Amsterdam 2007
September 27, 2006 10:47 AM   Subscribe

I just found out I won a scholarship for a month-long research trip to Amsterdam (yay me). I'm planning to go in January or February 2007 and need help with 2 things: 1- Cheap, central, decent accomadations. My wife will be going with, so we need a private room and bathroom. A private room in a hostel would be fine. A private house would be better. I'm aware of craigslist amsterdam, but wonder if their are other resources/networks I could tap. 2- I know I don't have time to actually learn the language, but would like to pick up the basic getting around, ordering food stuff, and do not have the time or money to take formal classes. What good internet resources could help me learn basic dutch?
posted by signal to Travel & Transportation around Amsterdam, The Netherlands (5 answers total)
Everyone speaks English there (at least everyone under 60). The wife and I have stayed at the HI Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark and loved it. You can get private rooms including a bathroom, but reserve early even though it's not tourist season.
posted by look busy at 11:11 AM on September 27, 2006

Everyone speaks English there (at least everyone under 60).

Still... I would recommend learning a few basic dutch phrases like yes, no, hello, good bye (doei!), good day, directions, etc.

Here is a good start:

I don't know about housing, but you might want to familiarize yourself with Amsterdam's transit system before you leave (how many zones per strippenkaart?).
posted by mattbucher at 12:03 PM on September 27, 2006

Cheap, central, decent accomadations

You can find all combinations of two of these things but depending on what you consider to be cheap, all three might be quite hard. A friend of mine also stayed at Stayokay Vondelpark and liked it.

There are many good Dutch courses online and I don't have a specific recommendation. However, there are lots of tourists here and unless you manage to become really good at Dutch, it might be hard to find waitresses etc. who don't switch to English as soon as you start speaking. I've been in Amsterdam for a year and it still happens to me sometimes.
posted by snownoid at 12:10 PM on September 27, 2006

We rented an apartment for a short stay in Amsterdam in 2002. It was through CityMundo. (I see that their maximum bookable stay is 21 nights.) The apartment we selected was great -- made us feel like locals and we would do it again. The worst part of the stay was that we forgot to pack our cheese purchases when leaving -- I hope the owner enjoyed it! (Walking to center was possible form our location but the tram was better and easy. If I recall correclty, we were toward the Olympic Park. Would have loved to have a bike.)

I have no idea if the costs were/are competitive.
posted by Dick Paris at 2:55 AM on September 28, 2006

We did the CityMundo thing Dick Paris mentions above too... and had a horrible experience. I had the sense that the owner lived there, and crashed on friends' floors when people booked to stay - the place wasn't very clean (he was busy cleaning when we arrived), and his vast porn collection was strewn about the place (not that there's anything wrong with that, and it's Amsterdam, but still). We stayed one night, then booked the rest of our stay in a beautiful room at the Swissotel at Dam Square. Because we had to pay up front, we lost the cost of that accomodation.

For the record, it was apartment L01466, and it doesn't seem to be listed on their site any more. This was three and a half years ago though (gotta love email archives), so they may have changed.

My main caution with CityMundo is that there are no reviews on their site, so you can only go by the pictures that they show. What the place looks like in life-resolution may not be the same as the 175x131 images might lead you to believe.
posted by lowlife at 10:52 AM on October 16, 2006

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