Please visit the new home of Majikthise at bigthink.com/blogs/focal-point.

« New FISA defense is false | Main | Meth and the Mexican mob »

January 25, 2006

Majikthise goes to Amsterdam

Exciting news: I was chosen for BlogAds/Holland.com's Bloggers in Amsterdam series.

I'm leaving on February 6 for a week. Other BIA bloggers include John Aravosis, Ezra Klein, Liza from Culturekitchen, Oliver Willis, and someone from TalkLeft. I don't know I'll overlap with any of them in Amsterdam. I have heard that the bloggers from OhlalaParis will be in town that week.

If anyone has any suggestions for fun things to do in Amsterdam, good guidebooks or websites, I'd love to hear them.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c61e653ef00d83425f6a953ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Majikthise goes to Amsterdam:

» Tulips from Political Animal
TULIPS....Jeez, all the cool bloggers are getting an all-expenses vacation to Holland. Nothing for me, though, even though I love tulips. Sigh. But in case the Australian tourist board is thinking of doing something similar, can I put my name... [Read More]

» Bloggers in Amsterdam --but no Amsterdam bloggers from Wis[s]e Words
On the one hand, this is a neat, clever idea, to schmooze up some reasonably well known bloggers to come to Amsterdam and hopefully spread some goodwill around them and their readers. On the other hand, it would've been nice if the people organising ... [Read More]

» Bloggers in Amsterdam --but no Amsterdam bloggers from Wis[s]e Words
On the one hand, this is a neat, clever idea, to schmooze up some reasonably well known bloggers to come to Amsterdam and hopefully spread some goodwill around them and their readers. On the other hand, it would've been nice if the people organising ... [Read More]

» Bloggers in Amsterdam --but no Amsterdam bloggers from Wis[s]e Words
On the one hand, this is a neat, clever idea, to schmooze up some reasonably well known bloggers to come to Amsterdam and hopefully spread some goodwill around them and their readers. On the other hand, it would've been nice if the people organising ... [Read More]

» Prepare to be annoyed from Progressive Gold
I'm angry that the Dutch Tourist Board, rather than try and promote the Netherlands by supporting the blogs of people who actually live and work here ( blimey, give me free entrance to the galleries& museums and I'll blog ad infinitum) they'd rather ... [Read More]

» Amsterdam? from Pharyngula
Why not me? My father's side of the family was part Dutch, and my daughter's name, Skatje, is apparently a term of endearment over there, so I am eminently qualified. Oh, well. They'd probably all misspell my name with an... [Read More]

» Does this explain why Holland.com wants me to go to Amsterdam? from culturekitchen
Am I to believe my all-expenses paid mini-vacation in the Amsterdam is a horrible conspiracy to have the Prime Minister of Holland rub all over me and 23 of my new bestest friends so he can steal our collective sexy birthday mojo? [via And the least pop [Read More]

» Places to go. Things to do. from Bloggers in Amsterdam
The first blogger (James Joyner of Outside the Beltway) is headed over to Amsterdam today! A lot of readers have been leaving comments recommending restaurants and other places to go and things to do... Catherine made a few recommendations for [Read More]

» Places to go. Things to do. from Bloggers in Amsterdam
The first blogger (James Joyner of Outside the Beltway) is headed over to Amsterdam today! A lot of readers have been leaving comments recommending restaurants and other places to go and things to do... Catherine made a few recommendations for [Read More]

Comments

It's been years since I've been there, so I'll stick to just giving one recommendation - get a bicycle.

(Must...contain...jealousy...)

Seriously though. How awesome for you. I've got no tips because I've never been to Amsterdam.

(Must...contain...jealousy...)

Most of the things I know to do in Amsterdam involve red lights and some freaky behavior. Beyond that, I would recommend seeing the flowers but they won't be blooming yet. So that leaves the art museums. The Rijksmuseum would probably be the place to go. You also wouldn't want to forget the Rembrandt House. I myself am a sucker for Rembrandt so I think it could be quite fun.

Be careful though. There really is some freaky stuff that goes down there. Also remember most narcotics are legal there. It's not uncommon in some public venues to see heroin addicts with needles hanging out of their necks. Just a little warning. The shock may be a bit much if you're not ready for it.

I'd definitely go here.

But keep in mind that beer is my life. Your mileage may vary.

One other thing... need a road buddy? I'll be a good liberal dog.

You absolutely must find a restaurant that serves rijsttafel!

I spent a week there in 2002 for a conference. The conference was held in the Dutch West India House, and one room had a plaque stating that the charter for New Amsterdam was signed there. In that room.

Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, and Stedelijk Museams. Concertgebouw has daily concerts (possibly twice) for ~15 euro; I saw the Dutch National Symphony play Dvorak's Requiem. The Ann Frank house. Amsterdam Historical Museum. Scheepvaart Museum if you're into things nautical (Dutch national identity has a lot to do with their history of overseas trading).

There are of course the Erotic and Hash museums. Personally I found the red light district kind of silly and underwhelming. Koffee shops serve coffee. Coffee shops serve herb. Stop in to one, if only to obseve. They have laminated menus of their product, which comes in hash, leaf, and "spacecakes" (hash brownies).

The area around Damrak and Central Station is seedy and where you are most likely to have your pocket picked. This is because some "tourists" never make it much farther and are therefore easy targets.

Take the train up to Alkmaar for an afternoon and visit the Biermuseum and Cheese Museum. The Cheese Museum might be seasonal, so ask first. But just wandering around in Alkmaar is also fun. People there spoke less English than in Amsterdam.

EVERYONE in Amsterdam speaks English. Most people are proud of this fact and are happy to "show off" to native speakers of the language. In general I found people to be very outgoing and welcoming. The area encompased by Museum Quarter and the Pijp (to the east) are where the trendy young locals are more likely to be found. I found several bars in the area that had a ludlow street feel.

Maybe I'm a bit too geeky, but I'd make an effort to see some of the big engineering works designed to hold back the sea.

I'm definitely keen to see the anti-flooding technology.

I spent a week there last summer. I would recommend getting a good map and just walking the canals, especially the southern canal belt. See the red-light district at night. It is a suprisingly safe place, even after hours. If you're brave enough, you can rent a bike. You'll spend plenty of time dodging them; so you might as well join then.

If you do one "touristy" thing, I would see the Anne Frankhuis, which is a museum converted from the Frank family's hideout flat. It has Anne Frank's actual diary, and the celebrity pictures she pasted to her bedroom wall are still up. It's a pretty surreal experience.

Also, drink plenty of good beer.

Look at Lonely Planet's "Best of Amsterdam" pocket guide. It's a small book with good maps, nice pictures, and allows you to discover stuff on your own.

Go to the Oester Bar in Leidesplein. If it's still there, when you exit the Oester Bar, maybe one block down on the right is a really fun no name bar.

I was there last summer--it was like Vegas--fun, but when you're ready to leave, you're really ready to leave.

I'd suggest the Rijksmuseum, the Anne Frank House (get there early--long lines!) and, b/c it's amsterdam, eating mushrooms in Vondelpark.

Lindsay - i offer a bike and my services as a guide for an afternoon, cause Ive been reading your blog for years and I consider it the least I can do to say thanks.

For reasons that completely escape me, it usually doesn't make most guidebook's "top tier" of cultural attractions (i.e., the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Ann Frank House, etc.), but I strongly recommend the Tropenmuseum, or "Museum of the Tropics." From their website's description:

"The Tropenmuseum is one of the largest anthropological museums in Europe. Its realistic reconstructions of local environments and attractive displays of exhibits drawn from the museum's huge collections draw visitors right into the daily lives of the people of the tropics and subtropics."

It apparently started out as the "Colonial Museum" -- but what was presumably, many decades hence, a typical British-Museum-style celebration of the triumph of Dutch Civilization has evolved today into a very fascinating, sympathetic, "history-from-below"-type exploration of the state of the third world today (not limited to, though certainly somewhat weighted to covering, the Netherland's largest former colony, Indonesia.)

On that note, definitely sample the Indonesian cuisine which is excellent in Amsterdam (the "rijsttafel" (sp?), or Rice Table, is sort of the Indonesian version of tapas, rice with a bunch of different dishes to sample. (Not sure if you indulge, but it's that much tastier if you make a quick visit to a coffee shop first, so that the munchies are just kicking in as you're sitting down to dinner...) My recollection is it might include seafood and in particular squid and octopus -- in light of the recent theme of your posts over the last few days, you might want to request the cephalod-free option...

You should see this:

http://www.neeltjejans.nl/pid275.html

It's about 2 and a half hours by train plus half an hour by bus from Amsterdam, though. But it's definitely worthwile to see!

As you already know, I'm sure, the Van Gogh Museum is a great place.

I was dissapointed in the Anne Frank Museum--it seemed like any other house to me. Dont know what I expected it to be but I do not recommend it.

Take the train into down, which goes right from the airport and is cheap.

Huge number of good bars in town. I liked one called the Wildeman ( as in " wild man " ) which has a large selection of good Dutch and Belgian beers.

I second or third the suggestion to eat Rijstaffel (Rice Table), which can be had at any Indonesian restaurant. Visiting the Delta Works exhibition at Neltje Jans is pretty cool.

If you're anywhere near water, look for the depth markers with a reference to NAP. NAP is a mean water reference mark in Amsterdam. You will notice that the numbers are usually negative: one near my sisters house is -8.5 meters: ie: the water level in that canal is about 28 feet below mean sea level. These are people who can teach us how to rebuild south Louisiana.

The only problem with this time of year is that daylight hours are short: yet another reason to visit the aforementioned "coffee" shops.

Take the train to The Hague (about 45 minutes) and visit Madurodam, see here:

http://www.madurodam.nl/default.php?language=1&sqlmode=1&fid=479

And while you are in The Hague you must also see the Omniversum:

http://www.omniversum.nl/english/home.html

Im surprised to see madurodam mentioned here. It's a city built to a 1:15, or some such, scale. I saw it as a kid and loved it, as a kid would. I remember sparrows, proportionately as large as Pterosaurs, nesting in the buildings. I'd probably go see it again as an adult if I got the chance. It's a shame you're not going in the spring: an agriculture based on tulips, daffodils, narcissus, hyacinth, etc., etc., is a fabulous sight. The coast and the islands I remember being wonderfully cold and windy and just what you would want from the North Sea. For a place as crowded as Hong Kong and as flat as a tortilla, it's surprisingly pretty.
Do the tourist thing and take a tour boat on the canals and buy some Delft china. Oh, and the cheese: this is no time to watch your weight!

Take the train from Amsterdam's Central Station to Utrecht (Treaty of, 1713). It's only a short ride, and the city, like most Dutch cities (except Rotterdam, for obvious reasons, circa May 1940) is charming. Even more charming is Delft.

Unfortunately, I just couldn't schedule it for the same time you did. But I am going! Whee!

Lindsay, I'm going, same time as Ezra (the 16th) and I just read over in his comments, Amanda from Pandagon is going at that time as well. I'll be reading your posts for tips.

Jeralyn

There's this place by the train station that sells french fries you can get with like 15 different kinds of sauces. I recommend the curry. You should eat them.

Congrats on being chosen, Lindsay. Have fun no matter what you choose to do, but don't return to the US behaving all decadent and Euro-trashy. However, posting vacation photos of yourself acting decadent and Euro-trashy is completely acceptable. In fact I strongly encourage it.

The comments to this entry are closed.