What to do in Amsterdam... with my dad.
September 8, 2007 12:44 PM   Subscribe

What to do in Delft/Rotterdam/Amsterdam.... with my dad? My dad and I are spending next weekend in the Netherlands, and neither of have ever been. I don't know anything about the country or the area, so I'm looking for ideas on what to do.

I know Amsterdam has a great collection of historic art, but unfortunately, neither of us are really into art. Things we do like: science/technology museums, engineering structures, delicious restaurants.

We'll probably spend a day in Delft/Rotterdam and check out the Erasmusburg bridge and a harbor tour. Then another day in Amsterdam where seems so much to see, I'm not quite sure how to narrow it down. So are there any "must see's" in those areas which we definitely should not miss? Also, are there any famous restaurants which we should check out?

Also how do people usually get around? Train/metro? I'd also appreciate any other tips on the area.
posted by ruwan to Travel & Transportation around Amsterdam, The Netherlands (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Take a walk through the Amsterdam Red Light district in the early evening. I'm not suggesting that you patronize it, of course, but a walk through it is a... unique experience.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:05 PM on September 8, 2007

Even if your not into art I think the Dutch Masters at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is worth at least an hour. Some amazing and accessible art.

And the best meal I had while there was at a little place near the Rijksmuseum, it was on Prinsengracht (Leidsestraat), on the left by the 2nd bridge from the Museum (I forget the name of it). We sat at the window watching all the locals cresting the bridge on their bikes as they toddled home.

Most of the locals, at least in Amsterdam, get around either by bicycle or on the trams. As far as touring around the country I'd say you'd be fine with trains and buses as they have pretty extensive coverage.

The best overview I've read of Amsterdam is by an American living there:

Sorry I ain't made it to the rest of the country, maybe on my next trip! :)
posted by zaphod at 1:07 PM on September 8, 2007

The train connection between Rotterdam - Delft - Amsterdam is very good. So use that.
Here's a list of Michelin star restaurants. Parkheuvel in Rotterdam used to have 3 stars. Now one. But still I guess it's a pretty good restaurant.
If you like engineering structures you could visit the Delta werken which are a massive storm surge barrier that was decades in the making.
Have you checked travel.metafilter.com for answers to previous questions?

Btw we're having a metafilter meetup on saturday 15 september. You're welcome to join us.
posted by jouke at 1:14 PM on September 8, 2007

I was there last month -- try to have a rijsttafel at an Indonesian restaurant. We had a nice meal at Sama Sebo. We had a nice stroll in the Vondelpark.

Ther's also NEMO, but I didn't drop in and it struck me (from the outside and the ads ai saw for it) as a kids' museum. I could be wrong.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:31 PM on September 8, 2007

Nothing quite like getting stoned with your dad.
posted by Flunkie at 1:33 PM on September 8, 2007 [2 favorites]

Oh yes -- I have to plug the Cat Boat as well.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:34 PM on September 8, 2007

You might want to think about visiting Leiden, which is a stop on the train journey between Amsterdam and The Hague Central Station. There are two museums on walking distance from the Leiden Centraal railway station that you might find interesting: Naturalis (a very modern natural history museum, right behind the railway station) and the Boerhave museum (a science museum in the town centre, a 15-minute or so walk from Leiden Centraal station).

In Amsterdam, there's the Scheepvaartmuseum (museum for nautical history) which is close to Central Station and has a modern replica of a 17th century sailing vessel that you can visit. It's really a great museum that might satisfy your engineering cravings.
posted by rjs at 1:42 PM on September 8, 2007

(Um, the train between Amsterdam and Rotterdam also stops at Leiden Central station.)
posted by rjs at 1:47 PM on September 8, 2007

In Amsterdam, the restaurant The Five Flies is a bit touristy, but good. Also second the recommendation on the nautical history museum.

If you had more time I'd suggest the 3.5 hour train ride to Bruges/Brugge for an overnight. Beautiful old town, amazing art museum.
posted by Nelson at 1:49 PM on September 8, 2007

The Scheepvaartmuseum is closed until 2009 or so I think.
NEMO is okay, but it is indeed a museum for kids. I also thought it was a bit too interactive, there's a lot of things to do but not a lot of explanations.
Here's a previous question about what to do in Amsterdam with lots of tips.
posted by snownoid at 2:13 PM on September 8, 2007

Moroccan museum, and the Heineken brewery tour are both good. The Moroccan museum is in a pretty old (by my US standards) church. Also, mid-day should be warm enough to do a canal tour. Hokey, but kinda cool when you think of how they built all that without modern machinery.
posted by kellyblah at 2:44 PM on September 8, 2007

Interested in structures, eh? The Cube Houses in Rotterdam might be a nice stop for you.
posted by moonmilk at 2:47 PM on September 8, 2007

It occurs to me that people might misunderstand my previous post. I was with a group of people visiting Amsterdam, and we decided to go to a free performance of organ music at the Oude Kerk ("Old Church", one of the cathedrals there) on one of the original pipe organs. It wasn't very far from where we were staying, and it was a warm evening, so we decided to walk it. Turns out the Red Light district runs right up against the Oude Kerk, so we were walking in a narrow alley along the side of it, with the sheer wall of the cathedral on one side, and lots of nearly-naked Indonesian girls about 5 feet away (behind floor-to-ceiling windows) on the other side. It was definitely an experience. I guess that if one is really interested in patronizing the place, you "window shop".

It was actually a bit revolting, but certainly unique and memorable. When I think back to Amsterdam, that image is the one that comes to mind.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:53 PM on September 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

With my father, it would be easy. Drop him off at a cafe that has hash, tell him I'd be back in a couple or three hours and he'd better still be able to stand up. That's not "together", but you may choose to try to make it a family thing and smoke with him.
posted by dilettante at 3:29 PM on September 8, 2007

In Amsterdam, whatever else you do I would immediately rent bikes. There's no better way to get around and see everything. Also if either of you like pastoral scenery you can bike on the dykes outside the city -- the blue ocean on one side, green pasture on the other.
posted by creasy boy at 3:29 PM on September 8, 2007

Gawd, one day? Wander. Get a one-day tram pass, and take the 20 to get your bearings.

If you're going to take stock of the RLD, the nicest walk-through, I think, is up Warmoesstraat to the Oude Kerk, because it affords a quick retreat from the grot by the canal.

It might be smart to head out from Centraal either to Museumplein for the art if you're tempted, or the Heineken 'Experience' if you're tempted by that, and work your way back in, nipping across the Vondelpark (the cafe's a fun lunch spot) and then to Leidseplein.

If you want an interesting restaurant experience, there's always In De Waag (Nieuwmarkt), which includes an exhibit on its past life as an anatomy theatre. The food's overpriced, though, compared to a good rijsttafel. But end the evening in a bruin cafe or good bar.
posted by holgate at 4:00 PM on September 8, 2007

Nthing rent bikes, get stoned. I think biking around a bustling city while buzzing is something anybody should be able to appreciate.
posted by tehloki at 4:20 PM on September 8, 2007

Walk the canals for small wonderful restaurants - Prinzengracht and the other streets that make up the inner city, go to the flower market, DEFINITELY rent bikes, take the ferry behind the central train station and go biking amongst the windmills and fields. Go to Anne Frank's house for a tour. If you have the money, stay at 777. It rocks.
posted by zia at 7:39 PM on September 8, 2007

amsterdam historic museum on nieuwenzijdsvoorburgwal is totally cool ... and consider getting museum cards (€35 each) if you are going to more than a few museums ... just to skip the lines at the van gogh more than makes up for the expense ... J
posted by jannw at 4:33 AM on September 9, 2007

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