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Italy likely off the table, need to plan 4 more days around Amsterdam

Hello all,

Our spring break trip is currently arriving on a Saturday a.m. in AMS, fly in the afternoon to Rome. Spend 4 nights and then fly back to AMS on Wed late evening before a flight home to US on Friday mid day.

Now we may need to scrap the Rome part, my hotel is refundable for the next 2 weeks.

If that is the case, what should we do? Two adults, two teenage boys. Do I just get a hotel in Amsterdam for four additional nights and we will do train day trips?

Or should we go elsewhere in the area such as Brussels for a few days and then head back to Amsterdam for three night (I will just add one night)

My boys like museums and certainly if we could see some WW2 sites that would go over well with my history buffs.

Any thoughts, hotels or ideas would be appreciated. I love planning trips but now I am a bit overwhelmed if we need to start over and certainly everything is changing all the time.
Thanks!

Posted by
16581 posts

I haven't been to the Benelux countries recently, so I'm not the best person to suggest additional cities outside Amsterdam, but I want to be sure you're aware of the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam.

Though I haven't been to the Corrie ten Boom house in Haarlem, it sounds like another place that might be of interest.

If you're lucky with the weather, I'm sure there are great opportunities for bicycle trips in the countryside.

Posted by
329 posts

If you want to go to Belgium, go to Bastogne. There is a fascinating WWII museum. We then went to the American Cemetery in nearby Luxembourg. Patton's grave is there.

Posted by
484 posts

If you go to Brussels Check out the Royal History Museum of Armed Forces and Military History. Excellent. Today it’s best to reserve a day ahead if you know you’re going. They have a canteen for snacks or lunch in the hangar where all the aircraft is......
From Amsterdam you could check into WWI tours and from both Amsterdam and Brussels for Battle of the Bulge tours. There’s great outdoors for biking and hiking too in the Bulge tour areas.
In Amsterdam visit the Jewish Remembrance and the Resistance Museum and Ann Frank House.

Posted by
4153 posts

Too bad if you have to miss Rome this time, but there's plenty to see and do in and around Amsterdam for those additional four nights. Your original plan gave you only one full day there, now you can have five! A guidebook can help you and your family decide what to see and do. Lots of museums, bike rides, canal boat rides, maybe tulips (see when Keukenhof opens), nearby cities like Haarlem, Leiden, the Hague, and Delft. I haven't been to Bruges or Ghent in Belgium but others have recommended those smaller cities over Brussels. If you have a hotel arranged in Amsterdam, can you change your reservation to add those extra nights? Or, if not, look for another one in another part of town.

Amsterdam has a branch of the famed Hermitage Museum, which is in St. Petersburg, with changing exhibits. See what they have on your dates, it could save you a trip to Russia some day! ;-) My other favorite Amsterdam museums are the Rijks, Van Gogh, and Dutch Resistance. Haven't seen the Rembrandt but I hear it's very good too.

Posted by
34 posts

Well as long as things settle down and don’t worsen and affect the Netherlands, Amsterdam/Belgium is a hoot.

You might want to rush order a Steves book if you don’t have one. Or get one at your library.

You could stay in Amsterdam or stay in Haarlem which is what Rick recommends. Both are great.

Lots and lots of great military sites in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Amsterdam has a good WW 2 resistance museum: verzetsmuseum.org also the zoo across the street is pretty nice.

The Netherlands are chock full of sites and towns like Arnhem of ‘a bridge too far’ fame. Easy to do if you have a car. Unsure about train travel.

Belgium has everything from waterloo to Ypres. There’s too much for me to list. The WW I sights and cemeteries around Ypres are impressive. But having a car there is pretty much required.

Bruges is always a nice option for a few days as well. And a good base to see WWI/WW2 sites. There’s a great portion of the German Atlantic wall in Ostend and there’s always Dunkirk out on the coast as well.

Good luck and have a great trip.

Posted by
645 posts

It would be easy to fill five extra nights in and around Amsterdam, but since you were thinking of flying to Rome anyway, you could fly anywhere in Europe that's relatively unaffected. Slovinia? Austria? Poland? Germany? Switzerland? Ireland? Finland? Norway? There is an overnight ferry to England.

Posted by
20565 posts

Pick up Steves' guidebook -- Amsterdam, Bruges & Brussels. We generally stay in Haarlem. Easier to get around, quieter, with some excellent restaurants and an easy place to make day trips. The boys would love the Historical Triangle -- a day trip described in his guidebook. You should have no problem filling extra days.

Posted by
226 posts

You can take a train to Brugges for a couple nights.
Acraven mentioned the Corrie Boom house which is interesting. I bought a book there and it was an interesting read, but I was disappointed with Haarlem overall.

Posted by
10673 posts

My boys like museums and certainly if we could see some WW2 sites that would go over well with my history buffs.

Take them behind the Iron Curtain for a different sort of WWII and Cold War experience. Take them to Budapest. About $200 round trip from Amsterdam. Here is a living, moving Cold War museum just outside of Budapest: http://tank.hu/index_en.php (no, not ours, one of theirs .... )

Posted by
2902 posts

Another vote for the Corrie Ten Boom house in Haarlem. I think I enjoyed it more than the Anne Frank House. They are quite different experiences. One is about the people being hidden and the other is about the sacrifice of those doing the hiding.
I was also impressed with the American Cemetary at Luxemborg.

Don't forget that Eurostar to London is also a possibility from Amsterdam.

Posted by
226 posts

Same here Carol, I too was more intrigued with Corrie’s house more than Anne Frank’s House. There’s no furniture in Anne’s house plus, they pack in as sardines in a can. No good for those who get hot flashes.

Posted by
306 posts

We rented a home in Zandaam, just outside of Amsterdam through VRBO - included a couple of bicycles.
You may have better luck at finding reasonable priced accommodations outside Amsterdam.

Posted by
226 posts

If you are skipping Rome b/c of the Corona virus in Milan you need to know that several people in Amsterdam are now sick with the Corona virus .

Posted by
31 posts

My husband has seen the reports of illness in Amsterdam. He is getting skittish about us being quarantined or children not allowed to return to school if we travel out of the country.
Of course with spring break a few weeks away all sorts of people are flying to Mexico, Aruba and the like for the week. We did send Delta a twitter message and they did say we could get a travel voucher for our flights. I really don't know what to do.

Posted by
226 posts

People in Amsterdam are getting worried too , enough to buy large bottles of hand sanitizer which are now sold out . With family in Amsterdam I get their e-mails with the latest news . Hubby and I were planning to go to SAIL in august 2020 ( a once every 5 years event ) . Hopefully by then things are ok .

Posted by
306 posts

No one really know where/when the next cases will show up.

Things may have improved or may be worse in the next month.
Hand washing (especially before you eat) is most important no matter where you are; avoid rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth without washing hands first. Use a knuckle to push elevator buttons. Push doors open with your arm - be creative about using body parts other than your hands for these activities.
I would be more concerned about exposure (to anything) on the flights - but if you are healthy, be thoughtful about prevention (no matter where you are - at home or on travel)

Posted by
10673 posts

Distance: The original plans of the OP were to fly from Amsterdam to Rome. Amsterdam to Budapest is a shorter flight. So well within their expectations. About the same cost too.

Soviet Union is now called the Russian Federation: Wellllllll, Putin probably loves that statement, but the citizens of Armenia, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Kazakhstan might not like that. Yes, you blew that one https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/blow+it

Posted by
10673 posts

We are so far off topic, that this is a disservice. Half my fault, OP my apologies. Vic got my message, and it was for him, so I will (have) clean(ed) up the mess I made.

OP, if you took a loss on the trip because of the change, let me know, I might have an idea.

Posted by
31 posts

Well good news, my son has some of his research done for a world history paper!

I feel like we are in a wait and see mode right now. Rome is definitely out, I was able to cancel the hotel without penalty. My alternate plans are:

  1. Do nothing, stay at home for spring break and get Delta voucher and KLM voucher. Lose money on Amsterdam two night hotel.

  2. Stay in the AMS area, considering staying in Antwerp for 3 nights - I could get a Hilton room for all four of us without having to get two rooms. Would use that as a base for that area then go to Amsterdam for 3 nights. I would have to get another night added on.

  3. Fly somewhere from AMS. Where I was leaning would be Dublin, Edinburgh or Berlin. All short flights and I could use my KLM money from my current AMS-FCO flight. I would spend 4 nights in those cities and then keep my two nights in AMS. Or if I use Hilton points, I could get a 5th night free so maybe ditch one night in AMS.

Of course as we all know no one was talking virus two weeks ago so what will be talked about in two weeks? I have told my husband that if the media moved on to another topic everyone will probably stop paying so much attention to it. But of course, the virus could get much worse and then I will most likely just stay home.

Posted by
5307 posts

Today the government announced that it is closing all museums as of tomorrow through March 31 (don't know if this is nationwide or just in Amsterdam).

Posted by
5307 posts

Nationwide closure of the museums, and now all restaurants etc are closed (see Floris’s thread on this page).