delftware tile

The guide lists and provided brief descriptions of museums, attractions, day trips, live music venues, as well as my favorite brown cafes and restaurants (on the more inexpensive side).


museums and other sights
Live music venues
Brown Cafes
suggested reading
day trips in the Netherlands

the Rijksmuseum



Van Gogh Museum






Stedelijk Museum



Van Loon Museum



Bijbels Museum



Our Lord in the Attic



Beurs Van Berlage



Amsterdam Historisch Museum


Willet-Holthuysen Museum



Portuguese Syangogue


in Amsterdam:


Housed in an impressive building overlooking the Singelgracht, this is easily one of the best museums in the world. It contains an outstanding collection of Golden Age paintings by Rembrandt (including 'Night Watch' and 'The Jewish Bride'), Johannes Vermeer (including 'The Milkmaid'), Frans Hals (with 'The Jolly Drinker), Jan Steen (including 'The Feast of St. Nicholas') as well as many more. The museum is currently under restoration until 2010. So the collection is much smaller than usual. It is still, however, worth the cost.  Location: Jan Luijkenstraat 1 - Hours: daily: 9-18hrs., fri: 9-22hrs. Adults: 10 euros. website


Van Gogh Museum:

The other ‘must see’ art museum in Amsterdam, with its tremendous and rather large collection of the great Dutch impressionist ’s works. It is truly incredible to behold for oneself the wonderful colors and bold brush strokes that Van Gogh laid out on canvas, in this well designed yet often very crowded and loud museum. Location: Paulus Potterstraat 7 - Hours: daily: 10-18hrs., fri: 9-22hrs. Adults: 10 euros. web site


Anne Frank Huis:

Very poignant and interesting museum housed in the very building where Anne Frank herself (and seven others) hid, in a secret annex behind a bookcase, during the German occupation of Amsterdam before being betrayed and arrested on August 4, 1944. Only her father survived the war. Location: Prinsengracht 267 - Hours: Sept-Mar 9-19hrs.; Mar-Sept 9-21hrs. Adults: 7.50 euros. website



A one time Rembrandt home, this very nice museum contains a interesting collection of his prints, as well as live demonstrations of printing and paint mixing techniques, and rooms restored to look as they did in Rembrandt’s day (with interesting painted works of art of his lesser known contemporaries adorning the walls).
Location: Jodenbreestraat 4 - Hours: daily 10-17hrs. Adults: 8 euros. website


Stedelijk Museum:

The city's main museum of modern art. Here one will find the works of Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Mondrian, and Warhol, as well as several interesting lesser known artists. Temporarily relocated to Oosterdokskade 5. - Hours: daily 10-18hrs. Adults: 9 euros. website


Joods Historisch Museum and the
Portuguese Synagogue

This museum, housed inside two of Amsterdam's old synagogues (which I recommend visiting in combination with another - Portuguese Synagogue across the street- a combo ticket can be purchased at either location) has a rather interesting collection of Jewish historial artifacts, ranging in age from the time when the first Jewish refugees arrived in Amsterdam (fleeing Spanish persecution) to the Holocaust, and beyond. Highlights include a document excommunicating Spinoza out of the Amsterdam Jewish community because of his heretical beliefs, some nice oil paintings, and intricate prints.
Location: Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1 - Hours: daily 11-17hrs. Adults: 10 euros when purchased in combination with the Portuguese Synagogue. website


Museum Van Loon:

This elegant canal mansion, the ancestral home of the Van Loon family, offers up many attractive interior spaces, a pleasant symmetrical back garden (rare in Amsterdam), beautiful furniture, some pretty oriental objects, and a couple nice paintings by Jan Miense Molenaer and Michiel Mierevelt. The house was given as a wedding gift to the first Van Loon to own the house was a founder of the VOC - The Dutch East Indies Company - the house's first resident was the painter Ferdinand Bol. I think the price maybe one or two euros too much (especially that one room is missing its painted walls- removed for renovation until "late 2008".
Location: Keizersgracht 672, Amsterdam
Hours: 11-17hrs (closed Tuesdays). Adults: 6 euros. website


Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (Museum Our Lord in the Attic):

A 17th century household converted into a hidden catholic church (when catholics were forbidden to hold public services), Our Lord in the Attic offers some very beautiful interior spaces (the highlight being the gorgeous chapel); beautiful artwork, tile work, reliquaries, and more. Well worth a visit.
Location: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 40, Amsterdam. - Hours: Monday to Saturday 10.00 - 17.00 Sundays and public holidays 13.00 - 17.00 Adults: 7 euros. website


Amsterdams Historisch Museum:

Housed in a particularly historic and interesting building in the city center. This museum provides an excellent introduction to the history of the city. Archaeological artifacts, very large and very detailed maps, objects of daily life, paintings, important documents, and other interesting objects, follow the city’s rise through to today.
Location: Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 357 - Hours: mon-fri 10-17hrs. wk ends 11-17hrs. Adults: 7 euros. website


Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam:

With interesting exhibits on Dutch nautical history (including dramatic paintings), including a full size replica of a Dutch East Indies Company ship outside that the public is free to explore (above and below deck), this museum is worth a visit to gain insight into those two things more important than any other to Dutch history: the sea and trade. The museum is closed, however, until 2009 for major renovations. Location: Kattenburgerplein 1 website


Hortus Botanicus:

Founded in 1638 as a medicinal herb garden, with more than 6,000 plants (4,000 individual species), plants in the Hortus were shipped to Holland from all over the world by the Dutch East India Company (or VOC) for research purposes. Highlights include: a 300-year-old Eastern Cape giant cycad, a desert garden (that made me miss Arizona) and a butterfly greenhouse.
Location: Plantage Middenlaan 2a. - Hours: weekdays 9-17hrs., weekends and holidays 10-17hrs. Adults: 6 euros. website


Museum Willet-Holthuysen:

Gifted to the city of Amsterdam in the will of Mrs. Willet-Holthuysen, this 17th-century contains a great deal of valuable porcelain, an attractive garden, intricate statues, and elegant minitures, as well as some interesting artwork (most notably a couple pieces by Jacob de Wit - including a ceiling painting removed from another house and brought to the Willet-Holthuysen residence).
Location: Herengracht 605 - Hours: weekdays 10-17hrs., weekends and holidays 11-17hrs. Adults: 5 euros. website




Also worth visiting:

The Allard Pierson Museum (with its Egyptian, Etruscan, etc. archaeological collection - a friend of mine complained "too many replicas");
the Bijbels museum (with its bible collection);
the Tropenmuseum (with its exhibits focusing on the tropics);
the FOAM (with its ever changing cutting edge photo exhibits);
the Artis (zoo and aquarium);
the Hermitage Amsterdam (changing art exhibits drawn from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg Russia);
the Museum Vrolik (a fascinating anatomical collection housed in a hospital - near Holdendrecht station - that features pickled embryos - most with deformities - and the organs of adults sliced and diced in every way imaginable- for the desensitized. No pictures allowed);
and Nemo (biggest science center in the Netherlands mainly for kids- but fun for adults too).





















The Rijksmuseum



Van Gogh Museum



Van Loon Museum



Anne Frank Huis



Joods Historisch Museum



Our Lord in the Attic



Hortus Botanicus









Amsterdam Hermitage Museum



Hortus Botanicus



Willet-Holthuysen Museum








The Melkweg


The Paradiso

Bourbon Street


Muziek Gebouw
Ann 't IJ

Sugar Factory

Carré Theater

Ajax Arena

Heineken Music Hall Arena  Boulevard 590. Artists who fill big venues play here, regardless of its 5000 persons capacity. Excellent acoustics make this a great venue. Though the huge-cavern-like nature of the place doesn't appeal to everyone.


The Paradiso Weteringschans 6-8, near Leidseplein. In an old church very nice and popular live music venue. Don't forget to purchase the month-long membership (in addition to the price of the ticket) when you buy the tickets in advance to save time at the door. The interior looks between church and saloon (with its cast-iron railings). Bar inside music hall itself. Discos also held here on weekends late.


The Melkweg Lijnbaansgracht 234, near Leidseplein. Another very nice music venue a converted warehouse. To halls allow two shows to go on here simultaneously. The biggest acts come to either here, the Paradiso, the Heineken Music Hall, or the Ajax Arena. Like the Paradiso you need to purchase a membership in addition to the price of the concert itself.


Maloe Melo Lijnbaansgracht 163. Blues bar impersonating a kentucky-fried dive bar, not far from the Leidseplein.


Bimhuis Piet Heinkade 3. Housed in part of a beautiful modern building on the IJ river. Free workshops/performances are given once or twice a week for the budget challenged. If you get bored of the performances, you can enjoy th view behind the performers. Jazz


Café Alto Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 115. Jazz. Nice little place, often crowded, just off the Leidseplein. Get there early if you want to be able to sit down, as space is very limited. The quality of the performances vary from night to night (as most of the act here are not well known). Cover charges (if any) are minimal, and the place is often filled with expats.


Bourbon Street Leidsekruisstraat 6-8. Blues. Opens at 10:00pm (free entry before 11pm). Entry 3 euros on weekdays, 5 euros on weekends. Sometimes funk/rock bands play here too. Be careful if you're drinking Bourbon Street's hard liquor.. it's expensive! Look for the Blues Brothers dancing on the roof. Not far at all from the Leidseplein and just around the corner from Cafe Alto, and like the Alto, this place is often filled with expats.


The Waterhole Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 49. Rock. Free, except for the 1 euro coat check fee. Used to be called "The LAST Waterhole" located in the red light, until it moved to its current location inches away from the Leidseplein. Good place to go if the bar you at in the Leidseplein is closing for the night, as the live music allows this bar (and most of the others in this list) to stay open an hour (or two) after most other bars have closed.


Concertgebouw Concertgebouwplein 2-6. Classical. An elegant building in the museum district. Free concerts are often held here midweek in the middle of the day (check listings).


Muziek Gebouw Aan 't IJ Piet Heinkade 1. Classical, Opera, and Jazz. Housed in a spectacular new building on the IJ river east of the Centraal Station, the Muziek Gebouw puts on shows your grandmother would approve of. Can't afford the hefty price for tickets? Well, at least you can catch a drink at the Star Ferry cafe on the ground floor and enjoy the view, and pretend that your cultured.


Casablanca Zeedijk 24. Jazz club near the mouth of the Red Light district. Performances here are often free. Past its heyday, you can nonetheless have a great time here in this tiny venue. You'll be up and close with the musicians by default. Legendary Dutch musician Hans Dulfer (father of Candy Dulfer) plays here regularly.


Sugar Factory Lijnbaansgracht 238. Just about every kind of music can be heard here depending on which night you happen upon this place. Most of the time one encounters DJs spinning vinyl. Often however, live performers will join the DJs. Pure Jazz performance can seen here as well, as well as world music. Pick your night to go here carefully, as you'll never really know what you are going to get. Open late on the Leidseplein, across from the Melkweg.


Bitterzoet Spuistraat 2. Jazz. Not far from the Centraal Station, this rather cool club has DJ or live music on most nights. Also housed inside is a theater which puts on all kinds of stuff.


Club Meander Voetboogstraat 3. Jazz. Near the Spui (pronounced like "spout" without the "t"). Caters to the student crowd. The author has never been inside... can no longer pass for a student.

Oh, and Ajax Arena and Carré sometimes have music...


















Heineken Music Hall

Melkweg at night

Cafe Alto

Ajax Arena

Heineken Music Hall


Maleo Melo



The Waterhole



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