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Amsterdam activities

IFLY tips Amsterdam

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Rent a bike, go like a local! (½ - 1 day)

In Amsterdam, it looks like everybody is riding a bicycle. And it’s very convenient. Especially in the centre of the city with it’s many canals and small streets it’s the fastest way to travel from one place to another. So if you like to travel through town like the Dutch; rent a bike.
There are several companies where you can rent a bike. Most of them are located in the centre. There is Rent A Bike in Damstraat 20, or Mac Bike with three locations at Central Station, Waterlooplein and Leidseplein.
If you like you can even do a guided tour. That’s a good way to see some highlights in a different way. But you can also use your bike like the Dutch, by means of transportation. Beware of the traffic and pedestrians and… lock your bike carefully, over 80.000 bikes are stolen in Amsterdam every year!

Volendam and Marken (½ - 1 day)

The centre of Amsterdam looks like a huge open-air museum, but if you look to see the traditional countryside, go to the fisherman places Volendam And Marken outside Amsterdam. You can take a guided tourist bus or you can do it yourself, much better and way cheaper.
Take bus 116 or 118 from Central Station to Volendam. The bus will bring you there in about 40 minutes and cost only approximately 5 Euro. You can walk around in the old town, have a drink at a terrace or eat some nice fish. From March till November there’s the Marken Express, a boat service that brings you to the former island of Marken with a wonderful harbour and picturesque houses. The trip is about 30 minutes and cost you 7 Euro for a return ticket.

Canal Hopper (1 ½ hr)

Amsterdam has many canals, and a good way to see the city is to make a boat tour in the canals. There are several options to do this, but very special is a Canal Hopper. With this guided tour on an open boat with maximum twelve passengers, you will see those canals where only small boats can go.
You drive through the smallest waters in the oldest part of Amsterdam. And while you look around, have drink or take your pictures, the skipper will entertain you with typical stories about Amsterdam and the places of interest you pass. The boat will depart opposite central station from ‘Holland International’ pier.

Many ‘odd’ museums (2 hrs)

In Amsterdam you will find a lot of museums, like the famous Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. But the city also has a lot of odd museums. The house boat museum for example (opposite Prinsengracht 296). Many people live in a boat in the canal and in this museum you can see how these people live.
And there’s the sex museum. Nearby the red light district, at Damrak 18 you’ll find this museum that will teach you all about sex and the oldest profession in the world, for only 3 Euro.
Smoking cannabis is legal in Holland, and of course you visit a ‘coffeeshop’ to buy your stuff, but if you like to know all about this ‘stuff’ and the history, you should go to the Hash, Marihuana and Hemp museum. Make sure you’ll find the exit again. Peace man!

Our Lord in the attic (2 hrs)

There are many odd museums in Amsterdam, but this one has a very special history. The Catholic religion was outlawed in Amsterdam after the ‘alteration’ of 1578, which transferred Amsterdam into Protestant hands. There were still many Catholics in the city, and they were allowed to have their religion as long as it was hidden from public view.
‘Our Lord in the attic’ is a church located on the top floors of an old canal house in the middle of the red light district. It was built in 1661 by Jan Hartman, a wealthy man who lived in the lower floors of the house with his family. It served as a church for 200 years and is a museum nowadays. It’s open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and the entrance fee is 6 Euro.

Homeless tour

Amsterdam homeless
Same like any other big city, Amsterdam has homeless people and drug addicts. Mostly they stay in the city centre. A special way to see Amsterdam’s old city centre is a walking tour with a former homeless junky as a tour guide.

They take you along boats, parks and porches. They explain how to get money, booze and dope when you're homeless and addicted. They give you a peek into the world of the homeless. A life, where you can trust no one and where the law of the jungle applies.

There are several organisations that offer these evening walking tours. A tour will cost approximately 10 euro and lasts for 1½ hour. More information can be found here: Ed Daklozen Tour, Amsterdam Underground and Amsterdam Excursies (unfortunately not in English).

Steam-powered paddle-wheel pumping station Halfweg (3 hrs)

Amsterdam Halfweg
A big part of Holland is situated below sea level, so for many centuries the Dutch are fighting against the water. The little village of Halfweg, between Amsterdam and Haarlem, is the location of the oldest and largest still operational steam-powered paddle-wheel pumping station in the world. It was built in 1852 and served to drain excess water to the sea.

You will find the pumping station at Haarlemmermeerstraat 4 in Halfweg. From Amsterdam Central Station you can take Connexion bus 80 to stop Oranje Nassaustraat, Halfweg. From June 2012 there will be a new train station in Halfweg. This will be a stop-train to Haarlem. From the station you can see the pumping station already.

The opening hours are from April to October on Wednesdays from 1 to 4 pm and on Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm. More information about the pumping days can be found here.

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Language of the world

Of course you like to speak a few words of the local language onboard the plane or at your destination. Here you find some simple basics of the main language spoken in Amsterdam.