Netherlands trip report / advice

Has it been a year already since our trip to Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands? Hard to believe. Here are some tips I picked up about the Netherlands:

  • Driving in the Netherlands is a fun experience. Sure, the country prioritizes bicycle traffic, but that only makes the driving experience better. Fewer other cars on the road.
  • Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo is on the way if you are driving to Amsterdam from Frankfurt. It is known for its collection of Van Goghs but is otherwise not nearly as large as the big museums in Amsterdam. If you park and borrow a free white bicycle, you can ride the grounds of the Hoge Veluwe National Park. The museum itself is worth maybe an hour or two, but if you combine it with a bike ride and a stop for lunch, it can be a nice afternoon visit. Here’s my bike ride in Hoge Veluwe, which I recorded on Strava in two parts.
  • Utrecht: Definitely has a quaint downtown with a canal. We didn’t stay overnight, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea.
  • Delft: Very quaint, worth an overnight. I recommend the Hampshire Hotel. Absolutely make sure to have Poffertjes. We took a combination boat/walking tour, went to the top of the tower, and enjoyed Oude Jenever outside of a bar one evening.
  • Zuiderzee Museum is a short drive from Amsterdam (or you can take a ferry from Amsterdam, I believe). It’s one of those “frozen in time” tourist towns, only this is frozen to like 1930. However, it’s quite worthwhile; Dutch 1930 is quite interesting. Easily a day trip from Amsterdam.
  • Kinderdijk: It’s where all those postcards of Dutch windmills are taken. Go at sunrise or sunset if you can. Prepare to walk a lot. I think you can rent bicycles in tow (we didn’t have time for this, but it would be fun).
  • In Amsterdam:
    • Getting Around: Since we drove, and there were four of us, we needed to find a hotel with large rooms and parking. We stayed chose the New West Inn, which is a 20-minute tram ride from downtown. Fortunately, Google Maps is a superb took for using Amsterdam trams. Plug in your destination and Google Maps will tell you where the nearest tram stops are, when the next trams are, how long is the trip, where to change, everything. Superb.
    • Anne Frank House: Buy tickets 30 days in advance online. If you miss out, keep checking the website, tickets do open up. This happened to us, actually; I forgot to buy tickets 30 days in advance, and some magically opened up. Good thing, because it was the #1 spot on our list, because our daughter had read the Diary. If you don’t buy in advance, you can still wait on line the day-of and buy tickets.
    • If you like spirits or liqueurs, do visit Wynand Fockink Proeflokaal. They have a tasting room and you can taste all kinds of flavored liqueurs, as well as the non-flavored jenevers. I took home a bottle of Oude Jenever, which I am still saving for a special occasion.
    • Canal boat ride was nice. Not great, not bad. About what you’d expect.
    • Van Gogh Museum If you are a Van Gogh fan, you’ll want to go here; if not, then not. Simple as that.
    • Rijksmuseum is of course superb.

    Now, two places we did not go:

    • Rotterdam: I felt at the time that I didn’t want to see a modern Dutch city. However, I now feel that Dutch architecture is a very different sensibility from American architecture. I bet Rotterdam would make a very interesting contrast to New York. Or maybe not, I really don’t know for sure.
    • Nijmegen: Has the Bicycle Museum Fietsmuseum Velorama. I really wanted to go to this, since I’m into cycling. But we did a different thing instead. I mention it in case you are into bicycle museums.

    Biking the Hoge Veluwe

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    Bike ride in Hoge Veluwe National Park,

    More photos

    You may visit my Flickr album for more images from my 2016 trip to Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.