Amsterdam, Holland

Location:

The cruise terminal of Amsterdam port is about 10 min walking from the  the city center.

Sightseeing:

Amsterdam is a beloved tourist destination for new and old visitors alike. With its vast cultural inheritance, it is a popular destination for cruise ships. Visiting Amsterdam remains a unique experience, just like a cruise. The historical city center is a world heritage site and compact living museum where everything is within walking distance, from the diamond cutters to the world famous museums and art galleries. And Amsterdam outside the ‘ canal ring’ also offers fascinating sights, beautiful excursions and rich history.

Tickets for the Anne Frank Museum can be bought online. Lines to get in can be very long. An alternative can be: Our Lord in the Attic which is one of the oldest and most remarkable museums in Amsterdam.

Tip: On 30 April 2013, on Queen’s Day, Prince Willem-Alexander will succeed his mother Beatrix in Amsterdam and become King of the Netherlands. Do not miss the festivities.
Consequently, from 2014 onwards the name will be changed from Queen’s Day into King’s Day. Also the date will be changed from 30 April to 27 April, which is the birthday of Willem-Alexander. On the first King’s Day, which will be held on 26 April 2014 because the 27th is a Sunday.

Tours/Excursions/Transportation:

If you are visiting Amsterdam then a canal cruise is an absolute ‘must’! Cruising along the canals is a real journey of discovery. Many cruise boat operators will take you on an hour-and-a-quarter trip past the stately canal houses, the colorful houseboats, the canal with seven arched bridges, the Dutch East Indies Company replica ship and much more. Besides enjoying the cruise, you will also have the best view of all the splendid sights that Amsterdam has to offer.

In front of the central station you will find many canal cruise companies (all around 8 euro for a tour.

With the I Amsterdam Card you get use of public transport for 24, 48 or 72 hrs including trams, buses and underground of the GVB public transport system. Important: not valid for train travel, including to and from Schiphol Airport.
If you only be in Amsterdam for a few hours the card seems expensive.

Some bike rentals and some tips for safe biking.

You probably do not have to use public transportation. If you do (inclement weather) just buy the ticket from the driver (bus) or from the ticket checker (tram) or ticket machine (metro). It is a little more expensive, but a lot less hassle. 2.60 Euro for a one hour card, 7 Euro for a day card. Important do not forget to check in and out, otherwise your ticket will become useless. These tickets are only valid on transport with the GVB logo and not on trains and other bus companies.

Nearby Places:

The world-famous fishing villages of Volendam (bus 110 or 118) and Marken (bus 111) – on the coast of the former Zuiderzee (now called IJsselmeer). With its wooden houses and locals wearing their colorful style of dress.

The Marken Express boat connects Volendam with Marken and vice versa with every 30/45 min daily daytime departures.

In springtime: nowhere else in the world are the flowers and colors of the spring as glorious as at the Keukenhof.

The Zaanse Schans is a delightful old hamlet on the banks of the river Zaan with characteristic green wooden houses, charming stylized gardens, small hump-backed bridges, tradesmen’s workshops, historic windmills and engaging little shops. This enchanting hamlet gives an excellent impression of how a typical Zaanse village must have looked like in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Apart from the cluster of windmills and houses there are also several museums, restaurants and a visitors’ center to be found as well as the possibility of taking a boat trip on the river. The Zaanse Schans has become one of the top tourist destinations in the Netherlands.

Shopping and Food:

Kalverstraat is the longest shopping street in Amsterdam. It starts at Dam square and goes all the way to the Muntplein. When you turn right at Heiligeweg, you’ll find some more exclusive shops, (at the end on Koningsplein at your left: Amsterdam’s famous floating flower market) and more when you continue straight on Leidsestraat, which will lead you to Leidseplein.

If you’re feeling rich or simply want to feast your eyes on lovely things (fashion, antiques, and art), begin at the Concertgebouw (Concerthall) and walk (northwest) along Van Baerlestraat toward Vondelpark. Turn right onto elegant PC Hooftstraat. At the end of the street, by the canal, turn right again and walk to the Rijksmuseum, then turn left across the canal. Straight ahead is Spiegelgracht, a small and quiet bit of canal that’s the gateway to the best antiques-shop street in Amsterdam, Nieuwe Spiegelstraat.

With such an international population, Amsterdam offers restaurants and cafés with everything from genuine Indonesian food to Mediterranean tapas.

A very popular snack is a kroket which consists of a thick ragout, shaped into a cylinder of about 10 cm in length and 4 cm thick, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep-fried.

Currency:

Euros are divided into 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 euros. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros (note the pattern 1, 2, 5). Some shops do not accept large denomination notes, and many don’t like the 1 and 2 cent coins, and so round cash amounts to the nearest 5 cents.

Credit cards are not as widely accepted in the Netherlands as in many other countries because of the high fees retailers have to pay. Always enquire first if you want to pay by credit card. Cash is preferred. Public transportation does not accept credit cards!

Communication:

Just about everyone speaks English in Amsterdam, and is proud of the fact. Many speak German and French too. If you are English speaking, speak English (unless you speak Dutch too): you are more likely to offend than do anyone a favor by trying out your French or German.

A common misconception is that Dutch is very close to German. In truth they are not mutually intelligible: Dutch people have to learn German at school, and in general they speak better English than German. German and Dutch are similar in the same sort of way that French and Italian are similar.

Free Wifi in the Amsterdam cruise terminal. At port side on the ship you will have good connection on the promenade deck.

Opening Hours and Holidays:

In general, shop-opening hours are 1-6pm on Mondays and 9/10am-6pm Tuesday to Friday. Most have late night shopping on Thursday until 9pm, and close earlier on Saturdays, at 5pm. Some supermarkets, like Albert Heijn stay open until 8 or 10 pm. On Sundays, you can shop in the city center, Kalverstraat, Damrak, Leidsestraat, and near the Noorderkerk.

Bank holidays in the Netherlands:

  • New Year’s Day (Jan 1);
  • Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday;
  • Ascension Day (Thursday, 40 days after Easter);
  • Queen’s Day – Queen’s birthday (April 30); April 30 is not Queen Beatrix’ birthday, but her mother’s, Princess Juliana. Queen’s Beatrix’ own birthday is in January, which is too cold for outdoor festivities.
  • Pentecost Sunday (7th Sunday after Easter) and Pentecost Monday;
  • Christmas Day (December 25) and Boxing Day (December 26).

In addition, there are two World War II Remembrance Days, neither of which is an official holiday, though some establishments close. May 4 honors all those who died in the war, May 5 celebrates the Liberation.

 

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Place Categories: Cruise Ports

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