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Suggestions/Our recent experience

Hi all,

Since I did much of my planning based on this wonderful forum, I just wanted to return the favor. We recently left Amsterdam after a 3-day visit. FWIW, I have a few suggestions:

Canal tour: We booked a "luxury canal tour" through Airbnb experiences, with Matthew. It was not inexpensive, but my daughter and I both felt it was well worth it. Matthew has a small boat (fits 20 maybe?), and for this reason, he is able to take you on canals which larger boats can't explore. He begins by sharing some information about the history of medieval Amsterdam as you pass some early architecture, and as the tour progresses, he takes you right up to the present. Professionally he has been involved some canal feasibility studies for the city, so he knows a lot about the historical and as well as the present day use, construction, and infrastructure of the canals/canal system. He is wealth of information. He also offers you wine or soft drinks on the boat, and he is happy to just allow you to sit back and enjoy the ride, or answer any questions at any point. He is very laid back, but don't let that fool you, he knows quite a bit. We took a 4:30 tour which was perfect. At the end of the tour, he also told me stay behind and he gave me some personal suggestions of places to visit. He was right on in his suggestions!

Jewish Amsterdam Tour: After much debate, we went with Naomi Kooperman. Wow! She was phenomenal. Best guide ever. She spoke nearly nonstop for a good 3.5 hours. I'm usually that annoying person in the group who asks 1,000 questions. Well, let me tell you -- I barely opened my mouth. Naomi is a wealth of knowledge. She knows her history and you have a sense that she could share even more, given the time. She also knows all the people who work at the sites you visit, and twice, when we arrived at sites a little late (through no fault of hers), the people who work at the sites allowed us to come in, even though they were supposed to be closing! I would take any tour Naomi offers! In fact, we wanted to change our plans and sign up for a tour with her the second day we were there, but she was only offering the same tour again.

Anne Frank House: A must. While I have always found the diary and story moving, seeing the photographs of little Anne, and her diary written in her original handwriting, and really physically experiencing just how small the rooms she was hidden in are, was especially moving. Be forewarned, it is very very crowded experience. But they do a very nice job (IMO) of pacing/moving people through the historical setting. I was worried that we didn't have tix to the introductory program, but I don't think it made one bit of difference.

We also hit up the Rijksmuseum and the flower auction (need to take a bus for 45 min) - not to be confused with the flower market - and you should really be there by 7am. Both where also great!

Hope this helps,
Noel

Posted by
3351 posts

Thank you, Noel! Appreciate hearing about your experiences and glad you had a great time!

Posted by
73 posts

Noel
Excellent post. We are headed to Amsterdam at the end of Sept and will be there for five days. we will definitely use this information.
Don

Posted by
26 posts

Oh I'm so glad it was helpful! I really appreciate this site and glad I can help return the favor. Hope you all enjoy your trips!

Posted by
1919 posts

Noel! So good to hear you had a positive experience in AMS. Especially happy to hear that you enjoyed Naomi Koopmans tour. Subsequent to our last discussion, I found out my cousins took her tour this past April! They too, were extremely pleased and said the same thing- "She is phenomenal." We are booked next month. Getting very excited!

We are set for the Rijks, Anne Frank, etc. We were still debating on which company for our canal tour. I will look at Airbnb experiences. Website? I am interested in medieval Amsterdam as I am currently reading "Amsterdam" by Russell Shorto. Thanks so much for your feedback!

Posted by
26 posts

Hi Janis,

The boat tour we took is listed on Airbnb under "Experiences." The title seems to be: "Unique luxury boat tour+ drinks & snacks," and the host is Matthew. BTW, we didn't get any snacks, but I still loved the trip. Enjoy! Noel

Posted by
1919 posts

Hi Noel,
Thanks for your prompt reply. I will check it out. Glad you and your daughter enjoyed it!

Posted by
5392 posts

Thank you for these tips, Noel. This is very useful!

Posted by
113 posts

We just returned from a short stay in Amsterdam a few days ago. We stayed at Hotel Estherea and were wowed by the beauty of it as well as the excellent service. It is on the Single canal, super friendly staff and excellent breakfast. I also recommend the Anne Frank house ( our time slot was 9:15am so crowds were not a problem) toured the Van Gogh Museum, strolled through nearby Vondelpark and went on a fun and informative canal tour with Those Damn Boat Guys. The highlight however was the "Eat With" dinner served at Martine's Table. Martine and Olav cooked a four course French meal with drink pairings and served us and 3 other couples in their own home. Outstanding food and presentation. So much fun to interact with them and people from other countries. The second night we ate at an Indonesian rice table.