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The Insiders Guide to Amsterdam

Aug 18, 2007
Sit on the Museumplein and people watch. Once a large and busy street, this has all been replaced by a huge grassy lawn that is bordered by the Concertgebouw, the Rijksmuseum, and the Vincent van Gogh Museum. If you make it there on a Wednesday, enjoy one of the free afternoon concerts in the Concertgebouw. Rent a water bike from a vendor in front of the Rijksmuseum and paddle your way through the canals.

Visit the "9 Streets" of Amsterdam. Between the Singel and Prinsengracht, Raadhuisstraat and Leidestraat, is an area known as "The 9 Little Streets." These 9 little alleys are set up like tic tac toe over 3 canals & have the most unusual and delightful one-off shops.

Here you'll find the bazaar and arty 'Boekie Woekie', and if you're a cheese lover, visit Kaas Kaamer. Pompadour is there for those that love a bit of cake, but beware, just looking puts on the pounds!! Stout, which means 'naughty' in Dutch will fill your need for sexy lingerie, or go to Laura Dolls for vintage clothing. Think unusual & you should find it here. And not only does it provide great shopping, it is a fascinating neighborhood for shopping and architecture.

One cannot leave Amsterdam without first visiting the Anne Frank House. To be accurate, though, this is neither the house where Anne Frank was born nor the house where her family resided in their every day life. Rather, the Anne Frank House is the place where her father Otto's businesses were run and where the family eventually spent 25 months hiding from the Nazis, between July 6, 1942, and September 3, 1944.

The interior of the house is kept faithfully intact, except that lines from her diary are now painted on wall and overhead beams. The long passage of time and the murmur of conversation from the snaking line of tourists following each other from one room to another cannot break through the somber atmosphere. The stillness that permeates from the walls is still very oppressive.

This is not a tour that will leave you with a light heart, however, to leave without seeing it would be a shame. One thing of note for this particular site is that picture-taking is not allowed on the premises and you should try to visit very, very early in the morning, as the lines become incredibly long.

Finally, take a walk through the red light district at night. Yes, you'll be uncomfortable looking at a bunch of women behind glass, trying to sell themselves and you might be even more uncomfortable watching men leaving after they've just bought the women. But, the red light district is a HUGE part of Amsterdam. It's also important to note that it is an incredibly safe area to visit, unlike many more conservative parts of Europe.

Have fun on your next visit to Amsterdam and head off on a little less of a conventional tour. Enjoy the sites, the sounds and the food; who knows when you might be visiting again!
About the Author
Gaizka Pujana is the co-owner of Barcelona Homes, S.L. which is a company
specialized in providing short term tenancy solutions in Seville and Barcelona through its web pages amsterdam apartment rental
Amsterdam apartments
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