I just returned yesterday from 2 weeks in Amsterdam, Vienna and Budapest and will report on each city separately. My job does not allow travel in summer so previously I had been going in mid to late May, this year I left 4/19 and spent the next 5 days feeling very cold indeed in Amsterdam, average daytime temp was 45-48 and sometimes a light rain, so not the most ideal weather for enthusiastic exploration. But it's such a spectacular city that I kept at it and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Since inquiring minds always like to hear about packing, here's what I took that worked great for me:
LeSportsac messenger crossbody, Deluxe Everyday Bag--excellent compartments & storage, lightweight & sturdy
2 pairs blue jeans
2 pairs oxfords, both by Fluevog. One navy/cream and one black/white.
Navy Michael Kors hooded mid-weight rain jacket
Black INC asymmetrical zip mid-weight sweater
6 tops-black, grey and navy Ts, black pullover sweater, navy stripe, blue/orange print Boden wrap top
4 pairs each socks (Wrightsocks and Smartwool) and undies.
3/4 sleeve nightie and slippers
I flew KLM this trip and really liked them, will definitely choose again. I arrived at Schiphol and was on my way to the hotel by 9:30 am. I had researched both the airport shuttle and Airport Express bus #197 and without a reservation I'd have had to wait 45 minutes for the shuttle so I paid 5 euro and got on 197, which was perfect--about 30 minutes to the Rijksmuseum stop, then 3 blocks to my hotel on Vossiusstraat, the Piet Hein. Very quiet as it looked onto the short end of Vondelpark, and I had an upper floor room as requested. Choosing the Museum Quarter was the right thing, for me; a nice area, pleasantly busy but not the overwhelming crowds in the more central Amsterdam area of the canals, which were easily reached in 5-10 minutes via tram. Buying a 96 hour transit pass made using the trams very easy.
I didn't end up buying a Museum Pass as I thought I might, and it seems even if you had the pass there would still be a wait to get in at the Van Gogh unless you bought a ticket online. I was jet-lagged and must say that standing in line for 1 hour in 45 degree weather really kept me alert! This was around 11 am, and when I left around 2 there were only maybe 20 people in line; as I passed the museum several times I noticed the line varied throughout the day. Definitely worth it, the museum was one of the more excellent ones I've seen devoted to one artist, along with a special exhibit of Prints in Paris 1900. I rode tram #2 to get oriented, and then got dinner from a café called Blushing across from the Van Gogh.
Friday at 11 was my time to visit Anne's huis, and I arrived a bit early to explore the neighborhood and get breakfast. The huis was quite an experience, I'd read her diary at age 10 and it had an enormous impact on me, leading to a life-long interest in WWII and the experience of the Jews in various countries. They make an attempt to control the crowds in various areas, but I must say that sometimes it was hard to really appreciate what I was seeing, and much of it was quite dim and hard to read some placards. After that I wandered the 9 Streets area, and then to Spui to see the Friday book market. Several shops there also with English books. Dinner that night was at a cozy corner café on Van Baerlestraat called Small Talk Café.
Saturday I visited the flea market at IJ Hallen--tram #2 to Centraal, then a free 15 minute ferry ride from the back of the station. I had expected more vintage stuff and was quite disappointed; of the 700 or so vendors, 650 were selling tatty clothes, shoes and purses. I did find some vintage 1950s Steiff for a good price, so all was not lost. Then I went to the Antiek Centrum at Elandsgracht 9--someone on the forum recommended it & it had a huge offering of interesting stuff at good prices.