Tour in Amsterdam

Walking tour in Amsterdam from Wendy

Wendy has a really detailed, nice description about multi-days walking tour in Amsterdam.

1. Start with the Amsterdam (Historic) Museum. The outside of the collection of buildings is interesting in its own right, and the inside will take the better part of a day to see the interesting stuff. On the backside, there is a protruding wall with old armours in a beautiful setup, that you can see from the outside.

2. Walk towards the Kalverstraat, try to find signs to "Schuttersgalerij". Go through the gallery and admire the immensely large paintings that can be seen for free. These are so-called "schutters-stukken", paintings of private militia that were guarding sections of Amsterdam in its Golden Age. (By the way, the armours at the Amsterdam Museum are just around the corner of the Schuttersgalerij)

3. After walking through the Schuttersgalerij, you can walk on, towards the Begijnhof, which is a small entrance on your right. Walk around, exit at the other entrance (which is a bit concealed, behind the two churches. If you turn around, you can see this seems to be just a door of a building. This is done to scare of most of the tourists.

4. Cross the street "Spui" (which has some nice shops, including the American Book Center and a bookshop of Waterstone's) and go into the Voetboogstraat.
In this alley, "Voetboogstraat" (Footbow Archer's Street) you will find several pubs, and the place formerly known as "Schutter" (The Archer) was our regular hangout when we lived in Amsterdam, Liz almost "lived" there. Liz and I met there on the 21st of December, 1986. We are a bit sad that the bar is now closed and we hope a re-start will happen sometime. A couple of buildings further down the alley is a "Flemish fries" shop, the very best in town. Most of the time there is a line of people waiting for their turn. My favourite is a "middle" fries with green pepper sauce and chopped onions, hmmm. Liz's favourite is fries with samurai sauce, spicy!
By the way, I mentioned the American Book Center on the Spui: this is a very interesting bookshop, since it has the only "self-book-printing" service in The Netherlands: if you have a pdf (or many other formats) of a book and you want it properly printed in just one copy, you can get it done there. The machine is available to the public, and it is very interesting to look at.

5. At the end of the Voetboogstraat, enter the shopping centre across the street and walk to the other end (which leads to the Kalverstraat), or, go left into the Heiligeweg. The top of this shopping center is a bit of a tower, called the Kalvertoren, you can get up by elevator and from the top you are offered a very nice view over a large section of Amsterdam.

6. At the end of the Heiligeweg / the shopping centre, go right onto the Kalverstraat, towards the Munttoren.

7. At the Munttoren, go right, over the bridge, and go right again, onto the flower market. On the bridge, you can take a look at the back side of the flower market shops, and as you will see, most of them are just big canal boats with shops build on them.

8. At the other end of the flower market, go left into the Leidsestraat, towards the Leidseplein (Leidse Square).

9. Cross the Leidseplein and go straight on, go to the left side of the street. Cross the canal and cross the very busy street (Stadhouderskade). Go left, towards the Vondelpark.
On your way through the Leidsestraat you will see a small street on your left (and right), the Kerkstraat. If you want to see the oldest comic book shop of Europe, Lambiek, go left into the Kerkstraat and walk on a bit. They have a permanent exhibition of one or more comic book artists. But just the immense amount of comic books is stunning.

10. Enter the Vondelpark and walk straight ahead to the main section of the park. Go to your right and walk around (counterclockwise), for instance to (in?) the Film Museum.

11. When you arrive at the "left side" (as seen from your point of entry into the park) of the Vondelpark, close to where you entered, exit and walk into the neighbourhood. Reasonably wealthy neighbourhood here with a lot of classy houses.
11a. You will certainly get across the PC Hooftstraat, the most expensive shopping street of The Netherlands.

12. Keep on going left and right (not the other way around) and you will wind up in the Van Baerlestraat. Follow this street, away from the Vondelpark.

13. Arrive at the Museumplein (Museum Square) on your left hand and turn left and walk onto the square.

14. Walk towards the Rijksmuseum, which is the museum farthest away when you enter the Museumplein. On your left you will see the Stedelijk Museum (City Museum of Amsterdam, which is a museum of modern art) and the Van Gogh Museum (indeed, filled with stuff by Van Gogh and his contemporaries).
Behind you, you will see the Concertgebouw (Concert Building, indeed, they do opera and classical music here).

15. At the Rijksmuseum, if all would be well, you would be able to walk through the alley under the center section of the Rijksmuseum. Walk on until you are at the front side of the alley.
15a. If you want to spend several hours watching the most wonderful art that The Netherlands ever created, pay the museum a visit. Our national treasure is always on display, the famous Night Watch (Nachtwacht) by Rembrandt.

16. Carefully cross the very busy street (Stadhouderskade) and on the other side of the canal, enter the Spiegelgracht, which continues into the Nieuwe Spiegelgracht.

17. At the end, turn right onto the Herengracht. The houses at this part of the canal are the most expensive houses of The Netherlands, it is called the Gouden Bocht ("Golden Bend"). Some say that the houses at #475 and #476 are the prettiest, but most buildings here can use a cleanup.

18. At the first bridge that you encounter, go left onto the Vijzelstraat and walk on until you reach the Munttoren (again).

19. Walk straight on after the Munttoren, crossing the street that comes from the left ("Singel"). On the other side, go to your right and cross that even busier street ("Rokin"), towards the magnificent building of "Hotel de l'Europe", onto the Nieuwe Doelenstraat.

20. Take a look on the lovely quay on your left, which is called "Oude Turfmarkt" ("Old Peat Market"). But go into the Nieuwe Doelenstraat.

21. Go left at the Binnengasthuisstraat.

22. At the end, go right (Grimburgwal) and immediately to the left onto the Oudezijds Achterburgwal.

22. Take one of the streets to the right, for instance "Rusland" (this is Dutch for "Russia") until you reach the Kloveniersburgwal. Go left onto that street.

23. At the end of the Kloveniersburgwal, you will reach the Nieuwmarkt. Enjoy the view, the shops, restaurants and pubs. There are a lot of typical Chinese shops (toko) where you can buy spicy food, noodles, Chinese hats/shoes/art.

24. Visit the "Waag" ("weighing scales": witches have not been burnt here, several witch hangings did occur on Dam Square), the big building on the end of the square. Or just have a nice cup of coffee/tea in the quite nice restaurant/pub on the ground floor. The Waag started as a city gate, and you can still see where the gate was in two sides of the building.
On the two other sides used to be the city walls, but the walls have been removed when the city grew larger. The Waag became an anatomical theater, and later a weighing house for many types of goods ("waag" means "place where you can weigh your goods).

25. Behind the Waag you will find the Zeedijk. Enter this narrow , windy, busy and long shopping street. Halfway you will find a large buddhist temple.

26. At the end of the Zeedijk you will see (across the busy street, Prins Hendrikkade, and the water of the Damrak) the Central Station (train station), which is a beautiful building. Walk to your left on the Prins Hendrikkade towards the large bridge that leads toward the train station, and go left onto the Damrak, towards the Dam (Dam Square).

26a. Instead of completely following the Zeedijk, you can turn left at several places. A nice place is the Molensteeg, which you can follow until you reach the Oude Kerk (Old Church). Walk around this church and on the other side, into the Wijde Kerksteeg and cross the Warmoesstraat, into the Paternostersteeg. Go left into the Beursstraat and right into the Beursplein. The pretty building on your right is the "Beurs van Berlage" ("Exchange of Berlage"). You have reached the Damrak. Go left towards the Dam.

26b. First you could go into the Central Station. It has been renovated lately and it looks lovely again (well, most of it). You could walk all the way to the other end of the station and wind up at the back side. There's a very busy street, so careful when you cross it. You are now on the banks of the IJ, one of the busiest sea arms of The Netherlands: to the left it goes to the North Sea, to the right it goes to the IJsselmeer. Just enjoy the view of the boats, the ferries, the tourist canal boats and all the people.

But beware:

Pickpockets, criminals, hookers, pimps (as everywhere else in Amsterdam, but here lives the scum of the Earth). When you are done enjoying the view, turn around, go back into the station and go all the way to the front. By the way, the station has several entries and exits and hallways, so there is more than one way to go through.

27. On the Dam, you will see our National Monument on your left, the Palace on Dam Square (our National Palace) on your right. Across the Dam, you will see the entrance of the Kalverstraat (earlier, you have been on the other end of that long street), which will lead you back to the Amsterdam Historic Museum.
27a. Instead of immediately going into the Kalverstraat, you could dwell a bit on the Dam. To the right of the palace is a big church, the "Nieuwe Kerk" ("New Church"), which often has nice exhibitions. A bit more to the right of the Nieuwe Kerk you will see the entrance to another long and windy and busy, shopping street, "Nieuwendijk". That will lead to (again) the Prins Hendrikkade, but this time at the other end of the Central Station.
Go to your left onto the Singel and walk by the "Ronde Lutherse Kerk" ("Round Lutheran Church"). The Singel brings you eventually to the Raadhuisstraat. There, on your left, you will see the backside of the Palace on Dam Square. You could go the right into the Raadhuisstraat and into the Westermarkt. There is the Westerkerk ("West Church"). At the end of the Westerkerk is the Prinsengracht. Go right (don't cross the canal) and you will reach the Anne Frankhuis (the house where Anne Frank has been hiding during the Second World War) (and she was betrayed and taken from there to the concentration camp where she was killed in the gas chamber).

The end.

As always, beware of pickpockets. Especially Kalverstraat, Nieuwmarkt, Zeedijk, Dam and Nieuwendijk are infamous for tourists being robbed from wallets. It's busy, and when they see you don't pay attention, you'll be their target.

A lot of links and background stories to complete the touristic roundview.

Begijnhof, Schuttersgalerij, Amsterdam Historic Museum The Begijnhof, the Civic Guard gallery (Schuttersgalerij) and the Amsterdam Historic Museum are located in the same city block, next to each other. The Schuttersgalerij is a gallery under a wing of the museum, it is a through traffic path for pedestrians, with sliding doors at beginning and end. It is guarded because of the fifteen enormous paintings, the so-called "schuttersstukken" (paintings of companies, military units, civic guards). Men with guns were so-called "schutters" ("aim-and-shoot-ers"). The famous Nightwatch by Rembrand is a schuttersstuk, but that one is the most beautiful one and can be found in another museum, the Rijksmuseum ("State Museum").

Begijnhof

The "court of the Beguines" is a lovely little silent spot in the center of Amsterdam. Beguines were religious lay-people. In this court dozens of them lived a bit secluded from the busy surroundings. The houses are quite old. Try to be here when the large amounts of tourists are gone, and even better, when both churches are open for a visit: the (protestant) English church and the (catholic) "Church of the Saints John and Ursula".
Begijnhof
Begijnhof wiki English
Begijnhof_wiki_Dutch
Beghards and Beguines
Nice pictures of the Begijnhof

Amsterdam Historic Museum (Amsterdams Historisch Museum)

Amsterdam has a long and rich and well-documented history. The museum contains not just documents and paintings, but many "daily-use" objects, armours, coins and statues.
AHM
AHM-wiki

Civic Guards Gallery (Schuttersgalerij)

Civic Guards Gallery
Civic Guards Gallery1
Civic Guards Gallery2
Civic Guards Gallery3
Civic Guards Gallery4

Voetboogstraat

Flemish fries and Schutter The Flemish fries ("Vlaamse friet": like French fries, but thicker, and made from fresh potatos, which are skinned and cut into pieces right there in the shop) are very good and tasty. I think they are the best in The Netherlands. They remind me of the Irish potatoe parts, but the fries are without skins. And there's a large selection of sauces. I prefer Samurai (very spicy) or green pepper sauce with chopped onions. They only serve fries, nothing else.
The Schutter is a pub that serves excellent bar food. It is on the first floor, so you have to walk up the stairs. When nothing has changed (I hope it has not), you will notice that the ceilings are high and littered with teabags (some of them are mine).
The Schutter

Kalvertoren

The tower on the top floor offers a very nice panorama of Amsterdam.
Kalvertoren

Munttoren

The tower of the Mint, in old times (Medieval Ages) part of the gates in the large wall around Amsterdam. The tower is lovely.
Munttoren

Flower Market

The flower market is just around the corner from the Munttoren. While standing next to the Munttoren, on the bridge over the canal, you have a nice view on the backside of the market stalls. The flower market is a semi-normal street (pedestrians only) and all shops are flowers only. Well, the shops on the waterside. On the landside, the shops are diverse: mostly for tourists. The flower market itself is a tourist trap...
Flower Market

Leidsestraat

At the end of the flower market, you have reaced the Leidsestraat. A real shopping street, but most of the buildings show the age of the area: old style, classical architecture. My favorite shop is Selexyz Scheltema, the largest book-store of Amsterdam. It has seven floors with books, and quite a lot of English language books.
Leidsestraat

Lambiek

Halfway the Leidsestraat you will cross the Kerkstraat. Just in case you are interested in seeing the first (and oldest still-existing) European comic book shop, go to your left. You will see the colourful sign from far away. The interior is just what you'd expect: comic books everywhere, ranging from new to very old, from decent to corny to sweet, Dutch and English. I'm a regular and I love to come here. Liz and I made our original website in 1994 and it was one of the five first commercial websites of The Netherlands.
Lambiek
Lambiek-wiki

Leidseplein

At the end of the Leidsestraat you will reach the cozy Leidseplein (Leiden Square). Often a lot of street artists make music, dance, act, do silly things. At the Leidseplein you will see the City Theatre (Stadsschouwburg) on your right. Liz and I have been there often for performances of ESTA (English Speaking Theatre Amsterdam, which does no longer exist).
Leidseplein

Vondelpark

Joost van de Vondel-wiki
Vondel was a famous Dutch poet.
Vondelpark
Vondelpark-map
The Vondelpark is a public park, long, surrounded by Amsterdam neighbourhoods on all sides. It has many nice spots to sit and look around, and even some nice places for tourists and other visitors to drink/eat (Vertigo at the Film Museum or 't Blauwe Theehuis (the Blue Tea House)) or to broaden your mind (Film Museum).
The first part of the Vondelpark is not very interesting: long and narrow. Walk under and beyond the first street (Eerste Constantijn Huygensstraat) and enter the interesting part.

Film Museum EYE

Just beyond that street with the long name, go right to the Film Museum. It really is a nice museum.
Film Museum EYE
Film Museum EYE wiki
They often open late at weekends, but on weekdays they open at 09:00.

PC Hooftstraat

After walking counter-clockwise around in the park and nearing the point of entry, there is an exit to the PC Hooftstraat. This is the most expensive shopping street of The Netherlands, with extravagant prices, posh shops, and even more posh visitors and cars. The neighbourhood around this street is typically well-to-do.

Museumplein

If you missed the PC Hooftstraat, try to reach the Van Baerlestraat and go east, away from the Vondelpark. You will reach the Museumplein (Museum Square). On your right you will see the Concertgebouw (Concert Hall; they do classical concerts and opera here). On your left you will see the Stedelijk Museum (General City Museum, modern art) and the Van Goghmuseum. Just before you reached the Museumplein, the street on your left "Paulus Potterstraat" is the street where you can enter these museums.
Concertgebouw
Museumplein
Stedelijk_Museum_Amsterdam
Van_Gogh_Museum

Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum (State Museum) is in my opinion the most beautiful, nicest and most tasteful museum of classical art in The Netherlands. When you come from the Van Baerlestraat and turn left into the Museumplein, the Rijksmuseum is on the far end, across the square. Too bad that many years ago a renovation and restoration started with a lot of delays, which is still not finished. Therefore only part of the building is open, and just a small part of the collection is on display. On display is The Night Watch by Rembrandt:
The Night Watch
Rijksmuseum-wiki

Stadhouderskade

This street was in 1872 named after the two Stadhouders William II (1626-1650) and William III (1650-1702). The canal along this street is called the Singelgracht, which is not a complete horseshoe canal, like the more inner canals of Amsterdam.

Spiegelgracht and Nieuwe Spiegelgracht

These two streets contain a lot of pubs, restaurants and art galleries and real antique shops. It also contains many classical Amsterdam houses.

Nieuwmarkt

The area around this square contains many lovely streets, alleys, shops, canals, houses. Nieuwmarkt-wiki
You problably also will find the Red Light District in this neighbouwhood: prostitutes sitting on a chair behind their window, offering their services.
Red Light District
The Waag is a beautiful building (oldest parts from 1488) and it contains a restaurant.
The Waag
The shops around the Nieuwmarkt are quite special, and amongst my favourites are the Chinese shops, with strange food types, clothing, shoes, statues and swords.

Zeedijk

The Zeedijk is one of the oldest streets of Amsterdam. It now is a long and windy and very busy shopping street. The shops are not exactly posh, but they are diverse and offer a lot of different goods, foods, drinks, clothes and also touristic stuff.

Amsterdam Centraal Station

The central railway station is a lovely building, both the outside and the inside. It is busy!
Amsterdam Centraal Station

Oude Kerk

The Oude Kerk (old church) is really old, early 14th century. Worth walking around. Often, cultural stuff is going on: art exhibitions, photo exhibitions.
Oude Kerk

Beurs van Berlage

This is the old Stock Exchange. It is a nice building. Often, exhibitions of art and other stuff can be visited here.
Beurs van Berlage

Dam

The Dam Square is the location of our national monument and national palace (the queen does not live here!). Nothing spectacular compared to similar places in London, but for the Dutch it is special. Royal Palace
Nieuwe Kerk
Department store Bijenkorf ("beehive") is a lovely building and a great shop (really) to go shopping. De Bijenkorf

Raadhuisstraat

This street has a lovely pedestrian pavement with a roof over it, called the Gallery.
Raadhuisstraat

Westerkerk

Rembrandt was buried here. It is a lovely building. Around it are some romantic places.
Westerkerk

Anne Frank House

She didn't survive the Second World War, but the house that the hid in for several years did. Many tourists visit Anne Frank House and it can be really busy, with long lines of people waiting to enter. I've been here several times and I think it is worth a visit.
Anne Frank House

From any of these places, you can return to your car, or take a cab, or walk (if your feet don't hurt like hell). Many more nice streets and canals and alleys and museums and shops to discover. I've never managed to take this route myself in one day and I hope I never do, because on my way there are too many interesting places that grab my attention for at least an hour. I hope you enjoyed it.