When I think of Amsterdam many thoughts run through my head. I have been lucky to visit this city twice and really enjoyed both trips. My thoughts include: bikes, windmills, diamonds, canals, wooden shoes, coffee shops with marijuana sales (tourists now are legally banned from entering cannabis cafes as of 2012), the Red Light District (legal prostitution area), the Heineken tour, the Anne Frank House (museum), and the Van Gogh Museum. Today I’ll focus on the last three items.
Being a lover of beer I had to sign up for a visit to the “Heineken Treat and Information Centre” which included a tour of the museum and a tasting at the end. We learned about the history of beer making and the process of how pilsner brewing occurs and finished the tour in a free tasting room with cheez doodles and all the beer you wanted. Our tour was at 10:00am, but I could not turn down free Heineken brewed in its home country. Through the years the tour has been renamed to “the Heineken Experience” and now charges a fee of 18 Euros.
As a child I read “The Diary of Anne Frank” in school. It is the story of a Jewish girl, her family and another family who were kept hidden in a Secret Annex from the Nazi’s for a little over 2 years before they were discovered, handed in, and all but one (Anne’s father Otto) executed in concentration camps. During her time in the annex she wrote about her life and feelings. It was a powerful and emotional experience to walk through her living quarters imagining what she went through.
My favorite painter is the post-impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh. He spent a good portion of his life in France, but was born in the Netherlands. I love my impressionism museums, and my favorite is the one with his name, The Van Gogh Museum. I could spend weeks walking around here, viewing each portrait carefully. I have been very lucky though to visit here on both of my trips to Amsterdam. All I can say is ‘AMAZING’.
Being a van Gogh fanatic I have traced his steps to the apartment he lived in with his brother Theo located in Montmartre (Paris). I also was lucky enough to travel to Auvers-sur Oise (outside of Paris) to where he did some of his best work and eventually died. The only significant place left for me to visit is Arles in Southern France where he did additional amazing work! I will blog in the future about my visit to Auvers-sur Oise, yet another incredible experience.
Amsterdam has so much to offer, as does the country of the Netherlands. The people are amazing and speak a good amount of English, lucky for me, since I can’t speak in their native language of Dutch. I hope someday to make it back to this wonderful country.