Ah, beautiful, beautiful Amsterdam! Waking up to another sunny day, I was ready to embrace Amsterdam with open arms. Having never been to the Netherlands, all the wonderful architecture was completely new to me. Part 1 of our adventure included a visit to the Van Gogh museum, a walk around the canals, some snacks here and there, and Dutch beer!
For our next few days we decided to check out some slightly more atypical activities by exploring our hostel’s neighbourhood, as well as the neighbourhood to the very north of Amsterdam. We then turned our attention to perhaps the three biggest attractions in Amsterdam: Anne Frank, the Red Light District, and more beer!
We stayed in De Pijp, a neighbourhood south of central Amsterdam. Vogue named is Amsterdam’s coolest neighbourhood back in 2016, so it should catch your attention. This so-called Latin Quarter is full of different types of cuisines, people, and things to do! It has always been popular with creatives, students, and bohemian spirits even since the 60s!
While many people choose to go to the Heineken experience, I turn the other way and head to the Albert Cuypmarkt. The Albert Cuypmarkt is the largest and most popular outdoor market in the Netherlands. With over 300 stalls, you really get a whirlwind tour of what it means to be Dutch! The market is the ideal place to try out local foods. While there are so many things to try, we opted for some poffertjes! They are like small, fluffy pancakes.
On the way to the Albert Cuypmarkt, we walked through Sarphatipark. Amsterdam is full of parks, the most famous being Vondepark. However, 2nd best is this lovely park near the market. It is an adorable park, clearly a favourite of locals. With grassy lawns, a fountain, and a pond, this park is perfect for lazing the day away.
After exploring ‘our’ neighbourhood a bit, we took the tram up to Amsterdam Centraal Station. We then walked to the dock and took the ferry heading towards Buiksloterweg. After about 5 mins going across the water, we arrived in Overhoeks!
Not only was the ferry a great way of experiencing Amsterdam, we also landed right next to an architectural gem. The EYE Film Institute is a breathtaking piece of work. It is a Dutch archive and museum that preserves and presents both Dutch and foreign films screened in the Netherlands. It is a pretty interesting project.
The building is also home to a beautiful cafe/restaurant, taking advantage of the windows with seats having great views. It’s the perfect start (or end!) to an afternoon exploring film and cinema.
By this time it’s off to lunch. We had a few snacks at the Albert Cuypmarkt, but of course I was ready for more! For lunch we went to Latei, an adorable hipster cafe offering simple toasts. Their food is both organic and fair trade. The atmosphere is a bit chaotic i.e. reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. Nonetheless, it’s a really fun place to go because it’s also a second-hand shop!
Anne Frank House
Afterwards, we lined up for the Anne Frank House. Now, ideally, we would have had tickets with a time slot. However, what we didn’t know when booking our trip was that people purchase online tickets two months in advance! Needless to say, there were no tickets available when we checked two weeks beforehand. Nonetheless, we learned that if you don’t have a ticket there are walk-up tickets available between 3pm and closing time. You just have to line up with everyone that’s thinking the same thing. We waited about two hours—yes, a long time. But, I really didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity.
And wow, what an opportunity it is. It is incredibly emotional to see the house. Even more emotional is seeing the secret part of the house where the Frank family had to hide during those terrible times. You walk around the house as normal and then see a bookcase open. Otto Frank’s company continued as usual in the front part of the building, but there were people hiding in the annex out back.
The heartwarming part of the story, if there could ever be, is when Otto is given Anne’s diaries. He expressed how he didn’t know the deep thoughts of his daughter. Anne always wanted to be published and so Otto made her wish come true. It’s why today the book has been published in over 60 languages so that everyone may know Anne’s story.
Wow, what a packed day. We saw and experienced so much. Stayed turned for Part 3!