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Amsterdam and surrounds provides plenty of attractions to keep visitors occupied no matter what interests you. From museums to art galleries, churches and history there is something for everyone. Here are my favourite activities.
We purposely timed our visit to coincide with the world famous Keukenhof
which occurs mid-March to mid-May each year. This has to be the best garden show I have ever attended, it was flower heaven! You can easily spend the whole day here wandering amongst the displays. There is food and souvenirs available or you can bring a picnic, find yourself somewhere to settle and just enjoy the scenery.
is a miniature city located at George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag and can be reached on public transport by getting the train from Amsterdam to The Hague and then getting a tram or bus right to the front entrance.
This site is huge and absolutely fascinating. If you are into planes, trains and automobiles this is the place for you! You can watch as planes as Schiphol Airport taxi on and off the runway, trains run along their tracks and cars race each other.
When you have finished looking around, escape to the restaurant and let the kids have some fun while you have a quiet cup of coffee. There are heaps of fun, interactive activities for kids. How about playing the role of the lock keeper and saving the Netherlands from flooding, getting the wind turbines to generate energy, assuming the role of lighting technician and turn on the lights in the theatre or load and unload a container ship. There is lots to keep everyone happy both young and old.
If you love the idea of windmills, this is the place to visit. Zaanse Schans
is located at Schansend 7, Zaandam and can easily be reached from Amsterdam via train or bus. This is an amazing attraction where you can climb right into the belly of some of the windmills and see the workings. There is more here than just windmills though, you can visit shops and museums as well as watch traditional craft demonstrations including clog making. There are places to eat and buy souvenirs and even places to stay. If you want to immerse yourself in historical experiences, this is the place to go.
[SECTION]Anne Frank House[/SECTION]
Anne Frank House
is an absolute must if you are interested in war time history. If you have read the story you have probably found it very hard to believe how they managed to live for so long in such a small space, however visiting the actual house will make it all very real. You can see the very room that Anne spent all those years in and you will get to understand so much of what they went through.
If you plan to visit, make sure you buy your tickets online
. This gives you priority entry through a special entrance and avoids the very long queues which occur here. Like most tourist attractions, as you come out the other end of the museum you will find the shop. There are many interesting items to purchase here, but find the book written by Meip Gies, Anne Frank Remembered. This book tells the same story as Anne's but from the perspective of what was happening outside of the hidden space. It is just as interesting and provides some insight into the efforts that were undertaken to protect this family.
[SECTION]Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance Museum)[/SECTION]
This is an insightful museum
dedicated to the resistance efforts undertaken by the Dutch people during World War II. Located in the Plantage district, it is within easy to reach either by walking, tram, subway or on the hop on/hop off bus.
The museum contains a number of permanent and temporary exhibits including reproductions of homes and shops and gives a detailed account of the occupation and activities conducted by the resistance. There is a small section dedicated to the Dutch East Indies and the plight of those imprisoned, especially the women.
If you have any doubt about the Dutch people capability to fight back against the oppressors, then a visit here is a must!
Cruising the canals is a wonderful past time where you will get to see the sights of Amsterdam from quite a different perspective. We were fortunate to have a family member who took us for a cruise in their boat, however if you get the opportunity take one of the very popular commercial tours.
If you are lucky you will get to see the raising of the bridge for a canal boat to pass through. Although you can see this in many parts of the world, I always find it truly fascinating where ever I am.
And well, along with the many many bicycles you come across, you may also see one on your canal cruise. This one had been left clinging to the side of a pier. I wonder if they remembered where they left it?
As the last sunset of our Amsterdam adventure faded, our thoughts turned to Paris
, but then that is a whole other adventure!
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