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Three days in the Netherlands- based in Amsterdam. What to see?

My cousin and I will be arriving in the Netherlands on a Sunday, and I leave on Thursday morning (following a trip to Ireland.)
What places/activities do you recommend? We have the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh museum, and the Rijksmuseum on our list- but wondering if the Hermitage museum is also worthwhile? Has anyone done a canal tour?

Planning to also take a train to Haarlem to visit the Corrie ten Boom house/museum.

I would appreciate any advise that you have, as neither of us have ever been to the Netherlands.

Posted by
2876 posts

Check the website https://hermitage.nl/en/ before your trip to see if the current exhibit is something you really want to see. We finally went to the Hermitage museum on our last visit and I thought it was crowded and I didn’t care for it. We go to the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum every time we visit Amsterdam but I would give the Hermitage NL a pass.

I think you’ll have three pretty full days with the 2 museums, 2 historical homes and day trip you have planned. Walking the canals or taking a boat tour will also be a relaxing way to see beautiful Amsterdam.

Posted by
8234 posts

Since you are seeing the Anne Frank and Corrie Ten Boom locations, you might also find The Dutch Resistance Museum worthwhile. If you have time to see it before your Anne Frank visit, I liked doing it that way.

The Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum are near each other but I felt it was too much to do both in the same day although that works well geographically. If you do wind up with them back to back, start on the 3rd floor of the Van Gogh Museum instead of following it chronologically which is the way it’s laid out. You’ll get the good stuff first and then if you tire you’ve seen the Almond Blossoms, lol.

Posted by
2798 posts

In addition to the museums, we did a Jewish Walking tour to coincide with Anne Frank House. Our tour guide was historian Naomi Koopmans, We toured the Synagogue, the Jewish Museum & the Holocaust Memorial. We visited the Dutch Resistance Museum on our own. If interested;
jewishamsterdamtour.com. Excellent tour.

Our B&B host recommended the Stromma canal tour. We started the tour at the Rijks. It was Hop on Hop off but we chose to stay on until it returned to where we started. Especially great on a sunny day. We did a lot of walking in Amsterdam. We stayed near Vondel Park and in walking distance to the Concert Hall, Rijks & Van Gogh Museums. Plenty of good restaurants nearby.
https://www.stromma.com/en-nl/amsterdam/sightseeing/canal-tours/hop-on-hop-off-boat/

Posted by
2041 posts

Besides the sights you have in your list, definitely add the Dutch Resistance Museum. We also enjoyed the Maritime museum with it’s history of the Dutch West Indies Trading Company. Other interesting sights are the hidden Churches, particularly the church in the Attic. We never knew Catholicism was outlawed for over 200 years but tolerated. We spent 9 wonderful days in Amsterdam with a few day trips. Enjoy.

Posted by
29 posts

Oh such wonderful ideas! I did not know there was a Dutch Resistance museum.... as a history teacher and WWII buff that will definitely go into the plans. I appreciate all of your input. Thank you all so much!

Posted by
1942 posts

Definitely see the Dutch Resistance Museum, it’s very well organized and has an extensive collection of artifacts and photographs of people from that time. If you knew nothing about WWII, you would receive a thorough education about it from this museum.
I loved the Hermitage Museum and it was crowded the day I visited but the paintings were lovely and there were even some of the Faberge Eggs and ceramics in a display.
I also think both Van Gogh Museum and the Rijks on the same day is too much. At 9 am we were at the Van Gogh and enjoyed it before the crowds. Then lunch at the Rijks and saw the art there after lunch. Wow, almost put me off art and I’m an art lover.
I know you didn’t ask this but if by chance you go to The Hague , the Mauritius Museum is outstanding! I spent several happy hours there. The train from Amsterdam delivers you quickly, 30 minutes I think.

Posted by
2041 posts

Amsterdam is one of those cities that you could spend days and days exploring. It also has the best day trips because everywhere is so close. We did day trips to Haarlem, Delft, and the localbus.nl tour to Edam, Markham, and Volendam. They have other routes too. Amsterdam is definitely one of the cities I would make another, would be my third, trip to visit. Enjoy.

Posted by
6583 posts

Add a canal tour and the Dutch Resistance Museum. We enjoyed staying in the Central Canal area at Hotel l’Ambassade, a beautiful and convenient location.

Posted by
2056 posts

One of the challenges you'll face in November is the weather. It could be cold, windy, and rainy (Heck, that could be today!). It will also be getting dark around 5 PM. Thus, I'd plan accordingly. There's so much to do IN Amsterdam, you'll not be bored!

The are many wonderful cities surrounding Amsterdam. The Hague - where we live - is a little more than 50 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal and has a plethora of Museums and sites including the previously mentioned Mauritshuis, Escher in Het Paleis, The Peace Palace, Panorama Mesdag, and Kunstmuseum den Haag - all great when the weather is bleak. And there's always Madurodam, where you can see all the sites of the Netherlands in miniature if you can't get to them!

Leiden, the birthplace of Rembrandt, has the second-largest old-town city center (after Amsterdam) and is vastly underrated. Utrecht, a college town like Leiden, has a youthful feel that contrasts with the historical settings. I ride through Delft often. Surprisingly, it's also a college town but most visitors will focus on the Oude Kerk and the Nieuwe Kerk (the last resting place for all members of the Royal House since 1584).

If you're there late in November, you might be able to visit some seasonal markets. Three days will fly past - Have fun!!!

Posted by
1538 posts

The Hague is indeed a daytrip destination to consider, it’s a pleasant lovely place to walk around and houses our national seat of government. If there are political gatherings at Plein, just outside the "Tweede Kamer" (comparable with the House of Representatives) you can talk with members, depending the weather think in November less obvious.

You can visit several places on the same day with a return ticket. Buy for instance a return ticket to Rotterdam (in case modern architecture is of interest) or Delft and visit other places like The Hague and Leiden which are along the same railway line from Amsterdam. You can hop on and off as much as needed as long you don’t backtrack and travel the date and the line (shortest route) the ticket is issued for. For The Hague the train stops only at Den Haag HS, ask the conductor if it is alowed to change trains for going with the same ticket to Den Haag Centraal, a few km of the line.

Posted by
29 posts

Thank you so much for all of these great ideas. I am so excited!
We will be there is just a few weeks.

I also wondered if any of you have also visited the Vught concentration camp?
I am a history teacher and also had a dear friend who was a member of the Dutch Resistance
who was imprisoned there for a few months, ao I would love to visit it if time allows.
And as you've all been so helpful- if any of you have restaurant recommendations that would also be much appreciated.

Thank you again for all of your input. I am already indebted to all of you!
Faith

Posted by
1538 posts

Vught is about 1h 20min with the train from Amsterdam. You have to change in ‘s Hertogenbosch (home to Netherlands most famous gothic Cathedral), like the other places lovely too and worth a visit or a walking tour. Halfway to ‘s Hertogenbosch you can hop off for Utrecht.

I have visited other camps but not Kamp Vught, however I know if it is of personal significance and being a memorial site why not visiting it?

Posted by
2056 posts

Like Wil, I've been to a few camps in the NL, but not Kamp Vught. They are a sobering reminder of WWII. In The Hague, we live in what was the Jewish neighborhood since the 1600s. Unfortunately, much of the Jewish population in Den Haag was decimated during WWII, There are two monuments in Rabbijn Maarsenplein, which our apartment overlooks - the most poignant to the Jewish Children of The Hague who were murdered in the Holocaust. Our apartment sits on what was the playground of a Jewish Children's school. (Now this neighborhood is better known as Chinatown).

I'd agree with Wil that ‘s Hertogenbosch is worth visiting. (Too bad you will not be there on a Saturday to enjoy the weekly market). I found this to be the cleanest town in the NL! Each time we've been - and we've been most often on Saturdays - it's been postcard-perfect (and relatively undiscovered by tourists). Again, so much to see and enjoy outside of Amsterdam and quite easy to get to by train.

Posted by
656 posts

I mainly prefer old-Dutch and so called old mater paintings. I went to the Van Gogh museum just because he is so famous and I felt like I had to go. The museum has barely enough Van Gogh paintings to justify its existence. What a waste of money. They should close the place down and sell or distribute the contents to other museums. I would have been as happy or happier if I had skipped it. The Rijksmuseum had more to see than I gave myself time to see. I saw the Ann Frank house too. The place has no furniture because Anne's dad survived and he wanted the furniture taken out and the rooms left empty. Buy your tickets to all 3 in advance or skip the Van Gogh and see Jewish museum instead. And you might have to set your alarm and wake up and buy your tickets to the Anne Frank house, online, at the exact minute they are released for sale. The Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam is open as a museum and is being preserved to look the way it would have looked in the 1600's, so no electric lights; the chandeliers looked just like a church I saw in Harlem.

Posted by
6583 posts

Yes, sadly the majority of Van Gogh’s works are in major art museums around the world,not in his home country, a pity.

Posted by
12473 posts

Another view of the Van Gogh? While not top of list of our favorite painters, we enjoyed the museum much more than we'd anticipated. The collection is brilliantly organized in chronological order, with accompanying textual narrative, so you can follow the progression of changes in color and styles over his creative lifetime. Included as well are works from some of his contemporaries and inspirations.

While I'd seen numerous others of his works in other museums, including "Starry Night" at MOMA in NYC, the breadth of his talent took on an entirely different perspective when not viewed in a vacuum, sort of speak.