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Amsterdam Travel Guide - Sights and Museums
Schiphol Airport: One of the best airports in Europe with what most consider the best duty-free shops. A fast subway, every few minutes, zips you to the Central Station in Amsterdam.

Transportation: The trams of Amsterdam are famous, and are your best bet. There's also a new 1-line subway. A one day ticket is available, but the "6 strip Strippenkaart" is the best buy. Most tram routes originate at the Central Station.

Dam Square: The major square in Amsterdam and the site of the Royal Palace. Built in the 17th century as a town hall, it rests on 13,659 piles. The queen does not live here anymore.

Canals: There are over 500 canals with a unique flushing system, which allows fresh water to frequently flow through, and to flush out the old water.

Canal houses: Note the particular architectural style... tall, narrow, with one large window at the top, with a pulley-hoist outside the window. Since the interiors have narrow, steep stairs, furniture must be hoisted to each floor and brought in through the windows.

Rijksmuseum: Tue-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-5. Closed Monday. Free on Wednesday. This national Art Museum is located at 42 Stadhouderskade. Tram #2 or 16 stops near. It is one of the world's great museums. The collection was originally housed on the upper floors of the Royal Palace in Dam Square, but moved to its present location in 1885. The Rembrandt's here are worth the trip... Night Watch, Sampson and Delilah, Jewish Bride, and Self Portraits, plus the Syndics (or as it is commonly called "Dutch Masters"). You'll also see Dutch art of the 16th-17th centuries... Hals, Ruysdael, Steen, de Hooch, ter Borch, and 4 of the remaining 36 paintings by Vermeer.

Stedelijk: Tue-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-5. Closed Monday. This municipal museum is an easy walk from the Rijksmuseum. It is 2nd to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for its modern collection... Mondrians, Chagall, Picasso, etc.

Vincent van Gogh Museum: Tue-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-5. Closed Monday. Free on Wednesday. Museum is next door to the Stedelijk, and opened in 1973... a modern building open to daylight, because Van Gogh painted in daylight. It was inevitable that the Dutch would construct this museum and acquire nearly half of Van Gogh's work to stock it. There are more than 200 paintings and countless drawings, willed to the State by the artist's nephew... including some of the most famous works... The Artist's Room, Sunflowers, The Zouauve, The Arm Chair Of Gauguin, Boats On The Strand, and the very important early work The Potato Eaters... as well as Van Gogh's last painting Cornfield Wlth Crows. There are so many paintings, that it overwhelms the senses.

Rembrandthuis: This, the home of Rembrandt is open daily 10-5, Sun 1-5. Located at 4 Jodenbreestraat on the corner of Zwanenburgwal Canal. Take tram #9 or a 10-minute walk from Dam Square. Rembrandt was one of Amsterdam's most celebrated citizens and lived here from 1639-1659. During his life he created nearly 500 paintings, 297 etchings, and 1400 drawings... all with such genius that he is ranked as one of the greatest artists of all time. He found this house when he was 34 and purchased it on credit. Several years later with his work out of favor, he was forced to declare bankruptcy. After leaving this house, he lived in poverty, evading his creditors, until his death. Over 200 etchings are on display here.

Home of Anne Frank: At 263 Prinsengracht. Take tram #13 or 17. Daily 9-5, Sunday 10-5. "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. If I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again". Those words were written in Amsterdam by a 14 year old Jewish girl who had spend 2 years hiding in the secret annex of this building. With her were her parents, an older sister, 2 family friends and their son. On August 4, 1944, the German Gestapo broke into their hiding place and sent the entire group to the extermination camps. Only Anne's father survived, returning to Amsterdam after the war and finding the diary Anne had maintained throughout the 2 years of concealment. That diary made a shrine of this building. Inside, you'll be able to walk behind a bookcase that conceals a stairway to the upstairs apartment where the family lived. On one wall, you'll see yellow clippings, which the teen-aged Anne pasted there. They are photos of Hollywood stars.

Our Lord In The Attic Church at 40 Oude Zijdsvoorburgwal. Daily 10-5,Sun 1-5. A very unusual church. During the Reformation of the 1600's, Catholic worship was in disfavor, but tolerated. The compromise was to allow Catholics to worship in the attics of normal homes. This particular attic church, occupying the top floor of three adjoining buildings is the highest form of this architecture.

Visit a brewery: A tour to Heineken's Brewery, #78 Stadhouderskade. Tour the premises and then have free beer, cheese and crackers. Weekdays 8:45, 10:45.

Visit a diamond cutter: Visit A. Van Moppes and Zoon, 2 Albert Cuypstraat... a short walk from Heinekens. Diamond cutting is a major industry in Amsterdam. The tour includes all phases of diamond cutting. Daily, from 9 - 5.

Excursion to Marken: An island... 40 minutes from Amsterdam... where the inhabitants still dress in the traditional clothing of Holland. Take the NZH bus from in front of the large church diagonally across from Central Station. Departures every 30 minutes.
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Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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