Amsterdam me!
December 13, 2014 7:36 AM   Subscribe

I lived in Amsterdam for more than nine years, moving away about ten years ago. Although I've been back since, I've always had little time to spend. Now, I've decided to give myself some down time over the very long Christmas weekend (Tue - Sun) in Amsterdam. I'll see some friends, but I also intend to spend a fair amount of time alone, by choice. So, what should I do / see / eat - especially if it's something new in the past decade?

I already plan to wander the Jordaan and Negen Straatjes areas, eat Mexican at Los Pilones, browse in Waterstone's and the American Book Center. What shops, museums, sights, restaurants should I try? The reopened Rijksmuseum is already on the list.

Possibly pertinent details: American male, mid-fifties. I'm not really looking to meet people or hook-up, definitely not into the the club / dance scene. I speak some Dutch, but not enough to enjoy a performance in that language. Not really into abstract art. I plan largely on exercising, relaxing plus getting a massage and float at Koan Float, as well as simply reading quietly, perhaps in a cafe. Cost not really an issue.

Thanks Hivemind!
posted by Expat to Travel & Transportation around Amsterdam, Netherlands (11 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I like meeting friends at Hannekes Boom.

Your question is general, which makes it hard to respond to in an effective manner. This is the reason FAQs are created. The wiki over at is filled with suggestions and ideas.

Perhaps there'll be snowflakes for you. ;-)
posted by humboldt32 at 8:09 AM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Two very niche museums a bit out of Amsterdam I really enjoyed: the Museum Of Automatic Musical Instruments in Utrecht has a dramatic home in a former church and is full of marvellous automata and other gadgets. Even more niche, but if you're into big engineering one of the world's biggest Victorian steam engines is just out of Haarlem (a pretty town worth a couple of hours on its own), it has some nice displays on the massive waterworks that drain the lowlands. Both of these are less than 30 minutes by train from Amsterdam and can be done as a half-day.
posted by Erasmouse at 9:24 AM on December 13, 2014

Addendum to my comment-- both these museums have had 'major refurbishment' in the last 10 years so hopefully they're new to you!
posted by Erasmouse at 9:30 AM on December 13, 2014

There's a whole new area east of the train station. The new public library has a La Place at the top with a nice view. And directly across the train tracks is the music center ( Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ) where the Bim huis relocated to. Even if you don't go there for the music, the restaurant has another nice view over the Ij.
And then directly across the Ij, the film museum relocated from Vondelpark. (
posted by Spumante at 11:23 AM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Burger's Patio is my favorite restaurant in the Jordaan. Restaurant Dwars is nearby; I haven't been, but I've heard it's good. I'd check out Amsterdam Foodie; she visits new restaurants fairly regularly, and you can narrow things down by price and style of food.

If you're interested in English-language books, I'd try to visit The English Bookshop on Lauriergracht. It's a bit of a trek, but the neighborhood is really lovely.

I always recommend In de Wildeman, if you like beer; it can actually be a lovely place to relax and read in the afternoons, before the crowds show up. The bar across from Burger's Patio is also a nice little spot.

The Amsterdam Museum -- formerly the Amsterdams Historisch Museum -- was revamped fairly recently. Actually, the Van Gogh Museum and especially the Stedelijk have changed a lot, so if you're interested in museums, you might want to do the whole round.

By the way, I did the Rijksmuseum building tour, and it was really interesting. I recommend it if you have time.
posted by neushoorn at 11:33 AM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

The famous zoo "Artis", which I'm sure you've already seen, now has a permanent bacteria exhibition called "Micropia".

Enjoy your stay!
posted by hz37 at 11:39 AM on December 13, 2014

NSDM-Werf and the Westergasfabriek? Get there by (free) ferry, starting behind Centraal Station; the Noord has definitely changed since you lived in Amsterdam, and it's still somewhat off the tourist radar.
posted by holgate at 11:41 AM on December 13, 2014

You're in luck! The food here has got much, much better in the last ten years. Amsterdam Foodie is a good place to do your culinary investigations.
posted by ZipRibbons at 12:59 PM on December 13, 2014

The new library is FABULOUS!
posted by Middlemarch at 2:53 PM on December 13, 2014

The Amsterdam Light Festival is a nice excuse to stroll around after dark.
posted by moonmilk at 3:41 PM on December 13, 2014

There is a small, newly refurbished park on the North side of grounds of the Rijksmuseum. It has an engaging fountain and an espresso bar. It is worth sitting there and watching what happens at the fountain if it's not raining, or too cold.
posted by digitalprimate at 1:06 PM on December 14, 2014

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