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Why can't I get excited about Amsterdam?

Friends, I am in a pickle. My husband is longing to go to Amsterdam this year, and I just do not want to go! The more I think about it, the less I want to, and I am afraid I am digging in my heels and inventing reasons to resist. Here's the situation.

We have a month off work in November. We'll spend a big chunk of that being temporary Londoners in a friend's flat in Maida Vale (b/c, boring old people, but also because we dream of retiring in London).

We want to go two other places in Western Europe during the month, and are having trouble deciding where.

He is REALLY REALLY excited about making one of those places Amsterdam, and... I am just not feeling it.

I took a YouTube walking tour of Amsterdam recently, to try and rev myself up. It was about 30 minutes of strolling along, moving from a kind of crap modern area (near the train station, maybe?) in toward the cuter canal neighborhoods. Frankly, the city seemed kind of shambly and boring. The canals looked pretty, but not particularly exciting. The parks were a little dirty. Much of the architecture was lovely, but in such a low-key way that it didn't make me say "oooh - gotta go there and see that!"

I don't smoke pot. I am pro-drug-legalization and have no problems with it - I just don't do pot. It makes me smile too hard and feel goofy, and I hate that.

I don't care about a sex district. I used to live in New York when Times Square was as seedy as all get-out, so nothing shocks me and I have basically seen it all.

The museums are probably fabulous, but there are fabulous museums in Berlin and Barcelona and Madrid and Lisbon and Helsinki and Prague and Copenhagen and Budapest...

Rijsttafel is probably tasty, but tapas and jamon and smørrebrød and snails in garlic butter tickle my tastebuds more.

I really don't want to have a closed mind and be a whiny, reluctant partner!!! What am I missing? Can someone please try and convince me that I am super duper horribly wrong and Amsterdam is incredible?

Thank you!!! This is not "me" and I need some inspiration.

Posted by
6370 posts

I doubt if anything that people here will say about Amsterdam will change your feelings. You've already done what most people would suggest to get you interested.

When I was married (many moons ago) I went several places that my husband wanted to go that I absolutely hated even the idea of, but some things you do just to make someone else happy because that makes you happy too. Maybe just look at it like checking off a very popular tourist destination just to make him happy. Maybe you'll get there and find out you like it too. I took a group tour once that had a couple of stops that I had no desire to go to, but found out after visiting them that one of them turned out to be one of my favorite places and I went back there on my own at another time. Who knew?

ps: I really enjoyed just walking around Amsterdam, especially the canal streets. I never pass up nice touristy river/lake/canal/ cruise and the one I took in Amsterdam was really interesting. I'm a big fan of impressionist art, especially Van Gogh, so I absolutely loved the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum. I probably wouldn't want to spend a week there, but a couple of days was worth doing.

Posted by
1427 posts

Kira, you'll probably get a lot of responses telling you how wonderful Amsterdam actually is. I was there two years ago and I liked it a lot, so I could give you one of those responses.

But instead I just want to clear up some misconceptions you seem to have acquired.

The canals and architecture of Amsterdam are not particularly exciting. It is low key. For some, that is its charm. You won't step into a square and go "oh wow" and get weak in the knees. (Maybe a little bit in Dam Square, but even that doesn't compare to places like the Grand Place in Brussels or Piazza San Marco in Venice.) But I do think the low key charm of Amsterdam is capable of growing on you.

Smoking pot is not an important tourist activity in Amsterdam. I didn't smoke pot at all when I was there. Didn't feel like I was missing out on anything.

The Red Light District of Amsterdam is not seedy. It is really an attractive, historic neighborhood where people live and there are things to see that have nothing to do with prostitution.

There's plenty to eat besides Rijstafel.

True there are great museums all over Europe. I have to say, though, that the Rijksmuseum is one of the best museums I've been to anywhere.

But no, Amsterdam is not incredible. Don't expect it to be. If you don't want to go, suggest other alternatives. If your husband insists, try to go with an open mind and let the city do its thing. I don't think you will hate it. At worst, it will be fine. And for your second other place, pick the one that truly gets your heart racing.

Posted by
213 posts

After visiting The Netherlands (and Belgium) over a dozen times in the last 6 or 7 years, I keep returning. While I love Amsterdam, over the years, I have chosen to instead stay in smaller towns or cities (Haarlem, Delft, Utrecht). Amsterdam is a must see, however, I find the charm and quintessential Dutch way of living much more enjoyable in smaller towns compared to Amsterdam IMO. Maybe consider a compromise and stay in, say, Haarlem or Delft or Leiden even? Your husband will never be more than a 30 min train ride to Amsterdam. Or, conversely, don’t go. Separating for a week while each of you go your separate ways can be fun, although, I warn you that your husband will probably have more fun than you will.

Posted by
3477 posts

Amsterdam is not a pot smoking sex orgy. Far from it.

I have been there several times and, while not my favorite European city, it can be fun and entertaining.

I have never noticed the smell of weed except for the one time I went into a shop just to experience the environment before they legalized it where I live. I feel no need to return. Same with the sex district. I can see what might attract people there, but if you never go into that area you won't even know it exists.

There is plenty to see and do. The museums have artwork you will not see anywhere else. While I am not a museum person, I did enjoy those I visited more than some in other European locations. Food was excellent overall and we did the Rijsttafel with a large group of people. It was the highlight meal of the trip. But if is just two of you, you won't have the same impact because the number of dishes served in exponentially fewer. I just spent a lot of my free time sitting in a café having a drink and watching people. It was enjoyable, relaxing, and stress free.

Posted by
16878 posts

"Helsinki and Prague and Budapest" actually do not have any museums that come close to rivalling those in Amsterdam. Helsinki is considerably more low-key for most travelers while I'd say that Amsterdam has something for everyone and warrants a longer stay.

I've probably marveled more at the average-street architecture in Amsterdam's city center than I have in Berlin and Barcelona and Madrid. All of these big cities come with trade-offs like litter and graffiti. From Amsterdam, frequent, cheap rail service makes it easy to reach many small towns throughout the Netherlands. You can also base in a smaller town like Haarlem and let him commute into the city while you go another direction.

Maybe the YouTube video wasn't filmed well? Maybe you need to read more about the Netherlands. It sounds like you're talking about a week, maximum, and there's so much you could see in that time.

Posted by
16171 posts

Compromise, and pick the other spot as one that your husband hates, but you are excited about. A part of marriage is that when one partner is miserable, their goal is to make the other partner miserable as well. That way, you can visit 2 cities, and you can both be miserable. That sounds fair to me.

Posted by
6878 posts

Amsterdam is not all about drugs and prostitution and museums. You are basing your ideas on what you saw on the Internet? I've been to London and Berlin and I never feel as inspired to go back to the places as I do to Amsterdam.

Posted by
897 posts

We really liked the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh museum (which is smaller and not overwhelming like some big museums), and the Heineken experience museum. The "coffeehouses" and red light district aren't that noticeable and can be completely avoided easily. The city is very flat and walkable and bikeable. I would definitely go back in a heartbeat. You're right, it's not an architecture-focused city, but it can still be very fun. I would at least go for a weekend with the husband to make him happy. With a full month away, 2 days isn't a big chunk of your time. Also, why can't your husband go without you if you really don't want to go? Or have one of the London friends go with him instead?

Posted by
12568 posts

By focusing on pot smoking, the sex workers, and rijstafel, it appears Rich has not struck the right chords with you.

I feel like RS loves to mention things like pot and red-light districts to show how open-minded he is. But of course we have legal pot here in Seattle ( thanks in part to Rick's campaign for it, I believe) so that is not a big deal for you or for me. And while I am fairly open-minded about legal prostitution, assuming the women are fully protected from exploitation, I have no interest in seeing it in action. Nor does my husband, who is actually prudish on the subject.

But these factors will not prevent us from making a short stop in Amsterdam this summer, on our way to Switzerland. We are actually going to visit a close friend who just moved there, and will only have two nights/one day. I am quite sure we will find enough to interest us; we enjoy just strolling quiet canal-side neighborhoods and might try some cycling ( although riding sans helmet is verboten by my husband).

Maybe you could negotiate a compromise? A short stay in Amsterdam and then travel to someplace else that appeals more to you.

Posted by
2158 posts

Kira, I just got back from Amsterdam yesterday. I wish I could tell you it's fabulous, but all I can say is I liked it. I know I didn't see it at its best -- the trees were still bare and it was pretty cold except for one nice day. It was primarily overcast and the skies were mostly gray. I imagine you will have similar weather in November.

I found the homes and buildings along the canals to be quite spectacular, although they are a bit dour looking, being all shades of gray and brown and black. But the details were so interesting -- doors, door knobs, light fixtures, railings, signs, rooflines, etc. There was a lot to take in. It was the kind of place I could walk around forever. EXCEPT -- the bicycles. There were so many bikes and you can't hear them coming. Every time you come to an intersection, you have to look four ways to make sure you don't get run over by a bike. Plus there are cars and motorcycles. It just wasn't relaxing. If you are less paranoid, this might not bother you. We smelled marijuana all over the place, but I can't say it bothered me.

I went to three museums -- the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum, and the Dutch Resistance museum. The first two were excellent, the third was nice but a little disappointing. My favorite site was the Anne Frank house, a place I have wanted to visit since I read the diary in childhood. It did not disappoint. It was terribly moving, and I actually cried.

As we were flying into and out of Schipol, we stayed in Haarlem at the beginning of our trip and Amsterdam at the end of our trip. I much preferred Haarlem as it was more relaxed and low key, so you might consider that. Either way, if you go with a positive attitude and find a nice spot to settle in, I think you can definitely enjoy Amsterdam. Plus you'll get to pick the third place you stay without worrying about whether or not your husband likes it!

Posted by
2950 posts

I'm currently staying outside of Amsterdam and haven't gone into the city yet. I have stayed 2x in Amsterdam in the fall and 1 time in the summer. I prefer the fall as there are less tourists and most of the leaves are off the trees so you can see the beautiful canal house architecture. If you do go in November try to be there on the Sunday St. Nicholas (Sinterklaas) arrives in Amsterdam by tall ship from Spain with his 600 Moorish helpers. It was an eye opening new Christmas custom for us.

I too would also recommend staying in Haarlem and traveling in quickly to see Amsterdam and other villages on some day excursions. The November we saw the special November Sinterklass parade, we also had a day that was warm enough that we could rent bicycles and ride to a seaside cafe for a meal.

Posted by
2775 posts

I really don't want to have a closed mind and be a whiny, reluctant partner!!!

Everyone has different tastes. That being said if my husband really wants to go somewhere, I either go with him as I enjoy seeing him happy, or he goes by himself. Sometimes he turns out to be right, too and I enjoy myself...well, usually! I don't make him ignore something he really wants to do. As you were going to visit two other cities, anyway, why don't you let him pick one and you pick one.

I just came back from 7 days in Amsterdam, technically, 3rd visit. It is a world class museum city, IMO. It's charming and everyone seems extremely friendly. It's a major city. Every city has something to offer, IMO. Try it, you might like it.

Posted by
4700 posts

I've been to Amsterdam four times. It is NOT my favorite place - not even close to the top. My first trip was five long nights (when I was still a travel rookie) I wished I had made only three. I had just fallen in love with Paris, and I visited Amsterdam next. It was kind of a letdown.

Subsequent trips have happened as a night or two at the end of other trips - Amsterdam is a convenient staging city for flying home to Portland (direct Delta flight). I haven't minded these stops. 2016 was my last visit - I had a night in Delft, a town about an hour south of Amsterdam, which I LOVED...and two final nights in Amsterdam - two free Hyatt nights a spending place, so that was fun.

Kira, your impressions of Amsterdam aren't entirely wrong. I don't smoke pot either, and I remember smelling it too much on my first trip (I distinctly recall walking to my room in the Marriott and someone opened their hotel door as I walked by, and a big cloud of pot smoke drifted out!). But since pot is now legal in Oregon too, I'm kind of used to that now anyway - don't like it but not so annoying anymore. It's not worse in Amsterdam than in Portland regarding pot.

You can safely avoid the red light district if you wish. There are other brothels discretely located around town but you won't see them unless you know what to look for (haven't been inside one, but from the outside, other than the red lantern, you'd never guess what was going on inside). The women in the windows are only in the red light district - which I've walked through. It seems to be mostly gawking tourists.

Still, as much as I don't love Amsterdam, I enjoy my brief return visits. There are definitely worthy things to see. The canals do have a certain charm, even if it's not Venice. I wouldn't recommend anyone NOT go - it's definitely worth a visit, even if it doesn't become your favorite city.

I concur with the suggestions above to stay somewhere besides the city of Amsterdam itself. Haarlem is an obvious, easy choice, but there are lots of quaint little Dutch towns, and it's easy to get to Amsterdam by train for day trip. I adored Delft - it was quiet and charming in a way busy, big Amsterdam just wasn't.

Posted by
308 posts

Before going to Amsterdam and Brussels a few years ago I had the expectation that I wouldn't like Amsterdam, and I expected to love Brussels. I fell in love with Amsterdam and didn't really care for Brussels. You really never know until you go there.

Best memory: Having dinner at an Indonesian restaurant before spending Friday evening at the Van Gogh museum.

Second best memory: Getting up early and finding empty canals.

Worst memory: Almost getting run over by a bicycle while crossing the street!

Posted by
2914 posts

If you're going to Amsterdam in two months and want to see the Anne Frank House, you need to order tickets online ASAP. Due to the AFH and Rijkmuseum and canals(which are cleaner than Venice), Amsterdam would definitely be on the second tier of my must see cities in Europe (London, Paris, Rome, Florence are my first tier), ahead of Berlin and Madrid and definitely ahead of Lisbon and Helsinki and Copenhagen. I haven't been to Prague and Budapest and Barcelona, so can't rank them. And I'm definitely not a fan of prostitution and pot either.

Posted by
4700 posts

FYI, Kira, one thing that got more excited to go BACK to Amsterdam was reading Russell Shorto's book "Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City." Amsterdam has a unique history for sure, and I took note of a number of things on my next visit that I hadn't considered before.

Posted by
3901 posts

Went to Ams for the first time last year and was excited and thought I'd love it. Annnnnnd - it was OK for me. I'm finding now when I have really high expectations for somewhere I am always underwhelmed. On the flip side, had no expectations at all for Belgium and I loved it.

Unfortunately, for Ams, I came down with a really sore throat that made eating painful for about 4 days (until we left for Dordrecht), and vomited one night. Our arrival day was lovely, but then the weather turned cool and I should have packed a few warmer shirts/light gloves. (One year ago today we were cruising the canals).

I too am not at all interested in pot (I know people say you can't smell it, but I'm sensitive to smoke and found it irritating at times - cigarette and pot smoke), and we didn't go to the RLD.

BUT - I really do want to give it another chance - most likely next time we will go in Sept (when the weather is warmer) and I'd actually like to stay and explore the city better - of our 4 full days, 3 of them we took daytrips, so we didn't really explore Ams much at all.

My fav moment in the city itself - getting up at 6:30 and hopping the tram for the short ride to the Rijks - and getting to see the IAmsterdam sign with maybe 3 other people around - then hopping the tram again and jumping off where it looked pretty, then hopping back on and popping into Vondelpark, then back to the room to get hubby up and have breakfast. Also - stroopwafels and poffertjes.

And another great thing - if the city itself bores you, there are so many easy daytrips...

Posted by
1984 posts

Did you say how many days your husband wants to spend in Amsterdam? Have you ever been? You say London will occupy most of your month so how bad could it be to spend a handful of days in Amsterdam? Most of the other posters have written compellingly about Amsterdam's positive attributes so I won't repeat them. I have never been but am going later in April. Amsterdam and its fine museums and the Anne Frank House have been on my bucket list so I am finally going! And, during tulip season, a thrill.

I went on a Rick Steves tour to Berlin, Prague & Vienna in 2015 and was not looking forward to the time in Berlin. Don't know why but just didn't want to go. Well, Berlin was a revelation and one of the highlights of the tour! So, give it a try and make your husband happy. You might like it.

Posted by
14454 posts

Low key is a good definition for the Netherlands. It made me think of my first or maybe second visit (the first was barely 48 hours) to A'dam. I picked up a few small walking tour pamphlets from the VVF (the tourist info) and did the one, highlighting the sculptures. I literally walked past the sculpture twice before seeing it on the 3rd try - I was looking upward for a larger-than-life imposing thing, and it was no more than 4 feet tall including the pedestal.

It's not one of my favorite cities, but on my most recent visit to the country, I stayed in Den Haag and did one day trip to A'dam and quite enjoyed it. The area around the Central Station has gone downhill but once well away from there, it was lovely. The Rijksmuseum hadn't yet reopened - it was one of my favorites. The Dutch Resistance Museum is excellent, you may catch a good exhibition at the Hermitage, the Maritime Museum is also very good. There are several medieval churches and a beautiful synagogue. House of Bols is an interesting self-guided museum with a yummy drink at the end (and discounts on the second). It's across the street from the Van Gogh Museum.

Then there are day trips - Utrecht, Haarlem, Delft, Den Haag, Rotterdam.

Posted by
47 posts

Being of Dutch heritage I have relatives that speak of Amsterdam just as like I speak of Disneyland. Being a 2nd generation Orange County CA native, I know all about Disneyland and feel the same way about Amsterdam. Been there twice, enjoyed it, but enjoy the rest of the Netherlands much more. I agree with you and really have nothing to say to convince you otherwise. Amsterdam is not the Netherlands. If you want to party and get high or drunk then I would say return to Amsterdam. Otherwise pass.

Posted by
996 posts

Kira -

I am coming at this from the opposite end of the story. I am the one who plans/books our travel. While I will always try to work in any request my other half makes for a trip, he rarely makes any for our foreign destinations. So I go ahead with what I know I want to see + what I hope will be mutually enjoyable for both of us.

I've dragged him to countries for which he never expressed a desire to see. Most of the time, he's found something - once we're there - to make him appreciate why I so desperately wanted to see it. Once or twice, he merely defaulted to the fact that I very, very desperately wanted to see a place in person. (He's a good guy.) But overall, once we arrived, he found a way to enjoy the location.

Maybe a specific place isn't speaking to you now, but once you're there with your husband it will be more fun, simply because you're together. Maybe his enthusiasm will be contagious.

But I'd definitely put a word in now - while you're still in the planning stages - to maybe add a city that does speak to you.

I hope you have a wonderful vacation!!!

Posted by
3176 posts

I really don't want to have a closed mind and be a whiny, reluctant
partner!!! What am I missing? Can someone please try and convince me
that I am super duper horribly wrong and Amsterdam is incredible?

You are missing the fact that YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO TO AMSTERDAM. Why hasn't anyone else said this? (Or maybe they have and I missed it?) :-)

To me, it's silly trying to convince you to go to a city in which you have zero interest. Why even bother??

Kira, nobody wants a prisoner when traveling. Nobody want to be a prisoner when traveling. It's not fair to either of you. So your husband is excited about Amsterdam....TERRIFIC. He should go on his own and ENJOY HIMSELF. This isn't rocket science.

Take part of that one month vacation and enjoy it separately. Then you both can come back to London or wherever you choose to meet after having a wonderful time enjoying the places EACH WANTED TO TRAVEL ON HER OR HIS OWN.

Posted by
3653 posts

Part of traveling effectively with someone else is good communication and a willingness to try something that may not be your first choice. My sister sometimes comes up with ideas that seem a little strange to me, but when I go along with her request, I usually find that I am glad I "stretched" myself and went to that area or sight. I have a better vacation when I try places that may not have been on my radar as a first choice. I think the same could be true for you and Amsterdam.

Only you know how important this is to your husband. As a widow, I'd go anywhere to have had just one more trip with my husband ..........

Posted by
2349 posts

You don't have to be excited about it. You could just go. If it doesn't appeal to you when you get there, sit and read a book. That's not to say you have to go. You could also skip it.

But let's break this down a bit. Pretend you have 5 buckets. The first one is your ... bucket list bucket. Where you have to go in this lifetime. Then there's the bucket of the places you'd like to go, would regret not seeing, but maybe won't happen. Then the bucket of maybe yes, maybe no, don't really care. Then a bucket of nah, I don't think so. Then the no way in hell bucket. For me this last bucket holds Florida in August, a giant cruise ship dedicated to the music of Lawrence Welk, and a party beach locale full of college frat boys on spring break. I don't care if the last bucket is my husband's first bucket. I am not going.

What bucket does Amsterdam fall into? Can you nudge it a bit into the next highest bucket. You don't have to go from no way to woo-hoo. But maybe from meh to OK, I guess so.

Now go explain to your husband that you have 5 bucket lists.

Posted by
488 posts

Karen is right. You don't have to be excited about every place you go to. I think that is the reason they put so many destinations in Europe so everyone could choose what they like. Last summer I was in 7 cities and loved all but one. Maybe he can choose one place and you choose the another. Have fun.

Posted by
2914 posts

I agree with Carol. It's only a few days out of your life and marriage is about compromise. Think of it as a chance to practice your acting skills by acting enthusiastic when you're not! And I hope my husband doesn't see this post-no telling where I'd have to go! But then, there was that time I dragged him and our daughter kicking and screaming to Istanbul!

Posted by
4700 posts

Would be nice for Kira the OP to chime in after all of this feedback...

Posted by
4 posts

I understand. My husband was very excited about a trip we took to Costa Rica; I was not. But I ended up enjoying it even though it was not my favorite trip of all time. Seeing him happy made me happy.

But if you find yourself not able to enjoy your time there, smoke pot since it makes you smile too hard; your husband will think you're having a great time. ;) ;) ;)

Posted by
6 posts

The reason you are not excited is surely because it is not an exciting city. Certainly it is not Rome or Berlin. But it is good enough for a few days. Go with low expectations and you can only be pleasantly surprised about the nice bits.

Posted by
1068 posts

OMG you guys! What a great bunch of amazing, thoughtful, detailed, helpful responses!

I'm sorry I haven't checked back in. I checked back the same day I posted, when there were only 3 replies, and then in the interim I got slammed at work and haven't had a second to open my laptop at home, and now there are 30 responses!

I find it interesting that, so far, I haven't read an answer that says "BEST CITY EVER YOU MUST GO." Maybe there is one. I need to take my time and go through all the responses carefully, which I will need to do this weekend.

In the meantime there is a lot of food for thought here and I really REALLY appreciate all your input!

Back soon with more. Thanks again!

Posted by
16171 posts


This city only exists in Nirvana, just over the border from Shang-Ri-La.

Posted by
862 posts

Another option I only see mentioned once or twice above is to let your husband go to Amsterdam and you head somewhere else that you prefer and meet back up at the last city. Nothing wrong with exploring a place by yourself and you both might even enjoy some time alone after traveling together for the first part of your trip!


Posted by
6370 posts

Not necessarily Michael, maybe she just looked that up on Google Earth.

Posted by
4700 posts


I find it interesting that, so far, I haven't read an answer that says "BEST CITY EVER YOU MUST GO." Maybe there is one. I need to take my time and go through all the responses carefully, which I will need to do this weekend.

The question is: even if it's almost no one's "best city ever," does that mean it's not worth a visit?

I've come to accept that not everywhere I visit is going to make my top-ten list. Last year, I finally visited the French Riviera and Provence. I hadn't expected to love either of them. Indeed, I didn't. But, I had been passing on them for years. The truth is, I think (for me), I've run out of "best city ever" places. If I want to keep traveling, I have to accept places that aren't going to "wow" me as much as my favorite places.

Seems to me that if your husband really wants to visit, and you aren't sure about it - you should visit, unless the two of you can agree on some other place you are both dying to visit instead. If you can find such a place, maybe go there instead...and go to Amsterdam another time. I just don't think it's the end of the world if you wind up not loving Amsterdam, though, as long as you LIKE it a little.

Posted by
1809 posts

Friends, I am in a pickle. My husband is longing to go to Amsterdam this year, and I just do not want to go! The more I think about it, the less I want to, and I am afraid I am digging in my heels and inventing reasons to resist. Here's the situation

I think you stated the situation in your second sentence. All your reasons make it sound like you are worried your husband will like it too much or something. You might be more prude than you realize.
We've been to Amsterdam three times and will probably start our next trip there because of a direct flight that we can get with miles, we love the city and surrounding areas and that "goofy feeling" really helps the jet lag.

I'm trying to plan a trip to England and as much as I love and study English history, I'm not excited to see anything in particular. I'm doing it because we need to mix in some new places on our fourth trip to Europe and England seems like an obvious choice. Based on your love for it which is similar to what many on this forum express, I know I have to go and see it to fully appreciate it.

Posted by
1068 posts

Hi Michael!

No. I have a login and the work friend I was wasting time on with doesn't...she said she knew that place, and we looked it up and I answered. :-)

Yikes. That doesn't make me look great, but that's what happened.

Posted by
1068 posts

Richard, that is hilarious! I love your answer. Food for thought, definitely. :-)

Posted by
9862 posts

Continental took words out of my mouth. However, sometimes we go places to add to our lexicon, to please our spouses. I would do fewer repeats, but my spouse loves going back to places we have loved. I say if we don't go to new places, how will we find new places to love?

I was not crazy about Amsterdam but I am glad we went. My only regret is that the weather was horrible and we did not get to explore more parts of the Netherlands from our base in Haarlem.

Posted by
3176 posts

I find it interesting that, so far, I haven't read an answer that says
"BEST CITY EVER YOU MUST GO." Maybe there is one. I need to take my
time and go through all the responses carefully, which I will need to
do this weekend.

Even if there were people who said "best city...", so what?

If you have zero interest, why in the world would you want to be stuck like a prisoner doing what you have no interest in doing? That is illogical.

Worse, you'll make it miserable for your husband if you're not happy too. All of these people on this thread trying to convince you to go where you don't want to travel seems bizarre.

Go where you want (you listed Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Helsinki, Prague, Copenhagen, Budapest, etc) while your hubby is in Amsterdam and pick a city to meet afterwards. Win/win. Done.

Posted by
1869 posts

Sorry, but really what a problem to have!
This summer I am going to Norway. I have never had a desire to go to Norway, but thats where the hubs wants to go. I imagine it will look like where we already live. I definately feel ho-hum about it. However, for the last several years we have gone where I wanted to go. It really is his turn to pick. So we are going. I am determined I will find something to love about it. Look for the beauty wherever you are so to speak. And I say again, what a problem to have!

Posted by
2914 posts

Be sure to look at Tamara's recently posted trip report of her trip to Amsterdam-she liked the city much better than she expected!

Posted by
63 posts

While Amsterdam is not an exciting place, it is very nice -- in fact, my thoughts after spending a couple of days there were "I could live here." And the only other place that made me feel like as a first impression that is Toronto. It's a great place to walk, it's pleasant and modern and picturesque and easy to get around. There are excellent bookstores and nice restaurants and splendid museums. But mostly, it's just a nice place to walk. So after you've been gobsmacked by Paris and London and Rome, Amsterdam is a nice place to relax.

Posted by
506 posts

We just got back form Amsterdam, it is well worth seeing. We used two of Rick's walking tours to Jordan and the Red Light district. Remember the Red Light district is a place where people live and I am not talking about the just the sex workers. In fact there is a day care center behind the church next to several rooms. From Rick's tour information the locals take their children there when they go to work and I am talking bankers, lawyers etc. The Red Light District reminds me of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. The Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museums are excellent. The Anne Frank house gave me a chance to understand what the Franks went through when they were in hiding. You can also take days trips to Haarlem or Zaanse Schans are very easy train trips from Amsterdam. We very much enjoyed our time in Amsterdam, we still have things to see in London, Paris, Rome etc.

Posted by
301 posts

The time to visit Amsterdam is during the Kings Day holiday. The town comes alive..
It's also the best time to visit Keukenhof...but those are April events.
Visiting in November could be a ho hummer if you don't feel it.
You don't mention what you would rather do.. my choice would be Vienna over Amsterdam at that time of year, or Paris, or Rome, or many choices.

Posted by
1809 posts

I've been there on Kings Day and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone over 30 or who doesn't like Techno music and beer. Keukenhof is closed on Kings Day.

Posted by
301 posts

WRT Kings Day being for under the under 30 wife and I were 60 during our last visit. And neither of us like techno music..... We don't square dance, keep scrap books.
Kings Day was a hoot. It's nice that all of the streets are closed.

Posted by
2949 posts

I will just say that I have not yet been to a major city that didn't become one of my favorite cities. My favorite cities list is well, way too long. Every city has amazing bits and Amsterdam has more than most. The only way to not fall in love with it is to stay in the tourist center which isn't particularly pleasant. Avoid that and if you don't love haven't done your research.

My first trip to Amsterdam was in cold, rainy November, but we stayed in a houseboat north of the Jordaan. There wasn't much in our immediate area so we had to take the cold and rainy 15 minute walk to get to the top of the Jordaan, but the romance of staying on a boat and being close to the best district made up for it. We didn't even bother with the red light district on that trip. We warmed up in braun cafes, ate as much bitterballen as we could, enjoyed both old and young jenever and a great craft beer scene, ate fantastic gourmet burgers and went to heaven with ristafel and that's just in addition to the strolling and marveling at the beautiful homes, the open, lit up windows, cool furniture, and I didn't start on the museums. Amsterdam may be my favorite museum city in all of Europe, period. Berlin and Paris have great museums but Amsterdam's museums are something else. The selection is dizzying and they were so expensive we just bought a museum kaart and returned to the city 3 times in one year as an excuse to get our money's worth and had a better time each time.

The Dutch are so international and modern, friendly and helpful, with a wonderful take on food (no need to eat traditional Dutch food, I've had amazing Thai, Spanish tapas, obviously Rijstaffel) and a lust for life that to me rivals anything I've experienced elsewhere. Approach the city with an open mind and you'll be rewarded.

Long story short: Amsterdam is definitely in my top 5 European cities. Probably in my top 3. If I could pick any country in the world to live in, it would be the Netherlands, if not in Amsterdam than in close proximity. I love Berlin's culture and edge, but Amsterdam has a bit of that sense while being far more beautiful. I love London in all it's glory, but Amsterdam has equally good eateries with less hassle and is more down-to-earth. Paris is lovely but a bit "much" - in Amsterdam it's easy to relax. And that's me comparing it to my favorite cities - I'd much prefer a visit to Amsterdam over Madrid or Barcelona or Copenhagen.

Give the city a chance, it might really surprise you!

Posted by
4737 posts

Kira, I'm not crazy about Amsterdam, but my husband loves it. This year he wanted to spend as much time in the Netherlands as we could squeeze in, so we did. But we didn't stay in Amsterdam, and actually spent very little time there. We stayed in Haarlem and Leiden, and had a wonderful time.

Do check out the museums in Amsterdam and vicinity, however. There are probably a dozen world-class museums withing a 30 minute train ride.

When I told my husband I agreed to go where he wanted, the look on his face made the whole trip worth it - even the parts I really didn't want to go to.