista, thanks for the restaurant tips on places near Rijksmuseum. I could not agree more about the Anne Frank House being an experience of where a significant part of history actually took place. I was very moved 45 years ago when I visited as a young woman. I am re-reading the Diary, I wish I could count on making a 9 AM time. There are just too many moving parts; having the taxi on time at the boat, hotel baggage check in going smoothly so that we can be at the doors a little before 9.