for the record, i genuinely did go to amsterdam for artsy culture and not drug culture so if you’re looking for content that goes beyond museums, galleries, and pretty insta pics, this isn’t the post for you, sorry!
(nb: this is written super late in the game again but i promise it’s still a decent guide)
1: your resident art heauxs take museumplein!
firstly, the rijksmuseum is what you’re looking for if you want an absurdly large gamut of objects pertaining to 800 years of national, and to some extent, international, history.
as those of you who know me are well aware, i’m not hugely interested in historical objects or art pre-1800s (i’m working on it though, i promise) but there were some wonderful Rembrandt paintings as well as some delicate porcelain items. (u can take the Asian out of Asia but u can’t take her away from those blue and white bowls lmao)
the stedelijk museum is what you would typically expect a modern and contemporary art museum to be.
sprawling exhibition spaces contained pop art and bauhaus but my personal favourite was a space they’d carved out downstairs where you yourself could add to the art on the walls in whiteboard marker. obviously, i’m incapable of producing anything more than a couple of stickmen but look!! at!! this!!
goes without saying that the van gogh museum is a must-see. it’s chockablock with his iconic works (there were so many self portraits oh my and some of them were double-sided so he didn’t waste canvas- i never knew that, that’s so frickin cool???!), the work of his contemporaries, and even a collection of letters he sent to his brother, Theo!!! unfortunately, you’re not allowed to take pictures inside and of course i wouldn’t break such an important rule as that in order to have a personal memory of the sunflowers, right? right.
the moco museum was also incredible!! it’s one of those like the hayward gallery in southbank where an artist (or two) take over the entire space for a certain period of time. when we visited, it was banksy (who i’ve been obsessed with for probably 10 years now)
and salvador dalí (whose metamorphosis of narcissus shook me to my damn core in the tate modern).
they were moving onto a roy lichtenstein exhibition so there was also an immersive pop-art room.
not in museumplein but still worth visiting is the outsider art museum which contains work best described as disruptive? it’s filled with pieces which aren’t created by formally-trained artists so they don’t fit neatly into movements and aren’t defined by rules of good taste- super super interesting. (the entrance took us an obscene amount of time to find tho and i still dk why???? i blame google maps tbh)
we also went to micropia (a museum of microbes). it’s way cooler than it sounds and i was kept busy trying to collect all the stamps. it’s the little things!! (also literally lmao since we were looking at microbes wow i hate myself.)
yes, the museum was next to artis zoo but we’re fundamentally against zoos ethically so we didn’t visit that particular attraction.
2. sexy tings, famous tings, boatings- the non-drug but still spicante culture!
the Venustempel (sex museum) was, erm, intense, shall we say?- most of the exhibits were banterous or slightly strange but one particular memory still haunts me- the animatronic flasher (creepy trenchcoat included).
red light secrets- the museum of prostitution was a completely different vibe but 100% worth a visit. it was really insightful and tactful in addressing its subject matter; there were accounts from various sex workers which explored the different sides of the industry and the ways in which they felt empowered or exploited- it’s definitely an experience where you learn a lot but more than that, it allows you to empathise with the women. there’s also a confessions wall at the end where you can leave your own secrets- did i leave one? who knows
obviously, we had to go to de winkel van nijntje (the miffy store)- i bought an extremely overpriced cuddly toy and have zero regrets-
and we took a lil trip to the bloemenmarkt (the world’s only floating flower market)-i didn’t buy any bulbs though because i’m incapable of keeping anything other than a succulent alive.
our plan was originally to do a bike ride and a boat ride but after seeing the immense road rage dutch cyclists have (what is that about btw?? they’ll literally try and mow you down????) as well as having a bit of shoddy weather, we decided against the former. for the latter, we opted for a night-time canal cruise.
seeing the lights and cityscape reflected on the shimmering water was honestly other-worldly and even though we had a tour guide in our ears, it was so weirdly serene? it’s hard to explain but y’all need to try it.
3. vegan?? food?? for?? moi??
i think about this meal all the time. like, i’ve definitely dreamt about it and woken up drooling. i shit you not.
we each ordered three courses but picked different starters and desserts (it’s the smart thing to do, you get to try more and spend less) and we would’ve picked different mains too but i’m glad we didn’t because this was absolute heaven in my mouth. i don’t understand how a filo parcel could be so life-changing and to this day i don’t know what was in it- i remember it being chestnut and shiitake but there had to have been something else to make it so wonderful???
vegan junk food bar
the burgers were incredible and the portion of fries was absurdly large so great bang for your buck!! the place was also really aesthetically pleasing.
super cosy place that serves middle eastern-style food. the baba ghanoush was beautiful and the roasted cauliflower was also top-notch, highly recommend!!
4. miscellaneous- muiderslot, markets, many a purchase
walking around the nine streets is a must- they’re filled with great little cafes, upscale boutiques, and vintage clothing stores. gotta admit the prices were generally a lil steep but episode is an absolute goldmine!! it’s also a super picturesque area with little cobbled walkways and quaint bridges over the canals.
waterlooplein flea market was another one-stop shop for all your bric-a-brac and fashion needs- i found my red and pink kimono there.
pro-tip: buy the regional travel card (we got 72hr) so it gives you time to escape the city centre and see something else.
we went to muiderslot on a lil day trip and both the castle and gardens were so so pretty.
fun fact: we got lost trying to find our way back to amsterdam and ended up on some random beach- we tried to get a taxi but the nearest taxi-rank was “at a golf-course” so we were stranded until the next bus came an hour later. whoops.
anyways, i think that’s it for our amsterdam adventures!
see you next time for more fun travels <3
p.s here’s a pic of us trying to catch our 7:10am flight back
p.p.s here’s a pic of me after my midnight mozzarella bites rampage was successful