I visited Amsterdam earlier this year on my 20th birthday, but I went with my university society and it was for about 4 days so we had enough time to do most of the things we wanted to do. And I thought I’d give you a list of what awesome things you can do there. It’s one of my favourite places in the world and I wish I could have stayed longer to do absolutely all the touristy things that I could possibly do there. Buy anyway, here’s the list:
The Anne Frank House. This was an amazing experience, and it was really emotional. There were pieces of her diary written all over the walls and pictures of her and her best friend, her family. And her father was recorded on video which you could watch. You can go into all of the rooms where they ate, slept, cooked, and there was even a mini model plan of their house. It told you all about their life and how Anne Frank really wanted to get published. And I didn’t know this, but they had another family living with them before they were ratted out. It really opened my eyes. But don’t get to this house too late, as in, you have to get there at like 9am so you don’t have to wait in the queue for 3 hours. The queue is a mile and a bit long, sometimes it’s even worse than that. So you have to wake up early if you want to get in with enough time to see all the other wonderful attractions in Amsterdam. Also, there’s a cafe. Yay for coffee. If you’re a fan of The Fault In Our Stars, yes, it looks exactly like that inside. And yes, the stairs ARE that steep. They’re even steeper in person.
Van Gogh Museum. ALL the pretty paintings and drawings! There were HUNDREDS of paintings and drawings, and a lot of them were Van Gogh’s inspiration and influences, including french contemporaries like Manet and Monet, key influences like Lhermitte, Daubigny and Millet and Delacroix, and also Van Gogh’s friends Gauguin and Bernard. I was kind of disappointed though because I didn’t see The Starry Night which is what I was expecting. It’s the largest collection of works by Vincent Van Gogh and each room was different. It takes around 2-3 hours to walk around if you want to read every caption next to every painting and see every model and listen to every letter Van Gogh wrote to people and their replies. Yeah, you can do that. I learned a lot about this artist, other than that he cut off his left ear on 23 December 1888. So if you’re interested in Van Gogh’s eventful life, this museum is for you. For the record, there are A LOT of self-portraits. It’s like the 1800’s version of a selfie but with more effort, and a whole heap of flowers/blossoms and landscapes. Turns out, though, that Starry Night, even though it’s probably the most well-known, is not all there is to Van Gogh. For one, I had no idea he also painted in Japanese style.
The Sex Museum. Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds. Seriously. And it’s very detailed and very explicit. If you have an aversion to that kind of thing, this place is not for you. There were thousands of pictures of people having sex, which is what you would expect, obviously, it’s in the title. And there was a whole room entirely dedicated to BDSM. Yeah. So if that’s what you’re into, go ahead. You’ll love this place. If you want to be shocked and surprised and intrigued all at the same time then you literally have to go here. But go with someone else, it’s just weird if you go on your own. There are giant penises and boobs everywhere. I’m not even exaggerating. There a whole variety of interesting images, sculptures and paintings, and displays. It’s probably better than you think it is. You will not be disappointed but you may be scarred for life.
Cat Boat. CATS. ON A BOAT. It’s a refuge for stray and abandoned cats who are rescued and the boat actually floats on the Herengracht canal. The owners take care of the cats, make sure they are all vaccinated, micro chipped, sterilised or castrated and then care for them till they are rehomed. On any given day, you can find around 50 cats lying around this boat. That’s a lot of cats. 14 of those cats are permanent residents and cannot be adopted, though. You can pet some of them (the permanent ones) but you shouldn’t try to pick them up because the cats used to be feral meaning they can’t be fully socialised so they are quite distrusting of people. All the adoptable cats are allowed to roam freely and are very friendly and adorable. Potential adopters must sleep on the boat overnight so that the owners can be sure they are the perfect match for their chosen cat. But the cats and the water are separated by a fence so there’s no worry of the cats falling in whilst trying to pounce on ducks.
Canal Trip. For when you want to avoid bikes. Pedestrians in Amsterdam are the lower class citizens, remember that. Don’t walk in front of a cyclist, they will give you the look of death. So if you want to see Amsterdam from the thing it is known most for, the canals, whilst avoiding angry cyclists, take a trip on a canal boat. You get to see all the pretty bridges and since the canals run all around Amsterdam (seriously, you can’t avoid them, they are everywhere you look), it means that you get to see all the attractions that are situated on the canal side. Perfect. But other than that it’s just a chill boat ride if you’re tired of walking around the city. Who doesn’t like a boat ride?
The Red Light District. Firstly, you can only see it at night, for obvious reasons. Secondly, prostitution is legal in Amsterdam, it’s just another line of work. If you are a good looking guy, you will probably be beckoned by the women in underwear behind the glass doors. It doesn’t leave anything to the imagination. You are NOT allowed to take photos, though, it is strictly enforced, so put those cameras away. But you know, people do take photos anyway so Google Image it I guess. If you’re wondering why it’s called the Red Light District, well, there are red lights. Simple as that. Except the red lights are above each glass door, and when the light is off and the curtain is closed you know it’s occupied. The area is crowded with tourists every night and you can even do tours to make sure you see it all. And there’s a lot to see. The area also has a number of sex shops, sex theatres, peep shows (you can see live shows), a sex museum, a cannabis museum and other coffee shops that sell weed. It’s quite a lively place. DISCLAIMER: Coffee Shops sell weed, Cafés sell coffee. Enjoy.
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