Amsterdam’s Top Five Freebies
Amsterdam is full of fun things to do but better still, a lot of the best bits in this city are free! Our hard working piggies scoured the city for super sized freebie activities just for you, so without further ado, here’s the top five free things to do in Amsterdam.
1. The Schuttersgalerij
This super fun Civic Guards Gallery is basically a giant greenhouse-passageway and part of a public street. You’ll also find 15 giant 17th century portraits around the plants, paring civic guards of the past with modern artwork on either side. The style mirrors what Rembrandt did with the Nightwatch, so you can rest assured that everything here is thoroughly Dutch. The Schuttersgalerij is part of the Amsterdam Historical Museum, with captions in English and Dutch. You’ll find it on Kalverstraat and St Luciensteeg. Open daily from 10:00 to 17:00.
2. Lunchtime Concerts at Concertgebouwplein
Amsterdam ain’t just a city of sin – it’s a city of amazing music and top notch artists. Many of the mainstream performers start out performing for free on Wednesday lunch times – which is when you can see them before they’re famous. Head to the famous Concertgebouw for 12:30, bring a picnic lunch and enjoy half an hour of crooning, guitar strumming and rocking out with. This is an amazing lunchtime treat for folk who just like you, appreciate top new tunes. You’ll find Concertgebouwplein just off Van Baerlestraat.
3. Max Euwe Centre
If you’re into chess then you need to pay a visit the Max Euwe Centre. This place is dedicated to the one and only grand chess master from Holland - Max Euwe. Inside you’ll find a museum and outside there’s a giant chessboard, where anyone can play the game. Chess appreciating visitors are welcome Tuesday to Friday, between 12:00 and 16:00, and every first Saturday of the month. To find the centre pop - 30-a, 1017 MB Amsterdam - into Google.
4. Sandemans Free Walking Tour
If you want a free guided tour of Amsterdam any day of the week - then check out Sandemans. These free tours even pick you up from the hostels! The guides walk visitors through the history of Amsterdam, from its start as a muddy village on the River Amstel to becoming the most important trading city in Europe. From the wild history of prostitution and drug decriminalization, to the tragedy of Anne Frank's story and Nazi occupation, Sandemans aims to give you an in depth introduction to the history of Amsterdam.
The daily pick up from the Uptown hostel is at 10:30 and at the Downtown hostel it's 10:40.
5. Multatuli Museum
This ever so fun museum celebrates the oh-so-accomplished 19th-century Dutch author, Eduard Douwes Dekker. In 1860 Mr Dekker burst onto Holland’s cultural and political scene with his novel Max Havelaar and the coffee auctions of the Dutch Trading Company. Interesting fact: The name of the house - Multatuli – is Latin for I have suffered much. Decker being a tortured soul creative type, also went by this name. The museum is his birthplace and is filled with his most intimate possessions, utensils and books. You’ll find this place at Korsjespoortsteeg 20, just off the Singel canal near Central Station. The museum is free and open on Tuesdays between 10:00 and 17:00, and on Saturdays, and Sundays between 12:00 and 17:00.
Music Reviews From The Flying Pig
Arcade Fire: Reflektor and Lily and Madeleine: Lily and Madeleine
Arcade Fire: Reflektor
Enjoy 75-minutes of strange sounds, a thick mix of instruments and a hint at the 80s with some cassette tape static – special effects in the background. It sounds odd I know, but it works. The track Flashbulb Eyes blends reggae with chicka-boom rhythms and just a dash of Johnny Cash. Also thrown into the mix is the voice of British TV host, Jonathan Ross, at the start of You Already Know.
For those not already in the know, this is a nod to when the band appeared on the chat show back in 2007, performed and smashed up a camera with a guitar. Who knew these crazy Canadian rebels could be so much trouble on prime time BBC television? The track draws a line under said hissy fit and it does so in a rather entertaining way.
Lily and Madeleine: Lily and Madeleine
Lily and Madeleine are annoyingly talented teenage sisters from Indianapolis, USA – who sound as innocent as they look, adorned with corn hats, against a background of perfectly manicured farmland.
Their harmonies are faultless, blending together like butter and boiled potatoes in a turbo charged food processor. The result is an album that one could dub acoustic folk, and a collection of songs perfectly suited for chilling out. That said, there are one or two edgier tracks, hinting at sorrow and some degree of through the ringer, life experience. The most fun song on the album has to be the oh-so-cheerful Nothing But Time, closely followed by I've Got Freedom.
Amsterdam Events: Match Your Trip to What’s Coming Up
Russell Brand The Messiah Complex – November 9, 2013: World-class comedian Russell Brand stops off in Amsterdam on his several month long tour, The Messiah Complex. Covering a whole range of ideological figures and subjects, Brand’s tour is set to be something slightly different to his previous stand up shows. Tickets can be bought from the Heineken Music Hall website or Russell Brand’s home page.
MTV EMA – November 10, 2013: The 20th edition of the MTV European Music Awards hits Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome early in November, bringing international superstars such as Katy Perry, The Killers and the woman splashed on every front page over the past three months, Miley Cyrus. The ticket lottery is now closed, but you can still win tickets through the MTV site. You never know.
The Arrival of Sinterklaas – November 17, 2013: Sinterklaas kind of looks like Santa Claus, but is very much a Dutch character and a tradition in Holland. Despite the controversy surrounding his small black helpers, Sinterklaas is eagerly anticipated by everyone in the Netherlands. His arrival by boat in Amsterdam on the November 17 kicks off the daily festivities until the December 5, 2013. The parade is free, so there’s no excuse not to join in with the festive fun!
Black & White – Throughout November: 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Dutch colonies. This special event explores this bloody part of European history as the exhibition delves into stories, photographs, videos, art and historical documents. It also takes a look at black and white segregation in the Netherlands today. Held in the Tropenmuseum, tickets are 12 euros for adults and 8 euros for anyone under 18.
IDFA – November 20 to December 1, 2013: This is the 26th year of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, bringing eye opening documentaries from all over the globe to the city centre. This year the IDFA will offer 300 different documentaries on all subject matters including racial prejudice, war and a Finnish screaming male choir composition. Definitely not an event to miss this year, tickets will be available from November 11 on the IDFA site.
DECEMBER AND JANUARY EVENTS
Christmas Markets: Enjoy market stalls selling delicious food and drink as well as unique Christmas gifts, in the city centre.
Drag Winter Olympics: A flamboyant extension of the Gay Pride celebrations back in August.
Fotostudio Merkelbach: An expansive photography exhibition from the renowned portrait studio of Jacob Merkelbach.
Check out the Facebook Page for more details - as we unveil them!
Europe’s Famous Hostels: Olive Picking in Athens and Kalamata, Greece
Welcome to our olive grove, located in Kalamata, in the south of Greece in the region of the Peloponnese. You might have heard of Kalamata olives, exported all over the world. Here we have decided to keep the production limited to small amounts and all natural.
We make enough olive oil for our family and our hostel in Athens (www.AthenStyle.com ) where our guests can enjoy it at breakfast over fresh bread or during their meals on our rooftop restaurant. This year we would like to share this experience with a few more friends interested in taking part in one of the oldest traditions in the Mediterranean - olive picking, pressing and tasting!
There are several options available including the Athens and Peloponnesean Experience when you can enjoy time in Athens at AthenStyle hostel, travel to the ancient Nemea region visit Corinth and end up in Kalamata for the Olive Tree Experience. Pick olives, visit the groves of Kalamata, get involved in the olive pressing and taste what you make. For more information and to make a booking send an e-mail to this address for the attention of Sophia. info@AthenStyle.com
More info and free booking at www.famoushostels.com