Three days in Amsterdam: Canals, vibrant food and art scenes and the famed Red Light District.

Updated: Oct 1


By SARA VANDEN BERGE


It’s hard to believe that with a last name like Vanden Berge, we just now completed our first visit to Amsterdam.


The vibrant city in the Netherlands is where we began our journey across parts of Europe, so we flew in a few days before embarkation to check it out.

After a nine-hour direct flight from DFW Airport to Amsterdam, we stepped off the airplane and into wet, chilly weather.


Summer in the Netherlands is long gone by September and the cold and rainy season is underway, but the cloudy weather did nothing to dampen our spirits and only added to the magic that is Amsterdam.


Think long canals topped with beautiful little bridges, twinkle lights, phenomenal restaurants and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.

With 177 different nationalities making up Amsterdam’s population, the city is brimming with cultural diversity, which is reflected in its fantastic food scene where you will find everything from Chinese, Italian and Thai cuisine to steamed mussels and fries served with mayonnaise.


Most restaurants are dimly lit and relatively small, setting up an intimate dining experience that is never rushed.


Amsterdam’s bustling bar scene is loud and full of people from across the globe looking for a good time. It’s impossible not to make new friends while you’re there.


THOSE BICYCLES…


The biggest worry you’ll have in Amsterdam is fear of death by bicycle.


This is a city on the move and bicyclists are everywhere.


In fact, there are more bicycles than people in Amsterdam, and tourists are expected to learn the rules of the road. If you walk in a bike lane or fail to get out of their way, you will likely hear a polite “ding, ding, ding” as they approach, but some of the more aggressive speedsters will not hesitate to mow you down.

Those who aren’t pedaling through Amsterdam are walking, so wear comfy shoes.


We walked eight to 10 miles each day we were there, which is why I was able to enjoy a couple of Dutch pastries and eat my weight in those delicious fries.

VINCENT VAN GOGH AND ANNE FRANK


Amsterdam has a fantastic art scene and a trip to the Van Gogh Museum is a must.


The modern glass building is located in Museum Square and showcases the life and work of the Dutch artist.

If you want to send your emotions into overdrive, the Anne Frank House will do it. The tour of the place where her family hid from the Nazis for two years is fascinating and it would be a travesty to miss it.


Purchase tickets to both before you go because they do sell out.

THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT


If you plan to visit Amsterdam’s most famous neighborhood, you’ll want to leave your judgement behind.


Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands and scantily-clad women offering their services stand boldly on display in windows at the Red Light District.


And while it’s a little jarring to see, you better play it cool; no gawking or laughing and absolutely no picture-taking.

Amsterdam expects tourists to respect the city’s sex workers, and from what we saw, they do.


The area is full of “coffee shops” where you can buy marijuana (because that’s legal too) and shops to spice things up in the boudoir.


I wouldn’t recommend taking the kids or granny to the Red Light District, but it’s a place you’ll definitely want to see while you’re there.

So that’s our Amsterdam experience in a nutshell.


On to London where I hope to get a picture with King Charlie!


Stay tuned!