First on our itinerary for Day 2 of our Amsterdam trip we made our way to the city centre via tram. Once again we found ourselves admiring the many canals and taking a crazy amount of photos!
One of my favourite canal’s has to be The Emperor’s canal which is the middle one of the three main canals of the city. It was named after emperor Maximillian of Austria. And it’s my personal favourite probably because of the many bikes parked right along the whole bridge, this just makes it look all the more typical and makes for a great photo opportunity!
Some fun facts for you – Amsterdam has more than one hundred kilometres of canals, about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. The 17th-century canal ring area, including the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Jordaan, were placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010, contributing to Amsterdam’s fame as the “Venice of the North”. I can definitely see why they call this amazing city “The Venice of the North!”
Check our our Amsterdam Video log to watch all of this and more!
After a quick stroll around the Rembrantplein area of the city we then took the metro to our first proper stop of the day to the Museumplein as we had originally wanted to visit the Van Gogh Museum… however this didn’t go quite to plan! We arrived here to be faced with a massive queue which had a waiting time of “approximately 3 hours.” UHM NO. Unfortunately we didn’t have time for this and with only a few short days in Amsterdam and this being our 2nd day, we had decided that visiting the Van Gogh would have to wait until our next trip to Amsterdam!
We then moved on and came across the I AMSTERDAM sign, now if you’ve ever had any friends or family visit Amsterdam, I am pretty sure you will have seen a photo of them standing by this sign. It is situated at the back of the Rijksmuseum and you really can’t miss it!
When the large I Amsterdam slogan first came around it quickly became a city icon and a much sought-after photo opportunity. Visitors can be seen photographing themselves, in, around and on top of the slogan, and it always manages to inspire the novice photographer like ourselves.
Lewis and I are always after a good photo opportunity however even we found this tricky with just how many people had the same idea in mind as us! It was mobbed! We took a quick few photographs in front of the sign and decided to visit the museum before returning to the sign later on!
Inside the Rijksmuseum we were faced with a queue (not quite like that of Van Gogh), we waited a short time of around 20 minutes and paid the fee – quite pricey I must say unless you are under 18 then the price is really affordable. However I can still happily say that the fee was very much worth every penny.
The museum itself is very historic and was recently renovated to 21st century standards to display Holland’s national treasures.
You will want to spend a great deal of time here so please make sure you set aside a good 2-3 hours for your visit as we found ourselves rushing around because we had booked a time slot to visit the Anne Frank museum!
The museum itself has a very useful app to lead yourself on a variety of audio tours that describe not only the highlights of the art, but the building history, too – I would definitely recommend downloading this app when you have wifi prior to visiting the museum!
All in all we both really enjoyed this museum, it is really big in size so there’s plenty of room for everybody and you won’t find yourself feeling claustrophobic or having to push and shove to see something great. If you’re looking to see work by some of the Dutch greats: Vermeer, Rembrandt, Steen, etc, then this is the museum for you!
Next stop on our itinerary was Anne Frank House, lucky for us this wasn’t too far away as we were pushed for time having already booked our slot we were afraid that we were going to miss it!
Luckily we arrived on time and felt extremely thankful that we had thought to book our tickets online months ago, as the queue outside Anne Frank House made the queue at Van Gogh look minscule! This one was “approximately 4.5 hours” long. Sheeeesh, that’s a long time to spend queuing!
So now whenever anyone tells me that they are going to visit Amsterdam, the first thing that I say is “BOOK YOUR TICKET ONLINE.” That queue skip definitely made our day, although I couldn’t help but feel quite bad for the rest waiting in line as we walked ahead with our heads down!
Inside the museum, you are taken around in small groups from room to room. The only downside was just how busy it was, this made it quite hard not to feel a tad claustrophobic, however this added to the experience and it was great to see everyone’s reactions to what we learnt inside the house. There are a lot of school trips and some children can be quite noisy and inconsiderate so keep this in mind as we eventually got pretty annoyed at this!
The quality of the exhibits and information provided were of really high quality but they’re structured so that there are a lot of 1-2 minute video clips where everybody gathers. These video clips are great but what we found was it grouped people together and when the clip finished, about 10-15 people would go to the next room where only two or so people can read at a time so you kind of feel the need to move quickly.
Other than this we both agreed that Anne Frank House was a great use of time and money very well spent. The rooms throughout the house are left empty and the fact that there is no furniture leaves everything to your own imagination. There is so much visual information as well as audio that you get a perfect insight into what their lives were like for the duration they were in hiding there.
What was most moving to me was the fact that you could see the pencil lines on the wall of the heights of the children. No one can imagine how sad it must have been for Anne’s father returning alone, free at last to discover he was the sole survivor. It really was a very moving few hours and it left us thinking for days.
After a full morning of museums and sightseeing we were grateful to have earlier bought some lunch and stored in our bags from a little Dutch supermarket – that’s another thing that I love about Amsterdam, everybody is so friendly. Most people speak good English and are more than happy to help you and give directions. Having been to many places around Europe, it’s sad that this can not be said for more cities but Amsterdam is definitely one of the friendliest places I have been lucky enough to visit!
We ate our lunch by the canal right outside of Anne Frank House – chatting about all that we had just seen and planning the rest of our day.
We decided to wander back towards the IAMSTERDAM sign to try to get in some good photos as it was already around 6pm and we figured it would be a lot more quiet. And we were right! With only a handful of tourists taking photographs we managed to snap until our hearts content! WOOOO.
As our day in Amsterdam drew to an end we went for one last wander around the many amazing canals and decided that some dessert would be a fitting way to end our trip!
However I really didn’t think that we would end up buying waffles from a cafe in The Red Light District…But apparently this little eatery did some of the best waffles in Amsterdam, and boy were they good! What a fun way to end one of the funnest, craziest most cultured filled trips that I have ever had. XO
Check out our Amsterdam Video log to watch all of this and more by clicking on the photo below!