Travel Guide: Explore Amsterdam’s Beautiful Sites and Secrets

The Netherlands, also known as Holland. But the name has changed since 1 January 2020. There are several reasons why the Dutch government needs to change the name. One of the important factors is to improve the global image, as well as lift the image of the recreational drug culture and red-light districts. Here is a bit of information about the name change and the background of it. Let’s explore some of my experiences during the trip. Amsterdam is a pretty city that is embedded with a unique history of food, museums, and LGBT history. Here, this article will provide a detailed plan for your routine on a short journey, especially to the capital, Amsterdam.

How to get to Amsterdam

I bet the majority of tourists head to the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam. If you are an international traveller, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) would be your final destination as it is the main international airport in the Amsterdam. Also, it was awarded the world’s 9th best airport at the Skyrax World Airport Awards 2020. If you are planning a short trip, go ahead and see the performance of this airport.

The entrance of Amsterdam airport Schiphol in Amsterdam.
Image source: The Guardian

Transportation to Amsterdam’s City Centre

Transportation is really convenient and straightforward across the whole of Amsterdam. Also, the routines are clear and it is easy to navigate. There are several ways to connect to the city, such as train, bus, and taxi. All of three options are suitable for a family or a group of friends since it is directly connected to the city centre.

Train

Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) takes responsibility for operating intercity (IC) and Sprinter (SPR). For the intercity, you can choose to take the regular or double-decker one. The duration takes around 14 to 30 mins and depends on which service you are taking. Generally, IC service is a bit faster as it is a non-stop train, which is suitable for those visitors living in the centre area. You can arrive in around 15 mins. For the SPR, the lines have two more stops, which are Amsterdam Lelylaan and Amsterdam Sloterdijk. It is suitable for visitors who do not want to live in the heart of the city.

the double-decker NS train, with the colour of blue and yellow in Amsterdam
credit: photostockeditor

Additional Information

Regarding the prices, adults cost €4.60 and children cost €2.50 in the 2nd class. They can just pay for an additional €2.99 to upgrade for the 1st class. (Remember! Every adult who got 1st class tickets can bring the max. of 3 children). Also, all trains run 24 hours daily. Bear in mind the timetable of normal trains runs from 6am to 1am, and the night train runs once an hour from 2 am to 5 am.

Bus

Compared with trains, buses are not that convenient, but they are really cheap. Connexxion’s 397 Amsterdam Airport Express bus stops at multiple bus stops, including Museumplein, Rijkmuseum, and Leidseplein. Although it is a direct bus to your destination, the duration takes 35mins, which is longer than a lot of trains.

Connexxion's 397 Amsterdam express bus in Amsterdam
Image source: Amsterdam Travel Guide

Additional Information

Regarding the prices, all ages cost €6.50 for a single ticket and €11.75 for a round ticket. The routine takes from Schiphol airport and Amsterdam centre. Moreover, the 397 bus departs every 7.5 minutes from the B17 bus stop in Schiphol. If you are departing at night, NO WORRIES! The Niteliner N97 runs the same routines. For 397 bus, it runs from 5 am to 12:30 am. And for the N97 Niteliner, it should be run hourly from 1 am to 5am. (REMEMBER! You need to take extra care of your belongings to avoid any emergency happening.)

Where Can You Stay in Amsterdam?

If you are planning to visit Amsterdam and are concerned about safety, just leave it behind! According to the Safe Cities Index 2019, Amsterdam ranked in 4th place, which is really high and means that it can meet the basic requirement. However, it is just a reference for you. The best way is to ask local friends or someone who went to Amsterdam before.

Amsterdam Centrum

If you are coming for the first-time, you definitely need to stay in the heart of the city since everything is surrounding you and buy everything easily. Moreover, I would recommend hotels and apartments if you are planning to have a short stay. You can enjoy a 24-hour reception if you get any emergency problems. Furthermore, some of the hotels are located in the prime location but probably a bit pricey, which is out of your budget. How about if they inquired about various outstanding facilities, such as a gym room, a swimming pool, or a children’s playground? Just get a rest before bed.

On the other hand, the alternative option is to book an apartment which could have more spaces to use. The options are wide and you choose the ideal one to approach the spots that you want to go nearby. In addition, renting an apartment can save the cost of dining out. You can just buy some ingredients to cook a simple dinner with your loved one to enjoy an amazing night.

If you are a single traveller and sociable, hostels are suitable if you are a budget-saver. At the same time, you can meet more people from worldwide and exchange different cultures. However, the main issue is security. They would not take any responsibility for your belongings.

The Amsterdam Centrum, the left one, is a tram, and some buildings surrounding
Image source: Q-Park

Tourist Spots in Amsterdam

Amsterdam embodies a rich history of the arts and political overtones. The well-known beer brand, Heineken, also originated here. Therefore, try to explore this amazing city or you could find the mystery here.

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum, which is a Dutch national museum, collects millions of pieces of art and history from several centuries ago in Amsterdam. Discussing with the original one, it was found in The Hauge in 1798 but moved to Amsterdam after 10 years. The main building was designed by a Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers in 1885. Furthermore, it has been recorded as the most visited museum in the Netherlands in 2013 and 2014, as well as, the largest museum in the country. If you are a big lover of artwork, let’s go!

Rijksmuseum, the Dutch national museum, using the colour of red, blue, and white.
Image source: European Umbrelles

Tickets

  • Adult: €20
  • CJP and EYCA members: €10
  • Free: Age 18 and under, holders of Amsterdam City Card I, ICOM, Vereniging Rembrandt, KOG, VVAK, BankGiro Loterij VIP-KAART, and friends of the Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum requires all visitors to book a start time. You can stay any time you want until closing time. Also, visitors also need to make a reservation before heading to it. If you are unavailable to show up, NO WORRIES! You can give the tickets to someone and there is no name on them. Further information about the ticket can be checked out here.

Opening Time

The opening time of Rijksmuseum is stable. It opens everyday from 9 am to 5 pm, including national holidays. Hence, you can plan it in your schedule and discover this amazing museum.

Routine

If you come from Amsterdam Centraal station, there are three main public transportation options:

  • Subway: Line 52 (drop off:Amsterdam, Vijzelgracht) for €1-2
  • Tram: Line 2 (drop off:Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum) for €1-2
  • Bus: N84 and N88 (drop off:Amsterdam, Leidseplein) for €1-2

Address: Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam

Anne Frank House was opened as a museum in 1960. Basically, it is used as a writer’s house and a biographical museum belonging to the Jewish wartime diarist Anna Frank. Let’s talk a little bit first. Anna was born in 1929 and is one of the Jewish victims of The Holocaust. Moreover, the whole family (except Otto, who is the father of Anne) got caught in concentration camps where they cannot contact each other.

The small places that Anne Frank used to prevent being caught by troops. A little area before the bookcase.
Image source: Anee Frank Stichting

Unfortunately, Anne and her sister, Margot, died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp under a lack of essential food and infection in 1945. After her death, The Dairy of a Young Girl was published in 1947 and became one of the world’s best-known books. I highly recommend every visitor to visit this museum as it does not just portray history, but also reflects the difficulty of Anne living there previously. Moreover, the hidden room is still there and exhibits the timeline of Anne permanently.

The statue of Anne Frank, showing from 1929 to 1949.
Image source: Travel Awaits

Tickets

Here I will introduce two different prices, between the normal one and the introductory program plus visit one:

Normal

  • Adult: €14
  • 10 to 17 years old: €7
  • 0 to 9 years old: €1

Normal with introductory program

  • Adult: €21
  • 10 to 17 years old: €14
  • 0 to 9 years old: €8

All information can be checked out this and you choose which one is suitable for you. Also, all included with a €1 booking fee. Moreover, remember to reserve the time slot before heading there as the places are limited but not limited to stay for how long.

Opening time

They are open daily from 9 am to 7 pm.

Routine

There are two main ways to get to Anna Frank House from Amsterdam Centraal station:

  • Tram: Line 13 and 17 (drop off: Amsterdam, Westermarkt) for €1-2
  • Bus: N91, N93 etc (drop off: Amsterdam, Dam) for €2

Address: Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands

Anne Frank House, the original house where Anne Frank lived. A long queue to enter it
Image source: Public Transport

Zaanse Schans Windmill Villege, Netherlands

I bet you MUST have heard that the Netherlands is building the reputation of “the country of windmills’. However, the original purpose was to use wind power to operate some primary industries, such as ground flour, paper making, sawmills, and so on. This rich history reflects the intelligence of the Netherlanders to work with natural energy. But now, it has become a tourist attraction and visitors love discovering it.

Zaanse Schans, 6 iconic windmills are located near the river.
Image source: Amsterdam Tips

Zaanse Schans, which is located near Zaandijk and is best-known for its well-preserved historical history. The Dutch government has relocated all the windmills and houses in the same area. Moreover, we can explore where the name Zaanse Schans comes from. Basically, it is named for the river Zaan and its original function as a sconce against the Spanish troops. Also, you can find the iconic 6 windmills near the river, along with traditional houses, museums, and shops.

Tickets

Basically, it is free for entrance to the whole area, except the main Zaans Museum. There are 5 types of tickets for visitors to purchase with:

Zaanse Schans Card

  • Adults: €23.50
  • 4 to 17 years old: €16
  • 0 to 3 years old: Free

Zaans Museum

  • Family ticket: €35
  • Adults: €12.50
  • 65+ years old and student: €10
  • 4 to 17 years old: €6.50
  • I Amsterdam card and 0 to 3 years old: Free

Zaanse Schans Museums (Weaver’s House and the Cooperage)

  • Adult: €2 per museum
  • 4 to 17 years old: €1 per museum
  • 0 to 3 years old, Museum pass, and 1 Amsterdam Card: Free

Zaanse Schans Card including bus ticket

  • Adult: €32.50
  • 12 to 17 years old: €25
  • 4 to 11 years old: €17

Tsar Peter House

  • Adult: €4
  • 65+ years old, students and CJP: €2.50
  • 4 to 17 years old: €2
  • 0 to 3 years old: Free

Opening Time

It is open at normal from 9 am to 5 pm for the information desk. Most of the attractions start from 10 am, so you can make your own plan easily. You can check for further information here.

Routine

There are three main ways to get to Zaanse Schans:

  • Bus: Rnet-bus 391 from Amsterdam Central station to Zaanse Schans. Day ticket: €11.50. Rnet-bus 817 is the special routine in July and August and from Zaanse Schans to Volendam/Edam. It costs €11.50
  • Train: The train station from Zaandijk to Zaanse Schans. Basically, you can purchase packages like 1 day (€19.5), 2 days (€28), and 3 days (€36.5) to suit your journey.
  • Ferry: You can get Zaanferry from Amsterdam Central Station to Zaanse Schans with a round ticket. It costs €5 for a single and €7.5 for a round ticket. These prices can only stay in Zone 2. If you want to travel through two zones, check out this for more information.

Address: Kalverringdijk 31, 1509 BT Zaandam, Netherlands

Zaanse Schans, windmills village, suitable for family to walk or cycle the bikes
Image source: DutchReview

De Wallen, Netherlands

De Wallen, the largest and most well-known red-light district in Amsterdam. Fun fact: there are three areas – De Wallen, Ruysdaelskade, Singel and Spuistraat. There are over 225 windows that are divided into 17 alleys and streets. However, it has been drastically reduced from around 400 to 225 recently. Although the whole district had around 375 prostitutes, it is really difficult for them to have a balanced life. Moreover, every prostitute charges at least 50 euros to 100 euros depending on services and time. Remember! Do not drink alcohol on the street as it is prohibited. You may get a 95 euro fine if you violate the laws. Also, blue windows that show transgender sex workers are alternative options to fit customers in.

De Wallen, Amsterdam, divided into two sides by a river. People were walking along the street.
Image source: TripSavvy

Tips:

  • Do not take photos of the prostitutes, as it is disrespectful.
  • Just go to the Museum of Prostitution ( Red-light secrets), portray the history of it
  • You can smoke the weed outside

Routine

There are two main ways to get the De Wallen faster:

  • Subway: Line 51 (drop off: Amsterdam, Nieuwmarkt)
  • Walk: It takes around 9 mins

Address: De Wallen, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Blue light window, Amsterdam - engaging by transgender sex workers
Image source: Tours in Amsterdam
The red-light secrets museum in Amsterdam is bright compared with others.
Image source: GetYourGuide

Conclusion – Why Visit Amsterdam?

The Netherlands is a good place to explore the history and historical buildings that can reflect our previous lifestyle. You can gain a different experience from the red-light district, which is unbelievable if you are heading to other countries. Moreover, watching the windmills feels comfortable to enjoy the rest of the day. Just enjoy the views, and walk around the museums, which can enrich your insight.

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