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Escaping the tourists to find chill Amsterdam

April 20, 2014

Amsterdam has a bazillion museums, and, while living in the Netherlands, we saw a few. What we loved most about Amsterdam was wandering around the streets and canals, soaking up its unique energy and dodging bicycles.

After our first couple of trips to Amsterdam we learned how to avoid the touristy areas near the central station and dive straight into the Jordaan, the Negen Straatjes (nine streets), De Pijp, Ost neighborhoods, and the Vondelpark. Here you will find quirky boutiques, sweet cafes, and fun art galleries.

The canals are a constant reminder of the country’s relationship with water, and street life in Amsterdam is focused around them. Even at the slightest notion of spring, half of Amsterdam is sitting along the canal sipping beer. The other half of Amsterdam is floating around the canals in their boats, also sipping beer.

I could never get enough of the tree-lined canals. Simply magical.

Like everywhere else in country, bicycles rule in Amsterdam, and I think the tourists who bike in the city are a little nuts. (However, bicycling in the Netherlands is an experience everyone should have.) Just know that bicyclists won’t stop for pedestrians, especially tourists! They will avoid putting their foot on the ground until absolutely necessary. If you find yourself having the same tendencies, congratulations, you are officially a Dutch cyclist.

While the streets near the station are overwhelmed with tourist mobs (especially in summertime!) the Musemplein (museum square) is a great place for people watching while gazing at the historic Rijksmuseum and Concertgebouw, the contemporary addition to the Stedelijk museum (the bathtub!), and the modern classic Van Gogh museum.

As I’m writing this post, I realize how much we didn’t manage to do in Amsterdam while we were there, as well as the lack of photos of places I’d love to recommend to you. We were too busy soaking it in…

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