Things to do in Amsterdam, The Pig Newsletter
issue#31 April/May 2010
The Top 10 Ways to Save in the City of Sin
Amsterdam has all the goods you need for a great time but if you want to prolong your pleasure here are some top tips about how to pinch those pennies and minimise expenditure.
I spent three days and less than €100 doing everything a backpacker should and shouldn’t do in the land of tulips, temptation and Van Gogh.
1. Free and Discount Transport
When you pick up your I Amsterdam package, take a look at the back page. Nestled in here, next to the actual card is a transport pass. This little grey ticket entitles you to free transport on all trams, buses and metros in and around the city. It’s definitely useful when you don’t fancy the 45 minute walk to the Van Gogh Museum from Dam Square. You can even save a few pennies by flying into Eindhoven instead of Amsterdam.
2. River Boat Cruise
Amsterdam isn’t the biggest city in the world but just like everywhere else, it’s not hard to get lost. A great way to prevent those back street blues is to take advantage of one of the free, I Amsterdam canal cruises. You can choose between the Holland International and the Rederij Noord-Zuid cruises. With the first choice you get a glimpse of the harbour, the stunning Nemo Science Centre, a tour in five different languages and a whole host of tourist attractions that you can read about below.
3. Anne Frank’s House
After you do as the Dutch do and find your way around the city, there are no excuses not to go to the Prinsengracht Canal - where you will find Anne Frankhuis. This is an incredibly moving memorial to Anne Frank, her family and the 100,000 Dutch Jews who died during World War Two. The rooms have been left as they were sixty years ago and the poignant memories are enhanced by video clips of the family and the holocaust. Your card won’t get you in for free here but overall it will save you more than enough to pay for this ticket - to something that no one should miss.
4. Pancake Time
A five minute walk up the same canal will take you to the intensely delicious Pancake Bakery. In the intimate surrounds of this basement restaurant you can choose from a tantalising, taste bud teasing choice of more than 100 sweet and savoury pancakes. Better yet, you can get a 25% discount with your little red card. My advice is skip the under-loaded Paris Hilton pancake and order a real life, calorie laden plate of International Pancake love.
5. Red Light Religion
It’s all fun and games when you’re roaming around the vice ridden windows that line Oudezijds Voorburgwal, but if you want a break from all that: “eye candy” then seek refuge in De Oude Kerk. This church is the oldest monument in the city, the card gets you in for free and the interior is a vast expanse of calm, contemporary art and Christ. This beautiful building is in a pretty central location and therefore is a great base to launch yourself into the tourist attractions that litter the area.
The funny thing about people during the time of Rembrandt is that they were a lot shorter than their modern day counterparts. You can find this out for free as you take a turn around this great artist’s house with your I Amsterdam card. The bed boxes are positively tiny and when you get past this startling realisation there are a few paintings to look at too. The cone collection is very impressive and you can buy affordable replicas from the very friendly blonde lady, in the gift shop downstairs. Audio tours are also available but these cost a little extra.
Backpacking is thirsty work but do not fear. I'm have found a solution to this tourist nightmare. If you fancy a drink somewhere other than the Flying Pig bars or Belushi’s then the I Amsterdam card bravely steps in to offer you some percentage related fun. On the very central Oudebrugsteeg you will find Brouwerij Stamhuis & Historisch Stadcafe Heffer. It’s a mouthful and impossible to say ten times fast but the beer is worth it. The card gets you twenty five percent off a glass of Veloosh Altbeer.
8. The Attic Church
When you’re back up to full strength and fully firing on your beer powered cylinders, walk five minutes from the pub to Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder on Oudezijds Voorburgwal. This catholic attic church will take your breath away because it manages to cram everything you would normally find in a cathedral, into the attics of three houses. There are lots of clever space saving tips, so even if you’re not of the religious persuasion it’s worth a look - just in case you buy a small house and want to maximise your space.
9. The Van Gogh Museum
Any trip to Amsterdam wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the fantastical Van Gogh Museum. It’s free to get in with the card and inside you will find the world’s largest collection of works by a certain Mr Vincent Van Gogh. There are 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 700 letters. Also if you head downstairs you can explore the deliciously dark world of Max Beckmann. There’s a lot of life, death, everything in between and it’s a hot spot for fellow backpackers.
10. Cheap Eats
Filling up is something you have to factor in no matter where you and your backpack end up. This essential encumbrance doesn’t have to break the bank. In Amsterdam you can take advantage of a chain of supermarkets called Albert Heyn. I checked out the one on Vijzel Straat and managed to pick up some apple juice, a sandwich, some crisps and a cheeky chocolate bar for less than €3. For more superfreak bargains and no more token tourist price tags, take a trip to the mile long market, held on Albert Cuyp – Straat. The North Market is full of food, flowers, fish, furniture and fun.
- Rob Savagetop
Spring is coming and that means the Keukenhof will be opening its doors once again, giving you guys the chance to experience something that makes Holland famous - flowers!
This year’s special is - From Russia With Love. Russia a colossal, beautiful and mysterious country and at the exhibit you can walk between the main entrance and the draw bridge, through a Russian landscape encountering Russian animals and a dacha (a typical Russian home) along the way. Discover the mosaic of the famous Saint Basils Cathedral and a fair few Russian dolls (Matroeskas) on your way through too.
Keukenhof is located in the midst of the Bollenstreek - the famous bulb and tulip area of Holland. The area is a great spot for renting bicycles and paddling around in oceans of colour. A good place to start exploring the area is the popular beach town of Noordwijk - where you can stay at The Flying Pig Beach Hostel.
Noordwijk also organizes a flower parade - crossing the Bollenstreek on April 24, 2010. The theme this year is A Journey Through Europe and after the parade, the Flying Pig Beach Hostel will close the night with a flower power party. You’re all invited!top
In every e-zine we feature a famous hostel in Europe and this time it’s a St Christopher’s Hostel – the Village in London.
This party hostel is mere minutes away from London Bridge, Borough Market, the South Bank, the Tate Modern art gallery and much more - but don’t take our word for it. Take a look for yourself with this teaser video.
This association recognises the best hostels on the European travel circuit. If you book a bed in any of these hostels, you’re guaranteed a memorable stay on a cheap and reasonable budget! Every single hostel in EFH is a local treasure – giving you guys a chance to meet the people and get a real taste of local life. All the hostels have to adhere to the highest levels of safety and quality, while also preserving a local flair.
The hostels are located in Amsterdam, Bad Gastein, Barcelona, Berlin, Bruges, Cardiff, Corfu, Dublin, Edinburgh, Interlaken, Lisbon, Loch Ness, London, Munich, Madrid, Nice, Prague, Riga, Rotterdam, Rome, Salzburg, Valencia, Vienna and in the future many more hostels will join.
Check out the best bits of Europe's Famous Hostels with one click!
Each hostel has created a new video showcasing the best bits of their cities – just so that you guys can see where you’re heading to! All you have to do is head to www.famoushostels.com/hostel-videos
Although April might be a regular – not much happening month for most of the world it’s definitely a special time for the people of the Netherlands. This is especially true in Amsterdam because on April 30, 2010 it’s time for the city’s biggest annual party – Queen’s Day!
Queen's Day is a national holiday in the Netherlands and celebrates the Queen of the Netherlands on her birthday. The theme of the day is national unity and togetherness, not to mention the free market aspect when for one day only, everyone in teh country is allowed to set up a stall and sell on the streets. Other activities include children's games, one off music gigs and concerts that roar on well into the early hours.
The night before Queen's Day is also celebrated and called (somewhat appropriately) Queen's Night. During the celebrations everyone dresses in orange as a tribute to the colours of the House of Orange – Nassau, so break out your tangerine outfit and come along to celebrate Queen’s Day in Amsterdam! Here’s a breakdown of the holiday events.
The biggest freemarket of Queensday is in the Vondelpark and it’s for children only! So if you’re looking for a G.I. Joe doll, a Sesame Street puzzle or some homemade cupcakes, be sure to visit the Vondelpark. You’ll be surprised at just how creative the children of Amsterdam are when it comes to making some extra pocket money. Expect the park to be filled with dance acts, kids playing the drums, violin recitals, goldfish races and more!
Café De Duivel and Hell’s Kitchen Productions present the best Funk and Hip Hop festival. There will be a big bridge over the Reguliersbreestraat where the best DJ's and live acts of 2010 will play their tunes and make the canal crossing shake! The party will go on all day and finishes at 21.00.
Ex Porn Star Queen’s Day 2010
The party planners of Ex Porn Star like to honour the Dutch Queen by throwing an orange party on the Waterloo Square. Expect to see Roog, Lucien Foort, Jean en Billy and the Klit, live on stage. Ahem ...
Radio 538 Museumplein
The biggest event of Queen’s Day can be found on the Museum Square where Holland’s biggest radio station - Radio 538, will throw a massive party, with national and international acts. The line-up is still a big secret but rumours suggest that Tiësto will be there!
Salsa on the Canals
Cafe P96 is the location for the biggest salsa party of the day, with Latin band Sofrito providing the music. Because the streets are narrow in Amsterdam there will also be a huge flat boat in the canal - for extra dancing space!
De Blaffende Vis - Koninginnedag
If you are looking for a typical Dutch party be sure to head over to the Blaffende Vis in the Jordaan district where you’ll find a huge line up of Dutch bands playing all day. The façade of the café is famous for its giant Queen’s Day art. Pieces from previous years include Princess Maxima as a DJ and Queen Beatrix as a Hip Hop artist!
Royal Edition B.O.E.
If you’re looking for the party atmosphere of the good old (rave) days, check out the old school classic party - B.O.E. (Best Old-school Events). If you wanna dance to tunes like the House of God and Speedy J’s Pull Over Café, then the Nachtzuster on Albert Cuyp Straat is the place to be! DJs this year include members of the original Dutch dream team - Dano and Buzz Fuzz.
- Eva Dam